Blogging to save a Library, a Lung and a Liver…

iheartmylibrary

Save a library…
The Rambling Librarian informs me that the National Library Board is inviting bloggers to be their official citizen reporters for the soon to close library@Orchard (they even have a “moving on” blog). This is great especially if you’re a library or book junkie.

You’ll be given a pass which gives you open access to the library to conduct interviews with the public as well as the staff working there. You’ll also get to go behind the scenes, to see their library workroom to observe how entire book collections are sorted and managed (I’ve been inside one before, and it’s pretty neat!). I’d totally be there, but I’m stuck here in Buffalo.

The goal is for citizen reporters to help preserve the library through text, photos or videos, before it’s physically gone from existence after Nov 30th 2007. If you’re up for it, you’ll need to attend a (brief) briefing on the 30th of Oct, 7.30pm at the library@orchard. Please RSVP by dropping an email to occl@nlb.gov.sg or check out their blog, Moving On: library@Orchard in transit

Yvonne's Quit Journey Blog

Save a lung…
Vantan, who recently returned from Tuscany, tipped me off to a new health campaign she’s help launched online called “Fresh Air For Women“.

As you can guess, it’s aimed at persuading women to quit smoking. Along with this motivational web site, the Health Promotion Board also set up a blog in the past week for TCS actress Yvonne Lim to keep a log of her quit smoking journey. Before this, she’s been a smoker for five years running. While this public journal is the closest thing to a reality blog I can find locally, I’m interested to see what would happen if someone actually catches her taking a smoke. As exciting as that sounds (not), if you happen to be in the same journey, at least you’re not alone.

BTW, if you read the blog comments, apparently there’s a 12 year old girl called Eunice who’s cheering her on! Wendy Cheng (Xiaxue) is also doing her part by being one of the FreshAir ambassadors (try finding her!).

Drugs. If You Play, You Pay.

Save a Liver…
Brian of “harmless? bananas!” slipped me a note about the new campaign by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (repeat after me… NCADA!).

The Straits Times has a good article about the campaign which spans four month long. Most notably, a unique aspect of the campaign features the “Ad-busting” of several retail partners’ advertisements for this year’s anti-drug abuse message. In this Youtube video, you’ll see graffiti artist Zack commissioned by NCADA to do exactly that. Both Estee and DK have photos of more ad-busted advertising posters.

While it’s difficult to compare this to what world renown activist Bansky does (he is after all an artist activist, not an advertising man), these ad-busts do make for an interesting cross-breed of irrelevant advertising messages. It does call for added attention upon that second glance you give when you realize an oddity in the ad. To add on a little fear factor, take a look at the campaign’s official website at ifyouplayyoupay.com.sg… looks like it came off a sequel of The Ring.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, Singapore’s campaign focuses on how drug abusers would face arrests as noted by the prison bars visual stimulus seen across the board. It’s typical Asian value to use fear as a form of persuasion against a certain vice, though I do fear the messaging is lost in all the glitzy advertising. This is quite the contrary for drug abuse commercials in the States.

To explain, let me first tell you that when I talk with my American colleagues about how it’s typical for us to get caned by our parents when we were naughty brats, they’d scream as if hell broke loose and retaliate by saying that they’d never allow anyone to physically abuse them like that. Well, surprise surprise, this somewhat explains why both our cultures end up having distinct social problems of our own.

Bearing this in mind, American drug abuse commercials tend to use humor instead of fear as a persuasive instrument. For instance, watch this Anti-Weed commercial that’s airing on national TV right now. It’s clever because it works on two levels: 1) For the younger audience, there’s a talking dog gently telling you he misses you, 2) For the older audience, the talking dog exists because you’re truly messed up on weed.

Choosing humor over fear takes into account that much needed appreciation of taste. Quite seriously, would viewers rather talk to their friends about getting arrested or something funny they saw on TV? Getting past that first conversational barrier is what I see as key, since speaking about it reflects an active thinking process, where the meaning of the messages gets self-actualized at a subsequent cognitive stage. Unfortunately, in our “quick results” Asian cityscape, this sophisticated value is indeed hard to convey to the client.

On a lighter note, I happen to chance upon this BoingBoing.net entry from 2004, where Xeni Jardin came across an online collection of anti-drug movies by the Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore.

6 thoughts on “Blogging to save a Library, a Lung and a Liver…

  1. Wow… the american drug abuse commercials are brilliant. I wouldn’t say its using humor. More of a lighter tone. But must say it is nicely done and has strong impact.

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