Of Stress and Suicides

According the Samaritans of Singapore, suicides rates in the city-state hit an all-time high of 467 in 2012 mainly due to stress and relationship issues.

And a report from Today recently mentioned how a local survey found out that six in ten employees report feeling mentally exhausted due to stress, depression and other factors.

Oh dear.

Why do people commit suicide? Why do people feel mentally exhausted at work? Why supports are they lacking? What supports are there, but not well-received? What are some larger systemic issues with society? With the mindsets of employers?

Children and Morality

I’ve come across several videos lately that try to get us to brutally reflect on our adult actions by invoking these scenarios with children instead. The common line of argument is: If we, as mature adults of supposedly higher morality, tell our children to take care of their health, to be nice and polite, to be confident etc. then why do we apply double standards on ourselves as adults? 

This first video shows us a scenario of road rage amongst kids.

This second one conducts a social experiment with a child asking for a smoke.

And lastly, here’s a sweet one of children ‘in love’.

So, what makes these public service announcements powerful? How can such reflection help you in thinking up moral or value arguments in your GP essays? 

New York City Soda Ban Explained

After watching the video, do you think such a ban would be really effective? Well as the narrator suggested at the end of the video, while such a ban may not really deter the heavy drinkers anyway, it has forced New Yorkers to take a long and critical look at why obesity rates have been climbing. This is a helpful argument one can use in essays – that of laws or initiatives being symbolic, rather than a hard measurable deterrence. The same can be argued for other issues like capital punishment (does it bring crime down? maybe not, but hey, it makes the state look badass) and censorship (does it stop you from getting uncensored versions off the internet? again no, but it sends a message). 

Should We Ban Cigarettes?

United States President Barack Obama’s doctor confirmed last month that the President no longer smokes. At the urging of his wife, Mrs Michelle Obama, the President first resolved to stop smoking in 2006 and has used nicotine replacement therapy to help him.

If it took Mr Obama, a man strong-willed enough to aspire to and achieve the US presidency, five years to kick the habit, it is not surprising that hundreds of millions of smokers find themselves unable to quit.

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Can’t Eat Healthy? Eat Less!

Tell People to Eat Less? Yes, That’ll Sort Out Obesity
by Rob Marchant

“Worthless, patronising rubbish” was how TV chef Jamie Oliver described the government’s new obesity strategy in Thursday’s Guardian. Not a doctor, admittedly — although the BMA also weighed in — but someone who cares passionately about the subject and has taken considerable pains to try and reverse the bad eating habits of British schoolchildren. He’s also got a point. And, ironically, at least part of the problem is traceable back to a Tory-driven policy from the early 80s.

How do I know this? I was there. Overnight, the move from a set menu to a cafeteria system in my Yorkshire comp changed many of my friends’ diets from a fairly balanced diet to one of chips, pizza and doughnuts, because, unsurprisingly, that was what they liked. Consumer choice was important, wasn’t it? Except that it wasn’t. Choice is not an automatic, universal social good. And those who paid for this particular schoolboy error were mostly the kids from the rougher estates, who didn’t eat well at home, either.

Fast-forward to today, and there’s a sense of déjà vu. Obesity. It’s just about people eating too much and not getting enough exercise, isn’t it? I mean, why can’t they just cut the calories and get off their fat backsides?

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