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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Something for Physicists to Philosphers

Something For Physicists To Philosophers

I refer to a letter in your Singapore Politics Link Page. This letter from the right honourable, no less a person than the Attorney General of Singapore himself, is a truly illuminating piece of prose that present and future legal academics, philosophers, linguists, physicists and practising writers of the English Language should study endlessly for its many lessons on the use and abuse of language.

The honourable AG in effect is saying that "while it is illegal to be within 200 metres of a polling station unless you are voting, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL IF YOU ARE INSIDE."

Wow! Think about it!

This turns upside-down all our natural meanings of the words "inside" and "outside". Now, thanks to the AG's wisdom, a thief who is found inside a premises he has just broken into can say that he is merely "inside" the premises, that he was not caught "breaking into" the premises and therefore he is innocent of break-in and entry.

Philosophers will have to ponder the ramifications of "inside" and "outside". They will have to take 'sides' as to whether one can enter and be "inside" a premises without having been "outside" it first. They will have to ponder the nature of "Meaning", the nature of "Truth" and the nature of "Logic".

Physicists like Mr Chia Thye Poh will no doubt be able to quote Einstein's Theory of Relativity to show that since space is non-uniform unlike Euclidean space, that the special provisions of Einstein's Theory allow for space to be curved, therefore "inside" can be "outside" and therefore the AG is right to quote unwittingly Einstein's Theory of Relativity, as he has done.

Alice in Wonderland can add another interesting adventure to her travels in which she can be inside the Queen of Hearts' castle without ever having been within 200 metres of it. She can instantly be inside the castle without ever having to move from outside it to inside.

Linguists can endlessly debate whether "inside" and "outside" have nether meanings hitherto unknown in the development of Latin into present-day English. Just as the word "malapropism" came from "Mrs Malaprop", in future studies and use of the English Language, this obfuscation of terms will be known as a "Chan-Sek-Keong-ism" or "Donut-ism" (since, like a donut, inside and outside are merged seamlessly into one).

I humbly suggest that this letter of our beloved AG be printed in newspapers all over the world and all universities teaching law, English, physics, philosophy, linguistics, etc, study it for countless lessons in the use and abuse of language. And the honourable AG be commemorated by future generations for his "Donut-ism".

"Square Peg"