Can house fires be political?
It was a surprise for me recently to see Rice Media’s Politics section featuring this headline: “The Best Housewarming Gift You Can Give Today Is a Fire Extinguisher“. Sometimes, everyday concerns that don’t seem like they could be dealt with at the national level can end up being political. But as the author, Nicole Lam, says:
A cursory glance on Shopee reveals a selection of easy-to-use aerosol spray fire extinguishers that can combat an entire host of fires. More than their availability, these fire extinguishers are affordable (S$8.85 for this one) and designed to be relatively straightforward to use.
Even so, for some families, S$8.85 is no spare change, which is why there is a case to be made for a nationwide, government-led fire extinguisher distribution exercise akin to the recent distribution of masks and ART Kits in the past two years.
I have a fire extinguisher at home, and I found myself running to get it a few years ago. My wife was cooking (I am a lucky man), and out of nowhere, the fire suddenly leapt towards the cooking hood (the thing above your stove that whirs to help with smoke and smells and such). Instead of simply going out, the fire kept on burning. I initially rushed stupidly towards the fire thinking I could help (with what, my bare hands?) before rushing to get the extinguisher. Fortunately, before I could use it, my wife had the presence of mind to turn off the fire, and thankfully, there was no damage whatsoever.
All this happened in only a few short seconds, and we had two relatively quick-thinking adults to deal with an eruption of fire that could have turned into something more serious. But it remains really bizarre to think that had either of us not been quick enough, my entire residence could have burned down.
Questions for everyone:
- Do you agree with the Rice Media author, that “there is a case to be made for a nationwide” extinguisher distribution exercise?
- What everyday problems have you overcome?
- What everyday difficulties can you think of that could be dealt with on a national level?
- [And this one particularly for the GP kids] To what extent should governments be involved in people’s daily lives?
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