Compromise on Bottled Drinks sign now

We, the undersigned, firmly believe that the following amendments to the rules governing Raffles Institution are necessary and in order:

Firstly, we strongly oppose the current policy of booking students for the mere possession of food and drinks outside of the canteen. While we understand the need to prevent littering, we would like to point out that the policy assumes that students in possession of food and drinks outside of the canteen have the intention to consume these items in the prohibited areas. We believe that many students have been wrongfully booked on more than an isolated incident for the possession of food and drinks outside of the canteen which they did not even intend to consume in the first place. Such scenarios may occur when one brings food from home for consumption in the canteen during lunch or if one is unable to finish consuming a bottled drink during recess and brings it back to the classroom for later consumption in the canteen after school but this is beside the point. The policy jumps the gun in convicting students without properly confirming if the wrongful act has been committed in the first place. Just as the government would not convict a paedophile on the basis of his predisposition but rather the acts he commits, prefects should book students only if they are caught consuming these food and drinks outside of the canteen.

Secondly, we strongly oppose the rule disallowing the consumption of food and drinks outside of the canteen. We are aware of the rationale behind the rule, such as to curb littering using the mindset that prevention is better than cure. However, we believe that a more effective way to promote the message that littering is shunned in society would be to concentrate solely on a rule disallowing littering as opposed to the current rule, which just shouts eating and drinking outside of the canteen is wrong. From a more practical standpoint, we would like to point out the current state of littering at basketball courts as evidence of the current rules ineffectiveness. Contrary to popular belief that such instances occurring is evidence that the school population cannot be trusted or that such instances perpetuates the fear that the abolishment of the rule disallowing the consumption of food and drinks outside of the canteen will lead to increased instances of littering, we say that these instances point to a small minority of the student body which continues to litter despite preemptory rules and is solely isolated within this community. Instead, the current rule merely strips the majority of students who would not usually litter after consumption of food and drinks of their privileges and rights to consume food and drinks outside of the canteen, based solely on the actions of the limited minority bent on littering who continue to do so in spite of the rule. Therefore, we believe that this rule is ineffective in stopping the small minority and should be abolished so as to return privileges to the rest of the accountable and responsible student body and cease in its inconvenience towards them.

However, we are aware that this is merely a hypothesis and lacks any firm grounding in statistical or conclusive evidence. Therefore, we suggest that the school takes the first step towards abolishing the rule disallowing the consumption of food and bottled drinks outside of the canteen by first compromising on bottled drinks as a starting point, and allowing its consumption outside of the canteen, utilizing it as a field test of sorts. Bottled drinks specifically due to their nature in being most inconvenient to consume in a single sitting during break times and also due to the fact that they do not spill and dirty the place easily as compared to food and canned drinks. On we, the undersigneds part, we pledge to continue being responsible and accountable for any mess and spillage made in the course of our consumption by taking the necessary steps to clear it up.

At the same time,as with any rule, we foresee the minority of the student body continuing to litter, and further justifying their actions on the abolishment of the rule prohibiting the consumption of bottled drinks outside of the canteen. However, we should not let a few rotten eggs spoil the basket. In turn, we propose that some consideration is put into a policy stripping such students of the privilege to consume bottled drinks outside of the canteen and a host of other to be determined privileges for a certain length of time just as the Singapore government does so through imprisonment with offenders. As these people have proven themselves irresponsible and unaccountable, they have shown themselves undeserving of the added trust the school bestows on the rest of the students and should be rehabilitated and reformed by having their privileges stripped so that they may be more appreciative of them when they are returned and less likely to reoffend. This should occur concurrently with a shift in emphasis to a rule more explicitly prohibiting littering to more effectively drive home the message that littering is wrong.

We believe that with the recent merger of RI and the former RJC, it is time we relooked our rules to more closely resemble that of RI (JC) to complete the transformation to truly become ONE. We sincerely believe that allowing the consumption of bottled drinks outside of the canteen would be a good change and a symbolic move to reconcile the differences seen across the board in the institution. Should the above measures be successful, we look forward to an increased flexibility in allowing the consumption of other food items or canned drinks outside of the canteen in the near future.

In conclusion, we earnestly hope to be allowed to consume bottled drinks outside of the canteen and for prefects to book students for the wrongful act itself and not pointless speculation as seen in the current policy to book for the possession of food and drinks outside of the canteen.

Thank you.

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Mara GalvanBy:
MusicIn:
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Principal, Senior Deputy Headmaster, Deputy Principals and Discipline Master of Raffles Institution

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