Sunday, April 12, 2009


In her book, Whose Body Is It Anyway?, Cecile Fabre suggests compulsory 'citizen service' - like the military service still practiced in numerous countries, only with youngsters being forced to perform socially useful work, such as caring. Well, it seems that it's a step closer to reality, with Gordon Brown having recently suggested compulsory community work for under 19s.


  1. Anonymous2:36 am

    Not sure how forcing schoolkids to pick up litter or do other pointless tasks will foster a culture of community service. More likely it'll just piss off lots of kids.

  2. I'm not keen on the compulsory bit (wow, you wouldn't guess that?!?), but there has to be a way of encouraging young folks to participate in a community and consider others (and aspire to something other than having the latest mobile even if you have to use violence to steal someone else's) without making it into another crappy government project that will backfire horribly.

  3. In 1956, I was 10 years old. I was in Grade 6 at Dandenong Primary School, Victoria, Australia. My Grade 6 had 45 students and one Teacher, not like today's ratio of 25 students to one teacher! We were split into groups for one afternoon a week and sent to do Community Service. I was in a group sent to the local Returned Services League ("RSL") Village for infirm or retired veterans. Residents were mainly from WWI. We girls washed dishes, tidied up, dusted and vacuumed the Flats/Units. The boys weeded garden beds and mowed lawns (using the old hand-pushed blade lawnmowers). We learnt about caring for the frail and elderly in our community. We learnt compassion and respect for our elders; particularly as their war service and sacrifice for us gave us the freedom we enjoyed. Times change, social mores move on... Many of today's youth are becoming unique, solitary human beings - living with iPods, computers, mobile phones - they isolate themselves from the community at large, instead of participating in a sharing environment... I've been on computers since 1980 - I worked as a computer room supervisor in large Law firms - but I never lost my love for community as a whole. I put that down to my upbringing, environment and era... Perhaps we've thrown the baby out with the bathwater as we've moved into the 21st Century?