Monday, 5 March 2012


            She watched him as he locked the door. Then he turned around and her heart began to beat faster. She could see the lust and passion rising through his eyes. She stood there waiting for him to get closer. Her heart beat faster. The hand reached out and he began to caress the back of her neck. She pretended to resist but eventually succumbed to the gentle strokes of his fingers. She felt his hand move down her back as the breathing got heavy. It loosely fell to the ground. CUT!
            Yaba, my point has been proven, human beings do not take kindly to warnings. If you want a person to do something add a warning. It is as if warning signs do the exact opposite of prohibiting someone from doing something but poses more as an invitation. There appears to be a temptation that drives individuals to do the things that are usually forbidden or prohibited. This then leaves the question, are warning signs or statements effective in our society?
            We can take a classic example of the warning signs on cigarette packets that TOBACCO IS HARMFUL TO HEALTH or on alcohol bottles that it is NOT TO BE SOLD TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. Lo and behold, we continue to see people still puffing away and underage teenagers guzzling the alcohol as if it is juice. It appears that warnings ignite a desire to experience what has been forbidden or prohibited. There is a certain degree of excitement in doing what you have been told not to do.
            In fact something would normally be ignored and not bothered with had it not been for the warning to actually highlight it. Take for instance this same very article, many would not have even bothered to click on the link hadn’t I stated DO NOT READ. You clearly wanted to know what it is that I was preventing you from reading. I remember as a child being told not to watch certain movies because they were for grown-ups. This only led to the temptation to want to know what was in the movies that was only meant for grownups. It is still sad that despite the sentences for defilement being north of 15 years which clearly acts as a warning, there does not seem to be any decrease in defilement cases. This might seem that the message is clearly not getting across effectively.
            We perhaps need to rethink the way we package the warnings, maybe being more graphic would do the trick. Instead of have just the statement maybe having a picture to accompany it. For instance, tobacco is harmful to health could have a picture of worn out lungs. I do not know how effective this would be but am sure a few would definitely be scared. The other alternative would be to make the warning signs subtle. It could be subtle in the context that they do not necessarily highlight the danger so as to attract attention. Then to prevent crimes there could be the old fashioned way of public punishments even though I am quite certain an uproar would arise by such a proposal. It definitely cannot be argued that it would get the message across loud and clear.                         
             Finally, the bottom line is that warnings are rarely adhered to. In fact they can tend to possess a mystery about them that leads to people trying to unlock it. There will of course, be people who will take heed to the warnings but for those who do not maybe we should consider upgrading our warnings. Mere statements no longer seem to be effective in getting the message across. It is time to think of a way of packaging the warning signs or maybe doing away with them altogether.

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