(Note: In Westerns, the Comancherios were the bad guys who sell guns and whisky to the Comanches, “Lords of the South Plains” and other “lesser” Indians of the North American Southern Great Plains*.)
Last Thurday, I analysed how the NSP could be perceived given that three active actors in the “Jason Neo” and “Donaldson” cases were NSP supporters.
Here the focus is on counterfactuals. What if Neo had been an opposition party “volunteer” while Firdaus, the chap who exposed him, was a Young PaPpie or “volunteer”; Abdul Salim a PAP member; and Amran Junid (the person who complained about Donaldson) a PAP supporter?
– netizens have focused not on Jason Neo and Donaldson, but on the complainants and their perceived motives; and
– the local MSM be so laid-back in reporting the“Jason Neo” and “Donaldson” incidents?
Why were netizens so “easy” on Firdaus who spread the photo? The misdeed had been pointed in March 2011 by Neo’s Facebook’s “friends”. He explained that it was not meant to be taken seriously, and apologised. But he did not remove the post which he should have done. As none of them thought to advise, suggest or demand that he remove the post, I suspect, he tot he had done enough to “purge” himself, not that this excuses him.
But no-one it seems has “condemned” Firdaus for spreading the story even after Neo had apologised and taken the photo down
Nor has anyone except http://piaroh.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/bababa/ and me (in a round about way) questioned his motives. Was he (and others) trying to “fix” the YPAP, the PAP and the government, by associating them with Neo and his caption? A complainant, Abdul Salim, was a NSP member according to TOC; and Firdaus, remember, was a “volunteer” at NSP according to Yahoo!.
But what if Firdaus was a known YPAP member and Jason Neo was known as a NSP “volunteer”. Would the story have attracted so much interest on the Internet?
I’m sure that many netizens would have dismissed his actions as a Young PAP plot to discredit the NSP, the other opposition parties, the new media and us netizens, especially since a PAP member, Abdul Salim, made a complaint to the police . They would defend Neo, pointing out that he had apologised twice, the first time in March 2011 when his Facebook friends “scolded” him, and had taken down the photo after Firdaus complained to him. But still Firdaus “poured kerosene over the fire” by spreading the photo over the Internet. If anyone should be charged for sedition, it should be Firdaus the Young PaPpie, not Neo the NSP “volunteer”, I’m sure, netizens would say in this parallel world.
(As it is, someone posted on TOC, “This saga is pre-planned by PAP so they can used this excuse to formalise new laws to control the cyberspace to restrict ppl’s freedom of speech.”)
Can we therefore be surprised that the government and PAP view the Internet as Comanche territory (many of the real cowboy towns were in Comanche territory or Comancheria) and netizens as Comancheros?
But the government and PAP should realise there is a reason (or is it an excuse?) why we netizens tend to be so sceptical or cynical of them.
Would the local MSM’s coverage of this incident and that of the Donaldson case have been so low-key as to be almost non-existent, if Firdaus had been a Young PaPpie, and Neo the NSP “volunteer”? I think most readers would agree with me we would then have had story after story covering every angle. Especially since Abdul Salim was a PAP member, and Amran Junid was a PAP supporter (Remember we are in a parallel world) who exposed Donaldson.
We netizens would be guillty of sedition, irresponsibility, racism maybe even sodomy and pimping: by association.
The local MSM editorials and commentaries would be calling for more than a code of conduct. They would call for cyber laws to punish the likes of Neo and Donaldson.
Can the government, PAP and the local, constructive, nation- building media be surprised that more and more S’poreans are turning to new media for their news and analysis of local current affairs?
And can they blame bloggers and other Commancheros for trying to put some balance on the news and analysis S’poreans get, by putting more emphasis on what the Opposition and other ignored (by the government, PAP and local MSM) voices say. Why not give more space (plenty more) in the local MSM to “other” voices and see if more friendly injuns appear in Comancheria? (Remember the US cavalry relied on non hostile Indian scouts to track and locate the Comanches and other hostile Indians.) If no non hostile Injuns appear,, the PAP and government can revert to the status quo.
*The truth is more complex. The word “Comancheros” was the name gven to people in New Mexico who traded with the Comanches, the dominant tribe (think PAP and you get an idea of how dominant the Comanches were) of the Southern Great Plains of North America. They traded guns, ammunition, tools, cloth, flour, tobacco, and bread for hides, livestock and slaves from the Comanches. As the Comancheros may not have had sufficient access to modern rifles and ammunition, there is scholarly disagreement about how much they traded these to the Comanches. They were funded in part by US army officers based in New Mexico.