Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is a hero. He slew eBay in China. Now he is going up against new giants by shaking up China’s state-dominated finance industry. His business, the Zhejiang Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group, processes payments, sells insurance and runs one of the world’s largest money market funds, placing it in competition with banks controlled by the Chinese government. It is a precarious position.
Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category
Asean’s has huge e-commerce potential. Seems contrary to the usual data cited, Asean has internet penetration of 32%, not the accepted wisdom of 10%. Smartphones have multiplied as has their use to access the internet.
http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/07/08/asean-nears-its-ecommerce-moment-report/ (Free but need to register)
Earlier this yr, China’s Alibaba Group has signed an agreement to invest S$312.5 million (US$248.88 million) for a 10.35 percent stake* in Singapore’s postal service, SingPost.
The funds injection will see Alibaba-subsidiary, Alibaba Investment, acquire 30 million existing ordinary shares and 190.096 new ordinary shares, said SingPost in a statement. The two companies signed an agreement that would also allow them to assess the possibility of setting up a new joint venture related to global e-commerce logistics.
*Alibaba bot roughly 190 million new Singapore Post shares and 30 million existing treasury shares for S$1.42 apiece, an 8.4% discount to SingPost’s closing share price of S$1.55. Stock cheonged to the 1.75 level where it remains.
Interesting that this never ever got reported by our constructive, nation-building media or mentioned by Yaacob, the propaganda ministry, MDA and IDA
The solution to improving our score is ensuring speedy and cheap online access should top the list. So come on Yaacob, MDA and IDA: stop trying to fix netizens and get us cheaper online access. Example the 4G charges were added on.
More on the index:
A new study by the Boston Consulting Group, to be presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week … “Greasing the Wheels of the Internet Economy”, its purpose is to make it easier to identify points of friction that hold back the digital economy.
At the heart of the report is an “e-friction” index. The authors took no fewer than 55 indicators (from “internet bandwidth per capita” and “average mobile connection speed” to “strength of intellectual property protection” and “press freedom”) and calculated a score for each of the 65 countries covered, which rises the higher the friction (see chart on this page. The full country ranking can be found here).
… The usual suspects from northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Denmark) end up on top, with HK 5th, Oz 14th and S’pore 15th.
… Such rankings often depend on how the indicators are weighed. BCG argues that infrastructure factors, such as the quality and cost of internet access, are the most important sources of friction, and bases half of its index on these. Other types of indicators, such as those that measure barriers that deter companies and consumers from adopting the internet, count much less. But even with a more even weighting, the authors say, the results would not be much different.
A more interesting finding is a clear correlation between a country’s rank in BCG’s index and the size of its internet economy: the lower the friction, the larger the share of online-related activities as a percentage of GDP …
What can countries do to move up the curve? Each country is different, the authors of the study argue. But ensuring speedy and cheap online access should top the list.
Employ robot writers to replace the Chua sisters, Han, Warren and Yaacob’s sis (Even though she needs the job as Cherian, her hubbie, is leaving NTU soon), among many others.
Not as though the technology isn’t there.
The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake … – thanks to a robot writer.
Journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke created an algorithm that automatically generates a short article when an earthquake occurs.
Mr Schwencke told Slate magazine that it took around three minutes for the story to appear online.
But let’s be fair, robots could be used productively by the anti-PAP paper activists at TOC* and many other blogs (TRE excepted, ’cause TRE makes it very, very clear that its mission is to provide the alternative voices not reported in our constructive, nation-building media.). Robots could replace regular TRE posters like “oxygen”. Kishore of the LKY School should install one to produce his chim pro-China, anti-Western; or pro PAP pieces.
A serious piece on productivity: http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/productivity-ageing-population-immigration/
Update at 10am: Thinking about it, I too can use a robot to bitch about that ACS sneerer, VivianB, Auntie Sylvia, her baiyee and the two GGs. Also for my praise of WP Low, the scholar and elite schoolboy at TRE and the SDP RI doctors treating
Mad Dog Chee. My very serious point is that when we don’t think thru the issues, but instinctively give way to our prejudices when talking, writing; we might as well turn over the writing, talking to robots.
*Ya I got bias against TOC http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/neighbours-show-up-the-spore-system-for-gd-and-bad/
The education minister has been in ST’s headlines talking about making all schools gd schools. Tot he once said all schools are gd schools? So taz only an “aspiration’?. Bit like “one united nation , regardless of race, language or religion’?
Here’s a constructive suggestion: try online education?
“In the future, I suspect the best students who don’t have elite high schools to choose from will opt for online education. I find the prospect of a single great teacher lecturing on a subject to tens of thousands of students more realistic than improving the skills of tens of thousands of teachers”— On “The disruption to come”, Feb 11th 2014
Can then reduce elite schools in S’pore to RI, St Nick and SCGS. Yes RGS is not an elite school.
If there were an updated list of the Magnificent Seven bloggers, there is a gd chance that Roy Ngerng (Heart Truths) would be one of them. He is very active (online and in real world e.g. calling for a protest to protest conservancy increases in PAP-occupied areas), passionate in wanting regime change (via the ballot box), and his pieces have lots of charts and colour to make them easier reads.
While skimming thru the comments on a recent tract of his that TRE republished, I came across a post which asks Roy to focus on the fence-sitters, not the converted. It points out that only the true believers will read his pieces, thus wasting his hard efforts of writing the Heart Truths. He asks Roy to modify his writings to capture the “fence sitters”.As someone who wants (for starters) the PAP to have a less than two-thirds majority, I hope Roy listens. And I hope too that other polemic tract-writers move on from preaching to the converted (25- 30%) to trying to propagate their visions of S’pore to the 35% of voters (those who voted for Tan Cheng Bock)that are willing change their views and to listen to reasoned arguments, not haranguing. After all, the PAP does that already. Better to do the opposite of what is boring and annoying people? Unless the bloggers think that the PAP way is the “right” way.
I confess that this is the first time that I actually read yr article. I doubt if more than 20 TRE readers will read the entire 8000-word that you have spent so much time & effort on.
It’s a shame as there is much to be garnered. So, I’d like to say thank you personally.
If you will permit me 2 observations.
I assume that your intent, judging from ALL yr activities reported, is to inform and persuade voters to your line of thought. Well, most of the readers @TRE do not need much persuasion, if any at all. It’s the ‘some’ amongst us, the fence-sitters and govt supporters who you should be writing mostly for.
1) Will they take >20 mins (400 word/min) to go thro’? When there are so many other topics fighting for their attention?
2) Putting myself into a PAP supporter’s shoes, I would already be mentally tuned out when I start to read. A fence-sitter may be less so.
That being the case, the use of ‘hypocrisy’ is a loaded and emotive term that will straightaway call up defensive mechanism when reading.
As I understand,
hy·poc·ri·sy = The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
the condition of a person pretending to be something he is not, especially in the area of morals or religion; a false presentation of belief or feeling.
I think that trying to convert a political view thro’ emotion via the written word is a very difficult task. To accuse one’s preferred party of ‘hypocrisy’ is a moral judgment. I doubt anyone likes that except detractors of the accused.
Approaching from a rationale or more objective angle would, I think, be more helpful to one’s intent of persuading another to weigh the evidence about to be presented – and, hopefully, change his view.
Perhaps, it’s just PAP’s blind side, if deliberate, that is dictating their warped approaches to policy matters. It’s hard for any supporter or fence-sitter to see any ‘pretence’ on PAP’s part. PAP actually and sincerely believe that their course of action is the right one for SGP.
That’s why many of those, we all know personally, who disagree with the policies would con’t to vote for PAP – because they see only sincerity, even if perhaps, misplaced, but no hypocrisy.
Likewise, why would they throw their hat in with an oppo that insist, incorrectly and maliciously (to them), on hypocrispy when they honestly see none? As if issues of national import are so cut & dry.
If my assumptions are wrong, pls disregard my rumblings. Rgds, 2cents.
Another post on another piece asks him to keep his arguments short and sweet. Gd point: he takes three continuous posts in TRE to response to a critic. I kid you not, scroll to the comments: http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/03/10/roy-ngerng-is-taking-you-for-a-ride/. Again this is something many anti-PAP bloggers have to learn: keep their pieces short and sweet. If they want to write longish pieces, then learn from Alex Au. His pieces are long but they don’t feel long because he knows how to entertain the reading while being polemical.
And here’s a blogger http://trulysingapore.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/much-to-thank-for-beyond-the-last-50-years/ who is very concise, insightful, factual, and no bull or false rhetoric that Roy can usefully imitate.
If you are reading this. Please do not think me impertinent to offer you a small suggestion from an old geezer. Self imposed yourself to write articles to no more than 2 pages on MSWord using 11 font. Long articles such as the those you typically wrote don’t win arguments, short and sharp ones do. By limiting yourself, you will find efficiency of words and facts and collectively this will carry a bigger punch. In these days of short attention span, short and sharp riposte, not many care to read long articles. In the corporate world, your boss will tell you that if you cannot write a memo within 2 paragraphs, then don’t write it because no one will bother to read.
For some fairness and balance, here are two comments that are not constructive or flattering to Roy:
: Fully Agree:
I was surprised when Uncle Leong started co-authoring articles with this person with a weird surname.
He did not present any scintillating revelations but seemed to just grouse, show bar charts (and push the agenda for niche groups).
Now he has his facts wrong. How does he help Uncle Leong I wonder?
Cynical Investor: Taz the trouble with Roy, he doesn’t do his home work. And undermines his basic thesis (which I and many others share which is: “Why pay more when there are surplus funds?”)
This will keep those TRE readers who accuse me of being a PAPpy mole, the opportunity to spawning their disinfo. They members of PAP’s IB? They can now go earn their peanuts per post.
This blogger is ambivalent about Bertha Henson. The conventional wisdom is that this once Sith Lord in the making changed her spots after retiring from SPH* where she was a cyber warrior (general rank) at ST, no less, into a Jedi warrior. One of these days, I’ll go into the conspiracy theory as to why she could be a Trojan horse (and explain the inconvenient fact to said theory that MDA fixed her). But as this is Christmas, I’ll not be that Gringie.
Whether on not she is part of a black ops against us cowboys of S’pore’s cyberspace, she writes well, very well. She’s pretty witty too, and has mastered the dark art of black humour, if not satire. Example: http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/personally-speaking-no-fund-intended/. And she loves journalism; she did a lovely piece on her accreditation to an activist event: sorry lazy to find the article to link to it.
But despite being treated as Jedi both by the cowboys and the MDA and ST, she recently was attacked by two tua kee cyber activists (both ladies) on Facebook for writing http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/a-sunday-problem/. Read it for yrself before going on to read their comments, and my take on the piece and them.
I’ll not name them, ’cause its Christmas and I’m no Grinch or Krampus.
One said: What a lovely way to dehumanise a group of people: make assumptions and fall back on stereotypes, while coming across as reasoned and reasonable. Dear Bertha, the problems facing migrant workers go beyond what happens to them on a Sunday. Of course, we only notice them on Sundays because they’re busy working themselves to the bone, building our city, cleaning our loos, clearing our trash and staying out of YOUR way the rest of the week. Where they go on their rest day really isn’t anyone’s problem but their own. Would YOU like your boss to tell you what to do when you’re not working?
It is a very condescending article. From the very first paragraph you can see the belittling and patronising: “We have a problem. We have hundreds of thousands of foreign workers – and we don’t know what to do with them on Sundays. And they probably don’t know what to do with themselves on Sundays either.”
Why do we need to do anything with them on their off day – it is THEIR off day. And who are we to say that they don’t know what to do with themselves, simply because from our standpoint that don’t seem to be doing what we would prefer them to do (which is what, attend Alcoholics Anonymous and play friendly games of basketball in their dorms?)
The second paragraph is just as facepalm-worthy: “The foreign maid can stay “home” and be paid for not taking the day off. And even if they are out, they’re not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around. They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.”
The fact that foreign domestic workers stay “home” on their day off potentially means that they will also be made to work on their day off. This is not a situation we should be okay with, much less use as a sort of “ah this is okay for FDWs, but what about the other migrant workers” example.
Also, migrant workers in Little India are also “not likely to get into a drunken stupor and throw pieces of concrete around”; just because a group of men did it once on one Sunday night – out of all the many Sunday nights over the many years that they DIDN’T do it – doesn’t make that entire group of people suddenly prone to doing it.
And the last sentence of that paragraph: “They’ll just crowd somewhere until someone shoos them somewhere else.” Like that’s an okay state of affairs too! Oh, these FDWs don’t bother us, they just hang about with their friends and if we Singaporeans don’t like it just shoo them away lah! <- How condescending and dehumanising is that?!
So just in the first two paragraphs already almost every single sentence is offensive. Wah lau.
Foreign workers should be able to do whatever they want on their days off. It is the Singaporean mindset – the one that tells us that we enlightened beings must take care of “those from the Indian subcontinent” because they don’t know what to do with themselves – that should change.
I think Ms Henson is having a dig at the govt’s uncaring attitude to solving a problem, any problem: everything has to be neat and tidy, and damn the human cost.
My take on her critics is that these two gals don’t do humour, at least when it comes to FTs. Or they may think that the issue should not be the subject of any humour: too serious to joke about. Bit like the attitude of the authorities in the aftermath of the riot: no alcohol, and apparently no Maruah meeting in restaurant private room which employs FTs. On the latter, scared that FTs will riot? Come on Maruah are wimps in action: talk cock, sing song. Sorry KH, can’t resist that.
But to be fair to the gals , one of Henson’s BN team “Liked” the second entry. So maybe I’m wrong about said lady activists. Either that or her disciple is a Judas, or a sotong boy. I suspect the last is most likely.
Merry Christmas. Keep on feasting.
*A more classy, intelligent version of what Tan Kin Lian did after he retired from NTUC Income: resigning from the PAP and standing as the People’s Voice in the presidential election, where he lost his deposit and deprived us of cocking a snook at the PAP. The PAP’s preferred candidate won by around three hundred votes. But to be fair, TKL fought the gd fight for those who invested in securities that invested in credit-default notes. (Declaration of interest: I helped out there) Investors got a raw deal, but it could have been worse if not for TKL.( http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/helping-retail-investors-the-hk-way-and-the-spore-way/#more-7316 and http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/what-abt-high-notes-sm-goh/)
Yaacob the Info minister wrote on Facebook a few days ago that many agencies have worked hard in the past weeks to strengthen the security of Singapore’s computer systems and websites*, and those responsible for the recent hacking incidents have been arrested or are being investigated**.
Taz gd, but what about making sure that IDA works hard and competently to give the public info on cyber security accurately, and in a timely manner? Rather than inaccurately, and only after cyber leaks and DRUMS.
Going by its recent ingloriously track record, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) should be renamed Inforomm Dysfunctional Authority because it’s so dysfunctional in communicating info on cyber security and ICT matters.
It can’t even explain to our constructive, nation-building local journalists that the PMO’s website was not hacked. Granted that our well-paid hacks are not the most intelligent people in S’pore, but surely Yaacob’s finest could have told them in simple English, “PMO’s website was not hacked into”?
Singapore ICT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) was cited by local media reports to blame a vulnerability in Google’s search bar, embedded in the two websites, as the cause of the breach. In a media briefing to which only local media were invited …
… a Google spokesperson told ZDNet in an e-mail Wednesday: “It has come to our attention that the PMO’s website recently experienced an attack in the search functionality of the site run by Google’s Custom Search Engine site-search widget.
“After investigation, it appears that the code in the Google custom search engine is safe and the vulnerability lies with the coding on the webpage.”
While IDA declined to comment further on this issue as it is currently under police investigation, ZDNet understands the regulator was misquoted in local news reports. Rather than Google’s search bar, it had instead pointed to a vulnerability in the search function which the hackers were able to exploit and redirect visitors to the external webpages.
At the very least, IDA gave the impression that our cybersecurity machinery was the equivalent of the flood prevention team when Yaacob was “flooder-in-chief”.
Now onto an earlier, and more major, failure to communicate. Remember the Saturday a few weeks ago when govt websites suddenly closed for “routine maintenance’? Although they were soon up, netizens suspicions were aroused and they started playing DRUMS in the absence of authoritative info.
And they were correct to think that there problems, only not hacking but cock-ups.
Only on Monday evening (after a memo surfaced on the internet), IDA admitted the problems in accessing several Singapore government websites over the weekend were due to technical problems that arose during maintenance on Saturday afternoon. While the glitches have been rectified, people accessing these websites may continue to face intermittent access as maintenance was still ongoing.
In this day and age, IDA should communicate openly with the public. After all, this is not North Korea, even if our media ratings are close to that of the North Koreans than that to the US or UK.
I leave it to this blogger who wrote before IDA admitted that there were cock-ups, not juz “routine maintenance” to explain what I mean:
Ironically, the IDA can look at the way SingTel updated its customers in the hours after a fire at a telephone exchange just weeks ago. Though the damage was way bigger, angering a lot more customers, at least they knew what was going on.
That itself reflects badly on the nation’s cyber security efforts. “Self pwn” is the phrase that comes to mind when you bring down your own networks inadvertently.”
Recently, CNA reported, Singapore’s Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, has said that countries in Asia need to adapt to emerging trends in social media, in order to get the new generation more engaged in literature and the arts.
Maybe he sould have a talk with Yaacob and s/o Devan Nair who seem clueless about the effect of social media and the internet on public communications and PR in general. Strange this cluelessness, given their roles in govt as public communicators and PR. or they juz there for wayang.
One final tot. I’m surprised that neither GG nor TRE nor TOC tot it fit to ask if the people responsible for website security in general or the maintenance cock-ups, in particular, were FTs or true-blue S’poreans.
This blogger has argued we need a S’porean core in cyber security.
One “career path” often joked about, but taken somewhat seriously, is to get into an IT management role in a bank then outsource the dirty work to vendors, sit back and enjoy a Dilbert moment every day.
Now, when that dirty work is cyber security, there is a problem. It’s an area where you can’t be an expert without getting your hands dirty. Yes, there are security solutions out there to tap on, but it is important to know your own servers well. How can you secure your home if you don’t know where the holes are in your fences?
Similarly, when it comes to defending national infrastructure, it pays to have a ready pool of experts, with actual hands-on experience.
This work cannot be easily outsourced, since it may involve getting access to sensitive information, say, military secrets. A Singaporean core, to borrow the government’s term, may be needed in such as an operation.
But will our FT-loving govt listen? Worse it seems the govt’s model of “Talent is two-timing new citizen Raj or Tammy’s killer or the FTs that beat up S’poreans and then fled S’pore (one was even given PR after the beating), or a violent, cheating PRC shop assistant, or PRC hawkers or a looney, violent bank director.
*“A quote from a decade and a half ago: ‘Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armoured cars. The problem is, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver can control the traffic lights and there are no police.’”
—Richard Guy Briggs on “Besieged”, Nov 9th 2013
**Taz before the latest reported hack of schools’ sites and a local museum’s mailing list was made public in NZ. Don’t know if you notice, but the local media is downplaying the security implications of the hacks by making them sound trivial.The schools’ hack is “defacement” and the mailing list was described as being on the website. The Hard Truth is that in these cases, servers were broken into.
This is in contrast to the “hack”of PMO’s site which was over-sensationalised. (There was no hack there as reported above. In the PMO’s case, at no time was there any server intrusion. The server was secure.) One wonders if IDA has finally educated the hacks on the basics of cyber security or did it order them to downplay the hacks as the hacks would imply that contrary to Yaacob’s comments about working hard to fix security issues, the cyber security teams are not working hard, or worse, working hard incompetently.
22 23 October 2013: Minister explains use of Criminal Law Temporary Provision Act (http://au.sports.yahoo.com/football/news/article/-/19491410/football-match-fixing-witnesses-fear-reprisals/) on footie fixers.
I recently came across “gotong royong” the American way, or community spirit the capitalist way: in American- speak, the “sharing economy”.
Technology is revolutionising the way Americans catch a cab with a ride now just a click away through mobile phone apps like like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Instantcab and Flywheel.
Many of these services are part of the so-called “sharing economy” in which car owners offer to drive strangers in exchange for a “donation”.
But is this the “right” gotong royong that the PAPpies say they want here?
Bet you the Hard Truths that premise the PAP’s governing methods will prevent S’pore from ever going down this route, even though this seems one of several viable solutions (several are needed) to our public tpt and private car problems Remember, NTUC is via the Labour Foundation, the controlling shareholder of ComfortDelgro, the owner of the biggest taxi fleet here, and Temasek’s SMRT has a big taxi fleet too. The former runs most of the buses, while the latter runs most of the trains too. And it might impact the revenue from CoEs.
Seriously, the problem here is that “gotong royong” is contrary to the PAP’s Hard Truth that it is fount of everything. Gotong royong is not compatible with a top-down approach, where there is always a “right” way of doing things.
In “gotong royong”, as in the “sharing economy”, things happen because the
rabble plebs mob community, society, consumer is the driving force, not a benign meritocratic elite. The people realise that there is a problem, issue, and are free (within some, not many, constraints) to work out a solution*. They don’t bitch while waiting for the governing elite to solve the problem, feeling entitled that because said elite is well-paid, they must solve the problem, resolve the issue.
I consider the following to be gotong royong in action, but doubt the PAP ministers urging us to “gotong royong” would agree:
– TOC’s and TRE’s continued existence;
– the various fund raisings for various legal cases where the govt is the defendant;
– the public funding of the deposits of Alex Tan and friends, and the independent team at Tanjong Pagar GRC;
– Nicole Seah raising money for her team’s election expenses;
– the free food and drinks at Gilbert Goh’s Hong Lim Green functions;
– Function 8;
– CHC members who willingly pay the legal fees of church members being prosecuted for false accounting etc;
– pastor Khong’s gang funding a legal suit;
– those who lend sound eqpt and technical help at various Hong Lim Green parties
– the kay pohs trying to help FTs avoid being hung for drug trafficking**;
– those gathering to help the family of Dinesh Raman get justice and closure**;
– the volunteers who help FT manual workers;
– the LGBT community; and
– the dedicated band of enthusiasts who have been trying to draw attention to the cemetery’s [Bukit Brown's] value. They have succeeded in having it included on the biennial watchlist of the World Monument Fund (WMF), of heritage sites around the world that are in danger.
All these examples and more show that the gotong royong spirit is alive and well. They juz don’t fit the PAP’s narrative, especially the bit that the PA’s and PAP’s grass-root activists are the only selfless, dedicated volunteers. And that in cyberspace, their activists are no match for the the injuns, outlaws and other inhabitants of cowboy towns.
*In the US, there is no hegemonic elite to enforce the top down approach, and stifle innovation or stifle dissent or force recantations from members of the elite turned heretical.
**How come no help Dan Tan? Because he drive 7 series, got properties and China babe? And he not violent, middle class or FT?
For all the highfaluting talk of govt and talk-cock artists especially in the local media, we don’t do things like this even though Burma is in Asean (our backyard):
[I]n Burma – or Myanmar – social media sites and the whole internet have been inaccessible for years.
(If you want to read about SunT left out about the Finnish education system scroll to the end)
This extract from a CNA report last Friday reminded me of an email exchange I had with a new media big cat (not ‘fat” cat) sometime back: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has addressed some key themes arising from the “Ask the PM” live forum on Channel NewsAsia which took place on Tuesday.
In a posting on his Facebook page on Thursday, he thanked viewers for their questions and comments, but said there were too many questions for him to answer individually.
He addressed key themes including education and housing.
I had suggested how the PAP should have reacted to P Ravi: Instead of using his skin to beat the RAVII DRUMS, it should have used Facebook, the medium he was accused of playing the DRUMS on.
A new media big cat (not “fat cat”) pointed out (his comments slighly edited)
MIW cannot stoop to the same level as the others by responding on fb. It’s typical for anyone to bring the battle to their own familiar turf or battleground. u dun fight in “enemy” territory which limits yr own exposure and not forgetting that the “enemy” territory r flanked by “enemy’s” supporters and so u won’t be able to have the last say.
He quoted Sun Tzu’s “The art of War”, a book that the Chinese generals still swear by and quote. I will not be surprised if the PAP too refers to Sun Tzu when in doubt (PM was from Catholic High and the book is a classic alongside the Analects and the Tao). I too used to be a fan of Sun Tzu (How to win without fighting sounds pretty attractive) until an ang moh by the name of Edward Luttwak (he would have been a strategist during the period of the Three Kingdoms or the Warring States) wrote recently a book on Chinese strategy, and pointed out waz wrong with Sun Tzu’s precepts.
Coming in for criticism by name is Sun Tzu, whose writings of 2,500 years ago, including “The Art of War“, are the main source of what Mr Luttwak calls “the flawed principles of ancient unwisdom”. He grants that the cunning statecraft, stratagems for deception and diplomatic finesse advocated by Sun Tzu may have worked when used by one warring Chinese state against another. But he argues that these doctrines have served China poorly in fending off other adversaries.
With a quick pass through the history of China’s engagement with Jurchens, Khitans, Mongols, Manchus and other Asiatic nomads, he notes that China has been ruled by Hans, its ethnic majority, for only about a third of the past millennium. “While Han generals in charge of large armies were busy quoting Sun Tzu to each other, relatively small numbers of mounted warriors schooled in the rudely effective strategy and tactics of the steppe outmanoeuvred and defeated their forces,” he writes.
The bit about being thrashed regularly by the nomads is a fact, not a hard Truth.
So if the PAP continues to ignore new media because it is unfamiliar terrain that Sun Tzu says one shld not fight on, it will continue making unnecessary, avoidable PR fiascoes. But maybe it’s beginning to plan abandoning this Sun Tzu precept by recceing the new media terrain. The people behind the Breakfast Network (highly commended by me) and Independent (it sucks), are retired Imperial Stormtroop generals from the Keyboard corps. They could be juz like the German generals who turned on Hitler when Germany was losing, or be like Benedict Arnold (an American rebel hero who offered to surrender a fortress to the British). Or they could be what Sun Tzu recommends using. Only time will tell.
Onto serious matters. The PAP’s brand and message need to be recast for the age of social media (and. new media) in general) and the PM needs to show boldness and political artistry in grabbing his (and that of the PAP’s) share of attention. He can’t rely on the traditional media to help him grab attention. For starters, traditional media is no longer trusted here, especially by the young. Then, too, the traditional media’s market share has diminished. And then there are all the competing celebrities on social media like all those cats’ pixs. And then there is vigilantism of websites like Stomp which have large audiences.
The PM has plenty of competition, be it in the mainstream media or new media.
And besides his style sucks in PR terms. As a double first in Maths from Cambridge, he is familiar with the scientific method: specificity, objectivity, and accountability. These are elements lacking in politics, anywhere in the world, let alone in S’pore, a de-facto one party state. They are lacking because politicians don’t need these skills to win elections. But Angela Merkel has shown that one can have the “scientific method” and be personally popular. And are we not the Prussians of the East? (The Prussians were the Germans’ Germans. Now most of what is now Prussia is in Poland.)
And as I will show on Wednesday, he has problems with the substance of hie messages too.
All in all, the PM and the PAP have a long way to go in the use of new media even with the help of BN and the Independent. Us, injuns and outlaws rule the comboy towns and the territory outside the MSM, govt forts.
Finally on a totally different topic, here’s sumething SunT didn’t tell us about the Finnish education system: Angry Birds creator Rovio has brought Angry Birds Playground, a schools initiative devised with the University of Helsinki in Finland, into the kindergarten classroom of children, aimed at six-year-olds.
With the initiative already in use in Finland, Rovio has now entered into an agreement with schools in China.
“With small children, the Finnish approach to education is very much play-orientated,” says Sanna Lukander, vice president of book publishing at Rovio Entertainment.
“These characters and their world seemed to inspire children. You can’t not think about how you might motivate children to do more than play.”
Games have a larger effect on learning than traditional materials”
Prof Constance Steinkuehler Games scholar
BTW, didn’t read the SunT stuff. Friend who read it told me that it didn’t talk about games. I had earlier sent him the above link given his interest in the Finnish way.
(Or “Don’t be jealous that Kong Hee’s got it all leh”)
Woody Allen* once said that believing in God would be easier if He would show Himself by making a large deposit in a Swiss bank account in the director’s name.
No wonder Kong Hee (RI boy, like that thieving monk, and that ex-bishop (Methodist) of S’pore) is able to convince many people that prosperity gospel works: he is living proof of the $ that it brings. He is married Sun Ho**, who he said has rich, filthy rich, parents***. And he has Wahju Hanafi, as God’s personal ATM on earth:
– An Indonesian businessman and member of the City Harvest Church (CHC) … cast the business of saving souls in terms of a return on investment.
Justifying his $1 million-a-year donation to CHC for its Crossover Project – the church’s way of evangelising through pop music – Wahju Hanafi said: “If I spend $1 million and we win 138,000 souls, that means every soul is worth less than $1,000. To me, that is a good buy.
“I’m a businessman, and for every investment that I (make), I have to see a return. To me, in this case, the return is the souls that we are winning. If (we) are not winning souls, then I will probably pull back my money.” (BT report)
– THERE was talk of love gifts like a Sentosa condo, expensive weddings and sponsorships so pop singer Ho Yeow Sun could receive bonuses.
Next, much has been said by the magnificient seven bloggers and other lesser mortals about the intolerance of the PAP govt of views that do not fit the “right” narrative.Sadly, netizens too can be be a pretty intolerant bunch, reminding me of the biblical passage: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone …”.
*A stockbroker is “Someone who invests your money until it’s all gone.”
The govt likes to warn about the dangers of subsidies, forever quoting the deficits in the West. Well what about telling us about problems nearer home? And how come it’s ok to “subsidise” HDB flats at home? ‘Cause it not really a subsidy is what the usual suspects would argue.
Malaysia has cut fuel subsidies for the first time in more than two years as it tries to reduce its budget deficit.
The subsidy on petrol has been cut by 20 sen (6 cents; 4 pence) a litre and on diesel by 20 to 80 sen a litre.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said the cuts would result in savings of about 3.3bn ringgit ($1bn; £650m) a year.
The government spent 24bn ringgit on fuel subsidies last year, which contributed to a widening budget deficit.
Malaysia’s budget deficit was 4.5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
Some analysts said that the cut in fuel subsidies was an attempt by the government to increase investor confidence and persuade them to leave their money in the country.
Malaysia’s ratio of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) “is approaching worrying leve according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BOAML) report. It said that the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio had risen to 54.6% at the end of the second quarter, from 53.8% in the first quarter.
The figure is just short of the country’s mandated debt ceiling of 55% of GDP. In the 1960s, the limit was made law by then-finance minister Tan Siew Sin to ensure fiscal prudence.
BOAML said that it could worsen. “Rising longer-term bond yields (and hence higher debt-servicing costs) may accelerate the climb.”
Meanwhile, total debt including guarantees is piling up.
“Government guaranteed debt came in at RM147.3 billion (S$56.4 billion) in the second quarter, slightly lower than RM147.8 billion in the first quarter. Adding this to public debt brings the quasi-public debt to about 70.2 per cent of GDP at the end of the second quarter, up from 69.4 per cent during the first quarter.” [BOA report added after first publication)]
Other Asean round-up news
Thailand‘s Thaksinonmics runs into trouble
Thaksinomics has always been about two things. First, it was about establishing a secure hold over the voters, and in that it has unquestionably been successful.
But it is also supposed to be about driving the domestic economy.
The original schemes for micro-credit, affordable healthcare and local product promotion have lifted the living standards of millions of poorer Thais, as has this government’s decision to raise the minimum wage.
But the benefits of the car and rice purchase schemes are more doubtful, especially given their cost.
Thailand still remains heavily dependent on exports and on foreign direct investment for its growth.
What Viki’s US$ 200m exit says about S’pore’s, M’sia’s and Indonesia’s startup environment
And one of the reasons for the flight of money from Indonesia, is it’s failure to tackle the rising cost of its fuel subsidy. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23015511
CNA Group’s Vietnam-based subsidiary, CNA-HTE Vietnam Co, has landed a $10.6 million contract to renovate, upgrade and expand the domestic terminals in Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Under this project, CNA will provide mechanical, engineering and plumbing services such as the air-conditioning, ventilation and electrical systems at the airport’s new two-storey domestic terminal. CNA will also upgrade the airport’s existing domestic terminal, which will be equipped with a new bus terminal building and a VIP lounge. Its roof will be upgraded.
The project is slated for completion in October next year and will contribute to the group’s financial performance for the fiscal year ending Dec 31, 2013. It boosted CNA’s order book to $74.2 million, from $63.6 million as at June 30.
This is CNA’s second airport-related project in South-east Asia this year; it won a contract for Laos’ Luang Prabang Airport in April for common-use terminal equipment, typically used to facilitate passenger check-ins. BT
The irony is the opposition made gains where there is almost full employment, the country peaceful and prosperous.
(http://www.pressrun.net/weblog/2013/08/singapore-prime-ministers-and-election-results.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rana+%28pressrun.net%29 I commend this blogger who usually has interesting, unpredectible perspectives. Not one of the usual suspects, whose rants can be surmised even without reading their articles: juz scan the titles.)
The govt in Norway is expected to lose an election on 9th September, even though eonomic growth was at 2.6% year-on-year in the second quarter and unemployment at just 3.4%, while the current-account surplus is huge: nearly 14% of GDP.
One could argue that because things are so gd, people are willing to take risks, experiment.
When times are bad, if the ones suffering badly are a smallish minority, and the majority, while unhappy, are fearful of what can happen, the majority of voters will opt for “Better the devil we know” We saw that in 2001 when an election was called after 9/11. If Islamic terrorists could successfully attack Metropolis, which place was safe? And if there was a resulting global recession, who better than the PAP to handle it for S’pore? Certainly better than JBJ’s lot, even though the WP had juz kicked JBJ out as leader.
But the classic example was UK during the early yrs of Thatcher’s tenure. Despite massive unemployment she won a second term (helped by winning a war). The unemployed voted against her, but those with jobs trusted her govt more than they did the opposition Labour party, which was seen as incompetent economically (strikes, IMF loan when it was governing).
Connected with the issue of experimentation when times are gd, is that people get tired of the same govt. The present Norwegian govt has been in power since 2005. As the PAP has been in power since 1959 (UMNO and allies in M’sia since 1957), it’s a testament to their tenacity and public goodwill that the PAP and UMNO are still in power. Even the LDP in Japan has lost power for two spells before regaining it.
The author of the above quote puts the unpopularity of the S’pore govt to the internet:
The internet seems to have been a game-changer. In the first post-Twitter general election, in 2011, the People’s Action Party (PAP) won only 60.1 per cent of the vote, its lowest share since independence, while the opposition secured six seats, more than ever before. (Twitter was launched only in 2006.)
He has a point because the internet
… proved a real pest,
Critics online all the time,
How do you make ‘em toe the line?
But let’s not forget. In the last GE 60% voted for the PAP. Taz a gd majority by any standard except that of the PAP itself and S’poreans. Remember, we used to give it 70-over % of the popular vote, and all the seats in parliament in the 70s.
True the PAP’s “preferred” candidate won the PE by a very short nose. But the man that nearly became president was someone that for many S’poreans (self included) exemplified what many S’poreans liked about the PAP Old Guard: principled, meritocratic, technocratic, smart (academically and street-wise), no wayang, no pretensions and compassionate: not sneering, complacent, privileged, incompetent and self-serving snob. Even the PAP’s preferred candidate belonged to the Old Guard, even if he had a privileged background: in fact many of the Old Guard had privileged backgrounds, they juz didn’t behave like a certain sneerer. Tony Tan juz didn’t get my vote because he was the “preferred” candidate. But if it had been between him, TJS and TKL (ex-PAP too), I’d voted for Tony Tan.
The next candidate, TJS, had only 25% of the vote. This is in line with the hard core opposition vote that emerges in any constituency an opposition candidate appears, even a looney one.
What the internet has allowed, is to give amplification to the voices of the hard core opposition supporters. They were never silent but the exclusion of their voices from the constructive, nation-building local media meant that they could only communicate in a less than effective way most of the time to other die-hards and ordinary S’poreans.
Ordinary S’poreans now realise that these voices are not demon voices because like the hard core opposition voters, they too have grievances, doubts etc. They now know, they are not alone.
The power of the internet and the govt’s concern that it is losing the commanding heights of public communications are best illustrated by P Ravi’s reposting on Facebook about the availability of the masks: that the public were not going to get it despite repeated govt assurances to the contrary, and the govt’s heavy-handed reaction. This reposting was enough to get him accused of spreading misinformation.
P Ravi’s defence when the govt accused him spreading misinformation about the distribution of masks, was that he sharing with his Facebook friends (1000 over if you must know), giving the govt feedback, and seeking clarification from the govt: rather contradictory assertions. Why the govt didn’t ridicule these contradictions is beyond me. Instead, Yaacob, a civil servant and the constructive, nation-building media beat the drums to the tune of RAVII*, making him a hero and martyr to the hostiles on the internet and, in particular on social media. My posts on this
So nope, the desire to experiment when things are gd, isn’t unique to S’pore. Nor is the internet the cause of the unpopularity. Even when the PAP had 70ish % of the popular vote, the balance voted for the opposition.
And 35% of the population like the values of the PAP Old Guard, they juz don’t like the way the PAP has developed in the 1990s and noughties. All this means that those who want change cannot afford to be complacent esp as there is going to be a party that’s going to be gd for the Party i.e. the PAP.
*Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications, Insinuations & Insults. Minister Shan talks of criticising ministers n the “right” way (E-Jay’s take). Well, what Yaacob and a civil servant did to Ravi, and what VivianB did to various people including the elderly poor doesn’t set gd examples for the public, do they?
No, not us. We are none of these, though we got many of the u/m conveniences, sort of.
Estonia (population 1.3m) is a world leader in technology. Estonian geeks developed the code behind Skype, Hotmail and Kazaa (a precursor of the Napster file-sharing software). In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s zippiest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person. Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. How did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture?
a co-founder of Skype the president says Estonia’s success is not so much about ditching legacy technology as it is about shedding “legacy thinking”. Replicating a paper-based tax-filing procedure on a computer, for instance, is no good; having such forms pre-filled so that the taxpayer has only to check the calculations has made the system a success. Education is important, too: last year, in a public-private partnership, a programme called ProgeTiiger (“Programming Tiger”) was announced, to teach five-year-olds the basics of coding. “In the 80s every boy in high-school wanted to be a rock-star,” says Mr Hinrikus. “Now everybody in high-school wants to be an entrepreneur.” Mr Hinrikus is a co-founder of Skype.
Interestingly, some time back ST had a piece entitled “Generating bright ideas in S’pore”. It mentioned Google and Facebbok but not Skype. Wonder why?
Related link on why S’pore can only talk cock: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07SINGAPORE394.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMxT5YFMigo&feature=youtu.be is making the rounds on Facebook. It’s about the seven tua kee bloggers chosen by the constructive, nation-building ST as representative of all that is bad about the new media and the internet, thereby justifying Yaacob’s laws.
I’m a fan of the movie, and the film it was based on “The Seven Samurai”. Usually remakes are not as gd as the original, but the Magnificent 7 is an exception.
Well what can our 7 bloggers* learn from watching the movie?
For starters, this line “It seemed to be a good idea at the time”. This was said when the seven were discussing what to do next after being betrayed by the farmers they were defending. They had agreed to defend the farmers against bandits in return for food and housing, and the quote refers to that decision.
When Alex Au, P Ravi or any of the others next have a row with the authorities, they should remember this line and analyse what led to the row. Sometimes, based on their reactions to govt criticism or worse, I don’t think that they do reflection.
Something for bachelors Alex Tan (“like a son to Mrs Chiam”), Andrew Loh, Alex Au and Remy Choo to think about, substituting “blog” for “gun”: Don’t you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery. That’s why I never even started anything like that… that’s why I never will.
Likewise, P Ravi whose motto is “Live like a Legend”, and Richard Wan might want to think of putting the material well-being and peace of mind of their families first, rather than making fighting for “truth and justice” a priority. They (truth and justice) may be the American way (Ravi’s a fan of Superman) or the way of Confucius (Richard’s a scholar and from a prominent Chinese school when it still had not been bastardised), but never have been part of the system here from the time Raffles founded S’pore.
Next, our bloggers should always be thinking of the odds they are facing:
Chris: There’s a job for six men, watching over a village, south of the border.
O’Reilly: How big’s the opposition?
Chris: Thirty guns.
O’Reilly: I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.
Harry Luck: The odds are too high.
Chris: Much too high.
Harry Luck: Then we go?
Chris: No; we lower the odds.
Then there is the likelihood of betrayal by fellow S’poreans. After chasing away the bandits, the heroes were betrayed to the bandits by the farmers, though in the end the farmers joined in the fight against the bandits when the seven returned to the village determined to rid the village of the bandits despite the farmers choosing to let the bandits in. Got to to be some lesson there: Saving S’poreans from themselves against their will?
Finally three more quotes:
– Here’s something that the bandit chief said that PM should think about–
Generosity… that was my first mistake. I leave these people a little bit extra, and then they hire these men to make trouble. It shows you, sooner or later, you must answer for every good deed.
I’m sure many netizens would say that PM’s dad never made that mistake.
– You must excuse them. They are farmers here. They are afraid of everyone and everything. They are afraid of rain and no rain. The summer may be too hot, the winter too cold.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Even if there are no farmers in S’pore.
– If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep.
Could be the PAP about S’poreans. In the movie, it was the bandit chief talking about the farmers.
*I would omit Alex Tan and that New Nation chap from my list of S’pore’s seven top bloggers. Alex Tan claims he doesn’t blog much nowadays and I doubt he had much influence when he was mouthing expletives and doing stunts. The New Nation is not even funny. Uncle Leong and E-Jay are part of the Magnificent Seven: that fight like 700.
But then I suspect that one criteria of getting on ST’s list is that the bloggers (or their publications) that ST featured must have had some notoriety or run in with the authorities. Uncle Leong and E-Jay, for all their influence, have kept their noses clean. Nothing to slime them with, unlike the seven featured. In fact, I suspect that’s why Alex featured. He, and his publications, give bloggers a bad name. And the NN guy was featured to show how pretentious bloggers can be.
Regular readers will know that in a piece about the “right politics” that the PAP plays:.
Penultimately, in case anyone is wondering, I don’t think it was “dirty” politics … for Yaacob to rough up P* Ravi. Those who live by the sword like … P Ravi must accept that they can kanna cut or die too. Fair is fair. Cannot expect to use keyboard or mouth to attack others, and not not expect others to respond. And they should remember that bullies in real life often don’t back off but instead respond disproportionately.
These were gd “clean” politics.
Recently, I met someone in corporate communications who didn’t like what the govt is doing to P Ravi.. He, as a social activist and a believer in human rights advocacy, disagreed that the govt’s response was proportionate, especially the forum letter that appeared after my above remarks. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, why are you reading my blog?)
He said that after P Ravi had posted his comments on his Facebook wall, and the govt was alerted to it by worried S’poreans, it should have posted a reply to his reposting on his wall, setting out the facts, and asking him to correct or remove his posting. Putting its reply on a govt website was not the best response.He said he didn’t know about that response, until I told him about it. He had been going on about the unfairness of Ravi being singled out in parliament by a minister before I pointed out that the govt had issued a rebuttal on a govt website.
I think this gd-hearted kay poh, who incidentally wants convicted drug dealers treated humanely, has a very valid point on the govt not answering directly to Ravi’s comments (He reposted, so he owns the comments, so pls no “Reposting only” BS) on his Facebook wall.
This is something that should be included in Yaacob’s SOP on handling haze public communications: responding in a timely manner on the same platform as the query or allegation, not via another platform. In fact, this should be in the SOP on the handling of any query or allegation, whether well-intended, plain kay poh or malicious. Anyway, the intention is another issue that can and should be handled separately. It is of secondary importance.
Responding in a timely manner on the same platform as the query or allegation, not via another platform, is a very good way of coping with, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”, something any government or corporation is rightly paranoid about. Incidentally this remark was said in the late 60s, or in the 70s by James Callahan who was British PM in the late 70s: pre-internet age.
Now a lie can be round the world a hundred fold, before the truth has got its Christian Louboutinhigh heels on.
I hope that both the govt and P Ravi have learnt lessons from this balls-up and move on. Fortunately, no-one died and it turned out to be a Tweedledum and Tweedledee row:
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
- Agreed to have a battle;
- For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
- Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
- Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
- As black as a tar-barrel;
- Which frightened both the heroes so,
- They quite forgot their quarrel.
Sadly I think the govt is planning to extract its “pound of flesh”. Hopefully, I’m wrong ’cause I know P Ravi personally. He is a decent, well meaning guy who means nobody any harm. I don’t think rumour-mongering was on his mind when he reposted the said comments.
Update on 17 December: I am wrong, as at time of writing, on the govt extracting its “pound of flesh”. May I continue to be wrong. Merry Christmas to all, PAPpies included.
And join the Church of Scientology. Or since apostasy* is punishable by death in Islam, he should sub-contract to the Church of Scientology. the govt’s attempts to make sure we get the “right” news from the web, so that we support the “right” party with the “right” politics; never mind if it has the “unright” policies, like preferring FTs to locals.
Here’s why he shold sub-contract to the Church : They’re kind of innovators in finding ways to censor the internet,” Dr Martin Poulter University of Bristol
Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.
It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.
Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.
“I would like to ask your assistance in getting each one of you to post positive messages on the internet (at least once a week, more if you like), about Scientology,” she wrote.
“If you imagine 40-50 Scientologists posting on the internet every few days, we’ll just run the SP’s [ex-members] right off the system.
“It will be quite simple, actually.”
But, perhaps not, because despite its attempts to control the flow of info on the net about the Church:
According to some measures, the Church is suffering from declining membership. Many who leave the Church are now more able to speak out – particularly with the help of blogs and social media, a threat that even the most intensive use of copyright laws struggles to touch.
“Founder L Ron Hubbard told them how to do everything in life,” reflects Dr Poulter from Wikipedia.
“But he didn’t leave any instructions on how to handle the internet.” The Hard Truths don’t. likewise, tell the PAPpies how to handle the internet.
Since there’s no manual on how to successfully control the flow of info on the web, maybe the govt should juz be pragmatic, and accept that it doesn’t have the power to restrict the flow of info on the net. Information on the net is like water.
And since I’m on Yaacob and the govt’s attempt to control the flow on the internet, here’s something on Yaacob’s law.
In his recent parliamentary comments,Yaacob Ibrahim, minister for Communications and Information, said he was “puzzled” by the Asia Internet Coalition’s statements*. The new licensing regime “has nothing to do with doing business in Singapore. It is about holding certain websites to a higher level of responsibility,” he said.
For someone who went to RI and Stamford, I can only hope that he is pretending to be “puzzled’. Because if he is really, really puzzled, it reflects badly on the calibre of RI boys who are cabinet ministers (I mean Hng Kiang is not exactly a shining example of the species).
It’s obvious why an industry body representing eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Salesforce and Yahoo Inc is concerned**. Its members make money using information (i.e. news) in one form or other. For Google, Yahoo and Facebook, they make money via ads. For eBay it is via fees. Any possibility of information being restricted is worrying for these big companies, and for their govt, the US govt***, even if for the moment the penalties for breaking S’pore’s regulations are “peanuts”.
The other reason why these companies (and the US govt) are concerned is that S’pore is a “thought leader”, in mgt consultants’ speak, when it comes to making sure the media reports the “right” news (Witness its ranking in the press freedom index). It’s attempts to make sure the right news is told is worrying for global information companies because other countries might try to follow suit. Then problems may result. Say Indonesia has a similar regulation. Come another haze problem, Yahoo may have to obey S’pore and Indonesia in reporting the “right” information. And the countries may disagree on what is “right”. Whatever it does, Yahoo will upset someone.
*Apparently following the Way of Hard Truths doesn’t amount to conversion out of Islam, even though it involves deification of the Hard Truths.
**In an open letter published last month, the Asia Internet Coalition—an industry body representing eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., Salesforce and Yahoo Inc.—criticized the new rules as “onerous, regressive and untenable in practice,” arguing that they have “negatively impacted Singapore’s global image as an open and business-friendly country.”
“The current vague and broad terms in the regulation and implementation will hamper innovation and deter industry growth,” such as by placing a “financial risk” upon potential Internet start-ups, said the coalition, which lobbies for free and open Internet access. The new rules “could presage a more restrictive attitude to the Internet [and] set a precedent for more restrictive regimes around the region,” it added. http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/07/08/singapore-defends-new-internet-rules/?mod=WSJBlog
Reminder:- A “Singapore news programme” is any programme (i.e, a programme is a production) containing any news, intelligence, report of occurrence, or any matter of public interest, about any social, economic, political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific or any other aspect of Singapore in any language, but does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the Government.
***The US State Department issued a statement expressing its “deep concerns” about what it called a “new restrictive law” in Singapore for licensing news websites. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We urge Singapore to ensure that freedom of expression is protected in accordance with its international obligations and commitments.”
“We are concerned… to see Singapore applying press restrictions to the online world.”
Here, I blogged on Tan Wah Piow’s call for cyber-activism: juz forward articles you like to friends and contacts.
Doesn’t achieve much leh: the following appeared recently in the letters page of the Economist:
* SIR – I was glad to see you address a common misconception regarding the protests over the past few years (“The digital demo”, June 29th). These protests have been touted as social-media revolutions, but the fact remains that the demonstrators have grabbed attention and brought about change because they went out and physically marched. Today’s youth often assumes that sending a tweet constitutes protest.
He is right about the physical efforts needed to get things changed in countries that are authoritarian or dictatorships. Not so easy as what the S’pore dissident says.
As S’poreans don’t do protests and marches, except with the PAP govt’s permission: and most only speak anon, the PAP should not be afraid of keyboard warriors, right? They can’t change anything.
Except that the generals in the PAP govt are paper generals. And our policemen have no experience of dealing with rioters. When was the last time, the riot squad was called out? Or the ISA* used against middle class kay pohs?.
One P* Ravi is both a keyboard warrior (Jedi rank, but got potential to be Jedi Master like Yoda), and a physical warrior (he works-out by pounding the pavements and climbing the stairs for the NSP, and buys masks from his own pocket for the needy), . He operates in both worlds. He is dangerous to paper generals. Maybe taz the real reason why he kanna marked? Not because he reposted an allegation that masks would not be distributed to the public, despite the govt saying this was being done. BTW, the masks were distributed, and the reposting didn’t result in riots or panic. Bit of
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
- Agreed to have a battle;
- For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
- Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
- – –
* On the ISA, read what this young S’porean (doing his NS (to defend among others this two-timing new citizen Raj and his NS avoiding son that will still be a PR FT) has to say about the ISA and his generation:
– until there was “intimidation” http://wisementalking.tumblr.com/post/50973572926/operation-spectrum-
**Philemon, not “Private”, “Politician”, “Political” or “Partisan”)
Ravi the do-gooder, NSP member and ex-TOC Indian Chief wrote on FB juz before the hols: If ST* feels that online voices are not representative of the majority, then they should just ‘unfriend’ some of these ‘voices’, and spend the time tracking what’s happening online, in the field, listening to the voice of the majority. I have had reporters from the mainstream media asking me for leads for stories. Leads which are not difficult to find (some of which you can find when you just google for it). The fact is, the voices online have made the jobs of the mainstream media journalists easier, to crowdsource ideas, and to get leads. So appreciate the ‘barking dogs’ will you?
Ravi should relax. The Commanches and other injuns, and cowboys own the internet. The PAPpies are under siege in internet equivalent of Fort Apache and the YPAP trolls only venture out under the cover of darkness and anonymity. If they venture out in the light, they will be wiped out juz as Custer’s men were wiped out by the Sioux and Cheyenne at the battle of Little Big Horn.
The challenge for social or political activists is bringing the material available online to the people who don’t go online often or at all. The ST article is aimed at these people, not netizens. The message to these offliners is, “Netizens are bad, lawless people: barbarians bent on destroying S’pore. Only the constructive, nation-building media, especially ST, and the PAP stand between a prosperous S’pore and them.”
Pushing online material into physical S’pore is something a political party can do effectively. Example: During the 2008 M’sian general election campaign, the Opposition were photocopying copes of M’siakini etc stuff and distributing it to the voters even in rural areas. I have been told they even SMSed articles. Though the mind boggles as how such stuff is SMSed.
I hope the NSP will put Ravi in a position where he can try out such ideas. But given the power balance in NSP, I doubt it very much. But that’s for another post
Thanks to Uncle Leong, we netizens know that the PAP’s latest statement on AIM is “[f]ull of holes”. Problem is: Do the offliners who rely on the local media know of Uncle Leong’s analysis? (BTW, he RI boy. So don’t see us RI boys no ak. Not all of us are Tan Kin Lian or Tan Jee Say.)
Bringing goodies such as Uncle Leong’s piece to the masses is the challenge, not fighting the PAP and the local media on the internet. We own the internet.
*A piece by an ST editor attacking netizens. It appeared the Saturday before Christmas. Gd riposte here.
So the NSP has not gone into hibernation. It is co-organising this seminar entitled “How to Survive the Perils of the Online World?” . Pretty impressive speakers: three lawyers (one an academic, while another is a former president of the Law Soc and former DPP) and Cherian George. New NSP member, Ravi Philemon, ex-TOC chief editor, blogger, do-gooder and social activist is moderating. It should be an interesting, entertaining and educational do. Do try to attend, but make sure you park carefully*.
Traditionally the NSP (referred to by trolls as the “No Substance Party”) falls asleep after a GE, to waken just before the next GE. It happened after 1996 and even after 2001, when Steve Chia became a NCMP. He, and the NSP, didn’t build on that position for the 2006 GE. After the 2006 GE, it went into hibernation to be roused in 2008 by one Goh Meng Seng, who had joined NSP from the WP.
After the 2011 GE, GMS resigned from the NSP (a troll said he is a serial resigner from parties after GEs, having resigned from WP after the 2006 GE: if he set-up his own party, he would quit it after losing a GE.).
The expectation was that the party would go into hibernation what with internal disputes earlier this year.
Well the party has proven us sceptics wrong. It is walking the ground regularly in Tampines GRC. I hear Nicole Seah is doing something in Marine Parade GRC, Hazel and hubbie are wading in the North Western marshes and recreational farms, and Jeannette Chong is cycling (though there are trolls saying she is doing so to lose weight) in Mountbatten.
As befits a party with two scholars (Hazel and hubbie) and a lawyer (Jeannette), NSP is planning to do a policy paper entitled: “My Singapore: Identity, Population and Manpowe”’. To help it write the paper, is doing a survey. The survey format is undergrad stuff but it shows NSP is trying to solicit people’s opinion, not hectoring while ignoring them (PAP). Nor ignoring them, unlike WP.
It holds regular legal clinics to advise S’poreans. After Alex Au’s row with AG on his comments on a legal judgement, I had suggested to a NSP member I knew, and on Ms Chong’s FB wall, that maybe it should use one of its legal clinics to advise netizens on how to avoid upsetting the AG. It would have the additional advantage of getting some PR and goodwill from netizens. So maybe, I should get a bit of credit for this Saturday’s seminar? But easy to propose, organising isn’t so easy.
But more needs to be done. NSP’s website is pretty basic (Rumour is that GMS designed it). As at
time of writing 5th November, it didn’t even advertise “How to Survive the Perils of the Online World?” on its website: this appeared on 6 November. But it is advertising a 2011 November event, I kid you not. So its online presence is even less than that of the WP or SPP, and miles behind that of the SDP.
The good thing is that with such a low starting point, there is no further downside. Can’t get any worse.
My suggestion to NSP is to anoint Ravi as online Czar, responsible for online strategy and delivery. He did a gd job at TOC, when he was editing the contents: claiming Han Seng Tong’s scalp, getting minister Shan say nasty things about TOC, and making KennethJ angry (Ravi didn’t publish his rants). Against that, Mrs Chiam has said nice things about TOC under Ravi’s editorship.
To conclude, NSP is shedding its “No Substance Party” image and the hibernation habit between GEs. But it has a long way to go in building its cred among voters. Giving Ravi the online portfolio will help built cred online. But NSP should make sure Ravi doesn’t skive when it comes to walking the ground: not because he needs to shed kilos, not juz pounds (he does) but boots on the ground are needed to win a seat (Juz ask auntie Sylvia, and he-man Steve Chia). Every member must do the walking or cycling.
*LTA might not be happy that Ravi is kicking up a big fuss over how LTA exercises its rules when an MP intervenes. He has also alleged that an MP had parked illegally.
I must say the Archbishop has no brains. Otherwise why would he write the original letter. None of church’s biz who the state locks up without trial. And there is the back story of liberation theology and the 1987 “Marxists”. Why get involved? What was he thinking or not thinking? Was he on a high after communion, what with the wine and incense?
Or was he misled into signing the letter? Some liberation theology, Marxist subversive friend of Function 8 and the SDP could have slipped the letter in among other letters to be signed. If so church shld root out the subversive. Call in ISD if nec. Even so shows Archie was careless. And a bad judge of character.
If anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, read this summary: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1227305/1/.html
And waz this other rubbish Archie?
[T]he Archbishop said his letter to the group was intended as a private communication.
He added if the the group was going to publicise it at a political event – something which he did not intend – then they should have asked for permission first.
The Archbishop said they did not do so.
So why withdraw the letter if it was private and could not be released? [B]ecause the contents did not accurately reflect his views.
So why so careless or stupid? Vatican should investigate his suitability to be the leader of S’pore Catholics.
But God is great, everyone else involved in F8Gate goofed.
Home Team did Archie no favours with its letter attacking Function 8. Sit down and shut up. [Update after publication: Gd link on whty it shld not have said anything http://www.tremeritus.com/2012/09/23/mha-walks-into-a-minefield/]
And if it was unhappy with the original letter, juz get MFA to complain to the Vatican. Knowing the Pope’s views on liberation theology, Archie would have been beaten up in-house. No need for ISD to intimidate him, as alleged.
So why have tea and lunch with him and tax-payers’ expense?
Function 8 didn’t do itself any favours with its various remarks. Dignified silence would have served it better: at the very least shown up Archie’s unsuitability to be a religious leader. All respectable S’poreans (self especially) should avoid it. Must be Dr Chee’s and SDP’s evil spirits finding a new home after he and SDP exorcised themselves.
And Maruah, “civil society” is more than Function 8, Alex Au and friends.
And I suppose Maruah, Alex Au etc will have no issues with any religious leader if said religious leader comes out in support of the govt’s immigration policy, or its sexual education policy or the view that adults must be married before breeding for S’pore. Careful for what you wish.
Finally where being an internet activist can get one arrested and beaten up (see below) So give PM, DPM Teo, ISD and Home Team a break, Alex Au, Function 8, Maruah, TOC, and other “subversives”. Wonder why our constructive, nation-building media doesn’t highlight what real repression is all abt?
ISD sleeping on the job in vetting local media appointments, and ferreting out subversives?. I mean hard to believe MediaCorp and CNA could be so cack-handed in choosing panelists. Conclusion: trying to sabo NatCon by deliberately choosing so many PAPpies and friends?
And if you don’t think this is funny enough, read this http://newnation.sg/2012/09/ntuc-fairprice-retracts-love-letters-sold-to-function-8/.
With the effectiveness of the mainstream opposition hit badly by the repression and by its own lack of unity, many young Belarusians have turned to internet activism. The regime clearly wants to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible. In August several pages on social networking sites were shut down, their administrators arrested and beaten. Raman Pratasevich, who at 17 has already seen the inside of several prison cells, beamingly says the page he runs, Stop Luka, is currently live again. When I met him on Independence Square, the scene of the 2010 protest, four plain-clothes police officers immediately appeared.
This time, they merely took down our names and let us carry on the interview. But earlier that day, several journalists had been detained and roughed-up alongside the activists they were filming. Their footage was deleted. The same day a number of foreign youth activists from the International Federation of Liberal Youth were detained and told to leave the country on the grounds that they had violated their visa rules. Some OSCE election observers have been denied visas. It seems in the run-up to polling day, the regime is turning up the heat, just to be sure.
Extract from Economist blog
That is what Mr Moncayo did when, at the tender age of 23, he devised a grand plan to forge a whole new trading relationship between Latin America and China
Despite knowing very little about manufacturing and unable to speak a Chinese language, he decided to build a career negotiating and supervising deals between firms in his native Latin America and Chinese suppliers. It was an obvious gap in the market.
“We were the first ones to really connect these two regions,” he says.
Just eight years later, Mr Moncayo is the chief executive of Asiam Business Group, handling orders from Asia worth $35m (£22m) per year, mainly on behalf of Latin American fashion houses.
S’pore wants to be some kind of Silicon …. But
—Google provides office space and assistance to new technology companies in London’s “Silicon Roundabout”.
– NY’s hopeful answer to Silicon Valley. Actually it is trying to centralise activities that are happening in the city hopping to get more bang for the buck.
Despite all the hype from A*STAR, EDB etc, we are a IP hub only because govmin willing to punish those who break IP, not because of creative people. We arrest them for vandalism etc.
Oh and we got accident-prone, dysfunctional Yahoo!. A lot of its Asian operations are located here.
Our Silicion ambitions going the way of M’sia’s Cyberjaya?
American gal sets up internet biz in Cambodia: she sell hair (to be more accurate “hair extensions”) globally http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/05/28/in-cambodia-a-start-up-uses-the-internet-to-sell-hair/
Software dev is big biz in Vietnam
“Ten years ago, you could count the number of IT companies using your fingers,” he says.
Now there are more than 750 software companies employing some 35,000 people. Among them, 150 are outsourcing firms.
Industry sources suggest that Vietnam is currently among the top five outsourcing destinations in Asia.
Vietnamese companies are manufacturing software and games for foreign companies, and are starting to export mobile phone apps overseas.
A young population and cheap labour costs are two major advantages that many start-ups have been tapping. The government in Vietnam has also been very encouraging, seeing information technology as beneficial for the country’s economy.
Charles Speyer, co-founder of Glass Egg Digital Media, a console game art outsourcing company, says the environment has been “very friendly for software companies”.
“We received our licence after less than a week,” he says.
“At Glass Egg we have always had to train our 3D artists, but there are good coders coming straight out of school in Vietnam.”
However Mr Speyer warns that although there is a lot of potential, the innovation industry in Vietnam will take some time to develop because of the inadequate education system.
“The education system is not geared towards creating innovators and that does not seem to be changing any time soon under the current government guidelines.”
Based on the remarks of the PM and the two DPMs the last few days, I think Yaacob would find S’poreans receptive to a Ministerial CoC (Code of Conduct) on the telling of jokes in bad taste.
I ranted earlier on DPM Teo’s joke on more openness and passing the burden of integrating FTs to us S’poreans who never asked for them in the first place.
Well that was the start of the bad-joke telling session.
We then had Tharman telling us that although inflation rose by about 5.2% (“a high figure” said he) in March 2012, this did not mean that the average Singaporean will feel this “high inflation” because more than half of the headline inflation rate of 5.2% came from higher COEs for cars and the effect of higher market rent on houses. The vast majority of Singaporeans who already own their homes and are not buying new cars would not feel the effects of these sharp increases. And the increase in prices of daily necessities and essential services such as food and clothing have actually been much more moderate at 3% or lower.
Well he got well and truly beaten up for this tasteless joke because among other things, high COE prices affect those who need to buy vans and lorries to transport goods. Their costs go up and guess who pays?
And this isn’t the first time he tried to tell bad jokes. Remember the one about someone earning less than a $1000 a month being able to afford to a 30-yr HDB mortgage, or the one that low-income Singaporeans may be able to receive between $3.97 to $5.10 in government benefits for every dollar paid in taxes over a life time. We found out that it all depends on the assumptions made, and anyway in the case of benefits, much of it was paid into the CPF account, while a recipient had to pay his taxes upfront in cash. What abt the time value of the money, minister?
Then the PM joined in. He told the joke about the need for wages to be driven by higher productivity. I mean how could productivity go up with 80,000 immigrants a year being imported to keep wages down? Or even the planned only 25,000?
And what abt this spotted by Donaldson Tan and reported on his FB page, “MBS raised demand for unskilled labour in the hospitality sector, resulting in wage growth for everyone in the hospitality sector while Labour Chief asserted that wage growth must be backed by productivity gain. There is no productivity gain in the PM’s example.”?
The PM also said, “Singaporeans will always be our priority”: “Whether it was adjusting the supply of foreign workers or the pursuit of economic growth, he said the Government seeks to maximise the advantages for its citizens, and to provide them with jobs and a share of the nation’s success.” (ST report)
Huh? Hey who waz it who allowed in 80,000 FTs a year to keep wages down, without expanding the public housing and transport infrastructure?
And before I forget his office said that only “good quality” people are allowed to immigrate? What abt the hooker-looking, violent, cheating, unrepentent shop assistant, and the hawkers that became PRs? Not exactly “good quality” migrants are they? Honest mistakes?
Now this was one bad joke too far.
Yaacob’s Code of Conduct for the internet is not needed because S’pore has the penal code and laws on sedition, contempt of court, criminal and civil defamation and incitement to religious hatred that can be used to
repress curb the excesses of netizens like the unemployed chap behind “Fabrications abt the PAP”.
But let’s trade. What about a CoC for ministers to get ministers to stop telling cock jokes, in exchange for a CoC in which bloggers become less anti the governing PAP?
(Or “Doc’s cure Part I: a purgative)
PAP’s Heaven that is. Hell to us netizens. OK, let’s not exaggerate, more like Purgatory.
Sorry, Back to the headline. There are three steps that Yaacob wants taken to tame “cowboy towns”:
Step 1: “The Internet community creates a code of conduct for responsible online behaviour”
Step 2: “Citizens set up websites that offer constructive viewpoint” i.e. he said that the best way to go is to encourage other sites to emerge, “that can continue to offer constructive ideas and useful suggestions”.
Step 3: “Major media cos could help set the right tone online”
Step 1 has been well covered by netizens since he articulated it many moons ago. All I will add to the noise is this analysis
– If the government tries to regulate us bloggers, it’ll do more harm than good, for the government itself, the PAP and for S’pore. The government and PAP are no good in designing social systems: even the CCP in China acknowledges it cannot be the only social architect, it is only one of the players, albeit the one that can throw other players into jail. The PAP government has a further problem given government’s desire for a knowledge-based economy, but with knowledge and the economy increasingly dependent on access and the use of the internet, it can no longer control the information S’poreans get. The internet and, in particular, social media have created a level of transparency never ever seen before in S’pore. Even taking into account the lack of publicly available government data, people can still research complicated issues with a few clicks of a mouse. The PAP government can no longer control the agenda or the framework within which discussions take place.
Even manufacturing is becoming social: read the Economist, the magazine where the government got its ideas for COEs, and CBD charges, among other “screw the poor” ideas.
– In the context of the other two steps, it is totally irrelevant. It has nothing to do with getting citizens to set up websites “that offer constructive viewpoints” or” with the local media helping readers to “separate the wheat from the chaff”.
– And even after asserting that the internet should grow as a platform for “serious discussion”, Dr Yaacob said a site cannot be stopped “just because we disagree with it”. There’s “nothing wrong” with “more sites available that offer alternative views, but as long as they are constructive … based on proper analysis”.
On Step 2, “Citizens set up websites that offer constructive viewpoint”, my first tot was, “Err whatever happened to FTs, that ministers so treasure? They don’t do “constructive” websites? Or are they banned from doing “constructive websites” but allowed to do “unconstructive” websites (citizens are discouraged from doing these sites)? Or are FTs banned totally from setting up websites on S’pore? Or all websites?”. If the last “wah lan” what kind of FTs do we want? Only goodie-two shoes (as defined by the PAP) like “No NS for me” from Msian-born Puthu or “Food is gd is M’sia” from Msian-born Ms Foo”. Incidentally, both became PAP MPs.
And he is talking rubbish, “If there are no good online sites or platforms that offer good views, people will naturally gravitate toward those that are popular and available.” Well people will always gravitate to sites that support their point of view. Ask the watchers of Fox TV in the US. And to “yellow culture” websites that promote decadent lifestyles.
But my biggest grouse with him on Step 2, is that what are “good” and “constructive” websites with “proper analysis” to enable “serious discussion” and “useful ideas”, are defined by the PAP government. It’s the usual “setting the agenda”, framing the issue game that the government is always playing.
And it’s clear that by saying the local media can help readers to “separate the wheat from the chaff … our major companies, which have an established presence, can set the right tone online as well, with good practices of information sharing and moderation on the various online platforms”, his definitions of “good”, “constructive”, “proper analysis”, “useful ideas” and “serious discussion” are the same definitions used by the PAP government to describe its ideal mainstream media, and the local media when it describes itself. He only left out “nation-building”*.
As this post is getting too long, I leave for next week examples of what I speculate are the practices he wants our “citizen”, “constructive” websites to learn from the local media: publishing misleading photos or rewriting letters-to-the-editor to misrepresent the views of the writers?
For now, I’ll leave you with some light relief, “[T]o disagree with the Government is not a crime, but let’s put it on a rational objective footing. The Government has never shied away from that and that is something we look forward to, so that the Internet community can add to the discourse.” Wonder if the late JBK, Dr Chee or TOC would agree?
* Actually he didn’t The Jakarta Post reported that he “noted that Singapore’s media model is one based on forging consensus and facilitating nation-building, in which social cohesion is preserved while empowering people to make informed decisions as a society.”
Below are relevant extracts from a BBC Online article on how the Chinese state-controlled media analyse the “problems” the internet pose to society’s stability.
A commentary in Shanghai Morning Post insists that the introduction of “real name” rules for online forums and micro-blogging sites is the “cure” to the problem*, citing similar examples from Western countries.
A second editorial in the Southern Metropolis Daily says it is a shared responsibility of the public and the government to boycott the spread of rumours, while a commentary in the People’s Daily claims in its headline that “tolerating rumours is not a quality of democracy”.
The Global Times’ bilingual editorial also take the chance to lash out at the power of the internet.
“The perception projected by internet opinions is quite far from the real situation. For example, online opinion holds that grassroots livelihoods are a mess in China,” says the editorial.
“In addition, it states that reform has come to a standstill and public anger has boiled over to the extent that China could descend into chaos any time.”
*Reminder: Tan Kin Lian, the People’s Voice, who lost his deposit in last year’s presedential candidate advocates similar rules here on posting on the internet.
I think that District Judge Low Wee Pin got it absolutely right when he found Gary Yue Mun Yew guilty of two offences involving the incitement of violence via the internet but rejected the prosecutions call for a prison sentence. He fined him $6,000 for uploading a video clip and another $2,500 for posting a doctored photograph. On each count, the sentence could be up to five years’ jail or a fine, or both.
During sentencing, District Judge Low Wee Ping made it clear that the charges against Yue were based on the acts of posting electronic documents that contained incitement to violence. This, the judge stressed, was very different from the act of inciting violence (my emphasis).
The judge also said that the YouTube video and Yue’s comment (details below) were “without doubt, an incitement to political assassination of persons on the grand-stand” on National Day. But he ruled that Yue had no intent to incite violence (again my emphasis), saying Yue was “immature” and “attention-seeking”.
What the prosecution and judgement show is that the internet is not “injun territory” or Commancheria* or a lawless cowboy town, where laws don’t apply and criminals can escape detection via anonymity. But at the same time, the judge shows that commiting crimes on the internet do not mean that the ordinary rules of justice are thrown out in order to “frighten the chickens by killing brutally a monkey”.
Three cheers for this judge. Lawyers, of the do-good kind like Siow Kum Hong and Super Yadav, if it’s not illegal, offer to buy him a cuppa if you run into him. Send the bill to me, if he accepts. I believe do-good lawyers don’t earn much.
Gary Yue Mun Yew posted a video clip depicting the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on the Facebook page of socio-political website Temasek Review at about 3pm on Aug 9, 2010.
Along with the video, Yue wrote the comment: “We should re-enact a live version of this on our own grand-stand during our national’s (sic) parade!!!!!”
… was also found guilty of posting a photograph on his Facebook profile in late July or early August 2010, which depicted Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner.
The face of Singapore’s former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng was superimposed on the image of the prisoner.
The People’s Action Party logo was also displayed on the prisoner’s chest.
*In the 18th and 19th centuries, homeland of the Comanches (“Lords of the South Plains”). The Comanches traded with the Spanish, and later the Mexican and Texan lands adjacent to Comancheria, while other bands raided these territories, stealing horses, mules, cattle and maize, rather than exchange buffalo meat and hides for these items like the “good” Comanches. These bands complimented one another and gave the Comanches the upper hand over the Spanish, Mexicans and Texans, who didn’t know how to cope with the subtleties of the ”savages”.
I’m sure many netizens are thinking that the willingness of the police to reveal their investigations into an internet prostitution ring; and the publicity given in the local media to the former school principal, and other professional people who are alleged to use prostitutes is meant to sabo the WP, Yaw and indirectly, the Opposition*.
Here is a more chillingly tot.
As more names come out, many more ordinary S’poreans will realise that the internet is not a “cowboy” town or injun territory where one can get away with anything. It is a place where if the authorities are determined, they can identify users.
Netizens got worked up over the possibility of S’pore imposing stricter rules on the internet (shumething which the US tried, and failed), but which India succeeded in doing. Instead, the government is using the indirect approach. An approch which preys on the fear that many S’poreans have that they will be “fixed” if they are known to be critical of the government or PAP?
What next? A minister suing someone for defamatory comments made on the internet by the latter, comments he tot was “safe” because his identity was “hidden”? You heard it here first.
Finally, netizens should be happy that one Tan Kin Lian never became president. He is an advocate of posters and bloggers registering their monikers using their real names. China has introduced something along similar lines.
*I’m surprised the SDP has not come up with a rant on this. But then the SDP is rumoured to be as puritanical as the PAP, unlike the WP where sexual acts are accepted as normal, even, it seems, adultery between party members. Maybe, the WP should brand itself as, “The Sexy Party”. Juz joking.
On the first page of Facebook’s prospectus, it puts the number of its “monthly active users” at 845 million people. It reports the “daily active users” as 483 million people.
Err: According to the company, a user is considered active if he or she “took an action to share content or activity with his or her Facebook friends or connections via a third-party Web site that is integrated with Facebook.”
In other words, every time you press the “Like” button on NFL.com, for example, you’re an “active user” of Facebook. Perhaps you share a Twitter message on your Facebook account? That would make you an active Facebook user, too. Have you ever shared music on Spotify with a friend? You’re an active Facebook user. If you’ve logged into Huffington Post using your Facebook account and left a comment on the site — and your comment was automatically shared on Facebook — you, too, are an “active user” even though you’ve never actually spent any time on facebook.com.
Read more here
David Choe, who first spray-painted the walls of Facebook HQ in 2005, accepted shares in payment for his work.
Now the site is planning to float on the stock market, its thought his share could be worth around $200m (£126m).
Writing on his blog, Choe said he was the “highest paid decorator alive”.
Although he had initially thought the idea of the social network was “ridiculous and pointless”, the artist decided to take the stock option instead of cash “in the thousands of dollars” according to the New York Times.
‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.”
“Let what will be, be.”
‘Tis labor lost thus to all doors to crawl,
Take thy good fortune, and thy bad withal;
Know for a surety each must play his game,
As from heaven’s dice-box fate’s dice chance to fall.”
Someone not fated to be wealthy
Regularly, the government tells us it wants S’pore to a leading player in Web 2.0. Funding is supposedly there for technopreneurs (Remember this term from the dotcom days?) . And we know that the infrastructure of cables, modems and servers are being upgraded all the time.
But the government seems to forget that new media and social networks are part of Web 2.0.
Nothing illustrates this better than an article , early last week in Today, on the governing PAP’s online initiatives. What I found interesting were the comments of two PAP MPs which, incidentally, should reinforce prejudices about the PAP. But here the focus is on what their words showed S’poreans about the PAP’s thinking on Web 2.0.
We are always told that PAP MPs are allowed to think for themselves, and that they are not programmed to obey orders. Well Moulmein-Kallang GRC MP Edwin Tong implicitly said this is not true, at least as far as the Internet is concerned. He said “Not more than half a year ago, the PAP thought that this was noise – it was not relevant and this was a small proportion of people. I think that has changed. And that viewpoint change is very important to me because that means it’s a recognition that you can look into what are on the blogs and websites to get a sense of what the ground sentiment is.”
Wow, MPs were only recently given permission to use the Internet to get a feel of “ground sentiment”. So they are not allowed to think for themselves unless permission is given? In the world of Web 2.0
- people are not supposed to be told what to think; and
- no-one needs the permission of higher authority to do anything that is not harmful to others.
And we also learn that instant and unwelcome feedback is not welcomed by the PAP. But these are part of (and, part of, the attraction) of the world of Web 2.0.
Next, Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad (he is on PAP committee tasked to tame the Internet) told us how slow the PAP was when it comes to using Web 2.0 platforms, “The first few years were about the PAP sensing* the platforms and understanding how to use it. Now it’s really (about) how to use these platforms for political mileage and political advantage.”
Huh? Obama was using new media and social networks in 2008, three years ago and here is the PAP only now using “these platforms for political mileage and political advantage”. Waz the point of getting S’pore all wired up and connected?
The use of “sensing” is interesting. It conveys two different mental pictures
— a blind man feeling an object to discern its shape and feel; and
– a dog sniffing an object to try to identify it. Remember dogs have bad eyesight.
Both images also convey the sense of bewilderment to the sniffer if the object is shumething that the blind man or dog have never come across before, and have nothing in the memories that they can relate the object to.
Not good ways to explain the PAP’s initial attitude towards Web 2.0 platforms. It also conveys the sense that the PAP leaders are not rational when thinking of Web 2.0.
All of which reminds me of what Thomson Reuters’ chief technology officer Andrew Jordan told the BBC last week: I used to be the CIO (chief information officer) of a business called Complinet which was an information business to the compliance industry …
The chief compliance officer sat through the demonstration for 45 minutes and said: “I understand exactly what you just said to me, but we’re probably two years away from anyone having any understanding of how valuable that is.”
They’d just come to grips with the idea that things were computerised let alone the idea that they need to collaborate using technology.
But the PAP did get one thing right. Tin Pei Ling was meant to be the PAP’s celebrity and poster material gal for the age of new media and social networks. Unfortunately for the PAP and herself, she
– didn’t have a clue about Facebook privacy; and
– employed “fat fingered” Denise He as her website administrator.
What a pair of clueless airheads when it came to knowledge of new media and social networks. Well, at least, Ms Tin no longer features in the PAP’s plans for engaging the new media and social networks.
Coming back to the government’s Web 2.0 ambitions, I think it is all about creating apps and games. Fair enogh. But can these be created if the environment and attitude is all wrong? Can dolphins thrive in a concentration camp where they are used to teach conservation to the kiddies?
(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.
Or why Groupn may never IPO. Its founders should have taken Google’s US$6bn, and ran.
See how much Apple screws its suppliers, manfacturers
In selling MySpace for US$35m, six years after buying it for US$580m, Rupert Murdoch admitted that he got it wrong. FaceBook rules the social media for now. Six yrs ago, he was hailed as a genius.
I went to graduate school here in Silicon Valley at Stanford. It’s renowned for churning out a lot of interesting companies. My first office mates were the founders of Yahoo, and I distinctly remember telling them to stop wasting their time and focus on their school work before they went off and started that.
And then not learning from my mistake, I then went on to share the hallway with the founders of Google and had a pretty similar conversation with them.
VMware CTO talks to BBC.
Just a few months ago, an investment led by Goldman Sachs valued the social network at $50bn. Now, a group of analysts at an investment bank has looked at how the business is growing and come up with something 50% higher.
- Be proactive. Monitor what’s being said about your business
- Collect customer testimonials.
- Don’t fake reviews. Someone will find out
- Respond to negative reviews quickly. But be kind
- Buy every url that implicates your name
- Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin profiles are all indexed high by the search engines
Source: Michael Fertik, Herb Tabin and Craig Agranoff.
There’s gold at the end of the rainbow and we’ve doing gd in the meantime. At least most of us are.
Latest VC trend is to throw money at the likes of us.
Gd year of the rabbit.
Not exactly. It’s abt me and one of his co’s, Nuffnang. I heard a Cheo pontificating on BBC on Nuffnang (he was founder and CEO) , which spotted the chance to put advertising in blank spaces on online blogs.
Anyway, make up yr mind abt him based on my experiences with Nuffnang.
On 21 December 2010 I emailed Nuffnang. I had some queries on whether their ad services could help me and them make money. I got this response:
Our office is closed from 6 December till 10 December for team building trip and we’ll have no access to the Internet. As such, we’ll not be able to respond to your ticket immediately.
However, rest assured that all tickets submitted will be responded to latest by 13 December.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Thank you.
Your support ticket has been created and sucessfully dispatched to the Blogger Enquiries/Suggestions department. Your ticket information is as follows:
Hi, note today is 21 Dec.
Hit the booze early?
As it was the hols, I promptly forget abt Nuffnang until I saw Cheo Ming Shen’s name and pics all over the blogsphere. I googled and found that he and founder of Nuffnang waz the same person.
Can sumeone tell Cheo to tell Nuffnang to reply to me?
Flip over your iPhone: “Designed … in California, assembled in China.” What it doesn’t say is that it was largely made by Japan. Components produced by Toshiba and Murata account for about a third of the iPhone’s total bill of materials, a higher proportion than from any other country. Courtesy of the FT’s Lex
Or the brutality of the Net. Or “Easy come, easy go”.
Remember MySpace? Latest woes – cutting half of staff.
MySpace valuation: That would put the valuation at about $500 million to $1.2 billion–with the lower end being LESS than Rupert paid for it, and the upper end being twice what he paid for it (hardly the steal of the century).
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-myspace-worth-zero-2010-2#ixzz1An0bhJ6J All in US$ and Murdoch paid US$580m for it
Facebook is now valued at US$50bn. But only a few yrs ago MySpace was “valued” at US$65bn, though the foot notes said US$5bn.
Wayne Chang’s lawsuit claims he is entitled to a portion of the original $65m settlement made with Facebook.
The 27-year-old formed a file-sharing network called i2hub while studying at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which he later merged with their social network ConnectU in 2004.
ConnectU was bought by Facebook as part of the settlement and Mr Chang said that means he is due a share of the deal.
Mr Chang said he was “back-stabbed” and that he has been treated the way the Winklevosses claim they have been treated by Facebook.