Posts Tagged ‘New Media’
If you go to link below, and click around, you will find that S’pore’s ranking on happiness (70) is very close to that Laos (69) and Burma (67) despite being way ahead in development rankings. M’sia is also at 70. The Thais and Indons are happiest in Asean (80).
So in Asean, S’poreans are about the norm happiness wise. And on par with HK which is at around our lrvel of development.
So juz as there is something wrong with netizens’ perceptions about material prosperity, they got happiness wrong too? TRE posters and other netizens must the exception to reasonably happy S’poreans? Born losers in happiness as in prosperity?
Any wonder then why govt commissioning a new study to find out what the people want, for retirement, and for health needs? Can’t rely on the noise from cyberspace for accurate feedback? Born losers here (self-included). S’pore Notes bitching on new govt study.
But then I’ve been called a PAP mole and worse by TRE ranters.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said earlier this week that the government would explore the option of private pension plans for the CPF for those who are able to take higher risk. But he also warned that private pensions “will not be a walk in the park”, as higher risk did not always translate into higher returns. (BT 24 July)
Here we go again. Time for civil servants and fund manager marketers to reopen their files from the early noughties.
As BT reported, Industry anticipation of the prospect of private pension plans for the CPF was intense in 2004. Such plans were mooted as a means to enhance returns and lower costs for CPF members.
Private pension plans were envisioned as balanced or mixed-asset portfolios which would be farmed out to the private sector to be managed on an institutional basis. The ideal scenario was that there would be no sales charge, and annual fees would be reduced to a fraction of the prevailing fees … In 2004, estimates of the fund size needed for an expense ratio of 50-75 basis points ranged from S$200-300 million to as much as S$1 billion*.
In 2007, the government said the CPF’s “risk-free” structure would be retained because the majority of members did not have large balances and because private pension funds would be “too risky for older members”.
That was the decision then.
Now in 2014, Tharman is raising the issue again? Now the rich can have private pensions, he says? Hello, why didn’t that happen in 2007? It was dismissed out of hand apparently on the ground that the rules had to be the same for everyone in the scheme.
Is the govt trying to distract us from the real issues of the day that can cause it problems as it spends our money on ourselves in trying to buy our votes: Minimum Sum calculations, how CPF Life funds are invested and is it that safe, and Medisave, Medishield flaws that show up the govt’s incompetency or meanness. One of these days, I’ll blog on what actuaries say about Medishield’s proposed buffer reserves: they agree with WP’s GG rather Gan and Puthu. Remember the higher the reserves, the larger the premiums paid.
Roy Ngerng’s “revelations”** and PM’s law suit distract S’poreans from these impt issues. Sadly, new media ais ana abets unwittingly the govt’s wayang. And now there is more smoke from Tharman.
Whatever leh, govt’s attitude on private pensions, and “tweaking” the CPF system reminds me of Charles Dicken’s description of the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit.
It describes the govt procrastinating over everything. It also can be seen as a reproach to the government that whatever it does the results are just empty words. And our govt dares call cyberspace “noise” given its track record on private pension plans?
The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.
This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.
Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be — what it was.
It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn’t been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn’t been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true that the debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, uniformly tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have a considerable stroke of work to do, and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such session, virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several laborious months been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, How not to do it, and you have found out; and with the blessing of Providence upon the harvest (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. All this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went beyond it.
Because the Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion. Because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him. It was this spirit of national efficiency in the Circumlocution Office that had gradually led to its having something to do with everything. Mechanicians, natural philosophers, soldiers, sailors, petitioners, memorialists, people with grievances, people who wanted to prevent grievances, people who wanted to redress grievances, jobbing people, jobbed people, people who couldn’t get rewarded for merit, and people who couldn’t get punished for demerit, were all indiscriminately tucked up under the foolscap paper of the Circumlocution Office.
Numbers of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unfortunates with wrongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and they had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony had passed safely through other public departments; who, according to rule, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the other; got referred at last to the Circumlocution Office, and never reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries minuted upon them, commissioners gabbled about them, clerks registered, entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they melted away. In short, all the business of the country went through the Circumlocution Office, except the business that never came out of it; and its name was Legion.
Sometimes, angry spirits attacked the Circumlocution Office. Sometimes, parliamentary questions were asked about it, and even parliamentary motions made or threatened about it by demagogues so low and ignorant as to hold that the real recipe of government was, How to do it. Then would the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, in whose department it was to defend the Circumlocution Office, put an orange in his pocket, and make a regular field-day of the occasion. Then would he come down to that house with a slap upon the table, and meet the honourable gentleman foot to foot. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that the Circumlocution Office not only was blameless in this matter, but was commendable in this matter, was extollable to the skies in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that, although the Circumlocution Office was invariably right and wholly right, it never was so right as in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that it would have been more to his honour, more to his credit, more to his good taste, more to his good sense, more to half the dictionary of commonplaces, if he had left the Circumlocution Office alone, and never approached this matter. Then would he keep one eye upon a coach or crammer from the Circumlocution Office sitting below the bar, and smash the honourable gentleman with the Circumlocution Office account of this matter. And although one of two things always happened; namely, either that the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had something to say of which the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, blundered one half and forgot the other; the Circumlocution Office was always voted immaculate by an accommodating majority.
Such a nursery of statesmen had the Department become in virtue of a long career of this nature, that several solemn lords had attained the reputation of being quite unearthly prodigies of business, solely from having practised, How not to do it, as the head of the Circumlocution Office. As to the minor priests and acolytes of that temple, the result of all this was that they stood divided into two classes, and, down to the junior messenger, either believed in the Circumlocution Office as a heaven-born institution that had an absolute right to do whatever it liked; or took refuge in total infidelity, and considered it a flagrant nuisance.
*Background facts about CPF
Data compiled by Morningstar shows that there are funds which handily beat the CPF rates. Aberdeen’s Pacific Equity Fund, for example, generated annualised returns of 4.6 per cent over three years; 13.8 per cent over five years; and 13.5 per cent over 10 years. The maximum loss and volatility over the periods were in double digits, however.
As at March 2014, there was S$259.5 billion in total members’ balances in the CPF. The Ordinary Account (OA) accounted for S$100.7 billion and another S$62.8 billion sat in the Special Account (SA).
In terms of participation in the CPF Investment Scheme, S$20.7 billion of OA funds were invested, and S$5.7 billion of SA funds.
**Uncle Leong (Roy’s sifu) has been telling S’poreans for years what Roy has discovered. The only thing that Roy did different was to accuse the govt of “stealing” our CPF, something that he has repented of:
I recognise that the Article means and is understood to mean that Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC, is guilty of criminal misappropriation of the monies paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund.
3.I admit and acknowledge that this allegation is false and completely without foundation.
4.I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by this allegation.
“A prophet without honour in his own country or home,” was what I tot.
No not talking about one Devan Nair, for one thing he is being re-recognised by the PAP govt: “Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially opened the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East …”, it was reported on 1 May 2014.
No, I couldn’t help but think “A prophet without honour in his own country or home”*, when I read on Saturday, “Outspoken academic Cherian George takes up post at Hong Kong Baptist University” (http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1508715/outspoken-academic-cherian-george-takes-post-hong-kong-baptist).
He needs no introduction as the hubbie of ST’s editor, brudder-in-law to the Malay minister, and an academic and former journalist who has had disagreements with the PAP govt since the 1980s. Seeing no future in journalism, he became an academic. In 2009, he was made an NTU associate professor but denied tenure. In 2010, NTU denied the school’s attempt to renew his position as head of journalism. He was denied tenure again last year and had to “move on” and out of S’pore.
Is it not surprising that The Reporters Without Borders 2014 Press Freedom Index ranked Hong Kong at 61 and Singapore at 150 out of 180 nations?
Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that he was denied tenure because “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”**
He is after all, “one of Singapore’s most accomplished and civic minded media commentators”, as someone whom I respect described him. He could also have be a model for what Seah Chiang Nee in his final column for the Star wrote: “make sure you get the facts right. Use refined language, with no exaggeration. Accuracy, objectivity! When it does well, give it credit; if it does badly in the eyes of most people, say so.” This is something that doesn’t fit rabid PAP cybder warriors.
Rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors especially those who distort the truth can take heart that they are not the ones the PAP fear most or that they will get into trouble for attacking the PAP.
The PAP it seems fears those who are willing to speak the truth, and who thereby have the respect of the 35% of S’poreans who can be swayed by the facts and rational arguments, unlike the 35% (Any donkey so long it is branded “PAP” and 30% (Any donkey who says he is anti-PAP) who can’t.
I’m exaggerating who the PAP fear most? Remember this incident when someone was uninvited to the Istana.
And there are some (not me though, here’s why ) who think that Alex Au’s legal problems have something to do with his well researched and totful pieces.
Happily for the PAP, the really rabid anti-PAP cyber warriors don’t think that telling the truth is that important. What matters is being cheered on by 30% of the voters. If only they can recognise that 30% is not a majority in S’pore politics, and that they have to appeal to the middle 35%.
But maybe they (or at least some of them do) do but are afraid of kanna “marked” by the PAP, and suffering the consequences like having to “move on” or being a non-person.. Better to appeal to the 30% hard core. Better safe than sorry. That after all is the S’porean way.
*1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6)
**An NTU spokesman said,: “The tenure review process is purely a peer-driven academic exercise with two equally important criteria, distinction in scholarship and high quality teaching. Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration.”
He wrote on his blog, “As for why the university took the exceptional step of withholding tenure from a faculty member who it decided had earned promotion, I was assured this had nothing to do with my scholarship, teaching or service, and not because I had conducted myself inappropriately.” He was never contradicted by NTU.
So a hyper rationalist like Mr Spock can reasonably conclude that it was “Service and other contributions to the university, profession or community are also taken into consideration” that did him in, making him move on; to a place controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, no friend of a free media or internet.
Recently PM said the problems S’pore were facing were the results of success*. Here I asked: Success what success? Real wages grew by only 0.4% while GDP grew by 5.9% . while the prices of public housing apartments went up in a recession.
Meanwhile, many new media warriors (posters on TRE; Heart Truths, near relation to Hard Truths; Han Hui Hui, an FT turned new citizen, who is proof that the Bumis in M’sia are right not to trust the local Cina: Uncle Chua etc) are always full of how hard life is for the average S’porean.
This so-called suffering doesn’t chime with what I observe in shopping malls, restaurants, or even hawkers’ centres or coffee shops, or what my friends, relations or biz connections tell me: S’poreans are feeling more confident of confident of their prospects, and hence are spending more. Note, I’m not saying that there are no S’poreans suffering, but I take issue that the majority of S’poreans are suffering.
Well a recent Nielsen survey** of 501 S’poreans seems to confirm my view: that things are OK and improving, but not as great as PM is spinning. After all he got a GE to win.
Consumer confidence in Singapore is at its highest level in 10 consecutive quarters, with people remaining upbeat about personal finances and being more willing to spend.
According to the latest consumer confidence index released by Nielsen, Singapore recorded an index score of 99 in the first quarter, up two notches from 97 in the previous quarter … but still shy of the 100 baseline, has yet to reach optimism. Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism. [If things are as great as what PM, his ministers and their trumpeters*** in the constructive, nation-building media saying, shouldn't the score be 150 and rising?]
The head of Nielsen Financial Services in Singapore and Malaysia was quoted as saying “The positive outlook on the economy and personal financial circumstances is starting to trickle down to consumers’ spending intentions: we notice an increase in the number of Singaporeans who are willing to spend money on discretionary expenses . . . if these intentions materialise, they could act as a further stimulus to the economy.”
So am I, Nielsen and those S’poreans spending more living in the same S’pore as our PM, or the people complaining via new media? Who is more reflectively of the reality of life in S’pore? PM and Heart Truths and friends are aliens that landed here on UFO Goh Meng Seng, the scourge of Pinoy Pride here?
Jokes about aliens and GMS aside, maybe
– PM and his ministers are out of touch, what with their huge salaries? Yesterday, I wrote “Of course Mah Bow Tan http://www.tremeritus.com/2014/05/01/netizens-agog-at-mah-bow-tans-fortune/and other millionaire ministers (present and retired) are not among these ‘lesser mortals”” in a piece of EFTs that mimic the strategies of hedge funds.
– It’s these new media warriors who are the suffering underclass and they think that they are representative S’poreans? Or they are fruscos who think that they should have been talent-spotted by the PAP? They are always claiming that the suffering is always the fault of the PAP govt, never an issue of personal responsibility or sheer bad luck, so maybe they have personal grievances against the PAP? BTW, I exclude TRE’s Richard Wan as he knows he has a comfortable living, and knows it.
My serious point is that whatever new media or PAP media or anyone says about any topic, those of us who are rational have to ask ourselves,”Chime with what I observe?”. Don’t get carry away with the views of others. They could have agendas, delusions to propagate.
BTW, more details from BT (1 May) on the Nielsen survey:
– Some 54 per cent of respondents from Singapore consider their finances to be “good” or “excellent”, unchanged from the previous quarter.
– There is an uptick in Singaporeans who intend to invest in stocks and mutual funds, up six percentage points at 32 per cent … continue to be prudent with their money. Some 70 per cent would channel their spare money into savings, up six percentage points compared to the previous quarter and well above the global average of 47 per cent … more Singaporeans intend to increase their discretionary expenditure on a vacation and new clothes. Some 54 per cent intend to spend their spare cash on a holiday, while 37 per cent would spend it on new clothes, a quarterly increase of five and 11 points, respectively.
Interestingly, two of the three countries with the highest consumer confidence levels are in Asean Indonesia (124), and the Philippines (116). BTW, India (121) is in between.
*Singapore’s economy has fared better than expected over the last decade, but the country’s success also brought about its own set of challenges. PM Lee made this point in a wide-ranging discussion with regional newspaper editors recently.
He said the country had paid the price of this fast growth, as infrastructure wasn’t able to keep up with the rapid development.
Mr Lee was asked about Singapore’s success during his time as Prime Minister and if anything exceeded his expectations.
He said yes, the country had done economically better than expected and grown faster — attributing it to favourable conditions.
As investments poured in, the government had put in resources and brought in foreign labour needed to grow. As a result, developments at the Marina Bay area sprung up in within a decade, instead of the expected 20 to 30 years.
He said that in terms of infrastructure, the country had not been able to catch up and had paid a price, and added that the government had been working hard over the past three to four years trying to come back up to speed.
He said that if the government had been able to foresee the outcome, it would have acted sooner.
But that, he said, was with the benefit of “20-20 hindsight”.
“We succeeded more than we expected, and so in terms of the infrastructure, we were not able to catch up — our public transport, building houses,” said Mr Lee. “And we paid a price.”
“We have spent the last three, four years working hard to try and come up back to speed. I wish we had been able to foresee this outcome, and then we would have acted sooner.
“But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”
Mr Lee also emphasised that it’s important for Singaporeans to feel they have a sense of belonging to the country — and that is something that is still a work in progress.
But Mr Lee acknowledged that this growth had come with a cost.
**The survey, conducted from mid February to early March this year, polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries,
***These public grievances [on healthcare costs immigration, ministerial salaries] and expert doubts did appear in the media; they were not completely blacked out. But, they were always toned down and set in a context that ensured that the government’s voice remained dominant. When there was undeniable distance between public opinion and the government’s position, leaders required the press to work towards a consensus by shifting the ground rather than nudging the government.
By dampening doubts and dissent, by allowing government to operate in an echo chamber, the media gave yesterday’s policy makers an easier ride. But, today’s policy makers are paying the price. There is now more for them to undo as they move their frame of reference back to the centre-left. Furthermore, a lack of responsiveness resulted in lower levels of trust, which now make it harder for the government to persuade the public when it needs to.
The flawed media policy is behind the current government’s biggest failure – its inability to sell its Population White Paper, which by its own reckoning was a vitally important strategic blueprint for the future. Because it had been unwilling to subject its immigration policies to even the gentle probing of friendly national media in the past, it lost touch with public sentiment and lost precious political capital. Today, it is unable to carry the ground on immigration issues.
Even when it speaks sense – like when the Prime Minister chided Singaporeans for their irrational, tribal response to the upcoming Philippine Independence Day celebration – it meets a wall of cynicism and hostility.
Author is hubby of ST’s editor.
TRE juz doesn’t do republishing anti-PAP bloggers like Tan Kin Lian and carrying int’l media coverage of S’pore.
I recently congratulated Richard Wan (he paid for canteen lunch) that TRE is attracting some writers who don’t blog, and who produce some pretty decent socio-economic stuff. Here are two recent examples
Meanwhile TOC seems stuck in a rut. I’ll blog on it one of these days and yes I got a beef against TOC. It bitches about PM censoring on his Facebook. Readers might like to know that TOC prevents
me my Facebook avatar from commenting on its Facebook page. To be fair, I can still comment (I think) on its articles.
Actually the PM isn’t censoring. He is juz “hiding” the article from public view*. Unlike TOC who prevents me from commenting. Let me be clear, I’m not saying that TOC
cannot should not prevent me from commenting. It’s its right. But kinda rich to criticise PM for juz “hiding” a comment* when it more pro-active in handling comments not to its liking. Sounds like the PAP govt in allowing all FTs to hold events in public spaces while preventing some S’poreans (Think the PAP’s light blue clones and various civil groups) from doing the same on the grounds of “law and order” issues, even if the FTs in question are from a country where people believe in the power of the people to overthrow elected govts while the S’poreans are juz sheep who dream different from the “right” dreams.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest
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?
The comments made against Ngiam (some by those who should better and by who all don’t have his balls or stature or achievements or intellect) reminded me of two scenes in the play “Life of Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht.
Andrea’s disappointment of Galileo, after the latter recanted (p. 84-5) [Andrea is one of Galileo's pupils]
Andrea : (loudly) Unhappy the land that has no heroes! (Galileo has come in, completely, almost unrecognizably, changed by the trial. He has heard Andrea’s exclamation. As none is forthcoming and his pupils shrink back from him, he goes slowly and because of his bad eyesight uncertainly to the front where he finds a footstool and sits down)
Andrea : I can’t look at him. I wish he’d go away.
Federzoni : Calm yourself.
Andrea : (screams at Galileo) Wine barrel! Snail eater! Have you saved your precious skin? (Sits down) I feel sick.
Galileo : (calmly) Get him a glass of water.
Andrea : I can walk now if you’ll help me. (They lead him to the door. When they reach it, Galileo begins to speak)
Galileo : No. Unhappy the land that needs a hero.
In the final scene of the play, Galileo, now an old man, living under house arrest, is visited Andrea. Galileo gives him a book (Two New Sciences) containing all his scientific discoveries, asking him to smuggle it out of Italy for dissemination abroad. Andrea now believes Galileo’s actions were heroic and that he just recanted to fool the ecclesiastical authorities. However, Galileo insists his actions had nothing to do with heroism but were merely the result of self-interest. Wikipedia
Ngiam became the the “people”‘s hero because he, a retired insider, criticised the govt. If they had bothered to read the details of his criticism, they would have found things that would have made them unhappy if implemented by the govt. Examples
– MRT fares should be relatively more expensive than bus fares to reflect their greater convenience to commuters, and higher costs to the system.
– His call for a weaker S$, isn’t going to be gd for inflation.
– Some govt spending on S’poreans has met his disaaproval. He considers these popularist measures.
– He doesn’t agree with Gilbert Goh and friends on their “S’poreans first” call.
Now the “people” have turned against him because of his perceived recantation. They now forget his bravery.
I don’t think the people’s adulation, then revulsion affects him personally, or his reputation among those who matter. He doesn’t do popularity. When once asked by our local media why he never aspired to become a minister, he said he didn’t do “kissing babies”.
He is right in eschewing popularity. Remember the people’s hero, who the “people” asked to stand in the 2011 presidential elections, Tan Kin Lian? He lost his deposit, the self-styled voice of the people. He was seduced and then deserted by the “people’.
I suspect Ngiam’s popularity
with the mob rabble had more to do with his criticism of the govt, than because people understood what he was saying. It was also a gd way for KS S’poreans to “dog whistle”* that they were not pro-govt (a bit like why general Giap was mourned by the Vietnamese young.**.
Sadly, his fall from the people’s favour should help reinforce the Dark Side’s prejudices about the people: the mob, rabble doesn’t matter. The voters can be manipulated, tamed and fixed via bread, circuses, the security services and the right messages. Throw them enough of their own money, and spin that this shows the PAP cares, and come the next GE, Pritam and Auntie will be out of their cushy jobs.
And the Dark Side’s view is reasonable. Fortunately, the Dark side has no Dr Goebbels to spin the right messages effectively. Until it finds him, the PAP govt can continue to throw our money at ourselves, and still not succeed in winning over the 35% of S’poreans that voted for Dr Tan Cheng Bock. Unless, of course, I’m wrong, and this 35% are “daft” enough to think the govt really cares. Somehow, I doubt it.
** Criticism of the party over corruption and economic mismanagement has exploded recently on the internet … In vain, the authorities keep jailing bloggers, but they have in effect lost control of the internet.
It is in this context that the adulation of Gen Giap should be seen. He was in fact unwaveringly loyal to the party, and only occasionally said anything that could threaten its authority.
But in death he is being seen as a symbol of everything that today’s Communist leaders are not; charismatic, heroic, clean-living, a true patriot. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24516186
(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.
Readers cannot have missed that ST and Today were trumpeting for weeks, that S’pore’s Ng Ser Miang had a good chance to be in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). president. He was not only a contender but one of the two favourites. As the volume got shriller and the headlines more bombastic and bigger fonts were used, I turned to the int’l media like the BBC and the Guardian. They said that the German, Bach, was the favourite. If he didn’t get the job, it would be an upset.
I didn’t get upset at our papers’ “kampung” boy stance: to be expected from “provincial” papers. Ever read the Cardiff or Belfast Times? Or even the NY or London papers on city matters? Besides ang mohs are always dismissive of Asians.
What has got me writing this diatribe is that it is now beyond reasonable doubt that the papers must have been wrong to label Ng a favourite. Ng tied in the first round with the Taiwanese guy our papers called a long shot. Ng squeaked thru on a re-vote. Then “Mr Ng received six votes and came in a distant third, behind German former Olympian Thomas Bach, who won the elections with 49 votes, and Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion who received 29 votes …”.
Come on, if he was a “hot” favourite, how come so bad a result? He should have come in a decent second, or a close third. Our papers didn’t think much of the banker’s chances, rating him below Ng. He got thru the first round easily, unlike Ng, and came in a credible, if distant, second.
Both papers moved on to whisper about conspiracy theories. Today muttered including a belief making the rounds that Tokyo’s successful bid to stage the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was a factor.
With next year’s Youth Olympics in Nanjing, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, there is a perception that the IOC was reluctant to give too much power to Asia. This doesn’t wash because Ng didn’t get many Asian votes, did he? One reporter also said that Asians don’t support Asians.
Gee so how come we weren’t told these facts earlier? ST and Today only found these up after Ng lost? Whatever it is, they must have got the facts wrong to come up with the assertion that Ng was a favourite.
Clearly, the voting showed that Ng was no favourite: in fact going by the numbers, he along with the Taiwanese guy were long shots. And that he never had a base of Asian supporters, let alone supporters. As WSJ wrote: Ng appeared to struggle to find company. On Sunday night, as Bach was finishing dinner with International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta of Italy and their spouses, Ng was sharing a drink with reporters. The next day Bach had lunch with IOC member Ung Chang.
The two papers got it wrong: Ng was not a favourite, as claimed; and should admit to their getting their facts wrong, rather than throw smoke in order to cover-up the mistake of getting the wrong facts, leading to the wrong conclusion.
Well, if we can’t even rely on the media to get the facts “right” on a simple sports story involving a S’porean, how can we trust the media when it reports on news that touches on the govt: remember the local media prides itself on being “constructive” and “nation-building”, and I have yet to hear of a senior editor being less than 150% pro-govt. Example, the media only waited for the govt’s response to Dinesh family’s legal suit before reporting the case. TOC and Bertha Henson (aforesaid keyboard general) had, to their credit, already reported the details of the family’s suit days earlier.
Yaacob and the MDA should ponder the implications of this failure of the
govt’s poodle “constructive”, “nation-building” media to get the facts right on a simple sports story, rather than beat on the skin of P Ravi, the DRUMS to the tune of RAVII to discredit the new media. http://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/ingratitude-uniquely-sporean-blame-the-internet-not-really/
(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 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?
(Or “How Ravi & PM can improve their decision-making or sharing skills” Actually, everyone, who has to evaluate info i.e all of us, can benefit from the methodology.)
P Ravi had a “hard” time*, a few months back, from two ministers and the spokesman from the Info ministry ever since he reposted some stuff on masks (See this) which even I tot he shouldn’t have done.
PM had serious problems in the 2011GE and the by-election this year: the PAP grassroot leaders gave him and the PAP the wrong info on grassroot sentiment. After the 2011 GE, he had to defend said leaders after PAP MPs criticised them. To ensure that the feedback, the selected NatCon participants reflected S’poreans’ concerns, he had a survey to double-confirm what he was hearing from the selected NatCon participants.
Maybe, if Ravi and the PM had used the following evaluation method that the Malayan Special Branch successfully used when fighting the communists, they could have better evaluated their sources’ information.
|Source reliability||Information accuracy|
|A – Completely reliable||1 – Confirmed|
|B – Usually reliable||2 – Probably true|
|C – Fairly reliable||3 – Possibly true|
|D – Not usually reliable||4 – Doubtfully true|
|E – Unreliable||5 – Improbable|
|F – Reliability cannot be judged||6 – Accuracy cannot be judged|
(Was based on “Admiralty System”. From Malaya’s Secret Police 1945-60: The Role of the Special Branch in the Malayan Emergency)
It splits the analysis into two: the reliability of the source (based on source’s historical reliability) and the accuracy of the info (based on known facts).
In the case of Ravi, even though he would have given his source an “A” rating, the fact that before his reposting the following was reported:
The Health Ministry has urged Singaporeans to be patient, as it works with suppliers to speed up deliveries to shops.
Adrian Lo, director of Singapore Test Services, said: “The frustration is definitely there as a citizen. But I know the challenges of distribution so we just have to be patient and then hope the government intervenes and do something to spread out the availability of the masks.”
Dr Ng Eng Hen, chair of the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, added the government will supply retail outlets with more masks and that NTUC FairPrice will get the stocks next week.
The FairPrice chain of stores said close to two million masks will be re-stocked from Monday across all its 115 outlets.
Dr Ng said: “NTUC FairPrice will cap the price of these masks, but also limit the number that each person can buy. Because when people buy more, they create more demand and artificial shortages, so they will cap the price and limit the numbers that each person can buy.”
More than 1.5 million N95 masks are also on their way to being delivered to retail pharmacies.
should have alerted him that info he was going to repost was at best a “4” in terms of accuracy. The rating would have been A4. I mean a minister, no less, said that masks were going to be distributed. A minister would not be playing the DRUMS on such an issue of national concern, which was easily verifiable, or shown to be false, as the case may be.. Trustworthy source, but accuracy problematic. BTW, Ravi now concedes that the said masks were distributed.
As for the PM, instead of relying on grassroots leaders’ assurances of a victory in Punggol East, he should have tot back to their assurances of easy victories in 2011, and given the grassroots leaders a C or D rating, and 3 for accuracy. This score would have told him that it would be prudent to campaign harder because it was C3 or D3 at best: neither here or there. It might even be a C4 orD4.
*Now this is a hard time: BETWEEN August 20th and 23rd Beijing police arrested several microbloggers** on a charge normally reserved for rabble-rousers on the streets: that of “creating a disturbance”. They were nabbed, police claim, for spreading false rumours. Earlier in the month two influential microblogging activists were also arrested in east-central China. Each had accused officials of wrongdoing. An online crackdown is under way on those who do not follow the Communist Party’s line … On August 23rd Beijing police detained one Big V, Charles Xue, and later accused him of holding group sex parties with prostitutes.
**Seems some of those arrested were PR people microblogging a product placement.
No such thing in China as “juz sharing” and “seeking govt clarification”. If it smells like rumour-mongering, bring on the handcuffs, is shumething the Chinese can teach Yaacob.
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”)
(Or “Cyber activists are suicidal? Frus over what?”)
About this time last week, our PM warned that the haze would return “for weeks”. Well since then, conditions are pretty normal for this time of the year. And on Saturday, ST reported NEA as saying the reduction from very high levels of pollution could be due to less fires.
So if one wanted to be mean but factually correct, one could rightly say PM was wrong. And if one wanted to be “P” (political), one could say, “So waz new? He always talking cock”.
(BTW, I owe an apology to the WP town council and the NEA: I had suggested that it didn’t make sense to clean the ceilings at the two hawker cenres because PM said the haze respite was temporary. Guess they knew that PM would be wrong, as usual.)
Seriously, jokes’ aside, why isn’t the “PAP govt is always in the wrong” brigade complaining, especially the “P” ones.
Three reasons: one is that like other S’poreans, they too are relieved, and happy that conditions are back to the usual “moderate” haze for this time of the year.
And maybe, they too are proud that the leaders of this little red dot got the Indons to apologise, and do shumething without returning the so-called ill-gotten gains from Indonesia. Actually this money isn’t ours, Indons still own the money. Convict them in Indon courts, and then can talk about the morality of returning the money.
The third reason is that the more chim and vocal members of “PAP govt is always in the wrong” may be be in shock over two foot shooting (or is it “feet in mouth) accidents, involving three prominent bloggers, in less than five days.
The first was Andrew Loh’s unprovoked rant, full of “dirty” words,against the president of S’pore*. He quickly apologised but one was left wondering why did he get so upset over such a bland, meaningless statement? Because it was bland, meaningless, and late?
The other incident involved minister Shan (the dog and cat lover, weird combi this), Ms Kisten Han and Remy Choo. See here for a good summary (and funny take) of what happened. To summarise
– Ms Han said in her blog that the minister wanted Mr Choo to convey that Mr Shanmugam would not hesitate to sue those republishing the article; but
– Mr Shanmugam later clarified that this description was inaccurate; then
- in a statement carried on Ms Han’s blog later, Mr Choo said that he was responsible for giving that impression to Miss Han, and that it was incorrect and unfair of him to have done so.
Having read both Remy Choo’s FB comments**, if anyone had to apologise it should not be him. It shld be Ms Kisten Han for rushing into print with her “chim” tots on the dangers of sharing, when the law is pretty clear on the matter: share libelous stuff at yr peril http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22652083.
Surely she must have known that said minister would react aggressively, not that I blame him***. She, at least explained, her motivations on her public FB Wall; motivations which I find very emotional. If I were in close regular contact with her, I’d be afraid, very afraid, lest confidences be spilled.Anyway, if Remy is not upset with her, then taz the end of the matter. He is the “damaged” party.If he has political ambitions to become a MP, he can forget it. His apology would be used against him if he stood, and we all know that our political parties are all Kiasus.
(FTR, I had dealings with Kirsten and Remy a few yrs back. They are “Smarter than the average bear”. BTW, wonder what Yogi would think of Barrie the Bear. A bear that is S’porean, Canadian, Muslim, and Indon-loving?)
As evidence of this reason, that some bloggers are in shock, juz before the Andrew incident, one or two “P” bloggers were hinting that the masks were issued after the need for them had passed.
Whatever, why the sudden bout of foot shooting or mouths in foots is what I want to know? Both incidents were so unnecessary. There needn’t have to be apologies if these three prominent and leading bloggers had tot before they acted. Are the three bloggers are frus about way things are developing here that they make irrational decisions?
Anyway, let’s not get worked up. “Move on”, as the PAPpies like to say.Not much damage except to the gentlemanly Remy Choo.
But let’s try to learn lessons so as not to repeat these “mistakes”. One lesson is that be aware of one’s emotions: remember Yoda tot the Jedi to be unattached to their emotions, while being aware of them. Wonder if Yoda learnt this from the Buddha?
*When I was first shown the post, I tot Andrew Loh was the victim of a hack, or “an honest” tech mistake where a poster’s comment got merged into his post, or “an honest” editorial cock-up (pressed “publish”, instead of “save”. Believe you mean this can happen. I’ve published when I wanted to save, and save when I wanted to publish.)
**On his public FB wall.
*** I’d be even more aggressive. There are “conventions” on such private conversations and the reporting thereof. The most impt of which is “Everything is not attributable” without the permission of the speaker.
On page 16 of SunT there is a small pix and a little accompanying text on yesterday’s LGBT massive “finding partners/ dates” party (21,000 crowd) at Hong Lim Green. My Facebook wall is full of pixs of the gay event.
As at 5.33am. there is nothing in TRE on this massive gathering of S’poreans. I will update this post when I see reports on TRE of this social and HR events.( Update at 3.10pm:
I’m putting up this post because there are allegations (PAP-inspired?) that TRE is juz as socially conservative as the PAP, WP and NSP.
I doubt that these allegations are true, but let’s see. Members of the LGBT community here are S’poreans too. This too is their home. It’s sad that SPH (and presumably the PAP govt) doesn’t think so.
Any idea if MediaCorp covered the event on the news programme? Based on CNA website, doesn’t seem so. SIGH (
Update on ! july at 6.18 am TRE site is
I don’t understand why the prevailing discourse surrounding the stop-work order is an immediate cessation of everything in Singapore, where all businesses have to close down. None of the activists I know are saying that. We are simply saying that in hazardous conditions, where PSI is well, hazardous, it would be humane, as well as being in line with the idea of workplace safety, for people who do strenuous work outdoors to take a break and seek shelter, so that they can avoid taking in higher amounts of pollutants, and also metabolise the pollutants currently in their body. Such industries include both the shipyard and construction industry. Seriously, stop making people who are concerned about migrant worker welfare to be idiots who want to “close hawker centres”: On Facebook on Monday.
My response (now hidden) was ” Taz NOT the impression, perception you “idiots” gave me. AND I waz reading yr words, not filtered thru ST etc etc … organise a course to teach yr friends how to communicate effectively. The CAUSE doesn’t need self-inflicted injuries.”
Seriously, the above justification sounds like shumething a PAPpy would make when cornered. Remember “Selling land cheap for HDB flats, steals from reserves”? Or http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/why-han-sat-down-and-kept-quiet/? Or http://atans1.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/the-curry-thickens/?
I tot I’d post the activist’s comments as my good deed for the month. The aim is to remind all activists and other kay pohs, that they have to ensure that they take care to communicate their messages in language that is clear, simple, concise and difficult to misunderstand.This is true especially when using Facebook: I got the impression that they wanted hawker centres to close based on comments made on FB.
They should not use the PAP govt as the gold standard when they communicate with the public, even though the PAP has been able since 1959 to communicate to S’poreans so effectively that the PAP has had overwhelming majorities since then (In the bad result GE2011, the PAP still ended up with 60% of the popular vote and more than two-thirds of the parly seats).
They should remember that the PAP’s track record since 1991 hasn’t been that great. The percentages of the popular vote climbed from 61% in 1991 only to drop to 60% in 2011. And look at the result of the 2011 PE. It’s preferred candidate only got 35%, and won by a short nose.
So maybe activists should take up the offer of
Wonder Woman Wonder Gal’s or Supergirl’s Creatives For Causes? Hopefully, she can teach them to say what they mean, so that the “daft” public can understand their ‘chim” tots. They should not expect the public to be mind readers. Nor should they expect the constructive, nation-building local media to put the “right” spin on what they say. In fact, they should be prepared for the “wrong” spin.
Oh, and why is it the most ardent callers of the govt to allow freedom of expression such great censors? As I said, my comment was hidden. And another “Crier” of “Free speech”, unfriended me after I asked him how come his website was one of “S’pores major websites” that signed the internet petition? It was then carrying plenty of 2012 stuff on its front page, and still was as of yesterday.
I asked him if the definition of “S’pores major websites” included zombie or living dead.sites like his?
Have a gd weekend. School starts soon.
I’m worried that netizen activists, whether aligned to an opposition party, or juz plain kay pohs, are increasingly losing touch with the facts on the ground.
Take two recent examples:
– While rightly warning that Yaacob’s internet regulations are a threat to the free flow of info, they have not been able to convince S’poreans of this threat. It was a cunning move by Yaacob the water engineer to use the principle of raisable dams to lull the public into complacency. Yes, yes I’m complacent but taz because I think that new media, like water, will find a way round barriers. But I could be wrong. Obviously, the activists disagree with me, but except for TOC, no-one has not tried to put their fears in a form that the masses can understand.
– Some (thankfully only a few, and one has “repented” to “repent” again) are using the haze situation to promote their agenda of “All PAP govt’s fault”. Again I doubt this is resonating with the public, who have more intelligence than these people think they have. The masses know that the Indons are at fault. Even TRE posters say so albeit there are more “It’s the fault of the PAP govt” posters.
While, the activists are navel-gazing and bitching to one another on the govt’s faults, and ignoring the masses; the govt is quietly doing things to try to make sure that come the next GE, that its share of the popular vote will increase.
It has given:
– junior civil servants a bit more money (Singapore’s 80,000 civil servants will get a mid-year Annual Variable Component of 0.4-month. In addition, Division IV officers will receive a wage increase of $70 per month and Division III officers a pay rise of $40 per month.)
– NTUC is pushing for cleaning companies to give each of their workers $60 a month more.
Think about it.
The PAP govt doesn’t do compassion (ask VivianB about his sneers about the elderly poor, or his efforts on helping the homeless while throwing our money at the Kiddie Games), or popularity. All these schemes and others like the $1.1bn subsidy to listcos SMRT and SBS, the accelerated HDB building programme, and the purported curb of FT inflows, all have one over-riding aim: shoring up, and hopefully increasing, the vote in the next GE. The govt is throwing our money at ourselves to win the next GE.
I for one don’t mind this spending, but if I were one of the usual suspects, I’d be worried that like in M’sia, the govt is using the voters’ money to “bribe” the voters. while the masses are not realising it.
Uncle Leong is the only activist out there consistently reminding the masses that it’s their money that the PAP govt is spending niggardly to get the masses out of a mess that the govt is largely responsible for getting them into in the first place.
Focus netizen activists, focus. Focus on the needs and aspirations of working S’poreans, not on esoteric topics like freedom of speech, the plight of animals, LGBT issues, exploitation of FTs etc. Yes, yes, these are worthy causes, but they are not bread-and-butter S’porean issues.
Otherwise come next GE, and 2011 GE and PE will look like 1991 GE: another false dawn or wasted opportunity.Be like Low, not like JBJ, Chiam and the two SDP MPs. They didn’t focus and come 1996, it was back to the future. Yes, I know Chiam won.
BTW, the PAP might even win back Aljunied given the way Auntie and her Indian are behaving. They are behaving like Georgie and his gals from Hell. Thank God for Low, Show Mao and Faisal who do the unglamorous work of serving their constituents, while Auntie and her man grandstand and play to the “PAP are bastards” gallery. Punggol East is safe what with Ah Lian doing her thing, and Hougang is Low’s territory, and Ah Huat is doing a gd job keeping the constituents happy, unlike the Stag who focused on satisfying horny gals. But if Aljunied falls, it’s 1996 again.
Police in Vietnam have arrested a prominent blogger for anti-state activities, reports say.
Pham Viet Dao, 61, was arrested in Hanoi on Thursday for “abusing democratic freedoms”, the Ministry of Public Security said.
Mr Dao ran a blog critical of government leaders and policies, and discussed sensitive issues like the territorial row with China.
His arrest comes after another blogger was detained in May on similar charges.
Blogger Ravi Philemon addressed the rally: “The Media Development Authority should take its hands off the online world because it is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now,” he said. “The regulation will only give the government unlimited power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans.”*
The other speakers also spoke along the same lines and the crowd there on 8 June cheered them on.
It’s precisely because the cyberspace is the most open public space Singaporeans have right now that the govt wants unlimited power over it, though the govt would disagree that it wants the power to act arbitrarily against the interests of Singaporeans: it would argue that it wants the power to protect us.
In the political sphere, there has been no open space since 1959: Nothing has changed. Opposition leader and secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party Chee Soon Juan expressed concerns that the government was trying to stifle political opponents online and said that there was a danger that the government could be seen as “trying to regulate the opposition’s means of communicating with voters before the next elections”.*
In the field of public social behaviour, S’pore has had “NO” spitting, littering, smoking and other such campaigns. While these attempts to curb uncivil and unhygienic public behaviour (a plus), they are the use of arbitrary power.
There there have been the various social engineering projects (birth control, “graduate she-rabbits”, “Breed for S’pore”, “Speak Mandarin”, “Foreign
Trash Talents Welcome”, the destruction of Chinese language education system etc etc) that are premised on the use of arbitrary power.
In S’pore, even nature is not allowed to run its course, land use is too precious to allow that. All our streams are improved with the addition of concrete banks to prevent soil erosion and ensure that they flow straight into the sea. There are sea walls all around the island to protect vulnerable spots from erosion.
The speakers and their audience may not realise it, but their call for “open public space” and the end to the use of arbitrary power is a challenge to the very foundations of the way S’pore has been governed since its founding, and especially since 1959.
It is akin to:
– the anti-colonial, anti-capitalist agitation of the communists and allies;
– Tan Wah Piow’s efforts; or
– the “Marxists’ conspiracy”.
In the days when one Harry was sheriff, judge and jury, the speakers and audience would be in “Cold Store”, and denounced publicly as subversives, running dogs and stooges of fat capitalist cat Yahoo!
While the curbing of “public space” and the use of arbitrary power is still par for the course, Harry’s Law isn’t used nowadays. Some things have changed, and for the better.
Another example of change for the better is that the internet regulations are not imposed on the likes of TOC, TRE, yet. In the olden days, Harry wouldn’t want to waste a good law on juz Yahoo!
“The regulations deal with news sites. It doesn’t encompass blogs but would some blogs become news sites, and if they evolve to become news sites, I think that is something that we need to look at. As a broad principle, it is meant to cover those reporting news. Individual blogs, commentaries — that remains open,” Tan Chuan Jin.
Pooh Bear (“the bear with the little brain”, no, not Tin Peh Ling), and surely Bertha Henson and Arun Mahizhnan, or even me, can make out a intellectually honest and rational case in support of the distinction; a very traditional concept in the Anglo-American media world.
The Guardian newspaper in the UK (almost looney left: “Tories are evil and stupid” ) has two related mantras “Facts are sacred”, “Comment is free”, that encapsulate what the minister is saying: there is a distinction between news and commentary. The BBC and American media adhere almost religiously (in the case of the Americans) to this very traditional concept in their coverage. However, UK papers (even the Guardian) increasingly tend to mix facts with analysis and commentary: so does Fox News.
Problem with the distinction that Tan Chuan-Jin attempts to draw between blogs and news doesn’t take into account Yaacob’s definition of a “Singapore news programme”, which is defined so widely as to cover any material to do with Singapore, not juz “newsa”. The definition of “Singapore news programmes” includes “any programme 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,” though “does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the government.”
So my blogging about gardens in the sky would meet the above definition of “Singapore news programme”, if the authorities wanted to include said article or topic under the definition.
It’s what they want to catch (at any one time) that matters, and should be of concern to every S’porean and FT.
Another way of putting it is that the “news” on S’pore that MoM is talking about is not the same as “Singapore news programme”. There is a serious disconnect between the two terms. And he should know it.
As MoM is the govt’s point man on presenting the “right” perspective on controversial issues, and one of the next generation of potential PMs (eat yr heart out non-Chinese rooting for Tharman), why was he badly briefed by Yaacob & MDA? Could it be that the chairman and CEO of the MDA were distracted* by what is happening to interest rates and property prices in the light of weak equity and bond markets?
Or is MoM being saboed?
*They each bought $5-10m apartments recently
Only two cheers because the MDA, ISD, police intelligence unit and local media are giving three cheers for the blackout, they don’t have to monitor the usual suspects. In fact, they are taking the day off and taking their kids for an outing. And ministers too are toasting the blackout: they don’t have to listen to the noise the MDA etc report. They can remove the ear plugs and listen to the sounds of nature.
It’s a gd day to be on the Dark Side.
Sadly for the Dark Side, it only lasts a day, not forever and a day. Normal levels of service (noise to them) will resume tomorrow.
Update at 9.54am: Barrie has got it dead right on the blackout:
Why I am not blacking out
Blacking out your own site because you are against the govt blacking you out is akin to inflicting self-injury because your adversary wants to cause you harm. You are playing into his plan. Isn’t the govt’s intention is to black out non-mainstream media in the first place?
On Thursday, ST published a front page headline that would have had “the usual suspects” bitching loudly at a TLC for wasting $ on an ang moh FT. The usual suspects ignored the issue because they were (and, sadly, still are) narcissistically looking at their reflections on their flat panel tv screens, while bawling, raving and ranting that Yaacob was (and still is) “snatching* their toys, when he did (does) no such thing*.
Back to the FT story: ST reported that a TLC had spent $8m on accommodation for an ang moh FT. Sometime back when the same TLC spent $1m on accommodating two PRC FT PRs, TRE readers and some prominent bloggers were screaming their heads off: these two PRC FT PRs getting the VIP treatment while S’poreans had to pay a few hundred thousand dollars for a three-room HDB flat.
When two pandas came here, the verbal knives of many netizens were out for the zoo for spending $1 million for their accommodation. But when ST announced that an ang moh polar bear, Inuka, had got a $8m play pen, no-one said anything.
Ang moh tua kee? Maybe, because the usual suspects buy into fashionable ang mog ideas, like freedom of the media, free speech, LGBT rights, anal sex, minimum wages, welfare, decent working conditions, free and fair and unrigged elections, accountability etc etc.
Or, as is more likely, they, like PM, but apparently unlike Auntie Sylvia, cannot multi-task?
The one that must be really feeling low and depressed must be Danny the teh-tarik loving SDP bear. He did his NS but unlike these FT bears, he has to borrow money to pay for his 99-yr “bare necessities, no-frills”cave in the sky, while they get VIP caves free.
I wish those calling for the blackout and protest the best of luck. Even though I disagree with them no the need of such actions for now, or even the need to kick up a fuss for now, if less than 5000 turn up at the protest, and only a few sites observe the blackout, the govt will think it has got the measure of the new media here: all noise and dogmatic, cannot organise an orgy in a brothel and popular support. This attitude will not be gd for S’pore. The new media, like water, should not be underestimated: it can be a raging torrent.
“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” (Las Tzu)
Related Panda posts:
*He hasn’t, though he has created a framework that the govt thinks will enable the govt to control or channel new media. He is only warning them that he has the legal means of snatching their toys, so don’t be qua lan or garang like the M’sian FT protestors or PRC strikers.
One of these days, maybe, on the day of proposed blackout, I’ll blog on why Yaacob is an underrated water engineer, 50-year floods twice in two months, notwithstanding. Go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6964281.stm and click on the exhibit at the bottom of the page. It illustrates what the British will do when the Thames’ waters rise dangerously high: barriers rise from beneath the river’s surface. Likewise, Yaacob’s rules will do the same when the “noise” levels gets dangerously high. In the meantime, our internet flows on, like the Thames. The measures’ effectiveness are debatable given that the new media has been likened to water.
And maybe, I’ll blog on why the blackout and protests are rotten ideas: so PAPpish and old-fashioned. And I tot the usual suspects are anti-PAP and in the vanguard of doing things differently.
As Yaacob was the water minister that presided over two fifty-year floods in two months, and now as info minister has juz issued regulations governing new media (which has been likened to water), I tot I’d cheer upset netizens up with this quote from the Tao Te Ching:“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
Relax boys and gals. Don’t need to bawl and scream because yr favourite toy is taken away and broken, or that you kanna played-out by the govt, a govt many of you curse, despise and mistrust.
Be complacent: new media like water will find a way through. Juz be prepared to change, or adapt if your blog has 50,000 unique visitors a month. And if you don’t (like me) have that number, nothing has changed.
Stop raving, ranting and bawling. You only make PAPpies feel shiok.
Have a gd weekend instead.
And before I forget: the Media Development Authority’s comment that the new rules would bring news sites onto “a more consistent regulatory framework with traditional news platforms which are already individually licensed”, reminded me of the late 19th and early 20th century traffic rules that required a man with a red flag to walk ahead of any “horseless carriage”. Presumably, this was to ensure that the speed of these carriages were “more consistent” with the speeds of horse-drawn carriages.
We know what happened. So, no need to get emotional or irrational. Juz be complacent, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
In S’pore the PAP, and its co-driver, the WP, relies on volunteers or bodies (remember Palmer’s Laura Ong and Stag Yaw’s XXX) walking the ground to bring in the votes. The other opposition parties need an equaliser (juz like the Colt revolver supposedly equalised the balance in fights in the Wild West). They could try the following ideas.
The DAP is doing this in Penang (from a Dow Jones report): Acknowledging that the DAP has been heavily outspent by BN on its home turf, DAP’s Assistant National Publicity Secretary Zairil Khir Johari said on Tuesday that his party is counting on social media to narrow its financial disadvantage and court a critical segment of active voters.
“The DAP is at the forefront of Facebook penetration,” Mr Zairil said. “We’re talking about 12 million Facebook accounts in Malaysia, and pretty much every young adult has one. Not all of them watch television. So we’re targeting Facebook and we’re doing it aggressively.”
The Internet has been a critical fund-raising and canvassing resource for the opposition as a means of circumventing tight government controls over traditional news media.
The DAP says it does not have the resources to fund conventional ad space. But on Facebook, it has rolled out 17 videos, a series of online flyers and other advertisements to reinforce traditional walkabouts and “ceramahs”, a Malay term meaning campaign road-shows.
So far, its Internet presence eclipses that of the ruling party. As of Wednesday, the DAP had 319,251 Facebook “likes” versus the BN’s 52,968. On Twitter, the DAP counts 25,141 followers, while the BN had 14,745.
But the DAP is worried that this may not be enough. The party enjoyed a stealth advantage in 2008 because the BN did not expect to lose and was caught unprepared, Mr Zairil said. This time, it is visibly muscling up.
Well the SDP and NSP might as well try the above tactics given their lack of physical presence on the ground. But the NSP has to built up its on-line presence from near zero. And the co-driver might want to try these tactics too as a force multiplier. But then it might prefer to be a co-driver, and hoping to share the goodies in a coalition (refer to Pritam’s comments).
Here’s something that one of the wannabe leaders without spear and shield carriers (like Tan Kin Lian, Tan Jee Say, s/o JBJ, Ben Pwee) might want to think about: A citizens’ movement mounting an increasingly serious challenge to the Italian political establishment has chosen its candidates for parliament in an unprecedented online vote.
Supporters of the Five Star Movement* made their selection from among 1,400 activists.
Each prospective candidate posted a campaign video in which they introduced themselves.
They set out what they stood for and what they would do if elected on behalf of the movement in polls that are scheduled for the spring.
It is believed to be the first time that a political organisation anywhere has conducted this kind of selection process entirely on the web.
At the very least, this would get some publicity.
Here’s something up TKL’s street (remember before he became the People’s Voice, he was called by ST the “petition king”::
Sites which allow citizens to draft e-petitions for their pet causes are mushrooming. Politicians in Germany created one of the earliest, in 2005, and dozens of countries have followed, most of them within the past three years. America’s “We the People” is perhaps the most successful. Since its launch in 2011 citizens have created nearly 180,000 petitions; since November the total number of signatures has tripled to almost 12m.
Finally here’s an idea the internet savvy SDP might want to play with e.g. testing its public housing and healthcare proposals.
About 1,500 cities, including Chicago and, last year, New York, have also enlisted the public in setting budgeting priorities. In 2012 around a million citizens took part in the annual budgeting process in Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian state which also hosted the first such event, in the town of Porto Alegre, in 1989.
In 2011 the state governor collected 1,300 ideas for improving local health care, and then let citizens vote for their 50 favourites; 120,000 people took part. The voting software presented ideas in pairs; users could pick the one they preferred.
Actually, the govt might want to use this idea for NatCon topics to gauge public sentiment.
(The last two examples came from http://www.economist.com/news/international/21574454-internet-helps-politicians-listen-better-their-electors-if-they-want-processing)
But For all the talk about new digital technology, the real secret was finding new ways to do something old-fashioned: to talk to voters. The trick was to use new techniques for helping volunteers to find people like them. Taz how Team Obama did it in the US.
At a meeting of Battleground Texas, a new grassroots organising effort started by the former national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign, Jeremy Bird, and run by the Ohio 2012 campaign boss, Jenn Brown. Addressing a packed union hall in Austin, Ms Brown told the crowd that the project ahead of them might take until 2020, and would involve registering, persuading and turning out millions of voters. But here is how we did it in Ohio, she explained. For all the talk about new digital technology, the real secret was finding new ways to do something old-fashioned: to talk to voters. The trick was to use new techniques for helping volunteers to find people like them.
The old way of organising involved hiring 250 field organisers. On a given day before an election they might knock on 50 doors each, meaning that they knocked on 12,500 doors. The new method refined and rolled out by Team Obama in 2012 involves one paid field organiser organising perhaps five neighbourhood team leaders. Each of those volunteer team leaders might then recruit eight volunteers, recruited from a particular neighbourhood. They might all be parents from a single school catchment area, or people with similar work backgrounds or interests.
Miss Brown then clicked on her next slide. With 250 such organisers, overseeing five neighbhourhood team leaders, marshalling eight volunteers each, you can knock on 500,000 doors. It is, she noted cheerfully, “unbelievably exponential”. Nor is this a theoretical finding. On each of the last four weekends before the 2012 election, Miss Brown’s Ohio campaigners “talked physically” to 100,000 voters. That is the same as President Barack Obama’s Ohio margin of victory.
Numbers alone do not win elections. None of this is to dismiss the importance of policies and candidates. But these are numbers that grab the attention.
(Extract from an otherwise irrelevant Economist blog)
*In Italy, the Five Star Movement holds the balance of power. As the BBC describes it “Led by its guiding star, the comedian-turned politician Beppe Grillo, it was born and bred on the internet.
But it emerged from the web and took its argument into town squares all over Italy.”
They appeared at http://veritas-lux.blogspot.sg/2013/03/social-darwinism-taking-its-toll-on.html. Thank SG Daily’s Facebook for drawing my attention to them.
The G’s ability to win the argument among netizens is increasingly in question; witness its “defeat” over the Population White Paper online. Its online outreach appears to be confined to making speeches available online and Facebook postings by individual minist. How would it deal with the barrage of messages that will flood the online space in crisis time? http://www.breakfastnetwork.sg/?p=2746ers and MPs
Couldn’t stop laughing at “The G’s ability to win the argument among netizens is increasingly in question; witness its “defeat” over the Population White Paper online.” Only someone* who works or once worked* for SPH, MediaCorp or the govt would think that cyberspace was ever friendly to the govt or even neutral. It was always injun or Vietminh or Viet Kong territory where the govt soldiers and mercenaries were besieged in forts and could only move around outside the forts in heavily armed convoys. Even our PM has conceded that the internet was made up of “cowboy towns”.
The internet and social media became relevant when the 2011 GE and PE showed that the “noises” there reflected “facts on the ground”. Contrast this with the 2006 GE, when the “noises” were noise: going on the internet, it showed that the PAP were doomed to defeat.
And I tot that “How would it deal with the barrage of messages that will flood the online space in crisis time?” had the underlying, unstated assumption that netizens were irresponsible people who could not be relied upon when there was a crisis: with the implication that only the constructive, nation-building media (and presumably retirees from it) could be trusted. This I disagree with. After all, SPH’s Stomp is not a particularly responsible online publication (it hired paid content providers who pretended to be ordinary citizen journalists, and one of them faked the news once). And based on these lapses (now corrected, we’ve been assured), it is reasonable to conclude that Alex Au, TOC, TRE, Donaldson Tan, Kum Hong, Andrew Loh, SDP etc have higher standards of integrity than Stomp. Only the TRS has Stomp-like standards, in my view.
What I suspect she means is that only SPH and MediaCorp journalists and editors (past and present) will parrot unthinkingly and uncritically the govt line. Here, there is another unstated assumption; that the govt line is the truth. The likes of Lucky Tan, S’pore Notes will (rightly in my view) etc would critique the govt view because they would have doubts.
But on the other hand, this same retired Dark Side keyboard wielding imperial storm trooper is the person behind Breakfast Network. Check it out: it tries to provide, entertaining, non-partisan tit bits for tot. Doesn’t often succeed, as the above example shows, but she is experimenting, and it’s a work-in-progress.
With TOC getting irrelevant**; Andrew Loh’s Publichouse seemingly stuck in a rut (one can only wish him well in his attempts to “tell stories”); and TRS going from strength to strength, one can only hope that the Breakfast Network works. With TRE’s mission being to provide a counter balance to the local MSM’s spin, there is room for a more centrist website that can attract a mass audience: Breakfast Network could be that website.
If she succeeds, she will have shown that Darth Vader is not the only Dark Sider who returned to the Light. In fact, she would be better than Darth Vader, because he only repented to save his son, and died in the process. She would have returned to the Light because she wanted to, and she lived.
*I’ve heard stories from SPH insiders that she fancied herself to be next editor of ST after Han when Warren Fernandez left SPH. He was brought back when Han was moved on after the 2011 GE. She then moved on out of SPH. It had been alleged that she had tot that minister Yacoob’s sis was her only rival.
**This piece on TOC, despite being picked up, by SG Daily, didn’t have many readers. Usually when Sg Daily picks up a piece of mine, I get lots of hits.
BBC Online carried a headline on its global news Home Page linking to a story on the crowd protesting about Population White Paper http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21485729
ST carried the story on page 4. The front page carried a story on a standard, nothing new, speech by PM. S’pore the new North Korea?
So we now know that the 6.9m figure in the White Paper is a “worse-case scenario”
– “Reiterating that the 6.9 million figure should be viewed as “the worst-case scenario”****, Mr Khaw wrote: “We hope we do not reach that figure; we may never reach that figure.”
–” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said … he fully agrees with Mr Khaw’s explanation that a 6.9 million population is not a target, but just a worst-case, aggressive scenario the Government must prepare for.”
(Excerpts from MediaCorp)
So why didn’t the media tell us this when the media reported the White Paper? The media reported the figure of 6.9m as though it was set in reinforced concrete that had platinum bars rather than steel bars. Surely when the staff of the s/o the disgraced president, and Yaacob*gave
the local media their instructions local journalists and editors the customary briefing, they made it clear that the 6.9m figure is a “worse-case scenario”? And that the figure was used to ensure that there would be adequate infrastructure should this happen, which the government didn’t want to happen. And that if it didn’t happen, S’poreans would have even better facilities for which they should thank the PAP on bended knees.
But these messages were never reported. They came to the attention of “the inhabitants of cowboy towns” who were happily shooting holes into the White Paper, and other S’poreans only when the PM Facebooked and Khaw blogged these messages.
Then the local media
parroted reported what the PM and Khaw had said.
Either the local media are staffed by stupid people, or are full of subversives, who take their 30 pieces of silver ** while saboing the PAP government. Or maybe the going rate is a lot more than 30 pieces of silver? And they are not getting it? Hence the government’s messages didn’t get broadcasted.
Or were the minions of s/o Devan Nair, and Yaacob, incompetent, stupid spinners? Journalists and editors are claiming that they were never
ordered briefed that the 6.9m figure was a “worse-case scenario”. They claim to be as surprised as us netizens that the PM and Khaw are now making this claim.
Whatever it is, if WP Low is to get his wish of continued PAP hegemony, PM should get a grip on the PAP spin machine. He and his ministers can’t do all the spinning themselves. Maybe Auntie Sylvia or Show Mao, in emulation of a Tang dynasty official, can whisper this to the PAP, “behind closed doors”. Remember WP, yr mission is to preserve PAP hegemony.
**He used the phrase “worse-case scenario” when one LKY gave his Hard Truth on Malay Muslims not integrating.
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.
– By taking a page from successful US-based webcomics
I came across this while reading an article on the rise of webcomics in the Economist:
One thing they have in common is how they make their money. The typical audience for one of the leading web comics is between 1m and 10m unique browser visits per month, comparable to a medium-sized newspaper website (the website of the Daily Mail, the best-read newspaper on the web, gets around 48m per month). But unlike on newspaper websites, where advertising is the main source of revenue, the audience on web comics are not just readers—they are also customers. Most artists sell T-shirts, books, mouse mats, posters and other paraphernalia. The most successful at monetising content is said to be Mr Inman: his site, “The Oatmeal” made $500,000 in 2011 from its audience of around 7m unique visitors per month.
Try this. If it works, gd for S’pore and TRE. TRE may be ableto cover costs and pay the team shumething. If it doesn’t, then S’poreans, especially TRE’s “We hate the PAP” readers, deserve the PAP as the ruling party.
And the article goes on:
Amplified by social media—Mr Inman has some 700,000 Facebook followers—this audience can be powerful. One extremely long and exceptionally geeky comic last summer on “The Oatmeal”, extolling the virtues of the inventor Nikola Tesla and attacking his better-known rival, Thomas Edison, somehow snowballed into a campaign to save one of Tesla’s labs on the outskirts of New York. By leveraging his immense traffic to attract donations and to sell T-shirts and other gear, Mr Inman raised $1m in nine days—enough, with matching funding from New York State, to buy the building.
It’s been over a week since Muddy Waters made allegations about the accounts of Olam. Since then Olam has come out swinging, refuting the allegations and suing.
Yesterday evening, the report was made available. Most of the issues have been flagged by analysts earlier. But there are issues about the restatements of accounts that don’t affect profits and capex that need addressing by Olam.
Remember Temasek owns 16% of Olam. So it too will be studying the report.
So Ms Maria Almenoar defended herself (here’s her defence and a critique).
Forget about who is at fault (most probably both made mistakes), I have two issues with her.
She made the point that since she knew taxi drivers could earn up to $5,000 a month, $7,000 is possible. Well, I suspect that she didn’t realise that $7,000 is 40% more than $5,000. It may be possible but because it’s a big percentage jump, she should have been sceptical.
Next, what is clear from her account, is that my take on how SunT covered the story is correct: no attempt at verification. She says this was not possible.
I am willing to concede this point. But it was possible to see if the number made sense. The backlash against the story was made credible and respectable because a cabbie blogger came out with a detailed analysis on why it was impossible for said driver to earn $7,000 consistently working just eight hours a day. Later there were other pieces explaining that working 12-16 hours to earn that kind of money was not physically sustainable over long periods of time.
Ms Maria Almenoar being a seasoned transport correspondent could have done her sums and confronted the cabbie with her numbers. She didn’t.
But, SPH is being unfair in making her shoulder the defence of the story. It’s not only her mistake. There is an editorial process in any newsroom to see if a story meets certain quality standards before it is published. It clearly failed.
Here’s another case of bad reporting.
Last Friday (2 November), this appeared online: The chief executive of Malay/Muslim community self-help group Mendaki has come out to clarify that Indian-Muslims do receive help from the organisation, contrary to what several netizens had written on the group’s Facebok page.
Note ST’s definition of “several netizens”. It means “almost 800 comments which were overwhelmingly in agreement with” the complainant. Don’t believe me? Read the whole story.
Now for something more substantive, than juz sniping. Mendaki was described as “Malay/Muslim community self-help group”. But ST reported PM saying this about Mendaki, on 29th October: “he said in a recent interview with the Malay media to mark the 30th anniversary of Malay self-help group Mendaki”. Which is it ST? Adding to the confusion, SunT, last Sunday, used the term “Malay-Muslim organisations” to describe Mendaki, among others, something pM used in the speech SunT was reporting.
There are differences between “Malay/Muslim”, “Malay” and “Malay-Muslim”. The last term implies that the Malays must be Muslims while the first term carries the implication that there is no nexus between Malay and Muslim.
So what is Mendaki, SPH?
I’ll end with some tots about the Malay* community.
Notice that the Malays* don’t have their own exclusive race-based help or support group unlike the Chinese or Indians. They got to share Mendaki programmes with Indian-Muslims, except for two programmes . Why this state of affairs when PM has said that there is a role for race-based self-help groups in said story of 29 October?
Snide remarks aside, what it shows is that contrary to a few Hard Truths, the Malay community is not exclusive and in-ward looking. Shouldn’t ST be pointing this out?
One of these days, I must blog on what a M’sian Cina activist is saying: that in M’sia, Malay activists will die to save Chinese and Indians activists from attacks by Malay ultras or the police.
Maybe the purveyor of Hard Truths mixes with the “wrong” Malays? After all, Malay minister Yaacob muttered “worse case scenario” when LKY made his comments about Malays not “mixing”. Indeed his sister was present when LKY made the comments, and she didn’t challenge him did she? Watch the DVD.
*Ya, I’m avoiding the issue of whether Malays in S’pore must be Muslims. Unlike in M’sia, this is not in the constitution. If our constitution avoids the issue, so can I. Anyway it is a verifiable Hard Truth is that every Malay, S’porean or M’sian, I know is a Muslim. So the point is an academic one.
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.
There were two full-page articles in the Sunday Times on Oct 28, 2012 about two cabbies earning $7,000. per month. Since then there’s been plenty in the “cowboy” town about the accuracy of these stories. This piece in TRE has prompted me to share what I’ve learnt about how SPH reports stories.
SunT regularly features the investment “geniuses” of S’pore. They all so smart, always make money. In the past, these stories regularly appeared in ST and, even BT.
Many years ago, I asked people in SPH, editors and reporters, how SPH goes about verifying these tales of investment prowess. The answers were evasive, avoided the issue, when they were answered at all. Often I was ignored.
Only one person, someone who had moved on from SPH, gave me a straight answer. She told me to read the stories carefully. It was always “XXX said he made millions” etc. It never (well almost never) said “XXX made millions’. So it seems that the stories on these investment “geniuses”, were stories based on what they said, not on verifiable facts.
Now go read those SunT pieces again. In the main, it is a straight forward piece of “he said”. No attempt at verification or analysis like like when SPH reports ministerial statements. But this doesn’t mean the SPHreporters and editors are “not professional”: readers are daft. They “have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not”: “O foolish and senseless people”.
“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”
“They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not”.
In the light of the ongoing PSLE debate, I tot I should draw readers attention to this chart.
It is no surprise that our constructive, nation-building, 30-pieces-of silver media did not reproduce this chart. But I’m surprised that our alternate media too did not, despite a very anti-PAP blog being given this (by me).
Netizens seem to think that a media not controlled by the govt will offer better and more sophisticated analysis. These comments from young journalists covering the crisis in Europe indicate that even in a “free” media, the media often does do not explain the social effects of what is happening and, “Often journalists themselves do not know and do not make an effort to understand what is really going on.”
LKY has always defended the PAP’s stance on the media by pointing out that the Rupert Murdoch’s of this world use their media interests for their personal agendas.
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
There are several pieces the last few days that I wanted to respond to. So here are the quotes and links to the pieces and my reactions to them.
These u/m bloggers have got it absolutely right. S’poreans should empower themselves by PM’s NatCon for our own ends, subverting it. Let’s use NatCon constructively to build civil society in our nation.
– My point is that we should stop relying on the government, for them to handhold us all the way; we, as citizens, have the abilities and intelligence to bring something new to the table. Guanyinmao’s Musings
– This is not to say that a national conversation is useless. Instead of criticising it, those of us who care should seize the agenda, put the issues we are concerned about on the table by blogging about it, emailing it to the government ministries and make them public on our blogs, speak to MPs (both opposition and ruling party), organise forums, create a movement. Andrew Loh, Publichouse.sg
In the bad old days, these two bloggers would be detained under the ISA for being too clever by half. But heck, PM’s different. So give him credit for not using the ISA, and for being willing to be generous with our money: spending it to make life more comfortable for ourselves. Teachers, and doctors and other healthcare professions should be happy with their pay rises. GE sooner than later?
Propaganda machine dysfunctional? Or is it juz MediaCorp and its CNA? SPH hasn’t goofed yet? One can only hope.
– So far, out of the 50 people supposedly from all walks of life who were invited to share their thoughts (except dirty ones) with Our Supreme Leader, it has been discovered that more than a handful have applied for membership with the ruling party. New Nation
– National Conversation has rapidly degenerated into ‘Spot the secret PAP member’ contest. Donaldson Tan
Six or seven out of 50 seems a lot, and then there the PA people and family relations. What abt trade unionists? On Wednesday, a picture began circulating on Facebook giving the background of 36 participants. Netizens accused them of being “running dogs” of the PAP.
The above shows how new media makes it difficult for traditional media to be constructive and nation-building.
And while the governing PAP takes seriously the task of using the media to “guide public opinion”, with a friend (or is it a “running dog”?) , in the constructive, nation-building MediaCorp, the PM doesn’t need “cowboy town” bloggers to cast doubts on NatCon. First there was the uninviting blogger Ravi and friends (“because PM had met the bloggers”), then this. What next MediaCorp?
Actually, given that a PAP MP is the MD of the S’pore operation of an int’l PR firm, it’s a bad reflection on that firm’s capabilities that these things can happen. He shouls know better.
But the fact that bloggers focus on the numbers and not on what the PAPpies and friends said, gives the impression that these PAPpies and allies didn’t contribute to the conversation. So why bother abt naming and shaming them, except that it’s a great blood sport, discrediting them and the governing PAP? Now if they had skewed the conversation, then bitch abt their skewing of the conversation, not juz their numbers. Sorry, I no watch television, so no imput there.
It’s private and public LOL!
My avatar commented on Facebook when he read this SDP rant abt Dr Chee being prevented from selling his books at a spot where he was arrested for protesting.: “It’s public space for purpose of “protesting”. It’s private space in terms of selling stuff. I kid you not: law like that LOL. Dr Chee shld go to spot in Raffles City where JBJ used to sell his books. And see what happens. ))))”. AG confirms this view this correct.
Trying to manufacture a controversy to sell more books in a very worthy cause? Plenty of lawyers associated with SDP, so could have advised it on the law. But then they are “trouble makers” like Teo and Ravi. LOL.
He shld stop taking himself so seriously and stop sliming others, this son of the much-loved JBJ. He is doing himself (and memory of dad) no favours by being so childishly petulant regularly. Take his response on Alex Tan, vis-a-vis Mrs Chiam’s classy, high EQ response. She didn’t have a First Class in econs from Cambridge (she’s only a British-trained nurse), but she sure knows how to handle a tricky situation, unlike him.
Funny thing is that despite being so full of himself, he made a fool of self when he publicly got the words of the Pledge wrong at a public rally last yr. And in an ang moh accent too. Govt scholars (including Tony and Hazel) went to posh British unis. They don’t speak in ang moh accent. But he wants to show that he is different? The excuse that he worked many yrs in London, cuts no ice with me. Know someone who went to a really posh (and intellectually demanding) English public school, and then went to work in the City when it was a racist place before finally returning home. Speaks English like LKY.
And talking of LKY, I come back to the tot of throwing people into jail.
It would be the sadness of all the world if Mr Lee were to shy away from doing the one thing which would leave a lasting legacy for all of us, before he eventually passes on. And this one thing is to offer an apology to those whose lives were torn apart by his actions. Andrew Loh, Publichouse.sg
If you read the piece, the examples of “wrongs” that need to be apologised for are things that LKY tot he was right to do. And which many S’poreans at the time gave him the benefit of the doubt for doing (me for instance), if they didn’t outright support him. It is only with hindsight that these decisions seem to many, especially younger S’poreans, to be wrong.
Take the 1987 Marxists’ arrests: liberation theology worried even the Roman Catholic church. The insurgencies in Latin and Central America, partly inspired by liberation theology worried the US government who feared that the USSR was using the insurgencies to attack the USA in a vulnerable area. And if you have heard as I have, a Filipino priest, expound on the need for the church to fight social injustice, one can be reasonably afraid of the do-gooders: that they will be taken advantage of by the USSR and friends.
We now know who won the Cold war. But in 1987, the USSR was the evil empire. And LKY was planning to pass on power.
In this piece, NMP Janice Koh laments the govmin is not funding S’pore’s participation in a very “chim” arts festival: Are we intending to backtrack on the last ten years of work in profiling our best artists internationally? Why bother investing millions of dollars in art schools and scholarships to develop artistic talent each year, into encouraging greater arts participation on the ground, if there is no concerted and consistent effort to create a track for our top creative talent to showcase Singapore’s artistic excellence at the most critical platforms? And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?
As shumeone who knows very little of the arts scene here, and who knows many S’poreans who are like me, when the piece was edited from her Facebook post to an online article in an online magazine (not TRE), she should have:
– given more information on government funding for other show case events: is the Venice do juz one of several, some of many, or the only one (If it was the only one, she should say so. If she doesn’t know, why write about it on an on-line magazine?); and
– told us whether the government consulted with the community. This: “And despite all the rhetoric on wanting to encourage dialogue and engagement, was the visual arts sector and the artistic community consulted at all on this issue before the pull-out?” seemed to imply that there wasn’t. After all, if there was, she would have surely known?
Sadly as it stands, S’porans like myself who are not into the artsy, folksy scene, are left wondering whether this is a “rant”, well intended doubtless, by a member or a friend of the arts community, against an action of the government that she and the arts community does not like? It is certainly no critical analysis of the role of govt spending or priorities in the arts.
This point of view is reinforced by the minister’s comments in parly that the arts community were consulted http://blogs.todayonline.com/forartssake/2012/09/10/mica-responds-to-venice-biennale-issue/. He also gave details of the cost of participation in that chim do.
Janice Koh on her Facebook page or even on her personal blog has every right to rant and rave. But Janice Koh (the “arts” NMP — a title she has not cried off) has no such right when writing in a more formal setting, and a wider audience. She should also bear in mind that society has a view, wrong of course, that actress are “air heads”. So she shouldn’t add to that view.
My wider point, is that us netizens have to do more than rant and rave. We got to share facts.
I was planning to write a totful, analytical piece abt the changes at TOC since the GE of 2011. There had been major changes twice since then in the way TOC was run.
But the front page of TOC (at the time of writing compels) me to put up this short note.
There are nine Main Stories, of which only one is an original piece. Of the rest,
two three are media releases (no, I’m not bitching abt them because they give useful info) but the remaining six five Main Stories are from other blogs. And the original article is not a gd piece of writing. It’s a rant.
And the reprints (two from the same person) are OK reads, nothing v.v good. Today’s Main Story, written by one KennethJ, is not even that recent. It was written shumetime back.
While today’s front page, is extreme, I’ve noticed that ever since Ravi the do-gooder stepped down*, there has been a growing use of “reprints”. In June, I sent an email to a member of the Core Team asking jokingly if KennethJ was paying for ad space or had taken over TOC**. On 2 June and 3 June this year, out of the nine Main Stories TOC carried, he had three articles (I’m not sure if they were reprints from his blog) and one praising him to the skies.***
Is TOC becoming an aggregator? Is it becoming an aggregator out of choice or because of a dearth of original material ?Remember it’s so easy nowadays to start a blog, and aggregators like SGDaily and S’pore Surf draw attention to new bloggers by helping promote pieces they think should be of interest.
And why is the editorial team not writing more themselves? Ravi and before him, Andrew Loh, used to write many of the original articles that appeared in TOC.
*I helped him edit and the new team asked me twice to help edit but never used my edits (their right) and I never ever got another piece to edit from them (fair enough, not wasting the time of both sides if they don’t like my edits)
**Remember he tried to takeover SDP only to fail and look silly, dumb and petulant in the process. Chiam (his mentor) came out looking silly but recovered quickly his credibility. KennethJ never did.
***And between 7 July- 10th July, there were two articles by him (again not sure if they were reprints) and one abt him out of the nine Main Stories.
In this and this, I talked about one reason why moving ministers around was good: the new ministers can “move on” from their predecessors who because they were the ministers who made the decisions or who were otherwise responsible were in denial, or too defensive about their actions, couldn’t take remedial action: flood prevention measures, and public housing and transport problems.
The news in the past week, about a major flood prevention project (see below), reminded me of another reason: a minister who was a dud in another portfolio could turn out to have the skills needed in a new portfolio. VivienB is the person I have in mind. As welfare and sports minister, he was a flop: making fun of the elderly needy, and while refusing to spend more on them overspending wildly on the Kiddie Olympics.
But as water minister he dares to be decisive: approving an expensive but much needed project. PUB’s plans to build a diversion canal and detention tank at the Stamford Canal Catchment to better deal with intense storms. The cost has not been revealed but given that it involves construction work in the Orchard Road area, it will cost serious money.
Well VivianB is not afraid to give it his approval. If Yaacob had been in charge, senior PUB engineers tell me that he would still be thinking about it: asking if they could find cheaper ways of mitigating once in half a century floods that juz happened twice in two months in 2010. After all as an academic, he would say that the events of 2010 could be juz statistical flukes. If so, why spend money unnecessarily based on outliers?
And thinking about it, Yaacob is a good “information” minister. He took his time over introducing a Code of Conduct for bloggers. And now seems to have shelved idea for yhe time being.
We would not have liked it if he had been decisive and autocratic about it. And imagine the egg on the face of the government if he had acted decisively and forced the CoC down the collectively throat of netizens: a CoC that was modelled on the practices of the mainstream media; only for revelations to hit the fan that STOMP used paid “content providers” to pose as citizen journalists, one of them faked a news item, and for the STOMP content team to admit that they are FTs from China?
So PM, let’s move on to yr dad’s policy of moving ministers around and out. No more jobs for life that Goh Chok Tong and you seem to favour.
(Or “LawSocGate: Some light pls)
Lawyer Ravi (as brave, if not braver than lion-hearted JBJ) is planning to take legal action against the Law Soc and Wong Siew Hong, its employee.
And that he is making a complaint to the medical authorities (albeit the wrong one based on his publicist’s report: he should be reporting Dr Fones to the Singapore Medical Council – not Association. The SMA is the doctors’ trade union — with teeth unlike NTUC unions — while SMC is the regulatory body) abt his doctor’s conduct.
I hope he follows through with his plan.*
This is because I think it is important for S’poreans to know:
– Was it true as reported in ST (sister publication of STOMP) that he was involved in an incident at a temple (the police came but did not arrest anyone) the day after he saw Dr Fones and the day before the doctor’s letter was written and leaked?And if so, did this incident this influence the actions of Dr Fones and Wong Siew Hong? And how did they get to know about the incident since it wasn’t reported at the time?
– The circumstances in which Ravi give KennethJ (the son of said JBJ, and a failed politician and attention-seeker) authority to release the letter?*
– Why did said KJ release the letter without giving any it any context? Intentionally saboing his lawyer and ally, or sheer incompetence, or tidak apa, or was that what Ravi wanted initially?*
– Why did Law Society withdraw its initial comment “that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.” I am told that there was a row among Law Soc council members on the initial comment and a request to approve Wong’s actions. Depending on who is telling me, a big minority, or narrow majority, or just some Law Soc council members who were willing to publicly resign and talk about why they resigned forced the Law Soc to withdraw its first statement because they refused to rectify the action of Law Soc staffer.
– Did Wong act on his own initiative, or was he asked to do so by someone higher up in the Law Soc?
Related posting: My view on Ravi’s legal skills http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/waz-petition-ladys-game/
*He already has backtracked a little. After announcing plans to issue a writ against the Law Soc and its employee, he has sent a letter of demand to the Law Soc.
**Ravi wanted his side of the story told because he was afraid that he would be silenced quietly. Unfortunately, KJ, his client and ally, for some strange reason, released the letter, without giving the context of said letter. This made it terrible for Ravi. So Andrew Loh and Richard Wan intervened, with a video of Ravi explaining what had happened etc.
Richard Wan: What actually happened is this. Ravi got the letter after the morning session of the High Court hearing on the by-election case (16th). The details I think is pretty much described in the various media. KJ was there at the hearing. Ravi passed the letter to KJ to put it up online so as to inform the public what has happened. However, KJ did not write up to describe more details what had happened – he simply just put up the letter (ie, no head no tail). Of course, his twitter posting went viral. A TRE reader then alerted me …
… Yes, as explained, putting up the letter alone by itself without any other description or write-up was confusing. Which is why it was taken down since Andrew and myself were going to come up with the full article to explain things from Ravi’s side.
Richard Wan, TRE’s public face, somewhere in the thread here.
(Or “The difference between blogging and the traditional newspaper story”)
Remember when Yaacob was promoting his CoC (Code of Conduct) for the internet, he praised our mainstream constructive media and said they should be exemplars netizens should follow http://atans1.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/two-examples-of-how-st-covers-fts/ .
We now know what he wants us netizens to do: fake news reports using paid content producers like STOMP. His sis is a very, very senior editor at ST, a sister publication of STOMP.
Well I doubt that in 2012, we will hear anymore about his CoC. But next year is another year, and the CoC is not a once in 50-years event.
I was reminded of the above CoC and STOMP’s paid content producers posing as “citizen journalists” when I read this: [T]he traditional newspaper story derives its force and directionality from the man-bites-dog newsiness of the flat content. It’s very difficult to include expert commentary that depletes or diffuses the newsiness, because it sucks the signifying force out of the piece. In contrast, blogging and tweeting are far more flexible and use many other discursive techniques to supply directionality and signifying force, most importantly personalistic tone. You can write a blog post about something utterly un-newsworthy, say the fact that Barack Obama is president of the United States, and make it signify through sheer emotive presence or stylistic technique. But you can’t write a newspaper story about that.
One great reason why netizens shouldn’t be forced to be like a newspaper, even one like the FT or NYT or the Economist, let alone a publication like ST when even the footie news is distorted for the government’s constructive, nation-building agenda of “FTs are betterest” policy.
Read the whole blog posting because it gives great insights on how a newspaper, any newspaper from the NYT to ST and its peers in China and North Korea, operate http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/06/media-rules