Double confirm: Netizens are middle-class elitist tribalists with short attention spans

In Political governance on 22/06/2012 at 6:14 am

Sometime ago I ranted abt how when manual workers and clerks had sex with an underaged FT prostitute, claiming they didn’t know, and were jailed, no-one kicked up a fuss on the internet. But when middle class professionals were charged with a similar offence, netizens rushed to their defence, saying that it was unfair to them because they didn’t know: the gal lied to those that asked. Anyway, she was a prostitute, and the law should not protect people like her. The self-appointed People’s Voice, one TKL, even compared sex with a minor to baking a cake. OK, OK, I exaggerate but juz a little.

I was told, “Oh, no public awareness when these people were charged. Now different leh”. Well last Saturday ST reported that a 60-year old “odd job worker” had been jailed for having sex with an underage FT Vietnamese prostitute.

So far, I have not seen any netizen saying “unfair”. Could it be because he didn’t ask her about her age? Or could it be that netizens don’t read ST especially on a Saturday? Or could it be that because it’s a 60-year old “odd job worker”  (dirty old man), they don’t care? He is not a young, middle-age middle class professional.

Shouldn’t the People’s Voice be standing up or raising questions on the plight of this old man and the others who are not middle class? 

My wider point is that netizens must be more self-aware of their assumptions, prejudices etc when they yack. If they are not aware, it makes it easier for the PAP government to dismiss them as “noise”.  Example: “Turning to the case of the 25-year-old, dubbed the sticker-lady, who was arrested for vandalism, Mr Shanmugam said there are no hard and fast rules on what’s considered art on public buildings. He said the government must look at the consensus of the majority and how the majority would like society to be structured.” He is giving the finger to netizens calling for leniency for her.

They should choose the battles they want to fight. Fighting to change the law on commercial sex with an underage prostitute might be a battle worth fighting (not to me though), but it is not worth fighting for selective justice. Especially when the accused are “one’s kind”.

And once having chosen something to fight abt, be persistent. No more has been heard abt the sex with a minor; nor abt the “sticky lady”. It seems netizens got short attention spans, and are always “moving on” for someone else to yak about. If the PAPpies cotton onto this, they will sit tight with mouths shut until the netizens get tired of posturing and echoing. Maximum period of attention span seems to be two weeks.

Finally if they want to change society, they “must look at the consensus of the majority and how the majority would like society to be structured” as an indication of how hard to push. Stanley Kubrick made films that packed the cinemas and got rave reviews from art-house critics because he knew the art of making movies at the edge of public tastes: they accepted his ideas because they were juz beyond their comfort zone. He didn’t push them deep into their zone of discomfort, juz slightly beyond their comfort zone.

  1. This time, it’s not about the Emperor… its the vocal minority that’s been found wearing nothing but their birthday suits all along…

    One only cares about one’s own kind? Interesting…

    Don’t build HDB flats near my condo!

    Don’t build that hospice and palliative centre near my HDB!

    It’s art! But no stickers outside my flat and spray paint on my private road please!

  2. I think the short attention span bit is unfair… It’s the way things are these days. How long do you expect them to kpkb before everyone feels they are like broken records? But they’ll be back once the DPP formally charges her, and they’ll certainly be back if there is a trial.

    • I hope my post on SamL today proves that one can revisit an issue without sounding like a broken record. It needs playful imagination and some leg work. Juz reacting to the news flow and reading the MSM isn’t enough. Got a few more ideas on how to play more variations on the SamL theme. Remember Bach is famous for his variations on a single theme. The Goldberg variations can strech to over a hr. One CD I have has the players stretch the piece to 70-over minutes.

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