9/28/2006 09:12:00 PM
The PAP's big sacrifice
Have you ever wondered why Singaporeans in general are politically apthetic?
Look no further. The media plays a major role in the dreadful state of political interest among Singaporeans, especially the young.
The Singapore media, if one have not yet realised, is heavily censored by the Singapore government. This gives rise to Singaporeans being not politically informed, which over time leads to political ignorance. The Singapore government's iron grip on the media has lead to the coming of the New Media. The root cause and/ or major culprit behind the rapid rise of the new media is largely due to the heavy censorship of the mainstream media.Young Singaporeans do know that there are missing jigsaws (infomation blackout) in the mainstream media. We are not so ignorant in the first place.
Singaporeans, in a bid to understand the "actual truth", mobilised the new media, like blogs, podcasts and forums to depict the politically incorrect infomation; infomation that the government has purposefully left out in the mainstream media. In a sense, this has created much unhappiness and disappointment among Singaporeans, especially the youths who are much more internet savvy.
Young Singaporeans especially are sick and tired of hearing the news that the government wants them to hear. The PAP government has yet to realise that they do not have the monopoly of views and opinions of all Singaporeans and they are seriously lacking behind in their attempt to monpolise the opinions and viewpoints of young Singaporeans.
The PAP government can't never hope to engage the youths if they consistently block out infomation through national appartus like the media and the ministry of the infomation and the arts. The Ministry of Infomation and the Arts serve the purpose of encouraging freedom of speech and the freedom to transmit infomation, not to block infomation and censor politically incorrect and/ or harmful content.
The government led by PM Lee Heisn Loong must realise the fact that the young has more than one way to access infomation. By restricting infomation that Singaporeans can access through the internet and other forms of media, the Singapore government is in fact making themselves look bad in front of Singaporeans and the international community.Fundamentally, they are questioning the fact that Singaporeans cannot disect infomation individually and is unable to determine for themselves between what is right and sensible and what is wrong and offensive. What a subtle slap on the cheeks of all Singaporeans!
In this case, the PAP government has to make the biggest sacrifice ever since coming to power in 1959. They need to relinquish control of the media and allows it to function and report on an independent basis. If ever this was to happen, it will speak volumes of the humility and honesty of the PAP leadership, a hallmark of a 1st World administration. The PAP leadership has been claiming that they are a special breed of leaders and are part of a 1st World government. It's time to put their words into actions.Youths in Singapore are not puppets in the Mediacorp Drama called Nation Building directed by PM Lee Heisn Loong. We are leading actors and actress having a stake in the eventual success of this ongoing drama.
9/26/2006 02:32:00 PM
I can't really hear you . . . .
Is this the PAP's attitude in its communication and/ or discussions with young Singaporeans? If the PAP continue to adopt this kind of arrogant attitude in its handling with the youths, in no time, the youths will climb up the pillar and topple the state with its overwhelming force and might.
9/26/2006 01:36:00 AM
Gutanomo @ Suntec
Did I see wrongly or is it really true that the US Government moved the entire Gutanamo Bay to Suntec City, Singapore?
Let's find out !
9/26/2006 12:23:00 AM
Dodging Public Opinion
During the last elections, the use of podcasts, internet blogs and internet forums for political profit during the period of campaigning was essentially banned.
"The streaming of explicit political content by individuals during the election period is prohibited under the Election Advertising Regulations. A similar prohibition would apply to the videocasting or video streaming of explicitly political content."
Dr. Balaji Sadasivan, April 02, 2006.
The 2006 GE gave the electorate a glimpse of the might of the New Media; essentially, the use of Podcasts, Internet Blogs, Forums to communicate ideas, opinions and even policies. The New Media provided an alternative choice to the mainstream media, practically, the New Media allows the electorate to catch a glimpse of news, opinions and mindsets that were censored by the mainstream media ruthlessly.
In the aftermath of the 2006 General Elections, the issue of the New Media was constantly on the mind of the ruling party, the People's Action Party(PAP). From my perspective, the PAP was not prepared for the emergence of podcasts, internet blogs and forums during the campaigning period, thus the ban on using internet media as a tool for campaigning. Even after the elections, the PAP was clueless on how to tackle the challenges brought about by the emergence of the new media.
The urge to censor and keep out inappropriate infomation (infomation that is deterimental to the interests of the PAP) on the internet is especially tempting; provided the means and ways are available to the government. Logically, this is usually the practice of a government that rules with an iron fist. In this instance, the Third Reich, U.S.S.R, and more recently the military rulers in Thailand pops up in my mind.Thus, it is of utmost importance that the PAP do not try to control the flow of infomation, the exchange of ideas and even personal opinions in the internet-sphere. Furthermore, I would also like to urge the PAP not to interfere in the mainstream media.
They could start by diluting their influence in the mainstream media; especially in the Straits Times and Channelnewsasia.
Listed below are 2 examples where infomation and news on the mainstream media were restricted.
a. Daily newspaper Today sacks blogger “Mr brown” after government criticism
b. A complete media blackout on the rally march conducted by the SDP during the IMF-World Bank event in Singapore.
- SDP's Rally March demanding for Transparency and Accountability - Video
Let me explain the reasons behind my appeal for the government to open up the mainstream media and not even think of trying to censor the New Media.
1. The PAP should not be seen as working in complete contrary to the open society that they envision and proclaim.
2. Again, Singaporeans are living in a democracy and we, the people of Singapore on the 6th of May 2006, elected into parliament a democratic government, not a dictatorship.
Right now, the PAP might be thinking that I'm being too idealistic and the above 2 reasons are not practical and doesn't hold much truth.
If this is the case, let me propose a more sensible reason: The PAP has been eagerly positioning themselves mainly in the form of a publicity campaign to tap on the viewpoints and opinions of young Singaporeans. And it ever the PAP is to censor and control infomation, ideas and views on the New Media, it would constitute a colossal backlash. This only further reinforces the fact that the ruling PAP government is not interested at all in getting feedback from the ground. Opinions in forums, blogs and even podcasts are original and as raw as you can get. True and Frank to the core. These constructive criticisms and praise are what the PAP need to move the society and economy forward and maintain the unity of all races in Singapore(PAP 2006 Election Manifesto: "Staying Together, Moving Ahead")
In the first place, if the PAP only want to hear stuffs that is pleasing to the ear and eye, then I would suggest them to busk in the literature of the Straits Times and stay tuned to CNA all round the clock, and stop wasting public funds on creating a feedback unit, organising forums on TV and in schools. Start to subscribe to Reuters, International Herald Tribune for all PAP officials?
A better appreciation of all form of diverse ideas and opinions would not only generate better policies and thus enhance its electoral chances, but it also goes a long way in being recognized as a tolerant and amiable government; hallmark of a 1st World government.
Looking at the way things are going, the PAP is pretty far behind in the race to be a 1st World government, something which they aren’t really used to.
9/10/2006 09:53:00 PM
From my own personal perspective, the entire fiasco of not allowing professional and experienced(peace-loving of course!) civil society representatives into Singapore for the IMF/World Bank Meeting can be sum up in a simple phrase: Chain Reaction
The Singapore Government is basically fearful of the chain reaction that may occur in the psychology of Singaporeans, especially young Singaporeans, in the aftermath of allowing demostrations on the streets of Singapore.
Singaporeans, have fortunately or unfortunately been brought up in a peaceful, quiet and obedient society, whereby all forms of civil disobedience is considered taboo. Contrast Singapore with mature democracies like South Korea and Taiwan.Thus, it is of utmost importance to the government that the oppressed populace does not come into direct contact with displays of civil disobedience as this may very well trigger of the rebellious nature in Singaporeans, expressing their opinions and viewpoints in a democratic and acceptable manner; in the form of demostrations, sit-in, vigil sessions. To be fair to the government, they are insulating Singaporeans from "negative and dark" behaviour, behaviour that may in the middle to long term, threaten the PAP's stranglehold on power.
Remember what MM Lee said when Singapore first became independent? Flashback to 1965."Now I LEE KUAN YEW Prime Minister of Singapore, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM AND DECLARE on behalf of the people and the Government of Singapore that as from today the ninth day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and sixty-five Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society. " Singaporeans, especially young Singaporeans (after seeing what civil disobedience is all about) who are constantly seeking outlets to express their views and opinions might be more inclined to try to use methods of civil disobedience to make their views heard; which is consistent with democratic practices. This type of behaviour will be replicate among the entire population, leading to a chain reaction, often serving as agents of change.
This is something that the government will not want to see happening. This is a first step towards the re-politicisation of Singaporeans, and eventual politcal re-awakening and political maturity among the populace. Constantly, over the past 41 years, through the mass media and other forms of restrictions, the PAP has been trying to prevent or strangle such movements at its source. By allowing acts of civil disobedience to occur on the streets of Singapore, the policy of de-politicising Singaporeans might possibly backfire against the PAP in the future, and it constitute damaging party interests.
Sometimes, I do wonder as the people's representatives, which is of higher and urgent priority to the PAP government; national interests or party interests?Thus, I boldly put this across: The Singapore government's grip on power is so so tight and complete that any indication of a possible tentacle being knocked of is being met with maximum fear and government reaction, to the extent of damaging its international standing, all in the name of holding on to power and providing the best for all Singaporeans.Is this the kind of government that you have voted for? Is this the kind of government which claimed that they are of 1st World standards?You decide !
9/10/2006 09:22:00 PM
CSO = JI ? ?
Refering to the Joint Statement From World Bank And IMF On CSO Participation In The Annual Meetings In Singapore,"In the interest of good governance, transparency and accountability, we urge the Government of Singapore to allow all properly accredited civil society representatives to attend our meetings. We have consistently opposed any restrictions on full participation and peaceful expression of views. Open dialogue with civil society is also important for the effective operation of our institutions."
So is the Government of Singapore
trying to say that civil society representatives are equvialent to terrorists?
Despite the amount of economic revenue and benefits that Singapore would draw from the IMF/World bank event, Singapore would also become a laughing stock in the international community. Such a superficial and highly immature decision of the Singapore government would have severe repercussions on Singapore's prestige and standing in the international community. Singapore, in the future would find it even more diffcult to earn hosting rights to any international events.
Will the IMF/World Bank meeting very well be the last top-bill international meeting to be held in Singapore for the next 20 years?This above decision of the Singapore Government is once again a sharp contradiction to the PAP's government's claim of good governance, transparency and accountability. And it is of the utmost disrespect to civil society representatives by indirectly accusing these professionals who are extremely peace-loving and experienced in their duties and responsibilities , as terrorists.
Is the Singapore Government too paranoid of what? This above decision blaffed me.What utter and blatant disrespect for fellow citizens in the globalised world.
These people are properly accredited civil society representatives NOT Jemaah Islamiyah Terrorists! Is it so difficult to diffentiate between these two different diverse groups with different aims and objectives. Certainly, it's misjudgement of the top order.
Singaporeans, it's finally time again to look at how 1st World the PAP administration claim to be. Such behaviour and blatant disregard for constructive and diverse opinions speak volumes of the incapability of the Singapore Government to compare itself to mature and respectable systems of government in the world.
Thus, it is of little wonder that such behaviour is repeated time and over again in Singapore politics. The government has never been confortable in allowing its people to freely expresses its views and opinions contrary to Article 14 (I) of the Singapore Constitution where all citizens is accorded the right to free speech and expression. The government believes that they have a monopoly over all forms of constructive and feasible ideas that will contribute to the development of the nations.
Now, do you consider such behaviours as a characteristic of an arrogant government? I will leave it up to you to decide.
9/06/2006 08:01:00 PM
Hard to say I am sorry
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Is it so diffcult for the PAP to admit that
1. The 2-child policy has failed
2. The education system has cultivated an elitist society
3. They have been shifting the goal posts time and time over again to stay in power.
4. They have been allowing and supporting the exploitation of the populace by the transport companies every year. (Singapore is the only country in the world that transport companies can raise transport fares on a yearly basis; with a dateline set for them to hand in their proposals.)
Excuses and countless excuses to account for their deficiencies in the various policies over the years.Is it so diffcult for the PAP to apologise to the people that some of the policies over the years has failed?"Dear Singaporeans, the 2-child policy that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, initiated in the 1970s has failed and Singapore is right now facing a population crisis, and there is now no choice but to allow foreign talents to come into Singapore to make up for the lost numbers that the 2 child-policy has brought about."
From my perspective, such a statement would never ever be uttered by any PAP policymakers; not to mention Lee Kuan Yew himself.Is it so diffcult to say that I'm sorry?
It's high time that the PAP adopt a more humble stance. It's high time for the PAP to recognise the fact that they do have the monopoly over all the ideas that is contributory to the nation. It's high time to place national interests over party interests.
Let me explain why: By adopting a humble and respectable stance, they are actually establishing a more personal relationship with Singaporeans and removed the stigma that politics is for intellectual people, the rich and wealthy. Essentially, politics is for you and me. By making politics more appealing through its attitudes and behaviour, more people, especially the young would be more interested and willing to join politics, with PAP being their top consideration. In this sense, this actually aids their renewal process. (Isn't it an irony that while the PAP championed a policy of self-renewal, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew is still proclaiming that he will still be contesting in the next election?)
With due respect to MM Lee, It's high time that he takes a back seat and relinquish the running of the country and daily affairs of the state to the new generation of leaders.In fact, sorry seems to be the hardest word (Doesn't this gives you an indication of how 1st world our current government is)