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The Digital Divide

Posted by inspir3d on July 14, 2006

Cobalt Paladin has graciously agreed to allow the article below to be reproduced in full on the IS. IS requested that this article be reproduced in full because it really encapsulates the spirit of what IS is all about.

This is the original source

What is a politician? In my own understanding, a politician is one who is well-versed in the art and science of getting votes. That is a skill, some even say a gift. A politician needs to “guess” and “feel” the sentiments and psyche of the voters. This is not the definitive dictionary meaning but my own interpretation by looking at the world events.

There were about 2 million voters in the last General Election (GE) and 66.6% voted for PAP which means about 1.3 million voters of Singapore voted for them and likely these people’s main source of information still comes from mainstream media. As surprising to you as it may sound, there is still a huge class of the population who don’t surf the web, let alone read blogs, and that is a fact.

With that in mind, we can relook at the recent press releases and statements by K. Bhavani, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan and Dr. Lee Boon Yang and you can now “read” between the lines. The statements were all geared towards the voters who are offline. You can now understand why Bhavani claims that Mr. Brown is “hiding” behind a pseudonym – the offline people really don’t know who he is; Dr. Balakrishnan made references that mainstream media is not Internet chatroom and Dr. Lee also made references that if Mr. Brown had limited his article to his blog, it would have been dismissed as Internet chatter.

These statements clearly indicated their stand and view about the netizens.

Did anyone expect Dr. Lee to say something different in tone and views? I didn’t. Dr. Lee being a member of the same party and government, all members would have to project a concerted front in dismissing the online fringe population.

If you look at the stats of well-known bloggers, they get about daily visitors numbering in the thousands, if not less. Even our princess of bloggers, who is ranked 99 (at this moment) in Technorati, received 16,486 visitors per day at her peak (that’s assuming all her visitors are Singaporeans), which forms only a small percentage of the 2 million voters. I CAN imagine the number of visitors of popular blogs that comment on politics are getting. So all along, the online “chatter” has been the voice of the vocal online minority as compared to the silent offline majority.

Let’s not forget that the voting population is made up of people of different generations. In the last GE, Singapore has voted and the results is the “will of the people”. Surprising to us, there are people who agrees that opposition wards should not get the upgrading. We may not agree with their views but we have to respect the results.

If you are a clever politician, would you spend your time to engage the online views? So can you understand the “responses” now? So what do we do? Stop blogging since it seems futile?

No. We continue.

We need to continue to engage the growing population who are going online. We need to encourage them to have independent thinking. Let the people think for themselves. Let the Internet present an alternative source of information to the mainstream media. The people has become more sophisticated. We want to be engaged. Nobody wants to be opinion leaders. We just want our views to be heard, argued, debated etc. We want to be part of a REAL inclusive society, not in theory but in REALITY. Yes, it may take a lot of effort for the government to engage the citizens but that is the changing face brought by globalisation, ignore that, the world will pass you by. New political parties successfully grasping the changing faces and trends, will gain entry to the parliament. The world is already changing so much that we’ve Web 2.0 at our doorsteps. In time to come, I believe, Singapore is also ready for both Parliament 2.0 and Government 2.0.

If the current government chooses not to engage, people who are able, capable and mobile, the future pillars and driving force of Singapore (the country, not the government) will move and plant their roots in other countries. Never forget that we are formed by a migrant society. The migrant blood is still within us. It has been made easier by globalisation and the flattening of the world. Before long, too many may have left and it wouldn’t matter any more.

Forget about “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”. Nobody should be afriad of anyone. We want a genuine inclusive and consultative society, so no one should be afraid of anyone.

If we force our views and opinions onto anyone, we are no different and we become them. So we should just present our views in a peaceful manner, engage the people to think for themselves. We are not looking for revolt; we are not looking for matyrs. We are looking for the betterment of our country and society.

But change takes time. Be patient. I’m a Singaporean. I’ll stay and do my part
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Submitted by Cobalt Paladin


8 Responses to “The Digital Divide”

  1. “There were about 2 million voters in the last General Election (GE) and 66.6% voted for PAP which means about 1.3 million voters of Singapore voted for them and likely these people’s main source of information still comes from mainstream media.” – You seem to be implying that the 1.3mm voters of the PAP did not read between the lines of the propaganda the government fed them – or if I were to take you another way, you might even be implying that the 1.3mm voters weren’t intelligent enough to read between the lines?

    I wasn’t amongst those 1.3mm voters, but that’s only because I’m not in Singapore, and thus didn’t participate in the elections. But if I did, my vote would stand with the whites. Yes, the government does sometime employ questionable tactics to quell their opponents. While I do not agree with their methods, and some of their other policies, I do believe that our government has done a good job on all other fronts. At the end of the day, if I were to sit down and think, who would I want to lead my country? What are the qualities of the leaders I look for to lead my country; what are the important issues – bread and butter issues, if you will – I should be thinking about regarding the future of my country… to be honest, the freedom of speech doesn’t rank very high in my list of priorities.

    While I don’t disagree with your primary proposition, I do take some issue with your implication that the majority of offline readers are blind to the government’s sweet talk.

  2. I think you misunderstood me. I’m addressing the queries posed by the online populace who had wondered why the tone of the rebuttal was so strong and claiming Mr. Brown was an unknown.

    To the online populace, Mr. Brown is a well known online personality. But to the normal man-on-the-street, many don’t know who Mr. Brown (a pseudonym) is. We, the online populace, were the ones who need to read between the lines. The response was directed to the offline populace. We need to understand the context and perspective of the response.

    In no way did I claim that the 1.3 million voters weren’t intelligent enough.

    If you go by the online views and discussions, it seem to imply that majority of the populace are not happy with the government. If that’s the case, why did 66.6% of the people voted for the current government? I’m postulating that the online views happen to belong to the vocal minority in a grand scheme of things. So we have to respect the results of the GE, which is the “will of the people”.

    I’m also not saying that the people who voted for the PAP (both online and offline) are blind. I also didn’t say in my article that the government sweet talk.

    What I’m saying is that there are 66.6% of the populace who don’t share our views so we should continue to engage them by discussion and dialogue. We share with them our views and let the people decide for themselves.

  3. Erm… was my English that bad?

  4. InSpir3d said

    agrainofsand you’re one of the few bloggers out there who openly defends ‘the whites.’ it would be great if you wrote more about criticisms directed towards the government that u feel strongly about so that we can have a pro-white point of view (in contrast to the majority of blog articles critical of the govt)

  5. the brotherhood said

    “If you look at the stats of well-known bloggers, they get about daily visitors numbering in the thousands, if not less. Even our princess of bloggers, who is ranked 99 (at this moment) in Technorati, received 16,486 visitors per day at her peak”

    I think you need to research further on how stat counters really work. A common misconception is they reflect the number of people visiting a site, that is not true.

    I dont wish to elaborate further on this point, but if you want me to boost the stat count here by 10,000 in a flash. Pls let us know, it can be arranged quite easily.

    Second point is this, no one knows who is this Mr Brown – this idiot appears to be a legend in his own mind and makes all sorts of spurious claims abt being a blogger who reflects the singaporean POV.

    If that is the case, how come none of us have ever heard of him bfr till the MICA saga? The truth is simply this, he is an unknown to most singaporeans, wired or otherwise. Don’t take my word for it, go and ask anyone “who is Mr Brown?” and after a while even you would be convinced, no one knows him!

    When an unknown goes around writing all sorts of nonsense poking fun at serious issues. It presents an unusual set of problems for both the authorities and readers.

    Both dont know where he is coming from. You may know him as a satirist, but the same cannot be said of the 99% of singaporeans who do not know of him.

    This begs the question, was the MICA response directed at the 99% of the singaporeans or to ppl like you and me? I leave you to make that judgement yourself.

    Only before you make a decision remember this – if you are wondering why the government doesnt bother clamping down on bloggers and their so called anti establishment activities – it is the same reason why organized criminals dont bother abt two drunks fighting in the streets – they are both inconsequential.

  6. lecturer said

    Makes alot of sense. So you all believe it was a statistical decision. Tell me just a few things. Why is the brotherhood so afraid of the govt regulating cyberspace? What are you people do in the internet right now that we can really see? Thanks

  7. lecturer said

    What I do not understand about the brotherhood is why do I get this very strong impression all of you are politically bo chap. Don’t you believe everyone of us plays a role in shaping and molding our political, social and spiritual destiny?

    Another thing how does your game differ from other rp games. I am new to gaming and from what I gather for every online commercial game, there are actually 10 underground games.

  8. sphgirl said

    The brotherhood, can you share with us what is your mission or goal here is.

    You speak as if you represent the others.

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