THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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Why I Would Like to Leave

Posted by inspir3d on September 21, 2006

It’s been a while since the last IS Opinion piece. This piece really struck a chord in me, and I hope it strikes a chord in you as well.

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Why I Would Like to Leave, by Kitana

Before I went to Canada for a year, I had to go for a medical check-up. During that check-up, the doctor told me that I would love Canada. And he had said that most of the people he knew that went to Canada, either never came back; or when they did, they’d returned to Canada shortly after. Few ever stayed in Singapore.

At the time, I wondered why. I don’t anymore.

The government asks us why we leave. They calls us quitters and deserters, for leaving our country, our homeland, for some other place that we perceive to be greener pastures. Why leave Singapore, where we rank tops for good governance (save for voice and accountability, where we scored a low of 38.2% this year), where we are so clean and safe and secure, and where we are so efficient?

The fact of the matter is, that there are people who will give up all of the above, for more freedom.

I was happy in Canada. Sure, it was expensive, and taxes were a killer. With a 14% combination of GST and PST on all consumer items, and income taxes hitting a high of 40%; it was definitely difficult to make ends meet for someone who did not work there. And of course, on days where the buses went on strike, I’d be stuck in campus and not be able to go to town. Also, we did have a bit of a furor when Parliament was dissolved late last year, only to have the Conservatives voted in after 13 years under the Liberals. Oh and before I forget, yes it was definitely more inefficient. Expect to wait when you queue up to pay for something; the cashier will inevitably engage everyone before you as to how their day was (and their kids, and their parents, and what they think of the weather; etc). Expect to wait for the buses because the bus driver might have stopped somewhere to grab a cup of Starbucks while doing his rounds (yes, with passengers in the bus). Oh, and how can I forget the drug problem: you can get drugs anywhere off the street if you know where to look; marijuana is about as commonplace as cigarettes and alcohol.

But for all the possible gripes that I might have about that place, the benefits far outweighed all the detriments (if you even saw them as that) combined. Firstly, we were really free. I’m not just talking about freedom with regard to political freedom to vote, to protest, to strike, to demonstrate, or to have a point of view; but also real freedom of the mind and the body. You can think differently, dress differently, live differently. Society is inclusive.

The city that I lived in had a whole mix of races and nationalities. I’ve met everyone from locals to the Koreans, Japs and Chinese, Iranians, Iraqis, Philippinos, Latin Americans, French, Africans, Indians etc etc etc. It’s as much a cultural mix, if not more so, than Singapore. And the best part is: everyone more or less gets along. There is no need for the implementation of “Racial Harmony Day” or racial quotas for HDB flats. Everyone just does – because prejudice just does not exist there.

And it wasn’t just about race and religion; you could be a conservative or a liberal, be it cerebral or waist-down. It didn’t matter. Such criteria was just not a measure of your worth. You could be thin or fat. It didn’t matter too. People weren’t as image-conscious. You could walk down the streets dressed in goth punk outfits with multiple piercings in your face and people would still talk to you normally, and not avoid you. And in Village area, men held hands with men; they kissed on buses, and no one even batted an eye lid.

In Singapore, can you comprehend this inclusiveness? The majority of Singaporeans are notably close-minded and inflexible. Even if a straight couple were to kiss on the bus, there would be chitters regarding the offensiveness of public displays of affection. When the gay community wishes to throw a party, they get turned down because the overly-conservative majority decides that this is a justification for the prevention of AIDS. Singapore is one of the few countries, if not the only, where drug trafficking attracts a mandatory death penalty, such that the courts do not even have the discretion to pardon the poor 18 year old Nigerian who became a drug mule without him realizing the folly of his error.

If you decide to stage a demonstration, you require a permit that will always be turned down on the vague notions of security; if you support a party other than the one in power, you risk getting asked for your particulars and photographed. If you hold a view other than the one in the local papers (which is so effectively-controlled, all for the sake of “the national interest”), you are forced to keep that view to yourself. If you attempt to post that view up on a platform, such as a blog, you might be sent a warning letter especially with a threat of defamation. If you decide to print out that view and distribute it on a phamplet, you may get investigated under s 151 of the Penal Code. Oh, and you can’t do podcasts with political content, unless you are the party in power.

In Singapore, besides the overwhelming humidity, there is a notorious lack of personal space. There are too many people in Singapore. It’s so difficult to find a place which isn’t swarming with people. The roads are full of cars, the buses are packed to full capacity at various times of the day; Raffles Place strikes me as a factory churning out goods as people chope seats with tissue packets on busy lunch hours. And everyone is always in a rush. There is always this inane need to do something, be somewhere, get caught up in this inexplicable rat race, and just work and work and work until you succeed… and then realize that you don’t even know what the fuck ‘success’ really means.

The stress is crazy; the pressure unfightable. It starts from the time we enter primary school; the education system does prepare us for the real world in that sense – we get exposed to pressure cooker type stress and a level of competition that makes having a life outside of academia almost impossible, unlike in other countries whose universities also produce Nobel laureates. Our parents push us, our schools push us; society pushes us… And our goal is this:

Money. Money and the economy.

In Singapore, this is the definition of the good life. Some people may subscribe to religion as what defines a good life, particularly in reaction to the imposition of money as the new god; but for the most part, Singaporeans are a consumeristic and materialistic lot. So many girlfriends see the Mango and Zara sales as the defining point of their lives; or believe that sipping lychee martinis at Zouk Wine Bar is the epitome of class. Everyone wants to get more money, buy more items, be more powerful; be it career success or material possession, this is all that most Singaporeans dream of and spend their entire lives clamouring towards.

And this works great for Singapore, because all of Singapore’s objectives are geared towards only 1 thing and one thing alone: money. Or in the case of this country, the economy. Everything we do, we do it for the sake of our economy. We have no minimum wage; we have no protection against the ills that globalization necessarily brings us. We have no protection for the rising income equality (all we have is an article in the newspapers telling us to disbelieve the Gini-coefficient), we have no solutions for our elderly except to either dump them in Johor or Batam, or to encourage our young to bring more babies into this pressure cooker life.

Someone told me that this was not a bad thing. Because we have different races and religions, the economy is the one thing that can unite us. I told him that he was a mere subject of years of successful indoctrination. He talked like just another average Singaporean.

“Money unites us.”

In a country where I would like to live, it is not money, but dreams that unite. Dreams that transcend the material; dreams of ideals of maybe caring for a family; caring for the environment within which we live; dreams of bettering oneself, or dreams or learning for the sake of learning; dreams to be whatever I want to be; that unite people.

In Singapore, it is difficult to dream. Difficult to dream of anything beyond the material. I don’t wish for a future where I am stuck in my dead end job wondering what the fuck I want in my life. I don’t want a future where I die to myself, murder my idealism and my dreams of being different, simply because ‘different’ is a bad word in Singapore.

And because Singapore is not a place where such dreams flourish, Singapore is just not a place where I envision myself realizing these dreams.

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106 Responses to “Why I Would Like to Leave”

  1. geneticthinker said

    beautifully written. what a fresh breath of air compared to all the mindless rubbish spout out by the local daily. God bless you Kitana. Live for your dreams because life is not worth living without dreams.

  2. Zan said

    Indeed Singapore needs to be a place where dreams can flourish.

    Singapore is one strange place where so much emphasis is placed on money that many Singaporeans go about with no ‘real’ aim in life. In some of the countries I’ve been, money is of the least concern for their citizens. It could be that these Singaporeans are living the only dream they know — more money.

    Life is certainly more than just material (money). Long live dreams and nice essay Kitana!

  3. PC Lee said

    Kitana can talk like that because her future and retirement is taken care of by the Canadian government, no doubt through the high taxes she pays. What she needs to thank is god for a resource-rich Canada. Talk to Singaporeans and what they really want is to have a good job and provide a good education for their children and save enough for their retirement. We do voice our protests – not through meaningless riots and protests – but through our votes and our free speech.

  4. Clarence said

    Wow, I really have never thought of it this way. In all my 16 years as a Singaporean, i have always been put through what u call the “pressure cooker system”, I always thought, maybe this is it, maybe thats what im suppose to do as a Singaporean, to be the support pillars of this homeland. I do not know if its naitivity or what not, but it sort of got me to run this ever competitive rat race. Maybe its time for me to rethink what I really call a home.

  5. CH Lim said

    A nice simple book for all to read & think further about the topic.

    “Success Trap”

    sorry that I had forgotten the author’s name as I gave the book to a lost friend some years back.

  6. Malcolm Florence said

    Singapore is a small country. How big can it ever get?. Yeah, what else can it introduce in a place where there’s no land?. Don’t be surprised there will always be some space that can be used. We’ll be pack so close together to the point someone’s **** is going to shoved into another person’s ****. Ladies and Gentleman, that’s racial harmony for you.

  7. Jacob Leeroy said

    The impetus to migrate (or the inertia) is a push-pull balance that every country universally faces. By thinking its purely a singaporean issue is to be as closeminded as those who are criticized as being frogs in the proverbial wells.

  8. Joshua said

    I am living and working in Australia for a few years now. To me, the line between a Singaporean and an Australian has blurred. Perhaps, it is because I stop questioning or justifying myself.

    My existence, whereever I am, is more important.

    Perhaps it is due to the freedom of an Australian to live anywhere in the world they like and still consider themselves Aussies. I can still “return” to Singapore to visit family, etc.
    I have a choice here, Australia recognise dual-citisenship and it benefits Australia to recognise the age of human and skills mobility.

    I think the idea of “leaving one country” is in a way, quite Singaporean, because of the narrow focus drawn by the politicans for their agenda.

    Perhaps, I am living in a lucky country, where one do not measure life with material well-being. Many Singaporeans settled in Australia, then left Australia again, disappointed by what they see. Some of these people find themselves in a quandary, because having seen Australia intimately, the Singapore they imagine is no longer the one they left behind.

    Utimately, a Singaporean who chose to “leave” Singapore should have a few tips to help achieve his or her dream.
    1. If you hate or dislike Singapore and as result, leave Singapore, you will not like your new adopted country. Leave Singapore happily. Say bye-bye to the suckers who run the country like a profit-maximising corporation.

    2. Look beyond the surface. The grass if not always greener on the other side. Have a realistic expectation of the country you are settling and recognise the points that will help you to thrive. Australia is beautiful because it is imperfect and human-oriented. We have our share of problems, but that is part of life.

    At the end of the day, the best words you will ever hear is when your kids (after visiting Singapore) came around and say “Thanks for bringing us to Australia”

  9. senior citizen said

    I am 58 and still yearning to leave this family controlled country.

    I have had enough of the old guard’s theaterics and hyprocrasy. We have supported the ruling regime because in the past they promised a brighter and prosperous future. Nothing has changed for us. We are still paying the high costs of living and big debts to HDB. Headaches created by PAP to ensure we all work till we die.

    It all looks good on the outside, but on the inside people are struggling. Because Government refuses to share its wealth with the people.

    What the ruling regime gives to you free today, they will take it back in higher utility, transport and GST charges. I expect one day GST will be 20% (guarantee). The regime will use this new avenue to increase their ill-gotten treasury. Its just like COE. Easy money for them – while we sweat it out.

  10. Crawldaddy said

    Hmm.

    A case in point: I’m currently studying in a local tertiary institution as a prospecting product designer. I would say that I foresee myself leaving this country not only due to the points mentioned by Kitana for the same reason why Singaporeans are so ‘pressure-cooked’.

    Money would drive me to seek for greener pastures abroad; money would drive me for better job opportunities.

    But my envisionment is not quite as narrow-minded as what people would label as ‘naive and shallow’ because I have had the priviledge to travel to many countries, and my expectations would be realistic.

    A country such as singapore can only be defined by its people.. and I guess it’s up to us individually to shape our own destinies instead of having to be mentally crippled by a higher power.

    Cheers,

    Crawldaddy

  11. poh said

    I have lived in Canada myself and I agree with whatever you say that is marvelous about that country. However…

    Canada is a land blessed with natural resources. Just look at the map and see how big they are. Think of what that land can do. Crops – Canada is a leading exporter of grain; Water – all the polar ice caps belong to Canada; Electricity – when the snow melts, they generate electricty enough to sell to the US. And then consider their small population in relation to the resources. Canada is blessed. Singapore is not. That is a fact.

    In any case, Canadian immigration policy is very strict. They will not take someone like me. I’m happy you managed to migrate there. You are the lucky few.

    BUT, while I agree with you that Singaporean society is materialistic and directionless, I would like to point out that society is only made up of people like you and me. If you choose to let society dictate your life, then your own mental constructs, your own chains bind you. The truth is, you were always free to pursue whatever path in life you wanted, if you were willing to measure success in your own way. To say that Singaporean society did not allow it but Canadian society does is simply to pass the blame on to an intangible entity. To say that Singapore demands that you be rich, but Canada allows you to be poor is just plain silly. You were absolutely free to be poor in Singapore if only you allowed yourself to be. If moving to Canada helps you free yourself from your own chains, then I’m happy for you. But perhaps you only feel free there because nothing binds you there?

    Oh. And about the government, well… that’s another matter. I half agree and half disagree. But I do admit they are pretty dem pushy.

  12. john cheo said

    It is disheartening to hear such a considered and calculated response from someone, who in her own subconsciousness will still regard herself as a citizen of Singapore, decrying the state of things in spore.

    Undoubtedly, I have to thank the author for providing a refreshing insight into multi-faceted cause and effect of ‘quitting’. However, our principles and take on the issue abt this whole ‘justified emigration’ clash fundamentally.

    My overarching point, which i hope surfaces and effaces through all the fog of vocab and logical reasoning and argueing, is that when someone like the author bemoans of the sad state of thing in spore, or any other country for that matter, he or she must confront this thought: “will i only make the conscious choice to love, and subsequently contribute to, my country when it is in a perfect order of things? or will i, due to historical and emotional ties, be above myself to accept and embrace the perhaps sometimes inperfect state of things and from there, create some form of conviction to try and change things, no matter the odds?”

    If the answer from the author will be the former, then i guess we are all done for. Singapore is just heading and plummeting into a fathomless ocean of vanquished aspirations and hopes for the 4.4 million breathing human on this land. If the answer will be the latter, then alas! I shall also look toward the future of this country which God and nature has placed me in with a new found injection of hope and confidence. For only when the sons and daughters of this land stop comparing the standards of other country, esp western states with countless contrasting social norms and idiosyncrasies, and start effecting change with purposeful projects and initiatives, will spore evolve into what our own people had envision for in an ideal country to live, work, fall in love, give birth, start a family, grow old and retire.

    it is definitely novel to hope for the freedom to live free spiritedly prevails in our country, esp against a backdrop of such a novel canadian experience and exposure. but the inevitable pragmatic and logical question is, with such conflicting and different historical roots and foundings, is it ever possible for spore to achieve, on all fronts, the same development experienced by countries as old as canada or america? isnt it abit too nonsensically idealistic to clamour for spore to contain and tolerate whatever idiosyncratic norms of societies which have evolved through centuries of self identity and awareness? and spore shall never develop such a beautiful state of things if the citizens, esp well read and travelled on like the author, calculatedly choose to robustly defend her argument and viewpoint, ignoring the very fact that at this milestone of spore’s history if citizens like her choose to let spore rot culturally and emotionally because they have already done their comparisons and drawn their conclusions, spore will indeed be nothing but a functioning island republic forever being only economically-driven and motivated.

    it is time to stop comparing, and start constructing the ideal country we want generations ahead of us to grow up in for at the end of the day, we can intellectual disown this country and all it means to us;those childhood days and schooling times but we’ll only be fooling ourselves if we ever claim to be able to disconnect fully with all this country means to us.when emotions are thrown into the equation,things never become so clear cut.i love this country,for i know this is where i’ll strive hard in,achieve excellence and success of my own defination and not compelled and imprison by whatever society’s norms are,albeit this journey is a hard one.but at least i know i wont lie to myself on the inside that hooray,i’ve exposed all the flaws of this terrible society i live in and have made a wise and smart choice to leave it to rot.for i know it wont bring me true satisfaction and joy to know that instead of trying my utmost to play my role well to change the country,i’ve in essence decided to abandone it.

    majulah singapura! ((:

    contact ilovekelis@gmail.com

  13. david343 said

    Kitana is not comparing or neither complaining, what she says is just what we do not want to admit it openly but silently agree on. Kitana is more brave and courageous than many Singaporeans who believe they can change the system but then actually do nothing and hope someone else will change it. To these Singaporean who talk “big” and dream “big” of changing Singapore not by themselves but by someone else, I say to these Singaporean => “Wakeup your idea”. If it can be changed, it will have been changed decades ago !!! What happened now is just chicken waiting for another chicken to take action and thus create a deadlock for not doing anything at all since both are waiting for each other to start first.

    So ppl waiting to change Singapore and pray someone else will, please stop dreaming and be real.

    Change start from yourself not from someone else. Don’t expect ppl to change thing for you. In Singapore, it is because everyone expect ppl to make the change that thing remain as it for decades. Kitana has made the change herself, she doesn’t wait for the pretentious gov with mee siam ma hum to wayangly change.

  14. James Ang said

    I can understand the views of all the writers. Everyone leave for a reason. Either live with it or leave it.
    My reason is simple, since the govt is always promoting foreign talent. I need to live up to that, I need to move to a foreign country as a professional and be labelled as a FOREIGN TALENT.
    This is like a qualification which I like to have as a Singaporean. If I remain in Singapore, I will always be a be discrimnated by the labelling and taken for granted even though I have a master degree. Why the government is always labelling groups of people and discriminating them. Everyone has to do something to make the habitat functionable. In Australia, we respect the garbage man. We don’t need foreign talent to do the job. The Australian are doing it.
    I guess a economy where resources is “HUMAN”, labelling this resource is important. Since young we are already been classified as sucessful or a failure based on a bi-annual 2 hours exams. Very sad. I do not like to my kids to be living like my past. They need to live in a more humane environment. Singapore kids are so focus on sucess that majority forgot about the meaning of life. They live for themselves and if you notice they are a bunch of selfish kids. Worst is yet to come as they lead economy gets more greedy. I am a vice president in a foreign bank, sometime back my managers hired a couple of A levels students to help out in year end load. I noticed that the behavior of these kids from different class of JCs are really unacceptable. What has Singapore kids becoming? Selfish and transactional? omg.

    Aiyah, since this is a globlised world, why worry where we stay tomorrow. You need to be comfortable where you are. If you cannot leave with it, just leave it. I have made it and always tell my friends in Singapore, I don’t want to be picking up monthly allowances from my own money (CPF) when I retire….worst if there nothing to receive as the funds might be too little for too many or lost in some major losses we have yet to discover. Neither do I want to work in MacDonalds when I am out of job at 40 to retirement. Even if I work in there I make sure I get a humane wage like in Australia.
    Before I close, recently I chatting with a poly ex-intern who worked for me years back just started working after getting a degree in NUS. She told me her wage is $$$$ and I reply in disbelief. I was getting $$$$ when I started working 10 years back as a graduate. Well best part is some of her classmates are getting far off. What is going on? How these young grads coping with life with all the multiple taxes and GST? They don’t have an empire to inherit. About taxes, just think of simple maths, if you can buy 3 car for 1 in Singapore where do you think you choose to live? Income tax although high which sounds like, at the end of the day it does not because you get value and you might be paying less of it considering all the taxes you pay…bottomline just follow your heart. I am now very comfortable living in Australia and starting to feel my belonging……….John Howard so far don’t harrass or bombard me with all the pre-introduced annoucement for unjustified price increments. Anyway Singapore PR/ Citizenship is so cheap and easy to obtain. A friend from India told me. I need this passport for recognition to a better country. I feel sad for the govt. GBT. Cheers

  15. david343 said

    James,
    I am happy for you. I realize early in my life that everyone has been made use by gov as a tool to generate money and wealth for them. For every $1 gahmen give, they expect $100 in your lifetime. Youth is precious so ppl please don’t waste your time in this pathetic country run by nepotism ruler, and “underdog”. and stop wasting time serving NS while your job overtaken by FT.

  16. il_mare said

    I don’t think every Singaporeans made a conscious decision to leave the country, and not everyone has the opportunity to relocate and try life in a different country.

    I was a product of Singapore Inc. Did my entire education domesticaly, and even rejected the opportunity to study abroad as leaving home was just something I had never contemplated.

    But having lived away for the last 8 years (the opportunity came bacause of work and family reasons), and in a country more stressful than Singapore, at least in my opinion, Hong Kong is where I call home now.

    When I left, I never thought I would stay away for so long. It was only a temporary stinct, and I saw myself returnig home in less than 3-5 years. Now I am a PR of this stange country that operates with 2 systems, in a claustrophobic city where everyone walks with a pace that doubles any other country that I have been to, and with air pollution problems that has hit dire levels.

    So why am I still here? Well, from a practical reason, I am still gainfully employed (as a local and NOT as an expat). I have learned to live in this imperfect city and enjoy it’s imperfection, and the people living here all recognises it’s imperfection. I have made my life here. And I do not see any overwhelming reason to go back.

    I was mildy upset when I was “labelled” as a quitter, but I have lived away long enough not to blame the government for all the silly things that they do or NOT do.

    The bottomline is – the bottomline. I just do not see myself getting the same opportunities and remunerations if I held the same posts in Singapore as I do here in HK. Hey, I am a foreign talent here! The funny thing is that being a Singaporean, the system actually discriminates me- my own country! In HK, I am valued for my language abilities (ability to read and write both Engliash and Mandarin fluently), but in Singapore, I foresee that I will be viewed as a 2nd class citizen.

    Although expenses here is high, the pay is much better too, and at 17% tax rate, with no GST, how much I pay the HK government is definitely much more transparent. So for those who did not choose to leave, but end up feeling better in a foreign country, why should we come back?

  17. James Ang said

    David,

    I totally agree to your 2 points.
    We are constantly been robbed with new policies. Policies that make majority of the monthly income earners just have enough to make it for last month credit bills. We are constantly in long/ short term debts. Question is since we know we are been manipulated by them, why are we still so willingly? Why are we not getting out of it? We are trapped. Trapped by the largest debt in our next few decades “Property”. Why has the property market risen so much since the 80s. Is this not the manipulation of the ruler? why pay so much for a pathetic pigeon hole we call home. This is infact live is Singapore is just meeting the expensive basic needs. Be it a condo or HDB, we are paying to much for it. So the fact is we are still after a simple basic need in a developed country. How sad!!

    Well NS has taught most of the men to be good dogs. When the master says jump, u have to jump. If you don’t obey you don’t get your next piece of meat. NS train all men to obey. Making it managable to the ruler. I agree NS service is good for discipline and physical training. In a labor tight economy, why do u still want to waste resources? for such long period of time. NS is good if it is less than a year. After 2 years in NS, men find it difficult to adjust back to study life in the university. Men are definitely at their losing end compared to their lady counterpart.
    Just 2 weeks ago, I went to visit a friend in this new country. She asked me if I will allow my kid to spend 2 years in the army. I told her no unless he is marked for BG with his capability before 30 years. If this is the case I will allow him to do so.

    My thinking is simple, since we are living in a globalised economy/ world. It does not make sense for the ruler to restrict one decision to relocate/ stay. We should move to region where we get better pay.

  18. david343 said

    James,
    that pretty true. There is totally no loyalty for me in this country because to me, the gov here seem to be the world’s most ridiculous gov, and the way it rule seem to be giving us BullShit and policies to which we have no choice but to accept. But once we keep quiet and the media which is controlled by the gov will say that we Singaporean is understanding and learn to accept reality and flexibility.

    Tons of BS and craps by the gov and yet we still paying them huge salary because we have no choice. We rather visit Talkingcock.com then to read Strait Times and watch propaganda news.

    Corruption doesn’t have to exist illegally but in legal way in Singapore, just the topmost level in the structure. Our “dear” president is just one of them. I don’t know what the hell “the president” is doing to deserve $2.8 million salary per year. If such president deserve this much, I wonder how much PM has pay himself giving that he claim to do more thing and hold two posts. Do the math yourself. Even the most respected president Ong Teng Cheong doesn’t get this salary at all, and still Ong work for the best of Singapore. Is our current president worth millions of dollar ??

    OUr gov is a joke in other countries which I can say since I travel around. Arrogant, and think that they know it all, and can manage business, but in the end, kenna eaten and waste our taxmoney and still has the cheek to tell us that they care for us and is the best. Even cuckoo know their limit and shame.

  19. James Ang said

    David,

    Do u know why we need a Indian President and pay him so much…….hahaha.
    Don’t know the answer????
    Well simple he is the mascot for Indian FT….hahaha.

    President Ong is a very well respected person….A true president but unfortunately another talent treated just a chess pawn.
    I remember receiving my nus scroll from him many years back and being the first few on the stage, he paused and made a comment which I can remember clearly in my head till today.

    The govt do care for us don’t you know. Mabe once in 4 years…..They care for those who pay taxes…big taxes. That how they derive their great monthly salary and luxury.

    They can be corrupted but pls take care of the pple. Don’t treat them like sugar cane and dry them again and again lah.

    Have u watched series 24 season 5……hope our govt is not like tat.

  20. Yixie said

    Hey guess what?

    Govt wants us to further increase the population to 6.5 million. Good grief I hate those profit-motivated gits more everyday. The people here, the people who make up the labour force, are nothing more to the PAP than souless “factors of production” in our national quest to endlessly expand Singapore’s economy. And “GST” hikes AIDING the poor.. that’s the biggest load of nonsense that was reported in our venerable Straits Times. As a regressive tax with the biggest impact on lower-income groups, I dont’ see in any way how that might directly benefit most Singaporeans. Simply, the Govt is using GST as a bigger revenue for tax income to offset decreases in tax receipts from the impending cut in coporate tax rates.

    They can’t even be honest about that.

    How dare they insinuate a greater moral purpose and social obligation in having children when their bottomline is, ” low birth rate = smaller labour force = larger dependency ratio = LESS MONEY in our economy”? Can they think any further? That a smaller population is not necessarily such an evil as claimed since the entire WORLD is very near dangerously overpopulated? That in the long run, a smaller global population would benefit humanity since each collective individual has more resources, and ideally, leaves a smaller negative impact on our already fucked environment?

    Of course not. Leave the bigger problems to the rest of the world, ie. not us. And that’s a responsibility Singapore (and currently every other country) is trying to shirk from. Who’s gonna take the initiative? I’m betting not tiny little pipsqueak Singapore. PAP loves to boast of thinking big in economic terms and material success (Wow! No.1 in this and that!), but when it comes to anything not directly related to profit and ‘progress’….the great Gahman remains mysteriously silent. We have left our souls behind somewhere on the hectic rat-race.

    And of course, there’s no place here for any dreams that do not pertain (directly or indirectly e.g.’flourishing night-scene’) to increasing the Lion City’s GDP.

  21. johnanger said

    Singaporean do have great dreams but it all wet now.

  22. James Ang said

    Well 6.5mil population in a land space of 682sq km still too little. I bet the govt have more than that in mind. Since Singaporeans are so used to pigeon hole living.
    There are many above “peanuts” earner in the empire. Hence naturally need more taxes to finance that.
    Does anyone knows how much is the Lee’s empire worth?

  23. everyone who has posted here are all correct in their assessment of our government.
    i wonder if i am the only one but sometimes i think about singapore and what its morphing into and i become pretty despondent.the harder hitting reality is that none of us can really do anything about it except for perhaps a coup.everything the govt does smacks of apathy and a fixation for money-churning-for themselves.
    take our citizenship for instance-its a joke-coz everyone one knows that its freaking easy to get.just go into a fake marriage,just be gainfully employed for 2 years and voila,you can get a pr.just ask any chinese factory worker.
    what irks me is that these people who come here and slip into our society insidiouosly do not plan to contribute to it, but rather,just needs the passport to get to a better place.Even these people know that singapore is a shithole to live in, if you are not rich.
    isnt it pathetic that for the majority, we’ll have to live in a shoebox called the hdb flat,it has about as much in terms of aesthetics as a prison cubicle.we will mostly toll numbingly along till we die, for those are near there, they will finally get access to their cpf in terms of installments??? money which is ours, and we have no authority to decide how and when we want it back???

  24. Ocean said

    I totally agree with the writers above on their views of the government and why they chose to vote with their feet (since most of us don’t even get a chance to vote at GE at all – me included). There is no doubt that the style of Government does makes an impact on how good the place is.

    I have also being labelled as a quitter myself like most of you here and it does not affect me at all since the place where I am now welcomes me as a foreign talent. For my case, I have moved from a semi-developed country to a developing/3rd world country. Over here, one will experience lots of inefficiencies and most Singaporean will not be able to live with such system. The common remarks among fellow Singaporeans is: It is so much more efficient back in Singapore.

    The point I am trying to make is that while we are always comparing Singapore to a more developed country (like the Government), shouldn’t we take a step back at times to appreciate that Singapore is actually a much more liveable place compared to many other countries? As the Chinese saying goes: If you compare above, you will feel inferior; if you compared below, you will feel you are better off. If we continue in our passion of comparison, we will never feel happy or contented, wherever we are (in my humble opinion). I used to be in the comparison mindset, until I started working overseas and start to appreciate things from a different angle.

    In life, there are much more important things than wealth & success. Probably because I am alone in foreign soil, I appreciate and precious time with family and friends. Wealth and success can never substitute family ties as well as emotional feelings. I grew up like a typical Singapore: struggled through the Singapore-style education system, went thru NS, grew up eating Katong Laksa and Fried Kway Teow. These are all the nostalgic things will bring me back to Singapore, as it is impossible to replicate it elsewhere.

    No matter what is the state of governance, Singapore will still be the place I call HOME as my roots are here. Without the roots, the tree will die.

  25. James Ang said

    Well I have been thought to be practical. We have to be competitive, we can never fail, we must be number one.
    Hence is similar in any situation, which ever country gives me a better deal I will contribute revenue to them. In a globalised world, I treat each country like a company/ corporate. If there is opportunities, we head there. If the company/ corporate ojectives/ goals are not up to expectation. We will leave irregardless what perks you are given. Be it they have the best chicken rice or katong laksa. The CEO objectives are not reconciliable and realistic with the genenral, we most likely quit. I agree with the govenment that leavers are quitter. He labelled us correctly. If you resign, your boss will call you quitter. However, most of the time he is not aware why you leave and which better place you are heading. He assumes you are ignorant. Does not know greener pasture as he keeps you busy making money and forgot to explore the better world. Similar situation, Singapore govt keeps the carrot high and you will never reach it.
    Our grands, make it to Singapore via boat. Mainly looking for better life. Today, we are educated and smarter. We are looking for higher needs. It not just the money. It is policies that not just concern me but the general population. The poor and very poor. What is the government doing to make Singapore more robust and prosperous? Building more casinos. We are saturated, we have no resources to feed the human resources. I am just thinking what is the road map for Singapore? How the govt is going to substain this bigger population? We have no more sand supply?
    No more land expansion? Are we going to have double level of HDB?
    Well now I am in a resource rich country, I have no worries. The government will not force my kids to serve national service and so many exams that make them crazy. My children are not self-centered. I guess they are more human and don’t behave in a selfish manner.
    Just remember, if you are already up there. If you join the correct corporate, most likely your retirement is taken care of.
    I pity those who still try to meet their ends after retirement age in Singapore. Those who have earn peanuts and help make Singapore a better today should at least be rewarded a decent allowance till they RIP. Sigh!!! MacDonalds thanks for making the poor old folks meeting their ends

    In the end, we know which country is most liveable. We do not base on media condemning the country and discourageing us from packing and going.

  26. bollywood said

    Thank you Singapore for the giving me the bridge or stepping stone to come to Australia. Without Singapore, It will not be possible.
    I agree getting a work permit is so easy in Singapore. Not to mention getting a PR. Anyway, Singapore is not a long term place for me. I came from Sri Lanka and Singapore help me bridge my entry to Australia after 3 years stay on that island. It not just me a lot of my friends from Sri Lanka is doing the same.

  27. bornin aprison said

    John Cheo said, “will i only make the conscious choice to love, and subsequently contribute to, my country when it is in a perfect order of things? or will i, due to historical and emotional ties, be above myself to accept and embrace the perhaps sometimes inperfect state of things and from there, create some form of conviction to try and change things, no matter the odds?”

    Here’s a question: If a child has been beaten within an inch of her life by an abusive parent, will you tell her to “embrace” her parent anyway, because, for f**k’s sake, there is some ultimately arbitrary tie?

    This is a very melodramatic parallel, but apologists of the system seem rarely to consider that the “imperfections” that others face may be much more daunting than they themselves might have to deal with. It seems rather self-righteous to talk about “be[ing] above [one]self”.

  28. John Cheo said

    Hi all,

    its been some time since I last tracked the response to this thread. it sure has been pluralized by my fellow singaporeans, and a foreign talent friend named imaginatively bollywood.

    it’s pretty impossible for me to express my take on all the points raised in all the thesis raised by everyone, but i guess i’ll still attempt to relate my personal perspective to a few starking remarks and conclusions apparently cemented,rather unfortunately in my opinion,in the minds of certain individuals.

    the whole point lamenting about spore’s GST rise is pretty bemusing.ultimately,conclusively and eventually,the GST rise has been decided to be overall progressive in nature,and the reasons for it’s necessity have already been widely debated upon in the parliament during the Budget sessions.if you’re contending that all parliament sessions are faux ones as the PAP calls the shot,well then,I think one should do some homework before commenting with such gross inaccuracies.even the opposition in spore has not stood up robustly and convincingly with the reasons for GST increase to be abolished and even if it has good and convincing reasons to do so,what then does it offer as a additional and necessary source of revenue in lieu of an increase in this indirect tax(GST)?

    the point made by a vocal individual about the sad state of things in spore for the older workers who have to work till they die and such(along such dramatic and satirical lines),the overarching issue,which i’ve already pointed out in my comment dated 28/12/06,is WHAT IS THE VOCALLY EXPRESSIVE YOU WHO UNABASHEDLY LAMBASTE THIS “RIDICULOUS” GOVERNMENT ACTUALLY DOING TO ALLEVIATE THE ELDERLY’S PATHETIC STATE OF ECONOMIC STANDINGS,AS YOU’VE PROCLAIMED AS A PRESSING PROBLEM CONFRONTING SPORE TODAY?

    i am sure it is common knowledge universally agreed that the mere fact of writing up great and lengthy comments on an online thread will NOT,in any way,help that old woman selling tissue at orchard mrt or that old aged uncle collecting cardboards along HDB estates in the silence of the night!i am constantly amazed at how sporeans can write,with an apparent show of utmost conviction,on such threads about their frustrations on social issues behind the safe anonymity of the internet and behind a screen,AND EXACTLY DO NOTHING CONSTRUCTIVE AND DIRECTLY TO HELP THIS INDIVIDUALS WHOM THEY LAMENT FOR WITH SUCH COMPASSION AND SYMPATHY.i am SO sure immigrating to a place you deem better and typing words like that will effectively translate into actions that improve their lives.

    if you are just a commentator observing on the sidelines,please then,do not write with such a conviction that apparently attempts to show that you have actually tried,with great pains,to help these people in your country and actually faced official state resistance/reluctance to support.as if your altruistic cries are so sincere,when your bottom line adopted is to essentially,LEAVE THIS COUNTRY WHICH IS ROTTING ON THE INSIDE,AS SEEN BY YOU,BECAUSE YOU CANT BE BOTHERED TO TRY,AS YOU’RE CEMENTED IN YOUR VIEWS AND YOUR ANCESTORS IN THIS COUNTRY,LIKE YOU AND I AND THE GENERATIONS TO COME,ARE JUST CHICKENS WAITING FOR SOME LARGER CHICKEN TO ACT FOR CHANGE.

    it exposes,if nothing else,your embarrassing demonstration in deed of what you chose to do in regard to such signs in this country.you chose to leave,not to stay on and help in no matter how insignificant ways which might at least help 1 or 2 persons.

    for bushitdetector,i applaud you for being able to so strategically score yet another popular point with the disenchanted virtual fraternity of spore by making witty remarks like “they will finally get access to their cpf in terms of installments??? money which is ours, and we have no authority to decide how and when we want it back???”

    if you actually do bother to sometimes view the things from the other side of things,you’ll realize that there are indeed good reasons for CPF to be instituted in spore.it even something other countries are trying to emulate,with limited successes.

    while you can quip about how its actually your OWN money,through your OWN hardwork and your OWN sweat,my question is,to enlarge it to the hundred of thousands of sporean laborers who r contributing to their CPF accounts monthly,what if this ‘forced-savings’ scheme is not made compulsory and sporeans,with their ability to spend,spend,spend and overspend,do not have enough to see them through their twilight years,who will take care of this daily necessities of these individuals?SOME COMPLETELY NOBLE SOCIAL WELFARE UNIT?OR IS IT THE OPPOSITION,FAMED FOR PUSHING FOR MORE WELFARE BENEFITS SINCE IT DOESNT HAVE TO THINK OF ECONOMIC POLICIES TO ACTUALLY MATERIALISE SUCH LOFTY IDEALS?

    than your OWN money spent away by your OWN spending and buying will,as we know sporeans,be deemed as an issue the govt ought to deal with;WE ARE SORRY WE SPENT WITHOUT WISE THINKING,BUT NOW THAT WE ARE POOR AND OLD,SURELY YOU DONT EXPECT US TO WORK TILL WE DIE RIGHT,SURELY YOU HAVE SOME MONEY FOR THIS GROUP OF US WHO REALLY HAVE EXHAUSTED OUR SAVINGS THROUGH THE YEARS AND HAVE ABOUT 10 MORE YEARS TO LIVE ON?SURELY THE GOVT IS RICH ENOUGH TO HELP THIS GROUP OF ELDERLY FOR 10 MORE YEARS TILL WE DIE?SURELY IT SHOULD?

    than when this state of things come into swing,what say you,bushitdetector?

    anyhow,i am contactable at ilovekelis@gmail.com. if there’s virulent opinions for my ears to enjoy,im always open for a lively and interesting debate with an interested individual about issues of our home,our country,SINGAPORE!so drop my an email if you wish to contact me personally.

  29. I will leave because Singapore has become a place where I could never fulfil my ambitions, and it is definitely not a place to raise thinking children with independant mindsets, without causing them the trauma of having to straddle the real world, and the fantasy world of what the state media throws at them everyday.

  30. Test said

    Hello

    Bye

  31. […] not fallen into a “backward and morally regressive society”. More details can be found here. What this person has done is to lump art with pornography. Furthermore, lets take a journey back […]

  32. delphine said

    I believe that it takes courage to dream and determination to realize it.

    It is difficult to dream in Singapore, anywhere in the world matter of factly, but it is not impossible.

    Someone quoted this: When you want it badly enough, you can acheive virtually any goal you set.

    Your dream is not dependant on the government to fulfill it but yourself.
    Courage is built within.
    I’ve seen people acheived it, individually.

    i do have my own gripes about Singapore, however, I believe that your dreams and the goverment are 2 separate issues.
    We cannot blame everything on the Government.

    We can only blame it on ourselves when we dont do the things we can do.

  33. Eric said

    Wow you are such a whiner. The world is not perfect. Try living in Iraq or another war torn place. The point is nothing is perfect, you have it ok, and you are well off enough to have gotten to travel half way around the world and you still found time to complain about where you wer. So I suggets you snap out of it, put away the hanky and do something besides cry on your keyboard. Go outside and play if the oppression of your dire situation can handle it.

  34. Peanuts Earner said

    In a globalised world you are can access to global playgrounds…..the tiny island is just a small backyard which you will get bored after playing in it for too long….Perhaps is time to play with the big boys and get more exposures.
    Mabe then you will achieve foreign ground talent status.

  35. Peanuts Earner said

    In addition, when you are in major playgrounds you find government presence is not that important after all. The less dictated economy let you decide where you should be heading

  36. also singaporean said

    Unfortunately some cannot leave; but we need a change.

  37. Peanuts Earner said

    How to change if you are dictated? change for the people requires voice from the people…not voice of individual fom the empire.

    If there is a will to leave there is always a way if u try hard enough.

  38. John Cheo said

    Peanuts Earner,by the extension of the same logic you stated,if there is a will to change things,why cant there “always be a way” if you keep trying hard enough?

    i guess essentially it comes down to the individual’s own yardstick of happiness in life.if you think happiness is received when the government decides to give it,than i think you will be in s sad state forever,regardless where you go.

    for example you go to a country and there you gaze at the supposed happiness grossly in lack in singapore,that is the poor are well taken care of with free healthcare etc.but who knows,if you speak to a company executive about the government,he/she might be full of dissent and unhappiness because he says all this govt does is to think social,never economical.

    there will always and forever more be policies which seem too harsh,too real,too pragmatic etc. but i think i’ve decided quite some time back to not owe my happiness to this govt but rather,create meaning in all of my life’s pursuits myself.define for yourself what constitutes happiness and live by it.dont think that with a change in a policy or approach,the notion of happiness will be in full form in front of you and within your grasp.

    someone once said that if one morning we wake up and finds everyone having the same color,same accent,same taste,same height,same weight,same hairstyle,same ethnicity…by afternoon we’ll find a whole range of issues to disagree on and hate each other for.

    in the context of what we are discussing about,i think it basically shows even if one day this government that we decry so much about here changes one approach,we will be rejoicing for a moment and before soon we’ll find ourselves criticizing the degree to which they seem to have changed etc.

    we will never be individually happy and fulfilled just by how the government rules.we all have different yardsticks to happiness,dont we?and i m tempted to think that the primary role governments play in our lives which has a relation to our happiness is that they provide security and economic progress.

    other aspects of happiness,like how we feel about ourselves(whether we are esteemed as a talent or not etc.),should be fulfilled primarily by other organizations or our friends/family.dont expect the concept of government to be responsible for fulfilling every aspect of happiness before its full form is yours to rejoice in.

    stop whining,start living,singapore!

  39. Why Stop? said

    An expert whinner who complains about other people whinning?

  40. […] ungrateful Singaporean “quitters” and what have you, the example of California and this example of Canada (by ex-blogger Kitana) should give them foor for thought. But of course if the government sees […]

  41. […] the Straits times was literally flooded with stories regarding these two innocuos looking words. Quitters were (and still are) generally seen in an unfavourable light, being seen as ingrates who had no love for a country which was said to have nurtured them. In the […]

  42. Onlooker said

    Remember The theme now is WE Are “A city Of Possibilities”.
    Sidetrack:)
    Elite imports and potential exports can now use preprogrammed robots (streamed in to 3 Types[em1 em2 em3])that features
    a) NUTS (No U Turn Syndrome)
    b) Fornication Under Command of King (no abbreviation FYI $5000 for first babot)
    c) Central Power Fission (under upgrade due to MPF rates comparisons)
    d) CMV (Advanced Safety Feature: Conservative Majority Votes overrides everything even if it is safer to continue)

    However please note that Exported exports with no intention of returning will hereby be labeled Quitter bots and be called names till they return
    Imports who choose to export will not face the same problems.

    please note that plugs robots have an additional feature call:
    NS (Neopatriotic Section so that Imported plugs bots have more chances to marry a local socket bot, better job prospects ,less chance of decommissioning “due to accidents” and more time with imported family)

  43. leonie said

    I have left singapore to do uni in Canada.. After being over here for 3-4 years, I still look forward to my summer break every year and yearning for the “humid and hot, screwed up weather”. Infact, I till suffer from withdrawal symptoms when I’m forced to return for school. (depression, hunger etc.. just kidding)

    I hate to admit that our policies are constricting and stupid (to the extent that they seem like pure ripoffs especially for building ERP on ECP and stuff) but no matter how upset I get over these issues, I have never thought of leaving. Even with all the benefits you have mentioned, it is still unfair to compare singapore with canada. Eventually they have different governmental systems due to various factors and therefore theres no absolute right or wrong. Personally I value consistency over freedom.

    To start with, individual freedom always exist (policies are becoming a common excuse for being lazy to act on individual freedom) and it would be bias to blame the government for restricting your freedom, for they can never take that away from you. Canadians have their so-called “freedom & freedom of speech etc” but what common good do they serve? We (me and fellow singaporeans) have to live in fear of being stranded due to boycotts of workers in the service sector (be it bus operators, cooks and whatnots) and even worry for my own safety due to too much “freedom”. Sure, who doesn’t wish they have all the freedom and no pressure. But it is also important to reflect on the overall efficiency of the country and society. We are comparatively smaller and therefore unable to afford pulling “the slack”. In exchange for reliability, gd food and life, I frankly don’t mind giving up some freedom. I’ll say, give the government some credit wont u.. just because it hasn’t been an easy road to where we are now..

    Again, being afraid to dream is just a coward’s excuse. Dreams are ideals and ideals have never been tied to reality. By being afraid to dream, you are already limiting yourself mentally. That, would be worse then losing your freedom of speech and all, cause you will lose yourself.

    Please stop blaming the country or government for there have been (and will be) success stories and happy people.

    Forever my home. no matter how green the grass seems elsewhere (just coz they may be fake grass) lol.. I’M PROUD TO BE A SINGAPOREAN!

  44. Raffles said

    They did not miss the streets they renamed.
    They did not miss the historical buildings they tore down.
    They did not miss the old trees they cut.
    I bet they won’t miss me when I’m gone.

    http://victorkoo.blogspot.com/2007/10/our-founder-has-change-of-name.html

  45. Ribs said

    I read the article “why I want to leave”
    However, after going through the arguments of the article, I would like yo write “Why I want to stay”

    Singapore is one of the best places in the world to live.
    Everything works here. The transportation , the telephone, the internet…

    try using in the Tube in London, it is old and inefficient. You have to do a lot of walking in London because everything is expensive … even to the British… you simply cannot take taxis because they are too expensive.

    London is very much like a third world contry compared to what we have in Singapore. The health service, the postal service the immigration service… nothing in Britain can be compared to the efficiency of the system in Singapore.

    You know I managed to renew my passport recently in 2 days thanks to the efforts of the staff after I told them that I need to go on a business trip to Hong Kong in 2 days’ time . Where else in the world can you can get a service except in my tiny home called Singapore.

    Where else can you get such excellent school education, not in Britain, not in the US without having to pay a bomb for it.

    The article said that life in Singapore is stressful.
    You may not know but life in other places are equally if not more stressful. In China, Korea, Japan , children go through the same stress in schools. In Brtain, in France , in China the people there are more aggressive compared to the Singaporeans who are quite gentle in nature. Working with the more aggresive colleagues abroad often is more stressful than working in Singapore. The competition in the workplace can be higher in other places.

    Singapore is a miracle. Brunei has oil. I was in Iceland recently and Iceland has fishery. What do we have ? People. People like you and me. When I was in Iceland, the Icelanders were so proud of their country. I asked them if fishing sustain the existence of Iceland. They look at me as if I was mad. Iceland has a proud history and will continue to survive. The fact that Singapore can go so far is indeed a miracle, a miracle exceeding that of Japan , that of Taiwan, that of China or India.

    I want to stay , to stay and help Singapore survive.

  46. Pebble said

    Thank U Leonie and Ribs for an article well-said.I live in Vancouver,voted the most livable city in the whole world; with a very diverse culture of more than 200 different ethnic groups. The people here are extremely polite and kind; I will never forget the kindness and help I have received during my initial difficult year here.

    Despite the diverse cultures here, people here live in harmony with each other. I think, we are more understanding and tolerant of each other because many of us come from somewhere… we all start from afresh here.

    I totally agree with Leonie on the statement “consistency over freedom”. Where else in the world or for that matter, in Asia can one continue to enjoy a corruption-free and stable government, street safety at night and a good educational system?

    Sure, our educational system has its flaws but it is understandable. We are such a small nation with people as our only resource. I am not saying it is alright for the government to make mistakes on educational policies and subject our young children to many ‘trial and error’. We need, however to understand the rationale behind as well.

    I have also witnessed my fair share of educational policies and changes here in Vancouver; to say they are the best, I shall have to reserve my comments on that.

    Unlike rich countries like Canada who has aplenty federal fundings,I am proud to share with people here that my small county, called Singapore, believes and invests in education as well.

    As an educator, I am very excited and keenly following the ecuational scene in Singapore. There have been many positive changes and I am looking forward to the days that I shall come home soon.

    Just for the record, I have my PR status here but unlike many of my friends from Eastern Europe, South America and other parts of Asia who came here to run away from war, poverty or corrupted government, I feel more proud and grateful to be a Singaporean than ever.

    Yes, Ribs, you have prompted me to write on ” Why I want to stay”…..

    I hope to learn as much here to bring home to share with my fellow Singaporeans soon.

    Wishing all a very happy and peacful new year.

  47. Mike said

    I fully agree with Kitana. I share similar views and find myself suffocated in this country, both physically and mentally. Singapore has developed into a very stressful environment over the years, namely due to the competitive nature of most Singaporeans (which is rather over-compensating) and a booming population in a tiny island port that is on the verge of an explosion (“Over the next five years, Singapore hopes to add about 40,000 citizens and 200,000 PRs that could push the population towards the five million mark by 2011.” quoted from http://www.littlespeck.com/content/people/CTrendsPeople-071006.htm)?

    Do you plan to take the bus then? Or drive? Either way you’d be stuck in traffic for hours! Oh, how about the ‘rush hour period’? I’m already being seriously inconvenienced daily due to thousands of people going home from work by squeezing myself into the MRT or bus with people shoving me about, both knowingly and unknowingly so! Is this healthy? Fuck this, honestly.

    If you’re a patriot like PC Lee, that’s good for you. Stay, drink your NEWater and enjoy the company of your 5,000,000 friends who will be competing for jobs, schools, housing and traffic with you in a space smaller than Disneyland.

    I’m sure the inflation rate will drop down though…as likely a newly-inflated helium balloon. I’m sure the government will provide you a job and not let you rot away on the streets or live in poverty (“In 2002, there were reports on Singaporeans begging for loans to pay their bills. These people had either lost their jobs or failed in business ventures and cash-strapped parents were keeping their children out of schools. Even though financial assistance schemes were available, due the limited nature of these schemes, some Singaporeans families were unable to cope with their financial difficulties. The ageing Singaporean population also faces financial crunches and is living in poverty.” quoted from http://www.focussingapore.com/information-singapore/singapore-poverty.html)!

    Have fun! I’ll probably be in Europe enjoying the low-humidity weather, having a good smoke while drinking wine and eating bratwürst in a restaurant in Nürnberg, Germany (of which I have been to before). Oh and about ‘free speech’, try criticizing religion and the PAP at the Speaker’s Corner. I heard you can win a few nights at the Shangri-La.

  48. snoopy said

    Who is kitana? Is she from the mortal combat rpg?

  49. Mike said

    First of all dear Snoopy, the character of Kitana from Mortal Kombat the fighting game isn’t conscious, existent or capable of any functioning thought. Second of all, Kitana is quite a common name amongst the Japanese.

    I’d reckon you’d have to be around thirteen years of age to type such a comment…either that or the mentality of a thirteen year old. 🙂

  50. Engineer said

    Hi!

    I dont know who runs this website, but I can tell you there are great reads here!!!! I just want to ask is there any way I can get in touch with those people who run the Brotherhood?

  51. U.S. citizen said

    Hi! i liked reading everybodies opinions…one question remains in my mind though
    why can’t u leave??

    🙂

  52. patriot said

    They choose to stay and fight, Great Citizens! Great Buddies!

  53. NYT said

    Great site. Is there any way for us to get in touch with Darkness?

  54. THE BROTHERHOOD PRESS said

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/03/18/daily-sg-18-mar-2008/#comment-1498

    THE ANATOMY OF FAILURE PART 1,2 AND 3 / STRATEGIC ANALYSIS ON THE 2008 MALAYSIAN GE.

  55. harphoon said

    Thanks inspir3d, you are always in my thoughts – once you are in the brotherhood, we are brothers for life.

  56. passerby said

    Dear brudderhud or whoever is on shift,

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/03/18/daily-sg-18-mar-2008/#comment-1498

    This is a really excellent write up, probably the best analysis so far avaliable even in the whole of Malaysia and Singapore. And it’s just an executive summary.

    However, sir, please do try to take this constructively, as I mean well. I don’t think ppl like Bambi Darkness realises, it will be lost forever, as very few people know how to navigate through threads to read essays!

    A pity. A tragedy. A travesty of scholarship.

    He should end his tiff with NBL and get the BP back to where it was bfr this matter blew up!

  57. TIBET - BROTHERHOOD PRESS said

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/daily-sg-20-mar-2008/#comment-1515

    STRATEGIC ANALYSIS: TIBET – THE STORY OF MACHIVELLEAN SCALE BETRAYAL. PART 1

    [This is a lightning strategic report undertaken by both Astroboy and Harphoon – the respondents are Vollariance (head of the strategic think tank) and Darkness (Darkness has no official position in the brotherhood movement]

    1. BACKGROUND

    This strategic analysis is in response to a recent article published on the March 20, 2008, “Why riots got out of hand.” Three possible scenario’s were advanced by Miss Chua the China correspondent for ST; Intelligence failure? Miscalculation by Beijing? Ploy to draw out instigators?

    Our team of strategic planners will rebut each of these claims. And forward their accompany theories as to what is the actual strategic situation in Tibet.

  58. THE BROTHERHOOD PRESS said

    WHY IS THE OLYMPICS REALLY SO IMPORTANT TO THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT? PART 1 & 2

    It’s often been said, the Beijing Olympics this summer is supposed to be China’s coming of age bash, celebrating the end of nearly two centuries of weakness, poverty and humiliation.

    Really? How true is it?

    Truth is stranger than fiction – no one can deny there is much of China’s painful history that requires righting – the humiliating defeat of the Manchu’s by the world powers in the 18th century – the tumult of the Japanese occupation of China. These are narratives which are sheered in the mind of every Chinese.

    China has come a long way – these days, she’s the world’s fastest growing economy – outstripping even the EU and US put together – the leading manufacturer of laptop computers to Teflon coated woks – she has even managed to sent a man into space and by all accounts, as far as appearances goes, the Beijing Olympics is simply an extension of this new found nationalistic pride to celebrate it’s arrival in the world stage.

    But look again! Carefully this time with the brotherhood magnifying glass, what’s really behind the chimera of all the ongoing preoccupation with success icons that simply say, “we have arrived?” Why is China exhibiting all the maturity of a testosterone pumped teenager just before the graduation prom?

    (1) THE EVER INCREASING DIVIDE BETWEEN PEOPLE AND THE CCP

    One clue according to our resident China expert Cerebus lies in the psyche of the ruling communist party (CCP). China’s leaders face a troubling paradox: the more developed, educated and prosperous the country, the more the party elite run the risk of being marginalized and sidelined by the masses. They are justifiably insecure and even threatened by this turn of events. Men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin have always struggled with two diametrically opposed realities every since China opened her doors in the early 80’s; how to sustain economic growth and yet preserve the fragile communist regime. Indeed at times, it seems keeping to one’s balance on the razor’s edge has been touch and go, in 1989, the Tiananmen Square incident was a stark reminder things can go very wrong in a blink of an eye. And the disintegration of the Soviet Union serves only to sharpen the paranoia, the Chinese leaders harbor; the days of the communist party are numbered.

    As Cerebus, our China expert noted:

    “Now if you ask me why China is so obsessed with the Olympics? It’s the same reason why people who suffer from osteoporosis frequently consume large doses of calcium – the need is driven by the deficiency psychology, but lets be crystal clear; it’s powered by one underlying impulse; fear – To understand the divide better one needs to appreciate certain realities. Firstly, while the rest of China has changed by leaps and bounds – the Communist party has remained virtually unchanged and this naturally accounts for a lag between the China that is and the China that simply must be. In this changing landscape the communist party is very brittle, as she is the one with the least capacity to effect change– this calcified state is very much reflected not only in China’s blend of foreign policy but also how the communist party carries itself. Let me just give you a few visual motifs to illustrate my point; every year there is one event in the calendar which marks the starting line, the China Congress; what do we see? Old men in dark suits laying out in Soviet style centrally planned policies in a huge cavernous hall to a sea of clapping bureaucrats; Question: how plausible does that image measure up to reality when you consider the sheer size and diversity of China? Not very, not even by a long shot. I’ve mentioned this only because it’s a fitting metaphor that effectively conveys how little has actually changed in the political psyche of communist party.

    When I use the term communist party – it’s nothing short of the personification of the state. That’s the vital difference between political parties in the West and the party political reality in China. In effect, the state is considered the “People’s Party” (although the CCP is an oligarchy of only 5% of the population). To paraphrase it’s often marketed as the proxy of the people and so there is a certain degree of reciprocity here; most Chinese cannot divorce the state from life and culture, it’s very different from the Western psyche of how most of us typically view our own political oligarchies; you stay here and I stay there, see the line! In China this mental border doesn’t exist –State and citizenry are one of the same reality – if the state says, you should have only one child, then you will have only one child – all further dialogues starts and ends there. This in essence is the very bedrock on which the Communist party seeks a justificatory beach head in the minds of most Chinese. The assumption here; that a non-elected minority knows what’s best for the masses.

    The problem with that assumption is it’s giving way progressively to a new compact between people and state; this is not a new development, it’s an ongoing story and we see this very clearly at every way point in Chinese social and political history, let me just run through these stages briefly; in 1950’s, the politics of wrath featured as the cohesive force i.e if you are not with us, you are against us; in the 1970’s this gave way to the mantra; the party knows best; leave it all to the great helmsman; in the 80’s, the an economic component featured for the very first time in the relationship and it was defined as, we will run the country, you just focus on getting rich; Today, the belief isn’t so clear, it’s very fuzzy – and that I believe it the nucleus of the problem.

    (2) THE ASSAULT ON THE LEVERS OF POWERS

    No doubt break neck economic growth was partly responsible for this re-definition, but what’s important here is increasingly the divide with the traditional communist party ethos and justificatory rationale is reaching a point when it is so stressed that it’s no longer a cohesive force; what the communist party is being increasingly confronted with these days is a new creed of intellectuals who openly challenge not only their authority but also the rationale which makes possible the current politics – I need to qualify myself here; we are not talking about democracy vs communism here! Most people in the West, I feel don’t realize how united the Chinese are as a people; believe it or not they actually trust the communist party more than the Western media gives them credit for. If you trawl the internet, you will soon pick out how many Chinese netizens see the coverage of CNN and the BBC in the recent Tibetan uprising as a double standard reportage – So let me emphasize this again, this not an ideological divide, it’s not even a difference of opinion as it is remains a methodological divide; where people may hold a different view from the State. In other words “I believe the pollution would be better solved this way, but I also believe it would be good, and not wrong, to do it the States way.” Here what we see is an accommodative stance, that one hand challenges the assumptions, yet preserves the status quo of “’Six’ of one, ‘half a dozen’ of the other.” This is very much Deng Xio Peng’s “black cat, white cat what does it matter as long as it catches the mouse” ghost being revived again – only this time, it’s directed squarely at the communist party! My point is this; this has never been done before. This is why the communist party feels the heat and even the need to reinforce the trite belief, they remain the gold standard of governance – staging the Olympics may be political pyrotechnics, but like blasting Chinese into orbit feasting on desiccated bird nest soup, it fulfills the necessary function of feeding the justificatory narrative – you can even say, it’s a strategic precondition, if the imperative is to remain in power! This is one of the main motivations why the coming games is so important – it’s nothing short of a mental bridge to close the great Chinese divide”

    Against this back drop of shifting sands what’s increasingly happening is one by one the levers which were once effective in controlling thought are fast frittering way. Zoo keeping the intellectual class through programs such as the “Patriotic Education Campaign’ (for all college students), which relies implicitly on nurturing ‘popular resentments against Japan and America and the Mickey Mouse club and fueling the expectation that Taiwan would soon be reunified is beginning to reach the point of diminishing returns – the communist party realizes this only too well.” Cerebus writes.

    Cerebus continues, “if one looks carefully at how the Chinese communist party replies to the Tibetan crisis or even something as mundane as shoddy products complaints from US consumer groups: Instead of acknowledging the cogent issues concerning the “autonomy” vs “independence” or quality control in Chinese manufacturing practices – the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda organs have goes into full scale defensive mode. They are in certain respects very similar to the brotherhood – where we will roll out darkness and off he goes ranting no end about, discrimination branding these moves as a campaign to isolate and weaken China.” The problem, as Cerebus observes, “that doesn’t work any longer – most Chinese intellectuals these days have not only the benefit of a first class Western education, but many have been integrated into the MNC culture of how to define personal and organizational success – so they know things are not so simple. They can connect the dots and make informed decisions. This naturally limits the effectiveness of relying on the traditional lever of nationalism that it has fomented to deliver the goods.”

    (3) THE LIMITS OF CENSORSHIP

    Another lever of power that’s rotting way is state censorship. As Cerebus observes: “Most Chinese have very little idea of what is actually happening in their own country, if you don’t believe me; go and ask any Chinese whether he agrees with China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979; but don’t be surprised if the reaction is ‘was there a war?’ This merely showcases the pervasive extent of censorship. The communist party nurtures this state of selective amnesia very carefully, till most Chinese are left with the understanding that everything China does is always for the greater good. In a sense this accounts for why skepticism, denial, and infuriation usually accompany Western revelations about the truth.

    To overcome this state of infuriation, its expedient for them to make the source of their frustration disappear, than to subject it to critical analysis for fear that it may expose the ineptitude of the Communist party. Once again what we see here is censorship is not just a way of controlling people in the Western sense. In the Chinese context, you can even say it’s a necessary lie and without it life will simply cease to have any meaning. What we see here is not only the whole sale assassination of the truth in censorship, but also how it remains a very effective way to maintain the façade that the party is always right. Here what we see is a strain of Joseph Heller’s catch 22 crisis management 101 at work, ‘don’t recognize the symptoms and the disease automatically disappears.’

    In this regard the Beijing Olympics is simply extending the justificatory causes to further validate the communist party in the eyes of most Chinese – trust me, they care very little about us foreigners, things haven’t really changed that much from the vermillion days of the Manchu court, that’s usually the psychology of people who know that the art of how to stage circuses to keep the mob happy. Now you know why the Romans were big on coliseums – let the games begin!”

    Cerebus.

    [Harphoon & Scholarboy / Cerebus / ASDF – The Brotherhood Press 2008)

  59. THE BROTHERHOOD PRESS said

    THE BROTHERHOOD PRESS Says:
    2 April 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Will Singapore Go Down The Chute Like Malaysia? PART 1/2/3

    [This is a continuation of our interview series; this interview was conducted by J.Kompf and Darkness recently – only selected parts of the interview has been published]

    Q [Kompf]: Based on the recent outcome of the general elections in Malaysia, many have speculated that the time is ripe and the same thing will happen in the political scene in Singapore. What is your take Darkness? In very broad strokes please, very quickly.

    A [Darkness]: Understand this. There is a danger here, if I do not call a spade a spade, then we will still be trying to tease out nuances from the GE in Malaysia to try to make sense of what will or will not happen in Singapore in the foreseeable future. IMO there is no basis for even a sensible comparison. Let me square off the case candidly, the BN is a ****** ** useless organization run by a bunch of self serving pirates masquerading as politicians (if they want to take issue with me, please go ahead, I will give them one more round of hammering in the net!) – this reality bears out only too clearly and even the average Ahmad, Muthu and Ah Kow who may not know the intricacies of the Malaysian political landscape knows it only too well.

    Q: Can you elaborate further on this “reality” in Malaysia and why you feel the same facts do not quite exist in Singapore?

    The prevailing mood and the reality are synonymous – in Malaysia it’s really reached a tipping point – if I had to sum it all up in one word, the vast majority of Malaysians are just sick of the social and economic inequalities. The ‘rakyat’ has more or less reached the collective consensus, BN can no longer be relied upon to serve as an effective proxy.

    If you really want to draw comparisons between what happened in Malaysia and try to extrapolate this to Singapore. My feel is you cannot, the social /political climate in Singapore is very far from what is happening at ground zero in Malaysia. Whatever, you wish to say about the PAP, one cannot deny it has successfully nurtured the gold standard of governance and public administration. Things are not 100%, there is plenty of room for improvement, but again my feel is it’s too far removed from the ‘reality’ in Malaysia to draw parallels.

    Q: You seem to be suggesting, for social / political change to take effect certain preconditions or “realities” need to be there first to precipitate the process of change – could you elaborate further on these preconditions for change?

    A: Let me put it this way, even if a bunch of radical intellectuals sit in one corner of a café in Siglap plotting revolution, they can do very little, if the wheel they are proposing to replace isn’t radically different from the one which they propose to fit on the linchpin – I think we have to be very clear on this point Herr Kompf, otherwise we will be here the whole evening! Historically, change has never occurred in a vacuum. Not even once! It’s conceivable by all historical accounts at least, there first needs to be a strong impetus before change can effectively take place. By this I mean, there needs to be some manifestation of doom and gloom before it’s even possible to moot the case for change. Otherwise, it’s just a sterile debate. Contrary to popular myth the French revolution did not start and end with liberty, fraternity and equality, that was simply a flowery adjunct that came much latter. The vast majority of Parisians who stormed the Bastille were simply clambering for a loaf of bread – the same can be said about the rise of the Third Reich, it preceded, the fall of the Weimar republic and there ordinary Berliners simply wanted to buy a cup of coffee without mortgaging their houses. And again the same holds true for Marxism when the mob marched towards the winter palace. They simply wanted the Tsar to open up the wheat reserves. In every single instance, what we see is a there needs to be the perception of gross mismanagement which effectively conveys to the impression to the people the government of the day simply doesn’t have the capacity to alleviate the suffering any longer. My feel is this is really the firing mechanism, that triggers off the chain reaction that leads to change. This I believe was what happened to a limited extent in the recent Malaysian GE. I do not believe for one moment, the Malaysians were simply exacting a revenge vote, they seriously yearn for some form of reformation to their current social / political process.

    To be con’t

    THE BROTHERHOOD PRESS Says:
    2 April 2008 at 10:27 pm
    Will Singapore Go Down The Chute Like Malaysia? PART 2 & 3

    Q [Kompf]: Many people have observed that Singapore is one of the most wired countries in the world, while Malaysia has a connectivity that’s just under 50%.Yet you curiously maintain what happened in Malaysia can never occur in Singapore. What makes you so certain Darkness?

    A [Darkness]: To me the internet remains simply an ingenious means of circulating news. Nothing more or less – being the most wired country in the world really says a big nothing, it could just as well mean a whole lot of people find it convenient to pay their bills on line or they regularly log on to check whether the magic numbers on their TOTO ticket has lined up – my feel is, for this question to be answered in the affirmative or negative, it doesn’t serve to speak in general or broad terms – anyone can more or less do the same and they would not be entirely wrong or right either. IMO there’s no substitute for critical analysis; we really need to go 3 or 4 levels deeper; stripping away the fairings of the internet and looking beyond the innards of this so called wonder weapon; how was this technology managed? who were the leaders? How are they organized? What is their chain of command? What’s their strength and weakness? How do their networks look like? How resilient are they? How flexible are they? What motivates them? What do they regularly eat with their afternoon tea? That sort of detailing, I feel this required, if we are to really understanding why the net had such a devastating effect in the recent Malaysian GE.

    Q: Many years ago, you identified 3 stages in which the internet will have to go through; https://intelligentsingaporean.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/an-eye-on-the-future-of-the-singapore-blogging-scene-a-brotherhood-perspective/ can you share with us very quickly how does Singapore and Malaysia compare in this assessment model?

    A: The short answer is no comparison be made between the Malaysian and Singaporean blogging scene. There remains a dearth of evidence to suggest they are in fact two diametrically opposed entities which have nothing in common with each other. We are still analyzing the primary data of the recent Malaysian GE, but this much I can share with you. There are many reasons accounting for these differences, but let us be clear they function on a systematic and not a superficial level, that I feel is worth bringing home; that’s to say, the trajectory, they manner in which they have evolved, readership patterns and even content are so different one cannot possibly draw analogies without the risk of committing intellectual violence.

    Q: If you contend they are different – perhaps you can just list out briefly what are the systematic differences which account for why the Malaysian internet scene is so different that it cannot be reasonably compared to Singapore?

    A: Let’s just focus on one area: how did the Malaysians profile the internet as a wonder weapon? It’s conceivable the idea goes back at least 15 to 20 years – that at least is what even our best analyst and planners regularly tell me. This is also where we really see how misplaced the likes of Cherian are when they advance the idea; we should be investing in the MSM. As the history of the Malaysian internet shows only too clearly why it makes absolutely no sense to pursue this strategy, if the imperative is to create a quorum that effectively reflects collective consciousness – instead they should be a renewed focus to invest in the internet – IMO, it’s a travesty of rational logic to propose doing otherwise; only because the evolution of the Malaysian internet demonstrates first hand what can really be achieved when the internet is invested with press professionalism – let me just recount very briefly how the Malaysia internet was able not only to transitionalise successfully from the first protocol to the third [I don’t have the time here to flesh out what is the first, second and third protocol, so those of you who are really interested should read my thesis, if you want to understand the formulation better] – How did the Malaysians manage to build up their core competence? What’s their story? Well very simple, during the Mahathir administration in the 80’s. A few UMNO brain scientist came up with the brilliant idea of purging the journalist press in Utusan Melayu, New Straits Times, Malay Mail and Star. They were ceremonious kicked out. At the same time, the govt began licensing the press e.g Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984. These measures were designed to curb the formation of a free press. This resulted in the systematic disenfranchisement of the journalist corps – this resulted in a migration to what I call the underground press – Harakah and Aliran. Those who were not so fortunate found themselves writing in the no-man’s land of the periphery – I know this doesn’t quite hit the spot, so let me give you a real life example of the profile of these ronins (masterless samurai’s) – take the founder of Malaysiakini for instance, what’s his story? Wong Chin Huat – he used to write for the Chinese press, the Nanyang Sian Pau, but when MCA bought it over and gutted it – he quickly found himself out in the cold, he was lucky as the advent of the internet coincided with his untimely displacement – my point is it’s personalities like Wong who laid the bedrock of the oppositional press in Malaysia. And they are very much the key drivers of what we call today the oppositional internet press in Malaysia. Now why is this important? Because when people regularly intone the internet killed the BN, it really doesn’t tell us anything significant – we are not told specifically who? What’s their strength? How are they networked? Etc.

    So when people say the net will one day bring down the PAP – it’s really like saying a tornado can tear through a junk yard and magically assemble a Boeing 747, probabilities don’t make for possibilities – that will never happen. Firstly, we don’t possess the critical skill sets or core competencies which can possibly materialize that sort of reality. Bear in mind when I use the term ‘professionalism.’ I am not referring solely to diction, grammar and sentencing skill sets, that’s the easy street, but rather the networks and linkages which allows for investigative journalism or something very close to synthesizing knowledge which did not previously exist.

    If you look very closely at the Malaysiakini – Aliran – Harakah – they have not only successfully reproduced many of the elements which allows them to manipulate information but many of them even have established linkages with the opposition to regularly tap into first hand information i.e primary data, so what we see here is skills sets which go beyond literary élan or panache. In short they have not only replicated many of the elements of an independent press corps but in certain cases they have even improved their networks to such an extent, they can get information even before the press corps gets wind of it. This gives them a competitive advantage which allows them to not only challenge the MSM, but in certain cases even beat them in their own game.

    Where I disagree with Cherian is when he insist that the MSM should be invested with a higher level of press freedom – but implicit within the framework of his strategy is the assumption the MSM is already vested with the attributes which permits them to effectively play the role of the fourth estate credibly – I for one seriously do not believe he knows what he is talking about – as the ST by any conservative standard must surely be so riven, that is so complacent and supine that no reasonable person can see how it’s able to effectively step up to play the role of the fourth estate – this I feel is the defining difference between the Malaysian and Singaporean blogging scene – the former was effective not because the govt’s empowered or even supported them, but rather they tried to use every means to kill them. Somewhere in this narrative, they learnt not only to survive, but to thrive – Singapore MSM or even the internet scene doesn’t have that critical stress factor – what we see here is clearly two different creatures, one is supine, contented and complacent, the other is regularly hunted and adept in overcoming the odds – is it such a wonder the latter managed to transform the net into a proficient killing tool?

    In short not only have the Malaysians managed to transitionalize to the second and third protocol, but they have also managed to create a self sustaining economic ecology which allows them to perpetuate themselves – as such when we talk about the comparative between the Singapore and Malaysian blogging scene, we would do well to recognize, we are at least 10 to 15 years behind the Malaysians. That remains the cruel reality.

    Q: Who do you think are the equivalents of Malaysia.kini – Aliran – Harakah in Singapore?

    A: Mr Brown, Xiaxue and the National Library Board – I call them the three stooges.

    Q: Do you have any parting comments? Quickly please.

    A: Blog on. Thank you

    [Kompf /Darkness – Interview Series – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    END

  60. NEW ARTICLE 18-4-08/BP said

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/daily-sg-18-apr-2008/#comment-1786

    Publish date: 16 April 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Title of article: WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CRAFT A SINGAPOREAN INTERNET IDENTITY? – THE UNPLUGGED VERSION / PART 3

    Brief Extract:

    “This is a follow up interview based on an earlier paper http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/12/sgdaily-roundup-week-15/#comment-1739 that attempted to address the following issues: Is there a need for Singapore blogosphere to define an internet identity? What are the elements of this shared identity? How will it be constructed? What will it look like? And what function will it perform? Following the release of Part 1 & 2, the readers reaction judging from our intranet bulletin board has been a mixed – this follow up interview is designed to tease out some of the issues raised and to elaborate on them further

    2. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE TERM INTERNET IDENTITY?

    Q: [Harphoon]: Vollairaine in the last interview we conducted on this subject some people have mentioned that you are advancing the idea the internet should be subject to certain controls, restrictions and regulations – can you please elaborate further on what you mean by the term internet identity and why is it relevant to the whole idea of social / political growth?

    A: [Vollariane]: Certainly Harphoon, I may have rushed through some of these issues without first laying down the ground on why we, the ASDF believe crafting an internet identity should be pursued as a matter of strategic priority – allow me to just go back to the A,B and C’s of this whole discussion concerning ‘internet identity.’ And how we may correlate it to the broader construct of growth in the social and political sphere.

    Now when we speak regularly of ‘identity,’ in the online context what do we actually mean? Now chew on this for a while and think about it. As this is the part where I need to recruit the readers understanding of the world to make the explanation possible – the first thing that hits anyone is there’s considerable ambiguity here; no sooner do we begin, we suddenly find ourselves in a hall of mirrors. Why?”

    This has been brought to you by the brotherhood press

  61. NEW ARTICLE 19-04-08 BP said

    WHEN GOOD IS NOT SO GOOD – A STUDY IN CONSULTATIVE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

    Good Afternoon my friends,

    As you know by now http://aaron-ng.info/blog/a-real-grassroots-initiative-by-bloggers.html, a ‘few’ bloggers decided to met up in long john silver and after polishing off their fish fingers they have decided to propose something monumentally important to our govt – indeed this is laudable, truly they have my utmost respect and admiration and I have no doubt they genuinely have your interest and mine at heart. Really, I am not trying to be sarcastic here.

    However, before we uncork the Champagne lets put on our thinking caps for one moment and ask ourselves – who are these people actually representing? Before we go down this road, let’s just ask ourselves what’s the composition of blogosphere? Did you know that nearly 93.4% of the make of blogosphere comprises of anon bloggers, posters and probably readers / that out of the content produced based on word count alone / anonymous posters account for nearly 85-88.3% of what typically features in blogosphere on a 12 day cycle / and this figure appears to be growing at a rate of nearly 12.4% per 12 day cycle.

    So one more time please. Who are they actually representing? Now when we speak of specific rights no one can deny everyone is entitled to the right to privacy. You can even say it’s an elemental right, but tell me why weren’t the anon statistical significant in this case even given an opportunity to participate in this proposal? I want you all to think about this very carefully, not only the anon bloggers, but also those who may also blog openly, as what we are talking about here, isn’t really about the issue of whether these blogger are justified, right or wrong or even whether they are true to the spirit of blogging; we are talking here about something very fundamental that goes into the heart of the issue of what it means to participate in an all inclusive process; the right to be consulted, the right to be informed and a corollary of this even includes, the right to even participate meaningfully in this process. All of you need to ask yourself why wasn’t this proposal even discussed in a public forum in the internet? Why didn’t these bloggers who were responsible for crafting this proposal to our government, see the need to consult you or me? Tell me, who is actually representing the statistical significant community of 93.4%?

    Now this is the part where I will share with you what should have been done, this proposal should have be layed out pasar malam style before everyone in and outside blogosphere – whether you choose to be engaged or switched off is another matter, but that’s the gold standard of what it takes to be a real consultative trilogue between named bloggers, anon bloggers and govt. This way there would be ample provision and scope for all interest and views to be taken on board. This is where, you the perceptive reader need to ask yourself why wasn’t this done? Now at this point, you need to recruit a sense of urgency here, if you aspire to understand my point that is; what we are talking about here is a very fundamental right; so why wasn’t there any provision for either you or me to even get involved? Think about it.

    Let’s move on the next point; what are these people really trying to accomplish? I am not asking you what is their motivation? That’s given. I am told they want a better tomorrow for all bloggers, but how are they working towards the realization of that goal? Can that be practically accomplished given the way they are going about it? Again I am not asking you whether they’re a valiant lot or whether all of them should be conferred the pour le merit, as I said earlier, I understand they are trying to work towards a better tomorrow; I am simply asking an operational question; how sensible is their approach? Will it manage to deliver a new dawn for all of us? Again this turns on how inclusive the process is? Does it successfully harmonize the respective goals, roles and vision of all the stake holders? Or are the views on representative of a handful of bloggers. Now I have to be very clear here; whatever instrument is used to solicit common ground, it must also be able to solicit a high level of understanding with MICA. It cannot just turn on a few hallowed ideas of a few people who are making films only because they want to run foul of the censorship laws (as strange as that may be the reason to make films in Singapore, there are actually people who are driven by such motivations) or even the views of a few parochial few who have a gender crusade – we are not talking about morality, equity or even fairness here as much as dwelling on the practical question of how intelligent and reasonable people go about the business of craving out common ground. Again you, the perceptive reader needs to weight these competing claims.

    You see I don’t believe the government sees the internet differently from us – and there is one compelling reason why I believe that to the true; its really very simple, they simply can’t afford too; if they don’t manage to make it turn on its linchpin, its bad for business. So I am not one of those who readily subscribe to the belief, they are out to retard intellectualism, innovation or creativity here; as not only does it make lousy case from a nation building but it simply sets into motion the extinction event for any society who aspires to stake a claim in this globalised age stand point; no one can make a meal out the case to kill and cook the goose that lays the golden egg – not in this age at least, the net in my view qualifies eminently to be considered a protected species, hence the light touch policy – my feel is where there might be a problem is one that afflicts every oligarchy; that’s to say it conceivable even within a ministry and the broader sphere of the party political machinery; they are radicals as they might exist intelligent and stupid people, moderates and radicals etc this dichotomy can be extended even further to include even progressives and regressive thinkers; why is this observation important? What bearing does it have on our discussion?

    You see my dear friends, if a new dawn in the internet is to purchased, then it will have to emerge directly from the class of these moderates, progressives and far sighted thinkers; it stands the test of reason as it can never emerge from the ranks of the parochial, insular and illiberal minded; this hardly requires any elaboration; when we consider how middle aged spinsters who still stay with their mummies beyond the age of emancipation regularly spout unmitigated cat puking diatribe whenever they speak on subjects concerning the collective good; but bear in mind these progressives, moderates and far thinking people cant do it all alone: it conceivable, if we bloggers argue no end for freedom to regularly inure what we regularly write with more panache and élan, then by the same token the same the latitude of widget space and flexibility to permit experimentation with incremental improvements must also feature with these technocrats who regularly policy plan and strategize. Understand this, I am not excusing the numerous of instances of ineptitude and inadvertence and even lack of creative imagination when they fail to deliver the goods of higher freedom in the net or elsewhere; only one cannot put the horse before the cart and expect to make any meaningful progress.

    Neither can these enlightened bloggers expect to crave out anything resembling common ground, if all they do is to nurse the ideal as to what they consider to be fair or unfair, just or unjust, constitutional or unconstitutional and yet not appreciate the full sweep of the constraints which usually confront these policy planners – we would of course like to delude ourselves, these policy makers have all the answers readily at hand. Nothing can be further from the truth. If the truth be known, they’re have data streaming right out of every orifice, but they don’t have the means to make sense of it – like this site all they have is one IP, what happens in between is a just smoke and mirrors and they are none the wiser, trust me. So we need to give them free play, but how might codifying our rights into laws help the case? Again you have to think hard about this, as they are practical issues here.

    I understand when some of you wax lyrical and proclaim prima donna style, in a world where it behooves everyone to know what is good and bad; we could just as well entrust ours intellect with the business of picking out the good from the bad like cherries and simply declaring, “here it is! Take it or leave it!” That’s naïve and as it provisions no basis to even crave common ground. You see how we always come back to this issue, time and again?

    Yet this may be what these bloggers have done, theirs is not an attempt to fashion a better tomorrow as much as it remains a declaration of false faith, which makes free use of certain excesses committed by the radicals and regressive by omitting, bending, exaggerating, inventing and embellishing the truth in the name of the greater good; fact remains no such universal good or right ever existed and these bloggers might as well be ruminating over the affairs of some country in fairytale land – in truth, by any practical interpretation of the word, good has to be an elastic term; and what does this mean in this specific context? It means your good may not be my good or even the good that seeks to solicit deep understanding with the broader collective good. And if we can entertain that even the simple good as an idea, a school of thought or even a philosophy is capable of harboring a multitude of meanings depending on where we choose to look at it; then where may I ask is the profit in codifying the means of interpreting even this idea into black letter law? How does this make the life of the moderates within any oligarchy easier? Would that idea inure their acts and omissions with a higher degree of flexibility? Or would it calcify the whole idea of initiatives so completely leaving the whole idea of progress impossible?

    Let me press my final point home. Do these bloggers who claim to represent us all even understand what is; the broader implications when one codifies practices into the black letter law? Yes, I am not doubting for one moment it may even prove amenable to clarify your position and mine against the legal accounts, but what actually happens when something is codified? Where does that power to decide upon this or that eventually shift too? How it continue to reside within the ranks of those who may be best position to make those sort of decisions? Or is it relocated to another governing body, where it could be said, they neither have the skill or imagination to decide beyond the dictionary meaning of words imposed upon them by the discipline of black letter law?

    What would all this mean for all of us? I am reserving comment for the moment as I don’t want to be accused of unduly influencing any of you on such a matter of such urgency, but to the perceptive reader note this; someone here wrote this proposal makes the charge of the light brigade look like a sensible military enterprise; you all need to consider whether that’s really an apt summary of the situation. Whatever your decision one thing remains patently certain to me, as even those within my ranks fail to understand where I am coming from, we shall be none the wiser my friends, if all the decision concerning this matter resides in only the hands of a few men who claim to see the world clearer than everyone else.

    Do have a pleasant weekend. Now you must all excuse me, I need to gear up to touch base with a few monkeys underneath a tree to teach them how to pick coconuts.

    Darkness 2008

    There is a good article / interview related to this post / check it out; here

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/daily-sg-18-apr-2008/#comment-1786

  62. shoestring said

    What I find disturbing is that they assumed the rest of the Internet community have given up their right to be consulted when they did not respond to the invitation to participate. It had not occurred to them that there might be those who are against such an initiative in the first place.

    And as you have rightly mentioned, what is deemed good to them might not be for others. But it seemed they did not care about the impact their actions might have on others. Even if they are only representing themselves, their recommendations affect the rest. Bulldozing their way through to achieve their goals without due regard to the wishes of others is just inconsiderate.

    And have not even touched on the flaws in their proposals and how they contradict themselves. Honestly, this time, I am really put off.

  63. Harphoon said

    Shoestring,

    It’s been a long time since we’ve had a real conversation.

    Let’s remain calm for time being.

    I understand an emergency session has been called in Primus Aldentes Prime [our HQ in the virtual] to discuss the broader implications of this proposal in our great hall.

    I will try to broadcast the debate live here, if its possible [but time is the real issue]. Alternatively, if I cannot, I will post the verbatim version here.

    From my understanding, most of us don’t want to get involved in this matter; for some reason; they don’t feel it’s important or even affects them. So it will be uphill for Darkness to turn the general apathy of the house around. Having said that he has pulled it off bfr i.e swing the whole house in one sitting, so I am not going to say its a foregone conclusion just yet.

    Let’s see how it goes.

    Cheers

    Harphoon

  64. shoestring said

    Harphoon,

    No worries, I am not about to lose sleep over it. But it is silly for netizens to volunteer to regulate themselves. Perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye. I can’t help but agree with what Darkness wrote.

    Good night.

  65. NEW ARTICLE 22-4-08 BP said

    WHAT IS REALLY WRONG WITH THE G-15 PROPOSAL?

    This interview took place in Aaron Ng’s Blog – http://aaron-ng.info/blog/a-real-grassroots-initiative-by-bloggers.html#comment-17595

    Q: Anon: 1. If 15 is not enough, how many will be enough to represent you, me and probably 10,000 other bloggers? i doubt electing representatives will work on the internet. how do you organise an election? and, how do you get the consensus of 10,000 people?

    A: Darkness: let me begin by setting the record straight. I have the deepest admiration and respect for these 15 bloggers. I respect any man who steps up to the plate, bc that takes deep spirited commitment and guts even if its for all the wrong reasons. In this case I believe they are genuine, so we have to really give them all the 3 hip hips here. Where we part waves – is on the issue of methodology and approach.
    Here you have understand this is not an issue abt bean counting – it’s not an issue about 15, 1,000 or even, the statistical significant of 1,000, 000. As it remains an issue that revolves around the notion of what it means to preserve the elemental rights of anon bloggers – why is this so important? Because even if you happen to have a statistical majority, this does not mean you have the mandate to do anything you want under the sun – this is where we have to appreciate the practical limits of democracy and the discipline it imposes on even ordinary bloggers such as the G-15. While democracy remains the only effective anecdote against oppression, persecution and even harassment – what bears repeating is, it too can facilitate a very insidious form of tyranny – one where the statistical significant (in this case the open bloggers at the expense of anon bloggers) hijacks the law and the means to further their own designs and nefarious ends at the expense of the statistical minority. This hardly requires any elaboration, the world has seen this before, the Jewish holocaust, slavery the denial of rights for women etc. I can really go on and on here, history is redolent with such instances of abuse in the name of the statistical significant. So it behooves every netizen to understand that if we are really committed to crave a better world in the internet, then we must never repeat the mistakes of the real world – we have to even learn from them – this is the opportunity the net presents us with: a clean slate, that means we can never just commit ourselves into action in the name of the collective good, or the moral majority or even the Mickey Mouse club, but how do we accomplish this with wisdom?
    My feel is the founders of the American constitution gave us a very good road map and we should really take a closer look at it – these intellectuals did not say, if you have the statistical majority, you have every right to paint the town red or burn down the white house in the greater glory of democracy – no, what they did was to impose limits on our understanding of democracy, by enshrining what they believed to be constitutional and even the elemental rights of man by weaving it specifically into the text of the constitution e.g freedom of speech, so that even if the statistical majority wanted to hijack it, their efforts would be blunted and why did they do this? You need to ask yourself this question as, this is the main plank of my argument why I feel the G15 bloggers have got it all wrong in their approach. If you miss this point, you will not understand why I am going on and on about the mechanics and methodology – and everything will just cease to make any sense and its even likely you think, I am an irrational person – Why did they (the founding fathers) deliberately put the cookie jar on the high shelve? Away from the grubby hands of the executive, legislature and judiciary? – because they knew only too well this was the best way to guarantee the rights of man and it’s premised on the understanding, we should never pursue actions with far and wide sweeping changes simply because its expedient, cost effective, economical or even because 15 is less than a 1,000 or even a 1,000, 000 – this discussion really goes beyond the numerical and encroaches even into the domain of the philosophy of what is required to keep a process democratic. Because in every oligarchy there will always be an idiot with a calculator and a ledger who always be quick to draw the cost and efficiency benefits – this simply means we need to take the high road instead of the short cut, because what we do today will serve as a precedent for our children, so we need to get it right the first time by building quality into the process, the G-15 bloggers need to be mindful of this, that in my view is the discipline that leadership imposes upon everyone of these bloggers – if they don’t have the political maturity to digest this, then, they should even be there! Taking the high road is not that unusual, if you think about it, that’s the reason why we typically have judges to preside over murder cases instead of a computer or an Ipod – do you see my point; democracy not only imposes responsibility, but it also demands from us the moral fortitude to keep to certain time honored and sacrosanct rules even if they are leceh (cumbersome). My feel is it’s simply foolhardy to ask the question, “how many will be enough to represent you, me and probably 10,000 other bloggers?” the fact of the matter remains pragmatic calculation can never ever take priority over the complexity of having to pay homage to the rights of man – this simply sets a very dangerous precedent.

    2. Q: Would it not be better for volunteers (read: people who actually care) to come forward to put forth their views? in a place and time where no one leads, someone’s gotta! i think the bloggers come from all walks of life and are all responsible, reasonable people. I know some of them, and they command my respect. Why do you not think that these people cannot come up with decent proposals?

    A: Yes that would appear to be a sensible proposition on the first cut, but on closer examination, I am reminded Durai started off as a volunteer, so did Adolf Hitler, Stalin and Idi Amin, they all started off as servants of the greater good believe it or not – what we need to understand here is that the very notion of power has the potential of modulating ones character for the worse given time and opportunity. You can even say this is inevitable, even the best of us are susceptible to this gravity of vices – that’s why the wise provision for good systems and inure it with good people – they never design it the other way round if you notice; the man is always dispensable; this adage simply means you cant put the horse bfr the cart and expect to make any meaningful progress – the system and processes must always comes first and by this people must simply be reduced to custodians and guardians of the due process – to me this is a non negotiable condition precedent priori, especially when you look at the Malaysian experience and consider what a basket case it is? When they failed to astudiously keep to this law – if that imposes upon us the need to take the high road, then we simply must simply do it even it is impractical – this is why I feel the G-15 should have opened up the discussion in the public square of the internet, so that they may even solicit responses from anon bloggers, posters and readers – granted, it’s the long road, but its also the gold standard. In this particular case you have to really ask yourself why no provision was ever made to reach out to the statistical significant anon bloggers, posters and readers? Even today none of the 15 have even addressed this matter directly. IMO this is not only a travesty of justice but also of logic and it makes a mockery of the whole process of inclusive dialogue with the blogging community. IMO if the price that’s the price of volunteerism, then its just not worth it.

    3. Q: If you indeed object to the content, they’ve listed their key proposals here. with what points, are you dissatisfied with? (point 1 to 8, on TOC.)

    A: My concern is not really with the substantive, as I do not believe it can be even considered seriously by any policy planner, not seriously at least – this is what our best strategist tells me even at this early stage. They appear to me more concerned about the informal platform that has been discussed at length by Bernard Leong. You have to go and check out his post: http://bleongcw.typepad.com/simple_is_the_reason_of_m/2008/04/community-moder.html For some reason our strategist have tagged this as a ‘real and present’ threat, this is not only unusual, but usually we don’t really consider threats to be that serious, so I really need to sit underneath a coconut tree with these clever monkeys and discuss the specifics with them to understand it further – I regret to inform you I have no comment for the time being

    4.Q If you agree with the content, but disagree with the method, then can you propose a better one? a method that will see all 10,000 bloggers being heard. or electing blogger representatives.

    A: Again you seem to be preoccupied with bean counting, pls refer to my reply to your question in (1)

    5.Q: of course this is not gonna make the government repeal/amend any laws. they don’t pretend that it will! (read their cover letter, once again on TOC). It’s all about being heard, and letting the powers that be know that the laws are being scrutinized. and of course, offering key proposals that hopefully the government will take into account.
    I hope you understand Darkness. and of course answer my few questions listed here, especially point 3 and 4.

    A: “It’s all about being heard, and letting the powers that be know that the laws are being scrutinized” – I disagree vehemently under the strongest possible terms with your simplistic view of how events may unfold. Let me give you an analogy of how I really see this group of 15 and their proposal to our govt – it’s really like a pretty lithe convent girl driving around soliciting for church funds. Suddenly she takes a wrong turn. In a while she’s in a different world, it could just as well be downtown Kampala, Mogadishu or Baghdad – she naively steps out of her rental and walks into a watering hole to ask for directions and when she walks in, she sees a group of men strung out in the bar counter…..you could just as well fill up the blanks yourself with a bit of imagination, but I guarantee you, they’re not going to be playing doctor or can where we find the rabbit who went down the hole?
    IMO the best case scenario we can expect is, our govt will sent a few wax works to review it and say thank you very much, we will get back to you and file it under the X files and outsource it to both agent Molder and Scully since they’re also task with the Mas Selamat mystery – worst case scenario in my view is if this proposal falls into the hands of some real savvy bad ass scholars monkeys – who are a bit like us, then we will really be in trouble as not only will they streamline and retrofit some of these proposals with their own hidden agenda, but they may even use it as a Trojan horse to further a broader longer term design – this is always a theoretical possibility – IMO this is where the real danger lies when one gets too close to govt and how do I know this? Because this is exactly what we the brotherhood will do, we will look at it smile and say it is good but behind the scene mystery will be furiously at work – this is how the game is played, you cannot blame these ppl, what did you really expect when you mash clever ppl together? Besides who in his right mind would look a gift horse in the mouth and say, go break a leg?
    Thank You.

    Darkness 2008

    [Anon / Darkness – Interview – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    Related post: http://ian.onthereddot.com/

  66. NEW ARTICLE 24-4-08 BP said

    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 1 of 3

    [This is a 3 part interview conducted by Phi Beta Kapa / Sharon – Darkness on board the virtual space station, the Dimitri. It discusses the proposal for community regulation mooted by the G-15 http://bleongcw.typepad.com/simple_is_the_reason_of_m/2008/04/community-moder.html#more%5D

    Q: Sharon: Can you share with us very briefly Darkness, what’s your take concerning the proposal for community regulation?

    A: Darkness: I have to admit the gist of community regulation sounds very appealing in principle, that much I can and will say – I believe when most people read it, it sounds very much like the newly minted brochures of the red star cruise liner’s newest flagship – The Titanic; yes, how can it not be good? Wide balustrades, mother of pearl skylights, wall to wall carpeting and who can resist the allure of the promise of romance and love. After all bloggers are finally throwing the cusps to the wind and stepping up to the challenge of regulating themselves to the sound of music. So really it must be good. And here, I must really sound like spoiler when I shout, “ahoy ice berg portside!” Please take a closer look as all is not well in paradise, a serpent lurks in the tall reeds.

    Q: A serpent lurks in the tall reeds? Can you share with us why you have such a morbid view concerning community regulation?

    A: Let me share with you the miniskirt version, it goes something like this; community regulation sounds good, but as a theory for moderating behavior it has as much reliability as a dodgy counterfeit Rolex submariner. It’s OK if you just using it to tell the time or to impress a few Ah Lien’s or to even wade around in the baby pool, but if you’re taking it out for a technical diving expedition and you have to depend on it – then it just makes a lousy case for consistency and high performance. As it’s the weakest chain in the link. My feel is the internet isn’t a swimming pool. As it remains a very real deep blue unknown and one simply needs to buy into this idea it doesn’t pay to be cavalier about it – it should be treated with a healthy measure deference and respect that it rightfully deserves, and this is where you have to ask yourself how certain are you that the G-15 have thought through this whole matter? If you really look around is it such wonder the most industrially, politically and technologically developed countries are also the ones which subscribe to this ‘think again, if you want to mess around with the net’ policy – my gut feels tells me. We should at least take the trouble to find out why they regularly inure their policies with a high level of laissez- faire-ism.

    Q: Have you considered the goals and objectives of the G-15 bloggers when they propose community regulation?

    Have you really sat down and asked yourself; what’s the gist of what they are proposing? Why is there a need to build another wall, and man it with snipers, search lights, piranha’s in the moat etc? You’re not solving the problem as much as exacerbating it. IMO the net should remain a hands off domain like Antarctica – if you read BL’s proposal, there is one area where it mentions specifically, that the vehicle can also sanction behavior that the community doesn’t agree with – my take is every blogger more of less already has that power on his mouse clicker. Isn’t that sufficient if that’s the purpose of moderating? So why is there a need to create another layer of high walls beyond that existing means of moderation? At a time when we should all be cracking our brains to break down existing walls and silos to terra form a flatter landscape to facilitate speed, accuracy and connectivity; why are we even thinking like soviet civil engineers instead of Berlin wall demolition experts? You all need to consider this very seriously. I’ve be honest with you. I really don’t understand this part, not even a bit of it at all and if someone can explain to me. I will be more than happy.

    Q: So you’re saying community regulation as a theory is unnecessary? well they could just as well turn around and tell you, hey Darkness this has nothing to do with you, we propose it, we are going to drive it and this is really our little private experiment so if you don’t agree with it. Why don’t you just go sit in one corner?

    Look here, I thought this was going to be an intelligent interview (deleted). Which agency did you say, you were from again? (deleted) Let me put it this way, this proposal is like someone building a nuclear reactor in North Bedok – ok you can say, I am not directly affected because I happen to live some 20 blocks down the road. Besides, it’s going to benefit everyone in Singapore by lowering the wattage cost etc. Furthermore he is building it on his land and he can more or less do whatever he wants providing some half brained bureaucrat gives him the green light to build a Chernobyl II, but what if a mushroom cloud goes off in the middle of the night? – will I, you and my pet hamster be affected? See where I am coming from? So I think all this talk about I started this, this is my ball, you are not invited to the game, so don’t gate crash the party only serves to demonstrate how some people who are driving this simply don’t have any conception of what they are doing here. They don’t seem to comprehend the broader implications of what they are proposing. Or how it may even affect the rest of the internet community by default and this remains a very real and present source of concern for me and my colleagues, as it should be for you, unless you have a nuclear fall out shelter somewhere in your void deck.

    Q: I want us to go back to an earlier point that you failed to complete. Can you elaborate more on why you think community regulation will not work for the internet?

    A: How many interviews have you conducted (deleted). In a nutshell, community regulation anything basically has a crappy historical record; don’t believe me? Go and check it out yourself, at best it’s abysmal; at worst it can even evolve into institutionalized witch hunting; it really doesn’t matter what’s the setting is or where you slide the ticker on the historical time line, it’s like asbestos, it’s a consistent producer of lousy results under any given conditions; especially when its directed to the broader challenge of moderating behavior; be it a 18th century settlement of Quackers in Salem county where folk have to decide how many winks at fair maidens constitute a sure sign of being in league with the devil (if I was living in that sort of corseted community, everyone will call me Mr Tan and my prefix would probably be S.A.Tan. The chances of me making it pass puberty stands roughly the same probability as a dodo bird making it as a caged exhibit in Jurong bird park); or even the people’s tribunals during the Maoist days when community inspired red guards would usually go around hanging typewriters around a writers neck and make him wear a cone hat just because he wrote an piece that questioned the community raison – or even being visited by the local klan in the middle of the night in Southern America. I cannot think of a better way to steer the internet into the dodo hall of fame. That’s really how useless it is as behavioral, instructional and directional theory, science and practice – why do you think we have judges and lawyers? And not the consortium of free Sundays MILF’s presiding over murder cases? Sure we can have that in the name of the collective good, but don’t be surprise if every community center features a government issued guillotine complete with a pelt rack – IMO that’s just not a very smart way to move forward under any condition. Besides you need to consider; when the whole world is decentralizing and giving more autonomy to the various cells within its community; why are we even talking about resurrecting the soviet era committee of the people’s court? When the whole world is trying to drive out fear, why are we building towers of terror and putting on white bed sheets with triple K’s and ridding out in the night? Again I feel, we need to work it through.

    To be con’t

    [Sharon / Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  67. NEW ARTICLE24-P2 BP said

    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 2 of 3

    [This is a 3 part series interview conducted by Phi Beta Kapa / Sharon – Darkness is currently on a diplomatic mission on board the sister ship of the Royal Creche Star battle cruiser / The Ramayana IX and her sister escort The Aduhyodha Star, berth on the virtual space station, the Dimitri.

    This interview discusses the proposal for community regulation mooted by the G-15
    http://bleongcw.typepad.com/simple_is_the_reason_of_m/2008/04/community-moder.html#more%5D

    Q: [Sharon] You know Darkness, I can say that even physicians, accountants and every single professional body, I know of has a disciplinary committee and it doesn’t show any sign of degenerating into any where near a kangaroo court shambles that you have mentioned. I can even say (cut off).

    A: [Interviewer’s question was cut off abruptly by Darkness] Woh! Hold your horses! I know where you’re going with this line of questioning; but that’s not an apple to apple comparison. I am sorry.

    Those are professional bodies and no one denies for any skill, trade and vocation to develop holistically, there’s always a need to instil it with commonality of disciplines, coherence to code of practices and ensure it’s fidelity to its ethos – but please don’t take that analogy too far, as its not resilient enough to withstand the same intellectual rigor when you superimpose it against something as diverse, complex and mysterious as the internet.

    Let me briefly share with you why; firstly, there can be no such thing, as commonality when we speak about it in the context of the net, not even if the G-15 wax lyrical no end about “community” and the “common good.”

    Even if you apply the most forgiving standards and widest breath, you’ve be hard pressed. This is why when they try to impose a single albeit sugar coated theme on the narrative of how to seed the good currency and drive out the bad in the net – the intelligent people who know the net for what it is, will go two or three steps further and ask of them: Q: how sure are you, this is not an attempt to impose upon the rest of the blogging community values whose appeal is strictly limited to only a handful of individuals?

    And given that’s the case, that leads to the supplementary Q: how can those values then be passed off as timeless, natural, and universal?

    What you need to appreciate here is not only the diversity of the net, but also the sheer size of its very geography – my feel is it has to be a polyglot at best. And at worse you might as well go to Sim Lim Plaza and talk to a few lava lamp to seek out the real answers. I dunno.

    So let’s be clear; this idea of advancing the idea of a “commonality” in the guise of the “collective” or “common” which manages to successfully recruit the “good” is nonsensical.

    The other observation is the net is continually in a state of dynamic flux, its contracting and convalescing all the time; it’s a bit like pouring some oil on the surface of the water and watching it swirl around producing endless configurations of shapes, colors and patterns so even if you claim that this community led enterprise is designed to instill it with added instructional and directional spirit; its even conceivable that’s akin to putting this wonderful solution into the freezer.

    You really need to ask yourself whether that adds or subtracts value from the net?

    The way I see it, you might as well propose a plan to our government to build a nuclear reactor in Singapore or something. That really makes more sense then trying to terra-form the good currency in the net through community regulation.

    Q: So let me get it straight, what you are saying is, the internet is really a very different species from the traditional genres which the world has seen – so due to the lack of historical precedent, its not only impossibly difficult to define, but all attempts to plan for it to intercept a planned point in time is hit and miss at best thing. So Darkness what are you saying in not so many words is the internet should be given free rein and if possible even left alone. As its so diverse and unpredictable according to you, but tell me, even you cannot deny that kids need to be regularly protected and do you deny that the internet is a place where lies proliferate no end. Surely what you are proposing is untenable for any society that aspires to grown socially and spiritually? How do you propose to reconcile these dichotomies without at least accepting some form of interventionist policy? Given that to be the case, don’t you agree that community regulation is a step in the right direction?

    A: I think what’s sorely lacking here is a sense of scale so that we may come to see these challenges such as protecting kids and the ideal of keeping to the truth in a clearer light.

    This bears out only too clear when you read BL’s article. He sets out to argue several unfashionable points; firstly, he tries to lay siege to the moral high ground by claiming he’s trying to preserve the independence of the net; this is all too clear when you read the title of his article; here to complete the promontory of his article title; if bloggers don’t organize to regulate themselves; then the big bad wolf govt will step in and do the job for them, presumably to our greater detriment.

    What we can trace out from this line of argument is it’s basically an appeal to false allegiances, in this case a form of blogo nationalism cum jihadism / samizdat movement. This he tries to accomplish rather unimaginatively by heightening the anxieties of our times by splaying out the obvious; how kids need to be constantly protected or how a few bloggers out there don’t seem to know when they have crossed the imaginary line only to cause offence; now this is where you need to press the ‘pause’ button and ask yourself.

    What’s really happening here?

    If you ask me, its really a call to arms for us to act in the name of the ‘collective good’ to save people and planet from the river of fires and brimstones.

    But where the argument runs out of petrol and takes a swan dive, is when we subject it to the rigors of intellectual scrutiny and ask ourselves jugular questions like; Q: How clear is correlation between the feral net and how this may even account for the negative behavior in kids. Or if bloggers ‘manage’ the net through community regulation Q: How might we even avert the monstrous events that transpired in the Malaysian GE?

    Here BL the vivid writer is curiously silent only because that’s what it takes to hyperbole the whole argument – omission. Why am I mentioning this specifically? Some may say, I am out to inflict intellectual offence. Nothing can be further from the case. I am merely alluding you to issues which you could ALL just about pick up, if you read his article carefully.

    But for the sake of sportmanship lets give his idea the benefit of a good light and examine this whole idea of the net and how it may have even played a role in skewering the outcome of the Malaysian GE? Was the net the main carrier of lies? Yes, but it was also complemented by SMS, DVD’s and homing pigeons. What I feel we need to ask is, would it (the net) have been able to gain currency it did in the collective consciousness without the BN squandering their mandate in the first place?

    What’s worth underscoring here is how he writes about all these challenges that we as netizens are confronted with; as though it’s conclusive and irrefutable so that’s the premise for him to treat it as factual causal event priori i.e the feral net needs a super hero to bring balance to it. Mr Atlas cannot tahan alredi!

    If you read very carefully, nowhere in his article or even in the published text released by the G-15 or for that matter anywhere else [I suspect this may even be frightening true, if we have the opportunity to examine the minutes of their meetings], is there any discussion or even the merest hint of an attempt to explore the broader root causes that may account for these negative social conditions we regularly see in our youth e.g the role of parents, upbringing, our coma inducing newspapers, the state inspired education system or perhaps even the way Sumiko regularly writes as if advocating euthanasia as an alternative lifestyle.

    Neither does he account for how other drivers besides the internet may have even played a causal role to fuel the cult of the feral, haters, stokers and sex crazed; he considers even less how; other social, economic, political and technological factors besides the net may have been operable to give rise to these less than desirable conditions; like what kind of message do you think our govt is sending out to kids when they send in riot squads to deal with anime protestors? Or what happens when political bloggers such as P-65 can offer nothing except more of the trite party battery chicken fodder that most of us have already developed selective deafness too? Or even why does our government spend so much time and resources trying to protect us from this and that? When the most advanced countries in the world have all but mothballed this strategy as they know only too well it makes more sense to empower people than to hermetically seal them off from the bad of the world, only because that’s the best way to inoculate one from lies is to inculcate intellectual independence.

    I feel, it behooves us all as netizens to seek out these deeper truths which BL has not seen fit to mention or to even discuss beyond merely providing us all with vignettes.

    The reason why I say this is there’s really no shortage of road signs that you, I or they can point too, if you really want to fashion the case why society regularly throws out dying comets like the Annabel Chong’s and the Sufiah Yusof’s in our digital age – but my gut feel still tells me.

    If one reads further, this may not actually be such a new phenomenon as one that remains a very old problem in our new age.

    To read the first part click here: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

    [Sharon / Darkness – Transcript has been edited and transcribed by Jasta 1 / Systematic / Jumo / Ikara [note: this is Ikara’s debut piece with BP] – this message has been brought to you directly from the Royal Creche / The Ramayana IX – courtesy of the IMG / Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  68. Aurora said

    Controller,

    Pls note, we will start with SLF 1 hold on SLF 2-9. Pls note this has been set up on this site – controller you are green on magnetic dock – we will be sky bridging the rest of the readers here.

    Happy Reading

    Aurora / IMG

  69. Harphoon said

    The G-15 proposal is finished! Here is the spirit blow. Darkness has gone for the one thrust classical kill.

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

    It’s over.

  70. NEW ARTICLE 29-4-08 said

    28 April 2008 at 7:50 pm
    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 3A / THE FINAL CHAPTER

    [Dear readers this should have been the final part of a 3 part interview conducted by Phi Beta Kapa with Darkness. However, due to the sheer breadth of the issues discussed and the overwhelming response from our readers. It has been decided by the Council of the Wise, it should be extended to include some of the concerns expressed by some of our regular readers of the BP. Consequently there will be 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D / this interview discusses the proposal for community regulation mooted by the G-15.

    Q: [Darkness] In the last segment you alleged that Bernard Leong was cavalier in his assessment that our net is a feral place. Tell me how can you be so sure that all or most of the bad currency we regularly see has nothing to do with the net? Do you think you are slightly presumptuous by claiming these people can’t tell a door knob from a knob of butter?

    A: You keep asking me these silly questions (deleted)…this interview should have been finished two pages (deleted)… I don’t know for certain that the net is the smoking gun – in fact no one knows as its still early days and the body on knowledge in this area is no where near incontrovertible. Even the leading brains in this field remain divided on certain key issues i.e the Chicago School which has the dubious reputation of being described as an Ecological School. A polite term for zoo because they happen to be the leading stone cutters in the field of conflict management and ethnography – and that’s precisely my point – this doesn’t diminish what I have said, as much as it lends my original assertion credence. As I mentioned in the last segment; we need to see the whole issue of protecting minors and the truth in the right scale and perspective – otherwise I cannot see what value it brings to the whole discussion let alone premise such a radical plan like community regulation based on a strawman.

    What you need to ask yourself here is simply this Sharon, if the real experts don’t even profess to know for certain what makes Bernard Leong and his colleagues so cock sure that they would be able to bring about the good currency in the net and drive out the bad?

    Maybe someone in the G-15 is a reincarnation of Nostradamus, I really don’t know – you have to go and ask them yourself how they drew that straight line conclusion yourself – otherwise people will claim, I am trying to show off my ESP skills here.

    Q: Darkness do you deny this; for any society to progress there needs to be a minimum standard of acceptable behavior? And that means we all need to promote the idea of goodness and if possible even solicit it from others actively?

    A: A minimum standard of acceptable behavior? Yes, absolutely, I am all for that. Let me be clear. I have never once advocated that the net should be a free for all. Neither have I ever taken issue with the adage freedom comes with responsibility – only these sort of statements is really like saying electricity kills and slippery tiles regularly cause slipped discs. It tells you zero and even less about how one may explore the broader area of generating value in our net.

    I am a businessman so I feel it’s important to balance the idea of security and growth; and not only focus on the former; this I feel is somewhat anorexic if you look at the G-15 proposal – no where will you find a discussion on how to make blogosphere a more interesting place or whether what they have proposed would be likely to create a Darfur or Paris for all of us.

    To the second part of your question whether I believe the G-15 proposal can bring about good – let me just focus on whole idea of introducing the community regulator; here you need to ask yourself; where is BL putting the ‘good’? What if I said to you he’s putting it in the worst possible place very much in the way we would have made a kanikaze mistake, if we appointed Count Dracula as the CEO of our blood bank? – think about that Sharon. Is it conceivable?

    You see this is what happens when you introduce something like a community regulator into blogosphere and you couple it with the imperative to revivify. Instead of the ‘good’ residing in the hands of the individuals where it can grow, develop and take on a trajectory independently like a business enterprise, he’s entrusting it to the ‘community,’ please go and read what he wrote, if you don’t believe me. Here it’s conceivable, the so called good can only continue to calcify and corrode and produce the same staid sameness, we regularly see in the real world.

    My feel is, that’s just a lousy way to generate value, as what he’s actually doing is inadvertently fashioning a facsimile of brick and mortar Singapore online. Because in the real world Singapore, that is where the good really resides, its not in the hands of the individual as much as it remains firmly in the death grip of the community and it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a stat board, the PAP or even when we discuss something broader like whether two men have a right to knob each other in the privacy of a bush – where you have the good in the community, the mantra is simply; the nail that sticks will be hammered down!

    That’s the part I don’t understand. The last time, I looked out of my window we already have a real Singapore, so why do we even need recreate another online version of the real Singapore in Singapore is beyond me? I mean if the online world ends up like the real world Singapore, I’ve just go back to board games and I suspect so will everybody else except perhaps BL & Co who might as well be the mayor of online Pyongyang because there’s no way it can aspire be a New York or Paris, when you rely solely on the jalopy of the community to leverage the so called ‘good.

    Q: So let me get it straight. You are saying that sort of community led ‘good’ is a bad generator of value?

    A: Absolutely! Consider this why isn’t 377A repealed? Because of the collective good – to paraphrase it is the good that we regularly associate with the community; now if you think real hard about it; you will come to the realization, it has nothing to do with ‘good’ as much as it has everything to do with a system that is so parochial, narrow and insular that it doesn’t even have the capacity to make one judo roll in the mind to accommodate differences i.e hey I think all homos are an abomination and an effrontery to my beliefs (period). That in a nutshell is the shattered dreams of S377A – but never forget it was purchased in the very same name that the community regulator seeks its legitimacy on; the community.

    Now when you transplant that sort of corrosive culture of how to define organization and personal success online – you might as well go and play the extinction game or ram up a stick of dynamite up your ass – because that sort of community inspired ‘good’ machine doesn’t even have the flexibility and multi- tier state of mind to accommodate, let alone create or even nourish the whole idea of diversity and lets leave out innovation and creativity – all that goes out of the window.

    You tell me; where’s the good there?

    Q: Darkness could you give us an example of a place where it is in the community but led by the individual good which you claim to be so superior? Because you are well known to be a twister of words (cut off)

    A: Hey, mind your tone with me man! I know your boss hates me that Joey motherfucker has been on my back (deleted) I mean…(delete).consider this: if you walk into lets say the lobby of the Mirage in Las Vegas, do you see the Spanish Inquisition there handing out the 10 commandments?

    For that matter do you see any casino operator in the state of Nevada regularly building high walls, manning them with snipers, search lights and Rotweillers? No, because no one in his right mind would ever consider going to such a place, unless his idea of fun is talking about hot air ballooning, tunneling or he’s happens to be doing a Phd thesis on how Mas Selamat managed a reenactment of “Shawshank redemption.”

    Here what you need to understand is for anything to work well you need to recruit the marketing component; the long and short of it is simply this; you cannot built an interesting place, if you put the community before the individual – you’re probably end up with something like Detroit or Baghdad – Las Vegas is a very attractive and appealing locale for one simple reason, it’s not supposed to exist that means many of the iconology that we regularly associated with it, probably emerged from someone who wanted to escape the cacophony of the American community landscape. Here the ‘good’ and ‘value’ generated doesn’t emerge within the American community as much as it tries to reject it completely by throwing the cusps to the wind and saying fuck you, I will not conform to your ideal; that’s why if you look carefully at the symbolism of the architecture in Las Vegas, they all have one thing in common, all of them are saying, “hey look at me, I am supposed to be in Venice or Paris, but look again, I am here!” Why are they all trying to run away from the community good? Think about it, could it be because it is not so good?

    To be con’t

    [Sharon / Darkness Interview Series – annotated by Jasta 1 and JUMO / The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    NEW ARTICLE 28-4-08 Says:
    28 April 2008 at 7:55 pm
    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 3B / THE FINAL CHAPTER

    Q: Darkness isn’t a deregulated net logically better than one that’s regulated? Because its more flexible, less draconian and perhaps even more democratic.

    A: More flexible blah blah. Hey, I don’t know where you got that from. To me that’s just a marketing tag line that most people buy into without really thinking about it. I don’t believe life is so simple. You don’t foreclose on lets say communism and automatically get happy democracy. That only happens in the movies. This we saw when the USSR collapsed, it did not produce good as much as a tsunami of bad that brought with it; run away inflation, transmigration; balkanization which even fueled partisan and sectarian divide which mushroomed into a civil war. To a limited extent this was also what’s currently unfolding in Iraq; decamp from dictatorship and instead of happy democracy, what you get instead is closer to a self styled Iranian theocracy – the sum of all our fears.

    So we need to be very careful; just because the G-15 have a nice logo and it comes with pad lock that’s half open, you mean that’s all it takes to persuade your intellect, we are going to get a better net?

    That’s why I believe the question really boils down to a mechanical analysis when the G-15 say, we are going to deregulate it can only mean we will get a better net, if the means remains sound; but how sound is it; when 94% of the bloggers weren’t even given an opportunity to participate in the process? This is very different from don’t want to participate. I have to be crystal clear here. There is no way of participating because at no time did the proponents of G-15 even provision for anon bloggers to do so without compromising their elemental right to privacy – so even from the word go, you got the cart before the horse – how the hell are you going to make any progress, I have absolutely no idea; where is the freer so called net in all this. Because I can argue when you deny and that’s what they did, not deliberately but by design the statistical majority then how does that even raise the bar on freedom?

    You think about that. I mean in life you don’t jump and expect me to follow tout suite – its never going to happen. I’ve go through the fine print and so will most netizens.

    Q: Darkness let me ask you a point blank question, why do you think the community regulator cannot produce the desired ‘good’ that will benefit blogosphere? The reason I am asking this question is many readers have being asking what do you consider as the gold standard of good and why are you so adamant that the community regulator is incapable of producing good?

    A: The short answer is smart people don’t go about trying to solve the problem of a police state by creating another police state within the police state. Did I just confuse you? Because I cant tell my left from my right foot now.

    Q: Can you clearer please?

    A: Hey any clearer and I’ve be the invisible man. Look here, this is no Mensa test man, it’s really like the African headache cure, take a hammer and bang your toe; yes the headache disappears only because it’s superseded by a bigger pain. Here you are not curing the headache as much as creating a bigger problem – that’s how I see the whole idea of the community regulator. It does solve as much as it creates new problems for all of us.

    Q: OK it seems like you’re getting irritated by my questions, so I will keep them short from now onwards. Coming back to the second part of the question; why are you so adamant that the community regulator cannot produce any good?

    A: The short answer is the cost of having the community regulator is simply too high. You can only believe there is no cost, penalties or kickers, if you don’t subscribe to the law of cause and effect – I do not.

    Build a lousy system and you are likely to get lousy results; there’s no mystery there, it’s a open book anyone can make those sort of calculations; where the cost and penalty calculation turns to mud is when you build a perfect system that’s so good that it has reserves of kinetic energy to not only keep on going but to also gather momentum and when you pull on the brakes nothing happens! It’s a bit like the Titanic 30 seconds before it struck the iceberg.

    You could even say that’s really why I am so adamant that the community regulator is such a lousy way to solicit good; as I believe the regulator has all the potential to assume the worst scenario of a run away train; so its really a disaster waiting to happen; it’s very much like our great social engineering experiment we once launched during the early 80’s; the ‘2 is enough and 3 is company’ population control program. It made perfect sense then and even it even worked admirably, the problem is that everyone was so fixated on the drive train and breaking the land speed record; none of those scholar space monkeys bothered with the emergency brakes. Fast forward today; it can be said this is one of the main reason why we have a such a dismal birthrate.

    Now one thing that you need to understand about those sort run away train scenarios is the cost is not only high, but exorbitantly high enough to cancel out whatever payouts a plan may even generate; so its really very much like a proposal to build a nuclear reactor in Bedok, it makes mathematical sense because the probability of a mishap is negligible, but the cost is simply to horrendously high to contemplate; as its even conceivable you may not be able to put it back into reverse gear; here to exacerbate the whole calculation its not really a quantitative method we are relying on as much as it remains a qualitative process; its more an art than a science; because you dealing with people and people don’t always behave rationally. Contrary to what economist often tell us; the fact that they do maximize advantage is undeniable; but that’s like saying anyone will invest in a stock that gives a good return on investment, but I can say there are some people who may even run counter to that behavioral template by doing the exact opposite because they may not want to get rich at the expense of people and planet; for example by investing in tobacco or defense firms. So what we see here is what I call eccentricity – not in the dictionary meaning of the word, but in a mathematical sense and here you need to appreciate that small things can have big consequences.

    Now with this knowledge let’s take a closer look at the community regulator in our Petri dish and ask ourselves can the same run away train scenario happen? I believe that’s a very real possibility, let me share with you why; Q: How do you stop a cat from jumping on a stove? Simple turn on the stove, now if you think about it, that’s exactly how the community regulator works; go and read BL’s essay and you will find he uses words like ‘condemn’ and ‘warning.’ Q; will turning on the stove stop cats from regularly jumping on it? Q: will hauling offenders up to the public square put and end to the feral net? In both cases the answer has to be a resolute yes. Only because when you frame punitive measures in something as formalized as a committee, then its naïve to assume fear isn’t somehow elevated into either a theory or science that even makes it effective and efficient to modulate behavior. Contrary to what many people have written, I do not disagree that what BL proposes will NOT work; my main contention has always been it may work too well, like a Maglev train barreling at 600 mph without brakes; so very well even that it may well have every capacity to ripple through generations; that’s really the kicker, cost or penalty that keeps me awake at night – and let me tell you where it will hit the hardest; creativity and innovation only because they are the ones that leverage most on freedom; so Sharon I want you to be very clear here; what we have is not just a simple way of disciplining that one offending cat who regularly jumps on the stove, but also stopping other cats (and there are always more of those) who may have either seen or heard about what happened to this one cat; only for them to think twice, thrice and probably give up the whole idea of jumping on a cold stove even; that in the palm of your hands is the shattered dreams of what the G-15 are trying to propose – it is not a way to free as much as it remains a very effective way to rule us all.

    Darkness 2008

    Private Message to the Lady of Lake from Darkness;

    “I trust all is well with the Royal Creche. Please allow me to offer you all that I can afford too”

    Your humble servant

    Darkness 2008

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=XK2Mn-XgHjA&feature=related

  71. NEW ARTICLE 30-4-08 said

    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 3C / BLOGGERS EATING BLOGGERS.

    To navigate the reads on this subject please click here: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

    Q: Why don’t you consider it progress when the G-15 say; from now onwards bloggers will manage other bloggers? Surely it’s infinitely better than the government regulating bloggers.

    A: I am extremely disappointed (deleted) Look here you can only buy into that populist clap trap; if you didn’t know it was Jews who the Germans referred to as the Kapos who played a major role in policing, terrorizing and regularly herding their fellow Jews into communal gas showers in Dachau and Auschwitz. Or if you believe plantation slaves weren’t regularly brought to heel by ‘house’ or ‘Tom’ slaves which estate managers relied on to prop up the slave economy in Southern America. For that matter we can even ask ourselves an elephant question; like how did only 30,000 British administrators manage to rule over 250 million people covering a geographical foot print from the Malayan Peninsula to the Blue Mountain ridges of the Afghan kyhber pass?

    Here I believe its naïve to assume where power and politics features it doesn’t have the capacity to produce a multi headed hydra. Given the right conditions and motivations it’s conceivable, it can and will!

    It’s a fallacy to believe bloggers are somehow morally insulated from the forces of complicity, tyranny and oppression. That’s a fantasy. I am very sorry to burst you bubble.

    To me it’s a lousy way to move forward. Smart people never put their hopes in people as much as in good systems. To be honest, I don’t give two shits who governs us; it could even be aliens or the council of the planet of the apes, at the end of the day; I’ve rather take my chances with good systems than good people.

    Q: Darkness, I want us to return to something you mentioned earlier; where you said Jews or rather Kapos were responsible for terrorizing Jews. What are you in effect saying, that fellow bloggers will one day even terrorize fellow bloggers. I really find it hard to believe as it sounds so incredulous (cut off)

    A: Sharon I kid you not! Let me try to explain to you why that scenario is not altogether implausible: do you agree, if I said, the net has been largely an egalitarian and featureless domain? But as soon as you create something like a committee or even a community regulator; (cut off)

    Q: I am sorry to cut you off mid way, but since you like to do that to me. I would just like to do the same to you for once Darkness. I just want to say no where in Bernard Leong’s write up does he ever use the word ‘community regulator.’ I believe the correct term he forwarded was ‘community moderator.’ Can you please use the correct term?

    A: I am sorry. I cannot do that. Agreed the term community regulator was never used by BL; however, if you examine the scope of its powers; no one can deny, not even you, it’s closer to a regulator than a moderator; a moderator doesn’t have the power to sanction community led punitive actions. Neither does it have the power to issue out a warning in the name of the community or to even recommend to the authorities to take further action on a would be offender. Please go and do your homework and read BL’s write up again! I will have to insist on using this term only because it remains the most accurate description that best describes what it does – regulate in the name of the community.

    Q: Lets leave that matter aside; allow me to reiterate my original question; where you said Jews or rather Kapos were responsible for terrorizing fellows Jews. What are you in effect saying that fellow bloggers will one day even terrorize fellow bloggers. Don’t you think you are a bit paranoid here?

    A: There is a big difference between being prudent and paranoid. As I mentioned earlier before you interrupted me. The net is presently a relatively egalitarian and featureless landscape. But when something like a community regulator suddenly appears; it’s like one of those ancient societies that begins fashioning some tower of Babel and filling it up with an oligarchy of high priest etc – this really prompts us all to consider what is the implications of the sudden appearance of a super social structure in our blogo landscape?

    I need both you and the bloggers to take sometime and to consider this.

    Will it have the capacity to alter the social and cultural attributions which makes up our net? i.e linkages and networks. Now you don’t need special knowledge to understand this part; all you need to do. Believe it or not is to play one round of Sim City; and that sort of complex push and pull dynamics really unfolds marvelously to explain how complicated it can get.

    If you notice even in this simple game when you build something it has a ripple or shock wave effect; it just doesn’t stop at a hotel; as much it precipitates a host of other things which will follow in its wake; like highways, hospitals, shops, along with multi storey carparks, utilities, whore houses which may lead to not only depreciation or appreciation in intrinsic value of the neighborhood. But it also has an effect on the demographics, activity levels etc.

    Now the reason why I brought up this game up, is when you introduce a committee its very much like building one of these super structures; but here and don’t miss this part out; as it’s the key; you’re not really in control of the game, as much as the game controls you i.e you are simply reacting to events so you’re really like the red queen in Alice in wonderland, who keeps on shouting ‘faster’ and ‘faster’ as she tries to out run her world; now if you read that story it’s really a parody because she can never outrun her world as the game she is playing is really just called catch up.

    Now this important for your understanding because when you start something like a committee, you don’t control it as much as the events will eventually control it, but what does this mean?

    It just means your chances of succeeding is equal to fucking it all up – now the problem here, this is not game, you can reset it and play again.

    Q: Darkness in the model you have shared with us; can you please give us one example of how these unpredictable occurrences can really balloon and take over the whole?

    A: Let’s not complicate our already complicated lives. As we are really dealing with a subject that even stretches the limits of my understanding. So let me try to simplify matters here; now the way I see the net. It’s really just one big pond with all types of fishes; and there is already an ecological balance. I know it’s not exactly tankhood, but it’s not nearly as feral a place as its so often depicted by BL & Co either.

    All in all, it’s a place where fights do break out occasionally, but by and large people will just go to their respective quadrants and so the general peace is maintain through a tacit system of deterrence, forward interdiction, parlance etc. But bear in mind all this doesn’t come about free. This is something I need to emphasize; its not free and neither is it accidental either and it really an accretion of egalitarianism, that’s to say what we seeing here is a very a product of a hands off policy on the net; which accounts for why; everyone is really quite equal, because no one has really create a social hierarchy in the net.

    The problem is when you introduce something like a committee, then something juts out from the social landscape; its not only a departure from the flat egalitarian social model, but it’s also has all the possibilities of swallowing, chewing and spitting the rest of the net into something other than an egalitarian landscape. Here I think, it worth highlighting what we have is an interventionist policy as opposed to a laissez-faire hands off approach.

    So the trigger can really be something quite benign like even something like a committee but the effects can very well be amplified; and this really is a bit like one those environmental horror stories; we often hear about; When someone thought it would just be a dainty idea to bring a pot of flowers from the old to new world to brighten up the porch or dress up their bonnet with from time to time.

    But what happens when that species of weed finds its way into the local ecology and proliferates only to overreach its territory very much like a super invader? In this analogy we really need to ask ourselves whether this committee has the capability to make those sort of leaps?

    Here what you need to understand is, the whole idea of what BL is proposing in the form of this tripartite community has every potential not only to redraw the landscape, but to even transform the social structure of our blogosphere to such an extent that it may not be so desirable.

    Q: Darkness you have poked fun at Bernard Leong’s tripartite committee comprising of named bloggers, blog readers and internet experts. Of the three classifications your ire seems to be particularly vicious towards internet experts where in the past you have referred to them as urination technique experts, reincarnation of Nostradamus, Alchemist, love potion quacks etc – can you tell us why you find this label so far fetched?

    A: Hey look, I am business man. So I put a premium on the aperture of predictability, that’s why before I even decide to sign on a deal. I go through the numbers with a fine tooth comb, but I am also realistic enough to back off when I believe, I may be dealing with a non linear or unpredictable scenario – and the internet really falls into this classification.

    If you really want to know whether there is really such a thing as an internet expert; then consider this imaginary experiment; let’s say we get 50 of our brightest President Scholars and 10 of our superman ministers and put them into a time machine and providing no one breaks wind, they would lumber out of this time machine to the year 1985, we will also do them the courtesy of erase all their known memories of the present with a powerful vacuum cleaner, magnet or something.

    So when they arrive at this timeline, they have no knowledge aforethought of the present or future. In this game we give them $100 million, but there is only one condition, they can only invest in audio firms and the goal is to maximize their gains over a 20 year period – so suddenly our wonder boys find themselves back to the happy days of shoulder pads, Elton John, big hair do’s, killer cars with no airbags, walkmans and probably to an age when Sumiko was still a dreamy eyed happy soul who believed in sweet serendipity and wasn’t regularly writing about why we should all stick our head in the microwave oven etc – now you can only believe in such a thing as an internet expert, if you believe for one moment, these wonder boys will not put all their chips on Sony or Toshiba and instead seriously consider Apple.

    But bear in mind during the 80’s, Sony controlled nearly 90% of the audio market because they invented the walkman and Apple was basically a company who were still producing dorky migraine inducing computers, music was still very much in the research back burner.

    So my point is simply this, if you can tell me you for certain those wonder boys have the foresight to make the right decision.

    Then by all means come in and regulate all you want. I’ve even roll out the red carpet with flower petals and a 21 gun royal salute complete with a belly dancing troupe, but if you have even have so much as 10% doubt, then I believe they have no place here.

    If there is only one lesson the history of the internet regularly throws out; it’s this; nothing is predictable. My feel is; if someone doesn’t even have the wisdom to understand this; and leave something alone, then they just have a very poor appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses against what they are up against; and you can never win the day with that sort of arrogant smarty pants attitude.

    [Jasta 1 / JUMO – Darkness / Sharon – The Brotherhood Press)

  72. NEW ARTICLE 1-5-08 said

    1 May 2008 at 2:56 am

    THE FALLACY OF COMMUNITY REGULATION – PART 3D / WHEN YOU LOVE SOMETHING, IT’S EASY TO GIVE IT YOUR ALL.

    Q: Sharon:

    I am not sure, I understand you Darkness, but are you saying; we should leave the internet alone?

    A: Darkness:

    Yes Sharon. To endeavor to understand this; you don’t have to learn anything new as much as unlearn many of our home grown assumptions of how we typically define organizational and personal success – you see, its really very simple.

    I don’t believe the good currency we regularly see in the net is solely the product of sheer accident, coincidence and serendipity ; how can it be?

    In my calculations that has to be a nonsense, there has to be something more to this story.

    So what’s the story?

    If you really think long and hard about it; the net cannot be so different from our own brick and mortar world – how can it be? – for one people and culture still feature very prominently, along with perhaps a million other things that one can bring online; now if can entertain the possibility there may even exist ghetto’s, sub-cultures and even organized criminals in our real world and even the odd terrorist cell who are fashioning bombs and blowing up themselves in their kitchens and yet despite all that the good currency still manages to win the day by regularly bringing us new products and services, like ipod, warcraft, Amazon.com, Playboy and Ipod etc.

    Why then is it so difficult for us to buy into the idea of leaving the net alone?

    It hardly makes any sense Sharon.

    Why do we even feel that we have a right to intervene? Do you even see the arrogance and temerity to even assume such a state of mind in the first place?

    BL and his colleagues would have us all believe a better tomorrow in the internet can only be purchased, if we busy ourselves with zoo keeping.

    My feel is we should be bee keepers instead – and even ride it out. To allow events to take its course.

    My feel is there is wisdom in this path and it requires verve and imagination in the way of hope.

    Let me share with you something we have been working very hard on, [darkness leans towards the coffee table and activates a small metallic orb; it whirls in a while a holo-image of Times square New York city fills the room] Look, hear and feel – go with the flow Sharon, its interactive.

    You cannot deny the most vibrant cities more or less mirrors this reality. Look at it! Take the full sweep of it, it’s an isotropic imager, we are experimenting with for project Entropia, courtesy of my good friend Dr Chandra.

    Sharon, walk with me – please.

    I want you to understand, you’re looking at a less than perfect world here; somewhere in this Apple, every 32 sec someone is getting pickpocketed; someone is getting shouted down; someone is getting hoodwinked; then again somewhere in this concrete jungle where people themselves make up the very raw materials of the great experiment of life; a Michelango has just put the finishing touches to his masterpiece, an Einstein has shouted out ‘Eureka’ and a Rockfellar is cutting his first deal of the century; that in a nutshell is how I see our own humble Singapore net developing into in maybe 10 to 15 years time.

    But one thing is certain here, it will never ever be BL’s utopia wired brush blogoland; as much as, it has to be what we are seeing right now; as this is how it really is.

    This is what it takes to be a lightning rod – here somewhere between two lamppost, is the reason why the New York’s, Hong Kong’s and London’s of this world are what they are – do I deny they are even resented and derided for their crassness, arrogance, double dealing, dirt, questionable morals, lackes rectitude and so forth.

    No, not even for one moment – yet something tells me deep in my heart of hearts, global resentment may yet be the highest compliment a city, a netscape or even a blogger can receive, as this can only mean, it’s happening and so the brightest, talented and gifted will always aspire to be part of its history, along with the most rebellious, questioning and those who seek the truth like us.

    Do you understand why the net needs to be left alone?

    Q: Darkness, thank you for being so patient with me. I am sorry, if it over extended in the way it did. I am new at this, but I really enjoyed this session. Do you have any parting words before we close?

    A: I’ve have put my heart and soul into this. When you love something, it’s easy to give it all. Thank you Phi Beta Kapa.

    I would like to thank everyone who has made this series possible. As there are many in the background such the guild, asdf, the singapore daily etc.

    Thank you.

    Darkness 2008

    THIS SERIES IS FINISHED.

    [Darkness / Sharon Interview – Jasta 1 and JUMO / holoscape was brought to you courtesy of the IMG – Mindscape© & Quantapoint Tech and Phantom Works – The Brotherhood Press 2008 / This interview was prepared with consultative material from the ASDF who acted as advisors (The Think Tank of the Brotherhood) in jv with the interspacing and mercantile guild / The confederation of gamers – the Brotherhood Press – 2008]

    To navigate to the first segment of this inteview series click here:

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

    Dear Readers Pls note this is the last of the interview series. BP will be resuming normal runs of the articles.

    Happy Reading

    Aurora

  73. Aurora said

    If you are interested in further discussions concerning the “deregulation of the net” – there is an on-going dialogue taking place in Aaron Ng’s blog

    Click Here

    http://aaron-ng.info/blog/a-real-grassroots-initiative-by-bloggers.html#comment-17670

    Happy Reading!

    Aurora

  74. creader reader merder said

    Hello Aurora,

    I come here once a while just touch base with some of old travelogues boys writing either or to pass it on to friends, that sort of thing. But when I checked in today, I realized there is so much to read here suddenly. No wonder this site is still alive after nearly one year in the dumps. I was wondering to myself why there is always some guy here keeping the threads neat and clean and making sure all the light bulbs are still burning bright. I guess I have the answer now, its some kind of emergency landing field rite. Its great to see the Brotherhood Press here again. Keep it up and will be passing on the word. I am sure many like me will be pleasently surprised. keep well and peace out ya!

  75. repairman said

    Coming to think of it we have absolutely no idea why there are so many visitors. I once asked darkness this. He said nostalgia or something to that effect. For some reason this site just refuses to die. Kitana and Galye Goh are all long dead and gone, but for some reason. This site seems to have an ardent following, but then if you look at dead sites like icered.com. They’re still getting about 4K hits per day, so I really dont get it myself. Its very spooky. Very strange indeed.

  76. NEW ARTICLE 5-5-08 BP said

    5 May 2008 at 11:33 am
    WHY FREEING UP THE PRESS WILL JUST KILL BLOGGERS.

    I am sure some of you are familiar with Cherian George and his idea of freeing up the press. I have no idea where the article is but I faintly remember it being pitched under the tagline; investing professionalism in our press, where Cherian advances a whole of ideas of why a freer press would be able seed the supreme good and drive out the dystopian bad from our society. Now you don’t have to read that article because if you really want a summary of it; it can be expressed mathematically in machine language quite succinctly in the following terms with hardly any violence; more freedom = better press / less freedom = net will continue to be a zoo, as we are likely to give the press a miss for the real thing.

    How true is his formulation? Will decoupling the press from its self aggrandizing nation building role really revivify it? Or is this just a sobriquet panacea? A simplification at best?

    My feel is Cherian’s formulation deserves closer examination only because the sum of what he’s forwarding is really closer to alchemy, than anything that resembles cold cut logic; in a nut shell, there is a flaw in his logic when he suggest simply by ‘opening’ on a regulated press. This magically ‘opens’ up endless opportunities for a broader all inclusive national discourse that will hopefully reclaim that loss that eclectic class of readers who may have been seduced by the delectable lies of the feral net.

    To those who claim, I am out to cause intellectual offence. Nothing can be further from the truth. As it hardly takes one very long to figure out, dear Cherian has obviously never read an article entitled, “why I will never ever read a blog or ever.” Am I surprised such repressed views do from time to time secret their way out from the cloistered cloves of the sisterhood? Nope, only because I know the sisters of perpetual hesitation (SPH) very well – I even have the scars to prove it. What you need to understand here is, in their surreal reality mind bending world; the truth isn’t really the truth, as much as it remains plasticine to be shaped into every shape and form to fit their erudite world; here when one of the sisterhood’s mother superior Sumiko aka mother of all bo lang ai’s sighs and exclaims; “Ladies, I’ve missed the boat.” A cheery chorus of “Well done, our aim must be improving” resounds. Yes, my friends so do you now see; why I am so concerned when Cherian even suggest the idea of freedom. What astounds even me is how he may not have considered how even these reporters may be altogether so different having lived for a prolonged period in an ivory tower; they may even be inept and ill prepared to handle the whole idea of freedom.

    Here we begin to notice the fissures in Cherian’s contention of freeing up the press. In one great leap of faith, he accomplishes this without even once dwelling on the cogent issue of first having to re-constituting the intellectual deficit needed to sustain a free and independent press. If you can buy into his idea that we are already encumbered by a ‘crippled press,’ then its conceivable the sum total of what currently exist now in the ranks of the press corps must really so riven, that they are not only complacent and supine but have also nourished their own self aggrandizing version of their raison d’etre and what must be emphasized here is; what they have fashioned must really be so different from the real brick and mortar world that it can do very little in the way of soliciting agreement even with the vast majority of readers who have decided to migrate on-line. Think about it.

    Tell me can they, the press even be reasonably entrusted to do the right thing? And not abuse this new found freedom to assert their hold on our collective consciousness by using ever more nefarious means?

    And this leads me to perhaps the biggest flaw in Cherian’s proposal. Now here I do not doubt, the press corps in general comprises of an eclectic pool of averagely educated aspirants who all seek the truth very much like all of us and perhaps they can even be counted on to do the right thing. The problem with that sort of logic is it assumes there can only one version of the universal and timeless truth.

    While it remains palpably true; every vocational calling tends to make representations concerning how power and politics affect people to master or in some way continue to assert their hold on the public. Yet, not all oligarchies make these representations and in fact master and control them so as to regularly bring goodies to people. It didn’t happen to the nuclear technologies who promised us all sixpence for wattage with the advent of the nuclear age; or even with nutritionist, who once wax lyrical about solving global hunger by being able to deliver 3 square meals into something as compact as a pill. Neither did the much heralded age of supersonic air travel bring with it the promise of cheaper and faster trans continental flights – when I consider how every door man in the business class lounge even knows how I want my bacardi and lime served up.

    This is the vital distinction that needs to be grappled with when we consider the idea of freeing up the press; knowing what’s good doesn’t mean people will necessarily deliver good, not when it runs counter to their interest – such vocational territorial instincts are just confined to journalist but one can even say it extends right across to the spectrum of trades to explain why opticians suddenly turn into undertakers when they insist on telling us no end how Lasik is still very much in the experimental stage and its long term effects are still unknown. Or why professional call girls never ever accept American Express and only insist on cash transactions – This requires us to ask further what really makes up the marrow of the bones of a free press? Does it just require freeing it up as Cherian said? Or does it require something more in the way of complimentary thoughtware?

    Here perhaps we would do well to familiarize ourselves with something which Cherian has elided; what it really takes to be a real press and this leads us into the mind of what it takes to be an oppositional writer. Here one could just as well substitute the term journalist for novelist, blogger, satirist or even cartoonist – it matters little. What we need to understand from the onset is the modern idea of the oppositional writer, is essentially someone who writes against power, questions the political order of his day or the even locks horns with the whole apparatus of assimilation of the marketing manifesto. He was never once a protected species as much as he remains one who was derided, hunted and even openly gunned down. Against the backdrop of hollowed out buildings, twisted metal and broken window panes; the oppositional writer is first and foremost an opportunist, here like a sniper, he cultivates the oblique eye; he doesn’t need a lot of shots to bring down an elephant; here the mantra is one shot; one kill. And what is he fighting against? What the fuss about?

    Well, if I had to pin it down to one word; its what I call “great lie” – the idea that if good won over evil, then its only by the slimmest of margins. And here the oppositional writer is never ever comfortable as much as he’s riled by his acute sense that he is very much part of the discomfort zone; where he may even be living in a reductively binary culture and attempts to leech away his real world; in this world you are either successful or a failure; a scholar or a peasant; with us or against us; functional or autistic; patriot or anarchist; straits times or the on line citizen; and so its conceivable when such a writer commits himself to waging an un relentless war against that sort of flattening of the field of possibilities; he may even have to reconcile himself to standing apart from everything that Cherian has even proposed which would have amenable to nourishing the very idea of a free press.

    This effectively demolishes Cherian’s myth; and here what you need to ask yourself; can the freedom to write in the comfort of ease without the fear of state inspired harassment, persecution and bullying even produce such a thing as the oppositional writer?
    I don’t think so. I suspect freedom not only saps the will and breaks the spirit, but it does it less to inure the oppositional writer with the right state of mind to tease out the nuances and to seek out the greys in our omnipresent binary world.

    If anything when that day comes when journalist, bloggers or even the diarist are even venerated by the main stream anything, be it the political machinery, big businesses or even the MSM; it probably means real writing that continually seeks out the truth has dwindled to near nothingness and what will follow can only be something very close to the binary black and white world.

    Life is not so simple Cherian. It never was and it never will be, not in the real or even the virtual. I am Darkness and this just took me 18 min 25 secs. (sorry for the by passing the proof reading, no time, have to move on to the next target).

    Darkness 2008

    (The Brotherhood Press 2008)

  77. NEW ARTICLE 7-5-08 said

    SUPERMAN’S ‘RIGHT’ TO BLOG ANONYMOUSLY?

    There’s a mystery man everyone in my office refers too affectionately as ‘superman.’

    Superman likes a girl in accounts, he refers to her endearingly as ‘my dearest’ – he leaves her love poems from time to time and once even bought her an expensive pearl necklace during one of his trips to Japan. No one knows who superman is, but all agree he has to be someone in the system – he’s slick, smooth and leaves no bread crumbs – even the kay poh auntie and uncle moral brigade have long given up all prospects of ferreting him out.

    Possibly, the affair of Superman and his ‘my dearest’ is not to everyone’s taste. For one it wanders rather lazily at roughly the speed of a wheelchair: too drawn out to captivate, as not a lot really happens in between. But this lazy feel of office Les Liaisons dangereuses conceals a tightly constructed sub plot that brings me to my main point this evening.

    While some might regard this sort of make believe world as odd it certainly seems innocuous enough. Considering even ‘my dearest’ revels in it.

    There are, however, other types of fake identities that raise serious moral questions especially online. Consider this: where people who are engaged in misdeeds would no doubt prefer to remain unknown, here it would be odd to claim that they have a moral right to remain anonymous in order to avoid being held up to account for their wrongdoings.

    Take the idea a few steps further and in no time, we may even run the risk of finding ourselves ambling in a hall of mirrors as we consider the moral implications of sock puppetry and astro-turfing – see what I mean? The right to remain anonymous is a whale .Au contraire, hardly exhaustible in one sitting such as this.

    But let’s push on and try to beacon out the murk as best we can. The argument that’s often advanced by those who believe online anonymity should remain an indisputable right claim that it’s acceptable. As net culture is essentially a participatory one that requires everyone to embrace diversity – these adherents of a free net. Even claim it adds a climatic feel to the whole internet experience. As anonymity enhances the mood. They’re a quick to point out if anonymity can have a place in the real world, then it has to be an indelible online right that should never be challenged. For example, whistle blowers who expose corporate malfeasance, institutional corruption, or criminal activity have valid reasons to remain anonymous – but sureeeeeeeeeeeeeely it’s a stretch to draw parallels between whistle blowers and people who regularly post and comment under an anon tag. Right?

    Mmmmmmh. It’s conceivable a better way of making sense of this hubris concerning: the right to online anonymity would be better served by paraphrasing it as; do I have a right to privacy? Here in one masterful sleight of hand, not only does everyone say ‘yes’ with hardly a blink of an eye. But hold on just a second! Errh why should the case for privacy be any stronger than the right to online anonymity? Why is privacy, accorded the status of an unquestionable elemental right? While the whole idea of online anonymity is usually treated as a character flaw ? Aren’t we really talking about the same thing?

    See what I mean, we already in the proverbial hall of mirrors.

    It would appear this matter of whether anonymity should be regarded as a right or privilege would have been settled a long time ago. After all our net is hardly sand box politics given that its nearly five years old which in relative terms puts it somewhere around the 50 year vintage – hardly kids stuff, if you asked me.

    But perusing through a few threads recently where anonymous commentators slug it out with those who are prepared to splay it all in full glory suggest; this matter is very far from settled http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/04/21/proposals-for-internet-freedom-in-singapore/. Here for lack of a better word; what we are seeing is some thing akin to class war or struggle, at least. I wouldn’t go as far as to say, it’s some kind of apartheid; uber versus sub class, but what’s telling about the clash is how ‘open’ bloggers who see no problem in revealing their identities on line seem to be imposing their values on those who may choose to blog or comment anonymously. Be it insisting that this should or shouldn’t be the case for that matter offering all manner of justificatory reasons to advance the idea why the latter should step forth and not hide in the shadows; one thing cannot be denied from all this; one group has successfully asserted control over another!

    And this prompts the question: why do some people who blog openly remain indifferent to the fate of those who may choose to do the same anonymously? When this same people would not even think twice about extending the scope of their social contract to lets say gays, the disabled, destitute or even a bunch of monks marching in the streets in Lhasa? Doesn’t it seem paradoxical that they should seek to understand and even appear united in one case, yet do quite the opposite when they are confronted with similar facts when it comes to the case of anonymous bloggers?

    Mmmmmh. Very odd indeed. My feel is to really get handle on whether anonymous bloggers have a right to privacy. We really need to ask ourselves a very fundamental question; like what sort of blogosphere do we really want to build? Do aspire to be truly borderless? How serious are we about accommodating diversity? How true are we to the spirit of nourishing the idea of a free net?

    Now my point is simply this. If you mull over these questions; it really opens to only one place I call the freest of all public square – a place, where every netizen (not ONLY citizens. It’s a veritable nonsense to talk about nationalism in the context of the net these days. You might as well go and brick yourself in or something.) is welcome to be present and where the purely private in the form of the “I” to the greater “we” or even “them” ceases to exist. Think about it – go with the flow.

    The main plank of my argument is this; for a truly public place to exist, the private needs to be excluded and if possible even restricted. I know that’s a stretch but work it through. There’s really no other way, if the imperative is to build a really free net.

    The way I see it. You can’t have a truly borderless, diverse and free net without accommodating differences. Or even hope to create a place where any netizen is free to announce to the world (not the little world of family and friends, not even the broader world of brick and mortar Singapore, but the big world that none of us can even begin to hold in our heads) that he just won the lottery, or that he’s in love or that if he doesn’t slouch and stand erect he stands a full inch taller. This is something ants cannot do, but we can.

    And this really bring me to my final kicker: perhaps you can tell where is the profit in drawing lines between anonymous or bloggers who choose to wordsmith openly – where? Because, I can argue, if we cannot even surmount this one simple obstacle, then you might as well forget the rest. You don’t even stand a chance in hell.

    Do see my point?

    Coming back to Superman, sometime back ago after the company dinner he offered, “my dearest” and a few of her dim sum dollies a lift home. Through out the journey, he couldn’t help noticing signs of anger in the rear view mirror – a curl of the lip, that expressed, “I know, its you.” A rippling muscle in her jawline exclaiming, “Admit it! You little bastard!”

    I can’t say I blamed her for feeling the way she did. You see Superman decided to chuck it all in two months ago – just like that. One day he just woke up and figured out that she amounted to nothing more than a ball of kryptonite that he didn’t want to be chained to his ankles.

    For a while I fell into a gloomy spell thinking about these thoughts, until the sound of laughter from the other girls in the rear seat startled me out of it. When I look up, “my dearest” was watching me. Pensive with even an air of expectancy. Her liquid brown eyes fixed on me as if I was the last man who ever walked this earth. (luckily, I had some hymns in my Ipod) All around us the others were laughing and enjoying themselves oblivious to the dance of wet glass eyes, and there amid it all -we could well have been the only two souls on this planet and it could be said, I held time in my palm. As lost in her thoughts as I had been in mine this sensation of unalloyed rapture waxed and waned thru the night. How I wished in that moment, this place in my mind existed. A public square we could just call our own. Life would be simpler, much simpler. Indeed.

    I’ve just let my lips do the talking. Literally.

    I am yours Superman.

    Darkness 2008 (sorry, no time to correct, have to move to next target )

    [Jasta 1 – brotherhood press 2008]

    Publish Date: 7 May 2008 at 10:24 pm

    This article is based on my views here: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1919

  78. NEW ARTICLE 11-5-08 said

    WHO I AM AND WHO ARE YOU IN THE AGE OF CUT AND DRIED

    11 May 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I am now cycling somewhere in Red Hill – a suburb of Singapore without so much as a knoll that resembles a “hill” and completely free of even the slightest tinge of “red” – this may be why, I’ve decided to take a break and mull over the whole idea of authenticity.

    Aristotle once said; “The truth is all about leading an examined life.” To paraphrase, it behooves all of us to winnow out the real in the fake; if we are really interested in living the real and good life. Nothing can be worse than living in a lie.

    Much can be said about the real life; for one it means we are living instead of just existing; that could well mean the difference between being an ant and what it means to be really human.

    I am not claiming there is a great meat grinder somewhere out there in the world that keeps dumbing and leveling the field of possibilities; but it wouldn’t be all together wrong to say, somewhere in the frenetic pace of modernity; reality has bowed out to a very processed, shallow and simplistic version of how we may all regularly define what it means to really live and be alive even.

    If you peruse around, life is fast assuming a binary dystopian landscape; you’re either in or out; with us or against us; bent or straight; worth engaging or just plain deserving of being ignored; productive or unproductive; successful or unsuccessful – what’s missing from all this?

    The middle ground; greys; hues; nuances or detailing. Somewhere in the cacophony of modern living, the middle ground has been squeezed out along with serendipity and probably a hundred other things which once made life worthwhile beyond just fulfilling one biological duties of breathing, eating and shitting. These days it’s no longer given the real estate that would normally be allowed to flourish; she’s exiled.

    I feel very much like that displaced person who calls himself a resident of the middle ground. You could even say, I’ve known it all along. I don’t fit in very well into the known world. For one I enjoy my own company too much; I climb, bike and sail alone; I am comfortable with the idea; too comfortable even and it hits me like a freight train whenever, I happen across knots of climbers and cyclist; who all seem quite content to give me that quizzical look of bemusement; “What the fuck is he trying to prove?”

    There’s always a lag between my understanding and the world; and somewhere in between this great divide; it just sharpens my sense of estrangement and solitude even further. One day, very much today, it dawned on me my condition was not a disease but rather a nature. How could I possibly not feel estranged? I write and when one writes, one needs to think; its not enough to just accept the processed version of the truth that’s often thrown out by the newspapers, TV and the radio – people who write don’t have the luxury of just taking that path of least mental resistance.

    For one they know the truth is largely a bi-product that needs to compete with so many things before it can even successfully emerge out of the melee; it’s like love; it needs to be cajoled, teased out and even passioned into revealing her true nakedness – that’s how I see the truth – she’s like a woman who needs to be wooed – grist even to the mill.

    Why is it so difficult for me to come to terms with the processed version of the “truth?” Why does this sense of estrangement persist? My life after all cant be so different from yours; slide the ticker anywhere along the historical time line of your life and the chances are what you once went through, I went through as well; and now when I look back at the brief life of a man who is Asian, Chinese and very much a part of his community as it is an indelible part of him; why should he suddenly find himself exiled, displaced and even standing in a gulf as he tries his level best to understand his predicament? What happened?

    You know its no fun to go about the world when one develops a bent to regularly questions the truth; you could even say; its like one of those sad characters in those B grade Hong Kong ghost movies; that keeps seeing the ghost; when the rest are oblivious to them. They ask: “What’s he going on about?” ; “Who is he talking too?”; “Is he deranged?” ; “probably, poor confused soul, luckily, we are not like him.”

    Why can’t I seem to understand “things for what they are?” Is something wrong with me? This whole business of a lighter than light touch; why do I even question it? Why do I believe so strongly that this whole idea of a non governmental committee will do even less to raise the bar on freedom and even bring about a new reign of terror? Maybe it will work after all; maybe it will fail; but why does that part of me that seeks a ‘cure’ to my condition of estrangement persist; perhaps I don’t need curing, and the world that I am content to question no end didn’t either? Maybe all I really need is to craft an understanding of my place in it. Without that understanding – how can there be a sense of belonging to the real world?

    Where do I belong? Who am I? Where am I going? Yes, its terribly confusing when one considers how a man or for that matter any man these days can even be expected to winnow the “I” out of the mess of the “we” and “them” which the world imposes upon his understanding; this man like myself may well be one of Chinese descent; an Asian who has studied abroad; stirs his coffee anti clockwise; keeps two copies of Kafka; one in his office shelve to convey to the discerning perhaps he’s not a simple man since he’s managed to cultivate the oblique eye; the other in the glove compartment of his car, only because he knows it still requires some working on; but when this man is called upon to decide on the matter of his believes; which one swallows up to the rest to step out and say; “This is what I believe in?”

    I really don’t know; but I cant help feeling it has something to do with the thinking writing imposes on the writer; I don’t doubt even the simple act of writing has the effect of altering our sensibilities without even us realizing it; we won’t stop at just the official version of the truth; not even if all the market to question it for what its worth has all but dried up; real writers don’t write for their audience as much as they do for themselves; it’s a sort of self imposed purgatory, penance even that compels us all to do the things we do.

    It’s something to reflect on if you happen to be a blogger, only because you are first and foremost a writer.

    Above all the writer doesn’t follow; he leads. And even if only a few read; it matters little to him; it has never been about the size of the audience or how much real estate he has managed to take hold over the collective consciousness; providing he writes; the social novel lives; and even if one day, it survives in only the cracks and ruts of our omnipresent binary culture, perhaps it will be taken more seriously, as an endangered species – one which will always intensely search out the lost meaning which makes life worth living and dying for.

    It’s time to get back on my bike; I see dark clouds and it will be long ride back.

    Darkness 2008

    (The Brotherhood Press 2008 – Aurora)

    This write up is based partly on my thoughts expressed here: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

  79. Olio said

    Its a pity such beautiful writing has to hide in Darkness….really it’s a tragedy.

  80. science park slave said

    I’ve seen the way he writes. He’s like a concert pianist. The moment he hits the keys, it just keeps going and going, till it comes to a halt. No corrections, no alterations and no changes, just comes out straight from heart. Something tells me, he is saying good bye to all of us in his own way. I know, I am not imagnining it. I can even feel it in the cadence and tone. He’s like saying, I want to tell you this, so that you will never ever hate me.

    Take us all with you, silly. Do write

    🙂

  81. NEW ARTICLE 12-5-08 said

    12 May 2008 at 9:26 pm
    MY INALIENABLE RIGHT TO REMAIN ANON

    As some of you may already know, here: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1851
    I am not a very big fan of the proposal to outsource the moderation of blogosphere to a non democratically elected committee. This hardly requires any elaboration.

    In fact, I consider it an outright violation of my privacy as an anonymous blogger. Why? Guess what? I am not going to tell you. Yes, it’s not a typo, you read true and right. As I said, I consider my right to privacy an elemental right, one that Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren, both defined as “the right to be let alone.” So the onus isn’t on me to justify my position by attempting to elaborate as much as it’s incumbent on you to ask yourself whether you even have a right to ask me that sort of question.

    I know this sounds a trifle confrontational and conceited even, but do bear with me as there’s really a point to all this wind bagging: consider this: do I have a right to remain an anonymous blogger? The liberal strand of progressive thought, shaped by such thinkers as John Rawls, holds to the view, I do. According to him the case is not altogether dissimilar to a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy. Here it’s not necessary to establish the Catholic burden of proof that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. It’s sufficient to show such a question cannot be reasonably directed to the aggrieved without legitimately constraining her right to exercise her prerogative as a human being. In short it’s a violation of her privacy i.e her right to decide on an abortion.

    The same issue arises about gay rights. Their defense need not turn on the issue of whether homosexuality constitutes a crime; it can be successfully argued here governments don’t have a right to control sexual conduct of not only gays but also heterosexuals. What two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom is really their and their alone.

    Now that I have taken the trouble to go around the block a few times; do you now realize why, I don’t need to give you any justificatory reason why my right to anonymity should be treated as an elemental right. Neither do I take it very kindly, when others who may not even have bothered to do the requisite reading on this whole subject treat my right to anonymity as nothing more than a character flaw that needs working on.

    The argument that is usually forwarded against anonymous bloggers goes something like this: “If you don’t show up, then you have something to hide” The flaw in this logic presupposes quite incorrectly every anonymous blogger who doesn’t step out is hiding something subversive. Of course usually the tone that accompanies this sort of corrosive mindset is subtle; its couched in terms one usually associates with the Kamikaze movement; “stand out to be counted” – “bravely walk forward” – the whole idea presumably is to differentiate the act of stepping out i.e disclosing identity as being a more been a more enlightened and mature state (please do go and visit Xiaxue vapid blog to confirm her maturity) than perhaps those who choose to remain anonymous.

    My problem with quips like these: “if you have nothing to hide; then you should not fear coming out in the open” is simply this – it’s premised firmly on the belief one’s insistence to a right to privacy is equatable to having committed some unpardonable sin. It’s not. Fact remains people do have maybe 10,000,000 valid reasons to blog anonymously; that may come as a surprise to many; but their right to do so should not only be seen as indelible right, but should also be accorded the status of an unquestionable right that deserves the same measure of respect and dignity that’s accorded to bloggers who blog openly. Besides privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

    Tell me why shouldn’t it be seen in the good view of the ark light?

    I not saying; I am against openness per se, not if there’s a compelling reason not to do so. For example: I don’t resist crotch grabbing searches in airports. As it’s conceivable that sort of compromise between the need for greater disclosure and my rights to privacy serves the collective good of making air travel a safer enterprise. I do however consider it a violation of my privacy and even an effrontery when some red neck custom officer who has an IQ of 5 below idiot on shift in either O’Hare or Heathrow gives me that all too familiar, “Okey dokey, what do we have here?” look when they riffle through my belonging only to discover a copy of the Quran – “What’s a China man doing reading the Quran?” See what I mean? Question: would I have provoked the same reaction had he discovered a copy of the Bible, Sutra, Talmud or even the Mickey Mouse Almanac in my suitcase? I really don’t think so! Is that right?

    Neither do I mind the panoptical presence of closed circuit cameras in the public sphere these days. As I realize it’s a very efficient way to cover a footprint and it’s even conceivable it makes good use of human resources. However, I do take exception when closed circuit cameras with panning and zooming capabilities are sometimes directed to cleavages or derrieres of the unassuming, instead of the purposes which they were designed for – see what I mean again? The right to disclosure can be abused!

    My point is simply this: when does disclosure give way to good old fashion harrying and harassment? It prompts us to consider: not everything; even if it serves the collective good should always be subject to full unconditional disclosure. What if it comes at the exorbitant price of liberty? Here, its important to buy into the idea that even the seemingly reveal-for-all-to-see hobby of blogging which traditionally accompanies parts of one’s life being splayed out in the public square pasar malam style, doesn’t preclude the possibility there may be even chapters of my or even your life which we may want to keep private and take to our grave.

    My feel is one serious omission concerning the hubris of “disclosure vs anonymity” is it’s often framed as a simplistic “security vs privacy” conundrum. While this may seem at first justifiable and even logical, all too often it comes at the cost of leeching away the layers of what open and close really means and too often it comes at the unbearable price of surrendering our liberties.

    I am reminded tyranny, whether it comes from a terrorist cell or from overzealous pineapple eyed domestic scrutiny, remains I am afraid very much still tyranny – whether it assumes the practical necessities of the Internal Security Act. Or denying wholesale the statistical significant anonymous bloggers the right to participate by deliberately rigging the rules requiring them to give up their elemental rights to privacy is tantamount to spitting in the face of liberty. Here it important to understand liberty exacts a higher onus; for one, it demands security without intrusion, security which even manages to guarantee one’s right to privacy. That may seem anomalous to many who will continue to insist no end on a pure and unfettered stream of data, only because they will claim that’s the most pragmatic approach that yields the best return on the cost and benefit calculations – however, I suspect, it would do our understanding an immeasurably favor if we paused for a while and asked ourselves a simple question like why did the framers of the American constitution struggle to articulate certain fundamental rights and even enshrined them as fundamental rights that should be placed above the ordinary pragmatic and cost effective calculations of the legislature, executive and judiciary? Why I wonder did these wise men put the cookie jar on the high shelve?

    If power corrupts, then access to a pure, unfettered stream of data corrupts absolutely and completely.

    I have to go now, my Nokia Communicator is running out of batteries. I hope this reaches you from the land of the anon.

    Darkness 2008

    [Harphoon / Jasta 1 / Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  82. NEW ARTICLE 10-5-08 said

    CAN YOU REALLY HAVE YOUR OWN BRAIN IN THE AGE OF HYPE AND SPIN?

    10 May 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Something’s amiss in the media’s coverage of the US presidential race; pull the curtain all the way back; and what do we really have? Aha could the media be actually the ones playing the race card in this campaign?

    Don’t believe me: consider this, why is the media so obsessed about Obama’s association with his verbal diarhrea mouth reverend? Now I don’t mind that sort of coverage sometime, but not all the time; especially if it comes at the expense of fleshing out the really important stuff; like what’s Obama’s stance towards the Iraqi occupation, the economy, health care or any of the hundred other legitimate policy issues – so what kinda of message is the media trying to send out to the average American voter when they hijack the campaign narrative in the way they have?

    Obama can’t be trusted? Think about it these are serious allegation. I could even be sued by TIME or CNN.

    You see there’s a serious side to all this; my point this evening is that’s what usually happens; when endless hype and spin goes out of control and takes over real discussion and debate – the first casualty is always the truth.

    If you really want to know how intelligent dialogue gives way to endless hype and spin, then learn one word, ‘railroaded.’ It may just save your life. And I kid you not! That just means in the vernacular being forced unwillingly down a path that you don’t want to have anything to do with.

    Now if you find yourself one day signing on a dotted line of an insurance policy that you’re half minded about; then 9 out 10, you’ve being railroaded. If you find yourself walking down the aisle with a toothless wonder that weights two metric tons and her daddy and brothers are edging you on with a sawn off shot gun and their pet python, you’ve been railroaded. Or if you suddenly find yourself in Tiffany in Takashimaya biting your nails and sweating, mumbling to yourself, please don’t choose that…because if she does, that just buys you 6 months of Maggi dinners and economy bee hon brunch; then you’re been railroaded by a gold digger!
    You see, I NEVER EVER GET RAILROADED, you know why? Because I am one of those who don’t believe people will usually tell me the truth. I am not saying everyone I come across is either unreliable or a congenital liar. Only I recognize how the truth as an idea is really at best a function of convenience. Usually it has to compete with a host of interest and this simply means somewhere along the supply chain, it gets warped, morphed and even reprocessed into something other than the truth.

    Doesn’t matter whether it’s some guy on TV trying to tell how you should spend your retirement; or even some Ah Kua that keeps insisting he or she is a the real Mc Coy despite having an Adam’s apple the size of a tennis ball; or even some pastor who claims sweet Jesus asked him to build some shopping mall in Bueno Vista. Or even a bunch of urination experts who try to sell you and me the snake oil that blogger regulating blogger is the next best thing to mothers milk.

    In every single case, the temptation to skewer the truth and even hype it, till it’s somewhere in the upper reaches of the contrived, artificial and surreal is simply too great.

    Like I said, I NEVER EVER GET RAILROADED. And that simply means I go through the brass tacks of checking off the truth the old fashioned way; I mean, if I am not sure about whether I am going out with a real girl; I’ve just check her box and it wouldn’t be her inbox or xbox either; you know what I mean? if I feel anything protruding that could either mean a speedy bye bye to the nearest 7/11 for Listerine. Or a surgical tube is sticking out of my mouth, because he or she happens to a Kung Fu expert and I have just been knocked out cold and just woken up in the ICU in SGH.

    You get my drift right? I never ever take anything at face value. I always check the goods out first. I will review all the essential information and even go through the bother of checking them off to see how it stands up to critical analysis – if it doesn’t even have the resilience to last 30 sec then I fuck it off – and this brings me to my main point this afternoon.

    I tell you what since I am still on the train so lets run through a case study and see how the I NEVER EVER GET RAILROADED formulation performs under stress. I want us to take a bite at something that looks real see whether it even has the capacity to hold it shape after that.

    Lets see where shall we go from here….mmmmh

    OK what about this whole idea of devolving power to control the net to a non government committee. Is this really a good idea? Will doing so raise the bar on freedom? Hey, I am not asking you whether you think the online citizen has a nice web layout and not like those shrunken heads you find in P-65. Or whether you think Cherian isn’t a cop out because the only thing he aspires to be is to land a teaching job. I am asking how robust is the whole idea; of devolving power to a committee?

    Let’s go through it step by step. I’ve tell you what. I’ve even slow mo it down. Firstly, are they proposing some high tech space age political tool craft that’s used by some advanced country in the West? No your honor! Is it some communitarian super duper liberal democratic institution which the Scandinavians are experimenting with? No again your honor. So what is it?

    In fact, let me tell you one thing, out of 152 countries which operates an internet service, not even a single one has a community regulator. Contrary to what is commonly spun, shaken and stirred by the MSM or even what you regularly read in the net; what they’re recommending is probably something you find the medieval museum of horrors –it ain’t new as much as it’s old dressed us as new – it’s called the Spanish Inquisition. There you go. You’ve been railroaded!

    But lets give them a 90% discount, because I still have sometime before I get to my destination; can someone please tell me how can this Spanish Inquisition be a ‘lighter’ (hopefully, they’re not going to resort to nerve gas lah) and presumably ‘better’ or even ‘new improved?’ touch?

    Can someone please tell me in what way are they are going to go about the business of seeding good and driving out the bad currency in net? Are they going to use some high tech conflict management tool? Or risk mitigation strategy? Are they going to solicit compliance by influencing, persuading and even winning over these so called ‘bad’ elements in the net using a progressive means?

    Well let’s examine what one of their supremo’s forwarded, steps in Bernard Leong: “If a blogger has behaved contrary to proper net etiquette, the community can issue a statement to condemn his or her behaviour…” OK, so they’re going to pin a scarlet letter on the offender – presumably to mark him out as an example to the whole community. In other words, their only means of soliciting compliance relies implicitly on fear that is reminiscent of how they used to handle conflict during the dark ages when they regularly burnt heretics on the stake in the public square.

    Mmmmmmh!

    I hate to say this; but you’ve been railroaded again.

    You know I can really go on and on all night and poke holes at this whole plan but like I said I am running low on the battery juice and my Nokia Communicator is starting to make love making sounds. So we really have to leave it here. Besides this is my stop and I better get off now – we don’t want to be railroaded now do we?

    Do have a nice weekend

    Darkness 2008(sorry for the spelling etc, have to move on to the next target)

    (Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2008)

    BOOK RELEASE Says:

    10 May 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Pls note the much awaited 9th edition is finally complete, based loosely on the popular Korean tear fest mini series “Yeonriji,”

    It was adapted by darkness albeit with a special twist and written in one sitting during a recent trip to Japan / Yeonriji sells at 32 Imperium Shekelians per episode and runs at happy 50 / a 50% will be available for early birds. Pls contact your read club leaders. Happy reading all! Your Friendly controller, Aurora]

    Brief Excerpt:

    “Standing there on the bridge surveying the sum of all our differences, I am reminded we have it all here, right now at this very moment. Ants don’t that at least should hold us all in good stead – not just to exist, but to search for a place whereby two people can walk in different directions yet always remain side by side. I need to believe this to continue. I am not that strong. I know it doesn’t show only because I hide it only too well.
    What if, this ‘place,’ I want to call ‘wholeness’ resides in the litany of the ‘everyland’ – every minute, every hour, every day flickering like distant stars reminding us all of the nearness of angels? What if, amid all the empathy, caring, pathos of all life has to offer, it’s always been there? If only we care to still our minds, listen and understand? Not over the knoll. Not just around the corner. Not in some fairytale. Not at the end of the rainbow. Not even when we all eventually have to pass on, but right here, right now firmly in the palms of our hands.
    A place called paradise.”

    Happy Reading

    Aurora

  83. NEW ARTICLE 13-5-08 said

    THE WOMAN WHO LIKES TO SCRATCH MY CAR – A STUDY IN ACCOMODATING IRRECONCILIABLE DIFFERENCES.

    13 May 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Occasionally in life we come across things we can’t understand because we have never seen anything similar. The lady who I caught red handed scratching my car one evening a few months ago certainly struck me that way; why didn’t I confront her? Why did I just let it past? I have absolutely no idea; it could have been her composure which betrayed hardly a tinge of guilt; that certainly took me for six; all she seemed to radiate was the calm assurance she could and will get away with it; if I was stupid enough to challenge her. You see she doesn’t like me, not even a bit, not that I even gave her any cause to hate me in the first place. I don’t even know her. Never so much as even exchanged a word of greeting even. Like I said, we come across things we can’t understand.

    For the better part, we lead separate lives – occasionally I chance on her in the lift – usually she’s content to slide to one corner and give me that mother of all condescending look that simply says, “I know what kind of man you are.” Usually, I just look up and make teeth sucking sounds or pretend to check imaginary sms and that’s really all there is to it – you see I know what kind of woman she is; she is single, successful and probably a siaow char bor.

    Things came to a head one day, when I met her in the lift again – this time, she told me, “I had no respect for her.” To which I replied, “you know what, you need a good…” Before I could finish the sentence, she slapped me and somewhere between gathering my senses and making my way to the car. I found myself asking,

    “Why can’t we just get along?”

    It seems like a simple question: “why can’t we get along?” But it isn’t when you really think about it; not in this age at least. When one considers how making as much money as possible these days has assumed a centrality in our culture; its even conceivable against the backdrop of this dystopian landscape we may even need to actively assure ourselves a community isn’t some form of endangered species.

    What emerged for me during the course of driving to work was a twofold realization; firstly, she’s possibly an ex Singapore karate gold medalist. The other being her hatred for me isn’t really directed specifically at me, that may seem like a chauvinist attempt at self flattery, but not really when one considers hatred as a state of mind doesn’t just spring out from nowhere; usually from my experience, it emerges deep within the depths of primal fear. And that means her hatred isn’t really hatred of even a personal kind or type, but rather a desperate attempt to preserve the four corners of her known world. The thing being preserved could be her views and assumptions about the world. Or how this or that may stack up to produce this or that – but one thing remains certain as people grow ever more distracted and mesmerized by mass culture so do the waters rise on their ability to beacon out the murk; you could even say somewhere in this binary world; where one is either good or bad, in or out, with or against, successful or failure, right or wrong everything is expected be in its rightful place; as a consequence people will always be typecast; stereotype and even labeled.

    You could even say this is how most decisions are made these days; “All Arabs hate Americans,” “all anonymous bloggers have something subversive to hide, that’s why they’re not coming out into the open,” “the internet cannot be trusted, its full of lies and disinformation,” and so forth. Do you ever find yourself stereotyping? What is the allure of stereotyping? I guess one undeniable aspect which accounts for its prevalence in character judgment to even planning a five year plan is it’s a very reliable supplier of one very narrow version of the ‘truth.’ Now it may seem odd that people should decide to make decisions about the nature, profile or even mental make up of people by just skimming over the surface. That a theoretical formulation is desirable because it makes it easier and more efficient to hold and defend a POV may seem odd to many, that it may even confuse understanding in the weak sense of making coherent and comprehensible the complex, may even seem odder, but this does not diminish its usefulness.

    By lunch time the metallic taste in my mouth had all but disappeared – yet I found myself mulling over what had happened in the morning – again and again in mind the question turned are there any lessons here? – personally, spiritually, politically, and otherwise – that can help me to deal with the turmoil and bridge the divide. Somewhere between deciding to stay or go from my averagely depressing sandwich lunch – I decided to do something quite strange. I walked across to Raffles place, pressed a button gathered from a friend who knew her, checked my zipper, slicked back my hair back and when the lift door opened; there she was with a knot of people; her eyes caught mine, she looked surprise but recovered her composure with admirable ease.
    She wasn’t sure what it was, but something must have stirred in her. Like a moth being drawn to the naked flame of a candle. Every moment would draw her deeper and deeper into the depths of my fiery eyes – heightening her awareness, she was not simply any woman, but the only woman a man such as myself was content to look upon for the rest of all eternity.
    In a while, she became quite still. The slight quivering of her lips as they began to part like the moist petals of a lotus after the rains – her eyes watery reflecting fascination and fear like a ripple in moonlit waters gave the impression of woman who was not all together herself.

    Yet I continued starring oblivious to time, space or even the others who had by then begun to peel away as they asked “are you coming?” Even then she could hardly hear them – she might as well be a thousand miles away, as lost in my thoughts as I was in mine.

    I realize this post doesn’t make the slightest sense, only because that could be the real point, there is a point to being pointless – and this should hopefully serve as a reminder; if we want to prejudge a situation, person or event, then maybe we could just be closing the door to opportunities and possibilities.

    As I said in the very beginning; in life we come across things we may not understand.

    But this doesn’t mean we should fight it and not simply let go and go with the flow.

    Happy Hunting!

    Darkness 2008 (I have to stop here now, my Nokia communicator is steaming up)

    (Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2008)

    Possible Related Post (Auto Gen)

    https://intelligentsingaporean.wordpress.com/2006/09/21/why-i-would-like-to-leave/#comment-33673

  84. Darkness said

    15 May 2008 at 12:07 am

    Dear all,

    First, you must know yr rights.

    Once you know this. You will be able to hold your head up high.

    Then it will be impossible for anyone to take it away from you.

    It’s just impossible.

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=cMaMc4HlIjA&feature=related

    Happy Reading

    Darkness 2008

    [Posted by Kokopops]

  85. NEW ARTICLE 15-5-08 said

    ONE BATTERY CHICKEN LIFE COMING UP IN THE NET?

    15 May 2008 at 5:31 pm

    You know what? I don’t like to humiliate people; neither do I like to be humiliated! That’s to say I don’t like to treat people like kids. That’s why I never micro manage them; it doesn’t matter whether it’s at work, life or play – I just resent the idea no end. And there is a very compelling reason why? Firstly, it’s just plain demeaning and dehumanizing. Everyone deserves their own bubble of freedom. Secondly, I don’t believe it’s a very effective way to manage performance. And thirdly, it makes a lousy case when you plot it against the efficiency / benefit curve – you might as well go and move a train by throwing out cannon balls or something.

    Whenever, I think about being treated like a kid; one particular incident stands out during my torrid university days when a lecturer who bore a grudge against me singled me out to resolve a math equation on the black board (I was banging a sweet Italian lecturer he had the hot’s for); it was obviously an attempt to humiliate me before the crowd. Not only did I resolve it in the time it took me to empty my anaconda, to add insult to injury. I even cut in half his wind bag equation and ended it with a hubris that took the entire faculty of mathematics nearly a week to resolve – he failed me of course on a minor technicality, but not before I had reduced him completely into a laughing stock; was it worth it? Probably not, but that should convey to you the degree to which I loath the whole idea of being treated like a child. I am prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to make my point.

    That could be one reason why you will never ever find me lunching in McDonalds either; as I consider those sort of hell kitchens nothing more than a reenactment of the perpetual motion life of the battery chicken – again, I have a vague recollection of having worked there during my grinding poverty stricken days as a foreign student in London.

    What I resent most about McDonalds as an employer during the period of my youth; was how I do not even have a single recollection of a supervisor adhering to a belief that the best way to manage people might be through a program of empowering them by allowing them a degree of autonomy as to how they should go about their work.

    Here in the gridlock ceaseless panoptical soviet style surveillance one is regularly pushed beyond what’s humanly possible; the moment you arrive at work, you’re slaved to a work flow that is designed by time and motion experts; there’s no time to even scratch your bum without having to make up the slack. Your whereabouts is monitored constantly and if they can’t find you, there’s always the dog whistle. Everything one does – from your urination to your next work detail – can be monitored in a score card until you leave 12 hours later.

    After a week of impersonating a Bangladeshi hamster on the flywheel – I decided to skip the golden arches and applied instead; for a sedentary post as an apprentice undertaker in the family run firm of James Crook & Sons in Kilburn, London. The only draw back with working with the dead is getting across the mental barrier, but when one compares this to the lack of pesky customer complaints (yes, the dead are terribly forgiving even when you use their ears as handle bars) and the freedom to even cat nap in one of those deluxe mahogany silk lined caskets (that could probably be the reason why so many walk in customers suffered heart attacks when I worked there. When I suddenly woke up to ask for the time) – all in all, it more than makes up for the little inconveniences like sporadic nervous twitches, hearing voices and carrying a leaky water pistol filled with holy water. I stayed on with Mr Crook for a good 2 years and even managed to win the employee of the year award twice in a row that managed to win me a TV and even put me through university quite nicely.

    My point, this evening is this; at first glance, the push for greater ‘good’ i.e productivity, hardly seems unreasonable. Isn’t that what all good businesses should do? To continually guarantee lower prices for their customers? But tarry ho and look at how these “productivity savings” are made and what’s the real cost to people and community?

    As there are dozens of small, simple hardships that can push life on the minimum wage over the edge from tough to unbearable for those workers. The worst being the constant monitoring – “go here and do that!” – “reverse there and make a right turn, please” (bang in the wall) – to being harassed no end by the watch dog supervisors into never letting up – “Why are you standing still?” Not only is the whole idea of panoptical surveillance demeaning, it’s also dehumanizing as it guts out many of the things that make boring and repetitive jobs bearable – a touch of personal initiative, a chat with a customer in a short skirt, a sneaky cigarette break – all these are surreptitiously stamped out by the all seeing eye of the corporation that is simply dedicated to the whole idea of faster in half the time, half the people and with half the resources.

    Well I simply don’t buy it. There should be a better way really. A way that gives back the humanity to people who are simply trying to earn a honest buck.

    And this leads me to my favorite bug bear this evening. One of biggest concerns that I harbor about the whole idea of the community regulator is; how it relies implicitly on the same panoptical surveillance that I have just described, as a basis of soliciting ‘good’ compliance – and here I need to be very clear; as some of the G-15 bloggers will probably say, “Hey, this regulator doesn’t have any legal powers.” So the corollary is it’s a paper tiger that doesn’t really have any capacity to instill fear.

    You know what? I disagree completely with that simplistic take on power.

    As it’s conceivable, the very symbolization of a community regulator, star chamber or people’s court is sufficient to create a very real climate of fear. Yes, here a little goes a very long way. That fear works at many levels is something no one can deny, but the most insidious and corrosive type of fear is not the ‘us against them’ fear which is usually distanced by variations in class, neighborhood or even schools of thoughts, it’s the one that resides within the very fabric of the community where it resembles the panoptical pineapple eyed gridlock world that we so often see in lousy dehumanizing work places.

    Here fear isn’t distanced as much as it’s omnipresent seeping into the every day litany and this can only elevate it into the status of social engineering – what you need to understand here is this; we are not dealing with fear here in the dictionary sense as much as we are with psychological warfare at its very worst.

    That simply means, even if it the community moderator manages to ride on stage under the mandate embodying the belief that the system is more important than the individual, that accountability is more important than individualism or creativity, my feel remains the cost has to be very high indeed – so high to both the mind and human spirit – it could even be said, one battery chicken life is certainly being dressed up as the good life.

    Try harder. I am not buying. Not now or ever.

    Darkness 2008 [I’ve got to get off the train now, this is as far as I want to go down the line anymore and I’ve start to grow gills like a sardine]

    [Compiled by Harphoon, JUMO & Aurora – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  86. NEW ARTICLE 16-5-08 said

    WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ROUND PEGS IN THE SINGAPOREAN WORLD OF SQUARE HOLES? – A STUDY ON DEFINING PERSONAL SUCCESS.

    16 May 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Most of us who have applied for jobs over the past decade will have been introduced to the Myers Briggs personality test, the personality categories loosely based on Carl Jung’s work on personality types. The whole idea is to beacon out the murk on whether you’re a high performer or an employee from hell. Often the whole process is accompanied with a certain measure of glee and playfulness by the people from HR (human remains), urging you to have a go – these test are really just for fun sake, they assure us all. They could well be right. After all how is one supposed to answer questions like this; Q: If you are stranded in a deserted island with your boss. When will you consider putting him in a pot with some diced carrots and onions (a) one day (b) two days (c) a week (d) or will you just settle for twigs and insects?

    You know what? As playful and innocuous as the Myers Briggs personality test sounds. It’s serious stuff – there’s a chilling side to it when one considers its nothing short of an attempt to reduce one’s personality to some kind of numerical or alphabetic code, so they can see if you could fit in with their existing team. Deep down, I suspect, everyone in HR is quite embarrassed by the whole affair, only because they know it smacks of Orwellian zoo keeping.

    Hey, I am not saying firms, institutions and even governments don’t have a right to peek-a-booh into your life. That’s probably why most people don’t put people who regularly hear voices in the cockpit of multi-million dollar commercial jet liners. Only, the very thought of either recruiting or rejecting anyone on the basis of such lofty approximations, which attempts to boil down all nuances, all contradiction, all mood, all paradox –rendering us as simple individuals that can be classified – smacks a little of stereotyping. Even of eugenics. Along with marketing the idea of the bottling “the right stuff” and picking it up with a surgical grade forceps.

    That to me is just plain rubbish!

    What’s even more worrying is how seriously managers these days take the results of these test – often they are promoted as the ONLY basis of decision making. If you don’t believe me just check out one article in the official Singapore ghost stories website, here one of those PAP shrunken heads is even talking about quantifying the whole process of character profiling – http://www.p65.sg/ check out the article dated April 18th, 2008, entitled EQ vs IQ.

    No wonder all they can manage to produce is articles which use a lot of words only to say absolutely nothing of comparative importance.

    Why is that I wonder? Why are decision makers so preoccupied these days with the whole idea of bottling goodness? Be it clarifying the form of the model worker, moral blogger or even model citizen? Why do they invariably lean towards the quantitative rather than the qualitative? Now I happen to know this area very well as math features as a very large part of my vocation; and the reason is really simply this; they’re just plain stupid at best and terminally unimaginative at worst. There’s really no nice way to put it across. When something is completely fucked up, then it completely fucked up – that really the long and short of it.

    Stupid people will always gravitate towards clear ideas, not because it works, but because it supplies them endless means of making sense of the world.

    And let me share with you why there are in essence a misguided lot. Especially when they go about trotting around their goody do good bandwagon – do I doubt there are people with good mechanical intelligence? Nope. What about those who may possess good mathematical intelligence? Nope. What of good linguistic intelligence. Nope. But there are also people with intelligences that aren’t academic but practical, useful and even jugular – sporting a whole plethora of geniuses which usually escape the metrics which we usually deploy to winnow out cruds from diamonds; here lies the shattered dreams of those who frequently propose to seed the good and drive out the bad currency; it really doesn’t matter whether its in the context of firm, country or even blogosphere.

    They slip through the cracks!

    As I said, I am very proficient in numbers so I know this area really like the back of my hand and that simply means there is a time to let things be and a time to make things happen; knowing when metrics should and shouldn’t apply is really wisdom; as the limits of metrics really falls apart when one applies it something as abstract as beauty, creativity and innovation. Here we may even be confronted with someone who is all together dysfunctional hardly any where near the ideal; his concept of time may even be elastic; he comes in to work whatever he likes and takes off as he pleases; while that may not be amenable to certain vocations such as banking or fighting fires, its certainly does little harm in an industry like designing games or inventing better mousetraps; he may even be slightly autistic as he doesn’t even have the social skills to network or to manage conflict effectively; but nonetheless, that’s precisely why he can morph himself so successfully to create surreal and fictional characters which continually enthrall the audience – see what I mean?

    Here it takes effort, one has to seek out the real value in the way a miner roll up his sleeves and goes into the dark and smelly mine to seek out diamonds. That I suspect could be a big reason why most people are prepared to settle for the questionnaire approach; at the end of the day, they’re just plain lackadaisical lazy and woefully unimaginative.

    My feel is when we discuss this subject; it would do us a well from time to time to consider whether its even such a good idea to impose our own criteria of ‘goodness’ and ‘idealness’ on people simply because we want to create a better tomorrow.

    That may seem to be a noble enterprise, but what if it comes at the expense of narrowing the field of possibilities? What if all it manages to accomplish is to promote one very narrow and measurable definition of goodness, that really is so useless, you might as well equate it something that is closer to the uninspiring and forgettable. The danger I feel is when we don’t even have the imagination to realize that much of the wonders that we regularly see in the net is because, someone once said, let’s go with the flow with this; I don’t understand it; I don’t even know where it’s going, but I am sure it will all work out.

    I realize all this may not make a lot of sense to some people; but that doesn’t diminish my point as much as it amplifies it; that could really be the point; you’re simply not going with the flow, let go – there is a time to make things happen and a time to let it all happen. You have to decide which is which. I am not telling you.

    Darkness 2008 [This isn’t my stop, but I have to get off now. I just saw a girl that has been making eyes at me. No I am not exactly a normal person, but I suspect neither is she either. There may still be hope after all.]

    [Compiled by Aurora, Jasta 1 and JUMO – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    The above essay has been written with reference to the following auto generated format:

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

  87. Jamie said

    It great to see the Brotherhood Press here again. You know I always come down here to touch base with some of the boys old articles in the archives.

    Usually, I cut and paste and send it off to frens. I have always wondered why there is always someone changing the light bulbs here, making sure the drive way is clean and all that.

    Whatever, nice to see you all at it again. Its great to have one site and not run around like a mad cap. I am too old for that.

    Cheerio!

  88. NEW ARTICLE 18-5-08 said

    18 May 2008 at 11:12 am
    WHY NONE OF MY ESSAYS EVER MAKES IT THE ONLINE CITIZEN –A STUDY IN SOCIAL/POLITICAL UNIPOLARISM IN THE NET.

    A couple of months ago I spoke to this fellow called Jasper.I am sure some of you know this shadowy whistleblower. He is the one The Online Citizen threatened to sue! We had a drink in some virtual bar in Ithaca in Entropia. He said to me, he had some incriminating information concerning a writer in The Online Citizen; he wasn’t so sure about the whole idea of going public with it; as he doesn’t know how to hide in greater net and if things got really hairy; he felt safer, if he knew there was a Millennium Falcon humming away to secret him off pronto.

    You know what after a few of us reviewed the evidence; I just said hohum, is that all? No Da Vinci code here man!; but you know, I tried to be as open minded as I could without the risk of my brains spilling out; eventually we agreed to supply him a new identity; we even put our best pilot on the get away space ship; Jasper would have his magic get out of jail card courtesy of the brotherhood; no strings attached; not even the slightest electronic breadcrumb; we even undertook to pay for the entire legal fee, if it got nasty in the real world.

    Do you want to know why I did all those things for Jasper the snitch? Well I just felt all of you had a right to know. That’s to say; I don’t believe important information like that should ever be secreted away just because I run the risk of ruffling a few feathers. As it turned out Jasper was spot on – one the writers in TOC was actually receiving money from the establishment. I know it was structured like some coffin sounding Latin name, but my point is he should have come clean with it; as a reader; I believe you had every right to know!

    Now I know what some of you are thinking right now? Darkness, you hate The Online Citizen don’t you? Why do I get the feeling you seem to be pursuing a sort of ancient vendetta against them again in the way you did with Bernard Leong et al?

    Hey gimme a break man!

    What I will admit of The Online Citizen is this: It wouldn’t be too far fetch to say, I suffer from a morbid aversion for one assembly line “anything”; it really doesn’t matter what it is; the whole idea of the power of one just makes a lousy proposition whatever way you slice it; be it only one political party or even the idea of making do with card board chicken comatose inducing only one ST just spells “B-A-D” for me in more ways than I can possibly elaborate.

    In the language of political science, I am simply not a very big supporter of the “Unipolar World.” I don’t believe it has the capacity to revivify as much as to stifle and even lead to calcification and stasis.

    The Unipolar World is a term frequently used to describe a political climate in which nations form factions built around only ONE superpower. It’s the opposite of a diverse Bipolar or better still Tripolar World – where the power to shape collective thought or to even effect change doesn’t reside in one super duper oligarchy as much as power as an idea is broken up and even spread out like fertilizer; that way; the very general goodness gets evened out; it really doesn’t matter whether it is newspapers, political parties or even just having one chicken rice shop in the neighborhood. Where there is diversity; there is choice; and where choice features the threat of being hijacked or abducted by the power of one remains an impossibility; that really in a nut shell in the dummies unedited version of the whole idea of separation of powers.

    My point this afternoon is simply this; we don’t need the whole idea of one super duper juggernaut that dominates everything, especially not our capacity to shape our collective consciousness freely.

    I am reminded anything big eventually becomes a form of government, it doesn’t even matter if it’s something as benign as The Online Citizen either; the threat is always there and this should always be recognized!

    This is a theme that hardly requires repeating; we have all see this before, in stat boards which grow so powerful and big, they can even manage the wealth of nations without even having to account to the populace; Why? Because they don’t have any competition. Here the Unipolar world violin requiem kicks in; (do you understand Cantonese? Ke-ke-kuh-ke-ke)

    We have even seen how this corrosive formula scissors through newspapers who already enjoy a monopoly in the market place. What happens there? Do they regularly deliver the goods? Nope, instead what usually happens is? The great divide is further exacerbated between new producers and consumers; and this only leads to news which has absolutely nothing to do with news.

    Why does this happen? Because here there is only the power of one here = there is no competition = power is only vested in one supra entity = zero diversity = no choice = take it or leave it!

    Now one more time; do you now understand why my decision concerning The Online Citizen is one premised on the personal as it remains a very real one regarding how I see them increasingly as the only purveyor of information in the internet; I know it isn’t for one readers, but my feel is some netizens may not be aware of this reality only because they may not be as adept as finding reads even here secreted away in the obscure threads; you could even say, if you have found us; then you will probably know what I am talking about here; only because if you notice of late the MSM only seems to be promoting The Online Citizen; at the expense of fringe sites like Sammy Boy (the non porn one that is). What about the Singapore Angle and even the Singapore Daily?

    I feel as netizens. If we are really committed to the whole idea of not repeating the real world mistakes that we frequently see around us; then it behooves us all to really take some time to ponder; why are rebuilding the same temples which we are all trying to dismantle in the real world?

    Here I am not talking about content. I am not asking you what does The Online Citizen regularly publish? As much as I am asking where is the wisdom in putting all your eggs in one basket? Would the whole idea of a richer and diverse net be better served; if the whole idea of net content producing is spread out to other sites.

    We should actively cultivate the idea of separation of powers in the net; that’s to say, we dedicate ourselves to never repeating the same mistakes which has been committed in the real world; whether it’s the monopoly of the airwaves, the political rhetoric or even whether you have a choice to go to another chicken rice vendor; where choice is denied, all too often, it facilitates a form of tyranny.

    I want to share with you all, the decision and commitment of the BP to craft something besides a unipolar world in greater blogoland; did not come without having to reconcile ourselves with a terrible cost; today we are not even aggregated. You know why? Because, we don’t give them ANY RIGHTS to any of our articles! That’s to say we are deliberately burning the bridge; that may seem at first petulant and infantile; but when you consider the necessary economy that is required to nourish the idea of a bi, tri or multi polar world in the net; then that has to be the cost. The cost to even say, “No!”

    The net has always been a largely egalitarian place devoid of any social super structure; but for it to remain happily flat; the idea of the lone writer must always be given not only his rightful place outside the establishment from what we usually consider to be mainstream, acceptable or even the best platform; here he doesn’t need a lot of real estate to write against big government, big business and big anything; all he needs is a thread with nothing else except the barest of necessities; no bells and whistles; hardly even a splash of color, but despite the patina of the uninspiring; this is where he hones and crafts his skills. You can even say; I believe firmly a good oppositional writer needs to be regularly hounded, hunted and even harassed. There can be no better testimony; no statement which states clearer his intention; by wearing a badge such the one Mr Brown once wore when the ire of the big was once directed towards him.

    The perverse effect is this could well mean; the elevation of the reading status beyond simply what is commonly produced by the one and only assembly lines of information be it either, the Strait Times or The Online Citizen. I am reminded here; reading is after all self selecting and one is simply a click away; here as a reader, as a consumer and as a stakeholder in the net; you have the power to lay the bricks that will either built a better or worse future.

    I wish you all happy reading.

    Darkness 2008 [I am now in Pulau Ubin checking out the new mountain bike trail; I fell down a ravine, my arm and bike is all busted up; it’s a long trek back to the jetty; I am all alone; I can either keep to the trail or maybe; I’ve rough it out by going with my instincts to try to badger out a shorter route; I think, I’ve plumb for the latter; things can’t get as bad as this; I know it can only get better from this point onwards. I am sorry, I wrote this when I was resting to bandage my wounds; there could be more spelling mistakes than usual.]

    This article is written with reference to the following auto-generated article:

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1902

  89. WESAK DAY MESSAGE BP said

    19 May 2008 at 2:34 pm
    A WESAK DAY MESSAGE – ME AND A TREE CALLED ‘BO’

    It’s Wesak day. And as I try my best to settle into the groove of having to live with a plaster cast on my left arm for the next 3 months; I tell myself; I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

    After all it’s only the first day. I tried to make coffee earlier this morning, but gave up half way when I realized, I wasn’t going to get very far by trying to open up my expresso maker with my foot. I’ve also given up on the whole idea of cooking; since all the diced carrots seem to be more interested in rolling off the chopping board.

    The only thing, I seem to be able to do is water my potted plants.

    And this brings me to my Wesak day message this afternoon. I don’t know whether any of you have heard about this story about a sacred Bodhi tree which once stood in Brickfields in greater Kuala Lumpur.

    It sits uncomfortably along a hair pin that’s famous because there’s a famous curry fish head restaurant there. Sometime back ago, while visiting Kuala Lumpur. A friend took me out for lunch in Brickfields; the eatery had a good sweep over this famous tree, so it was an obvious conversational point.

    According to KL urban legend, this is no ordinary Bo tree. For one, it dates as far back to the period when Sri Lankan laborers first made their appearance in the sleepy mud plains of Kuala Lumpur some 200 years ago.

    The sapling supposedly originates from the famous Bodh Gaya; the same one Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, attained enlightenment.

    Looking at the tree from where we were makaning; I couldn’t help but wonder what an oddity it was framed against the hustle and bustle of tower cranes and spaghetti junctions; someone mentioned in passing; its days were numbered; they’re planning a new highway here; and the Municipal Council has contracted Chow Yuen Fatt and his replacement killers to plug the poor tree! Others exclaimed since it was still a frequent destination for pilgrims, it’s unlikely that the authorities would cut it down. Not so soon at least. Besides it was during the period just before the Malaysian elections; and judging from the numerous election posters plastered all over its expansive trunk; it probably still had a fair innings to chalk up.

    Through out lunch, I found myself wondering; what would this tree have to say, if it was given a chance to say its piece? How long has it stood there? A silent witness to the urbanization of this mud delta once called Kuala Lumpur. Did it once inspire a generations of water color artists, photographers and even lovers who would have scrawled hearts of forever more on her trunk?
    Whatever her libations some of what she may have to share will forever be associated with the pivotal moments in Malaysian history. Some of these stories might simply have been part and parcel of the every day litany of urban life in the straits, offering shade, a brief respite against torrential rains. A gathering point for the odd odd cendol vendor and his patrons – an oasis where time simply stands still as ordinary folk turn inwards for a moments rest against the endless cacophony of urban life. While others may have been momentous such as shielding protestors from bullets which once came forth like hailstorms from the guns of colonial masters. Yes, I am sure she has seen it all. She’s a lao chaiu after all.

    As my mind turned inwards; I am reminded every age has its own concerns, and in ours; it was simply unacceptable that the good should not triumph on the last throw of the dice. I realize this sounds trite. Especially against the back drop of what will simply have to come to past with this whole business of the community moderator. http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1902

    You could even say, I remain completely convinced that the powers will even see it right through to the last leg.

    It doesn’t take exceptional talent or even great foresight; just a play at selective deafness and dyslexia with a perhaps lashings of avoiding eye contact. Any fool can cut down trees or destroy the internet – we cannot stop them. I have already done the last of my calculations. They are simply too big; the motivation for command and control too strong even; the allure virtually irresistible; its clear they simply don’t even want to stop, listen and discuss the matter; that’s how powerful the imperative really is; and if they did, we would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a buck could be got out of it.

    All we can do is to prepare to run away.

    What’s emerging for me is the realizing; no one really cares any more; why should they? When did the single injustice of a tree ever provoke enough reason to force the axe man to lower his tool? In the litany of injustices which befall us daily; the malevolence of earth shattering earthquake and life churning tornados – one more egregious than the many, many disparate and relatively smaller injustices which regularly mark out our lives ;one tree and the thoughts of one man concerning what he believes about the net hardly matters.

    It’s grist to the mill.

    Trying to change the status quo. I am reminded is a silly preoccupation which only a fools such as myself are content to do. Hello Kitty dolls are infinitely a lot easier to market than first edition leather bound copies of Stendhal, wot?; the countervailing desire in our society (and others even perhaps) for authoritarianism and the warm embrace of the state is too powerful to oppose with small numbers of actions against small injustices.

    It’s just not worth the bother.

    As it is; the Bo tree that once stood somewhere on an obscure road in Brickfields was finally cut down to make way for a new highway. Proving once again, people’s desire for a better tomorrow is often overwhelmed by the grinding day-to-day practical necessities which would hardly allow them to take stock of even the interest of a single muted tree. I feel the same may be happening when many of these 15 bloggers go about the whole business of recommending change for the rest of us; but unlike the tree let me just say this for providence sake; I never once gave you the right to represent me. I don’t believe in what you are doing and I wish no part in your new world order.

    Yes, the Bo tree and me have merged to become even the mythical contrarian.

    But even as we prepare out hearts and minds for the final curtain act; there is cause for optimism. You see all is not lost my friends.

    A few months after the tree was cut down; my friend in KL, thought it would be a good idea to tender a few saplings from this one unfortunate tree. Without even the slightest thought, he potted it and eventually, it grew. One of these saplings was given to me with just the words; “take this to a better place. It must live.” I fulfilled my duty by planting it somewhere in the bosom of Bukit Timah nature reserve during one of my solo mountain biking rides.

    She lives on. And one day she will grow tall and strong. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all she comes from an ancient lineage of survivors going back at least a millennia to a time even before us or when dinosaurs walked this earth; long before the advent of mankind she had proliferated spreading out across the lands – calling it hers. Through the centuries she had seen fires, drought, disease, earth quakes, and maybe a billion libations of tempest; yet she stood her ground proudly proclaiming, “come what may, I will survive!

    But the real tragedy and travesty of our time like the tree, I simply call Bo and probably our beloved net is both cannot be saved from the acts of knaves and fools.

    Nonetheless, there is hope my friends. Never forget that. Happy Wesak Day.

    Darkness 2008

  90. […] https://intelligentsingaporean.wordpress.com/2006/09/21/why-i-would-like-to-leave/#comment-33960 […]

  91. NEW ARTICLE 20-5-08 said

    WHY NONE OF MY ESSAYS EVER MAKES IT TO THE ONLINE CITIZEN – A STUDY IN SOCIAL/POLITICAL UNIPOLARISM IN THE NET. PART 2

    20 May 2008 at 3:51 pm

    In the first segment of my essay: “why none of my essays ever gets published in the The Online Citizen.”

    https://intelligentsingaporean.wordpress.com/2006/09/21/why-i-would-like-to-leave/#comment-33960

    I took a couple of elephant bites on the Why’s; most notable, was the whole idea of how I believe; if the imperative is to craft an all inclusive and encompassing net culture.

    Then it’s crucial to nourish the whole idea of a bi-polar and if possible a tri-polar net – as opposed to only committing ourselves to building one super duper entity in the net; even if it means having to say “no” to aggregators like TOC.

    I understand some of you (judging from your charming mail) may consider this simply good olde fashion hate mongering a la Carte Darkness style.

    Do bear with me.

    Now it would appear this kind strategy is closer to condoning mindless discrimination; worse it doesn’t even possess a morsel of logic that accompanies it; but nothing can be further from the truth.

    In essence what we are really talking about is game theory, the whole idea of isn’t so radically dissimilar to the logic that makes possible the whole idea of anti trust laws and the anti- monopoly commission; which operates under the mathematical formula that stricter enforcement of anti monopoly policies definitely makes market structure more competitive and prices lower. Thus benefiting folks like you and me.

    The whole idea which justifies setting up the monopolies commission isn’t all too hard to understand as it is premised on a series of what if questions, like; what if a car maker monopolizes, all the steel production? Where would it leave other auto manufacturers? Will that raise the quality of cars and lower the cost to consumers? Or would it create a monopolistic one car market producer like the model T-Ford, where the marketing tag goes something like this, “You can have any color car you want providing its black!”

    Now if we juxtapose this logic on the ongoings in the net; we may well ask ourselves a few similar questions when we consider the whole idea of a supra entity online; what if only one aggregator monopolizes all the traffic in the net? Will that also mean it has the ability to control what you or I may read through a process of discriminatory selection? Where would it leave the rest of the fringe bloggers? Will that raise the quality of web content? Or would it create a situation of acute shortage whereby; “if you’re not aggregated, then you didn’t write it! We don’t even see you!”

    See what I mean, the prognosis is chilling.

    And this underscores, the whole logic of fragmenting rather than centralizing power. This incidentally, is what the Brotherhood Press does; for example, its not that I don’t trust the Singapore Daily or even the Intelligent Singaporean, but it’s hard if not impossible for either us or them to remain independent, if one is beholden to another. That’s simply a lousy way to sustain a long term collaborative venture. And this brings into focus the need to maintain the balance of power, very much in the way, real democracies that actually work, pursue the idea of separation of powers by deliberately fragmenting the power in the legislature, executive and judiciary. This way no one single entity is able to usurp power and exert undue influence. The general peace is maintained.

    This accounts for why if you look at the Singapore Daily website; you see the “deregulate the net” emblem. Here it could be said, the webmaster and his team stand in opposition to our position; yet precisely because there is this delicate balance of power; we don’t feel our converse position would in anyway affect the happy relationship between aggregator and web content producer, thus allowing us and them to maintain our independence and respective stances. Now if you want to get all complicated, mathematicians refer to this as the law of equilibrium; I just call it; the art of how to get along.

    My point is simply this; if we don’t want to end up mini me Temaseks, we should dedicate ourselves to the logic breaking up the linkages and networks even further, so that all information isn’t just restricted to one assembly line, but rather evenly spread out across the whole length of the reader spectrum – the whole idea is to seed diversity.

    The converse is we run the risk of having only one super duper assembly line of information on the net – here instead of the net spreading out even further no overreach into new territory; it runs the risk of regressing and even convalescing under the sheer weight of being big. You can even say this is inexorable and it’s a condition that afflicts every big oligarchy without exception.

    Doesn’t even matter whether it’s the one and only dominant political party that trumps the good life; or the one and only dominant newspaper that routs for the truth and nothing but the truth. Where power is vested in only one dominant entity instead of growing out holistically, the truth dies somewhere in the melee of power and politics; instead of ever broadening our attitudes and understanding, it narrows even further our understanding – about society, power, politics and even leads to at best a contorted truth.

    This may seem like queer math to some of you; only because it is and I am really trying my best to gut out all the gobble-d-guck and make it as lay as possible.

    Oh course at this point; you can very well say; “Well Darkness, it’s all well and fine for you to say all these things; because we all know the only reason why you can afford to say all these things is because you have absolutely nothing to lose; for one you don’t even allow them to aggregate what you all regularly write!”

    And that my friend is simply my point; you’ve even hit the nail squarely on the head; brought the point full circle even; that’s what it really takes to built an freer and independent net.

    Think about it? The math is screwy here, its queer even, but go with the flow.

    And I hope you will find the line.

    Darkness 2008

    [that’s all the 20 minutes I can spare, back to the thread mill of life]

    [The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  92. NEW ARTICLE 18-5-08 said

    THE DAY I CANCELLED MY SUBSCRIPTION OF THE STRAIT TIMES

    18 May 2008 at 12:40 am

    I am sure all of you have read Miss Chua Lee Hoong’s lament concerning the Mas Selamat debacle online?

    And who could possibly forget, le piece de resistance: Ong Sor Fern’s paramour,

    “I HAVE never, nor will I ever, read blogs.”

    You know what I resent most about these articles don’t you?

    Apart from the condescending tone, the message to readers is blunt: “you will learn one way or another – our way – or hit the highway!” To add insult to injury, the newspapers pledge nothing in return.

    Of course, I understand the impulse behind all this nervous energy only too well – newspapers are hemorrhaging revenue – they haven’t been able to prosper since the net made its debut etc. They’ve lost too much of their monopoly on the cultural authority they once commanded. No one I know, these days even aspires to be a journalist any longer. And judging from how even those who remain in the industry these days aspire to land comfy teaching job; it all makes a forgettable case for a poor excuse as a career choice.

    But what really lies at the heart of the compact between news producers and consumers?

    What if I said, all this is just an attempt to strip away the whole idea of the independent reader and squeeze his understanding into the factory-farming model of gobbling facts on the state assembly line? Too radical right? Yeah, but even you have to admit that’s a racy read.

    Back to the cold cuts; if any thing, these manifestations reveal a characteristic failing of our newspapers: to assume if something is going wrong, like we’re not reading, then it has to be either the fault of the consumer or an supervening event like the net, not the news provider. Usually in the toss up, the evil net gets fingered; and just in case we might even forget it’s truly a land of the morally bankrupt. A steady stream of anti-net propaganda is regularly doled out, just so we never forget.

    How convenient?

    Tell me. If a restaurant found that its customers rarely ordered chicken, would it revise their chicken-menu, or ditch them?

    Precisely, you get my point don’t you?

    But when droves of readers abandon our beloved rag, they resort to compulsion, fear mongering and just plain hypnosis, rather than asking if there is something really wrong with the service they have been providing?

    For instance; why is the Beijing Bureau so fat? Who the hell cares whether two hump back camels can’t find a decent bush to knob each other in the Gobi desert because of desertification?

    Hey, you know what? No one gives two shits, what’s really happening in China!

    Very strange indeed; if you consider the imperative is to captivate, yet none of the economics even suggest this is being seriously put to good and productive use.

    But to accomplish this feat of customer satisfaction, our newspapers don’t need freedom as Cherian frequently likes to trout; rather all they need to buy into is the old fashioned idea of paying heed to customer service. Wat most of us really need to ask is this. Are we really getting value for money?

    You know what? I don’t think so.

    But the ongoing problems which frequently mire the relationship between its readers and news producers are only a symptom of two deeper trends that have been unfurling since the advent of the internet. The first is the growing disconnect between what consumers want and what is regularly been churned out. These days when one reads the ST, what’s not mentioned or written about is real news and what’s fleshed out is simply stuff most of us aren’t really interested in. I can’t speak for the vast majority of readers, but for me, as much as I want to continue reading the ST these days. I really see no compelling reason why I should even my time trying to wade out the shit from the nuggets – after a while, it just doesn’t make any sense to do so.

    As a result most of my news these days comes from a patch work of foreign press usually in bits and pieces montages on the run on my Nokia Communicator; this I do quite well only because I have personal history of having once regularly read the New York Times, Independent and Guardian simultaneously; but again. My point is its hardly linear reading as much as it remains Jack rabbit hop here and there reading.

    This worries me only because kids can’t do what I do these days. The only reason I acquired this skill was because during my university days; I genuinely enjoyed reading my derelict free copy of the Times, which I usually picked up in the tube. People who say littering is a crime should get their heads examined, it’s nothing short of a public service and beats navigating around KFC carcasses any day. My point this evening is simply this, without a solid foundation of what is really good news; its conceivable it’s impossible these days for youths to even develop the foundational skill sets to consistently winnow the truth from lies.

    In the absence of captivating press that can be entrusted reliably to be the purveyor of the truth – against the endless choices presented by the internet, there will always be an incredible sense of release to go wild online and to confect their own version of a bent reality. But – more worryingly – these youths would never have once even learned how to structure thoughts. They haven’t taught themselves how to use a mix of newspapers, libraries and arguments to spot out, distinguish and even to differentiate what’s real from false. They will flail about and even lose their bearings – I fear.

    The solution doesn’t lie in inuring the internet with a higher level of truth; my feel is all the G-15 bloggers need to seriously get their head examined; no one in their right mind proposes a plan to plough the sea; anymore than he could possibly hope blogosphere should mirror the news producing agencies of the real world; the internet will always be the domain of the amateur, diarist and at best an imitation of reportage. Rather the solution lies in investing in critical thinking skills in our schools and institutions of tertiary educations – youths these days desperately need to taught the skills sets of how to winnow the truth from lies.

    Against the back drop of this reality, it’s not our press who should be making greater demands on their readers. It’s readers who should be making greater demands on their news producers – to provide a service they can really believe in and if possible even captivate them. Rather than a staid service they want to shun away from.

    Incidentally, today is the first day; I hung out a post it on my door to the newspaper uncle; it read. “No more newspapers from today please. Tolong!”

    Let’s see how it goes. I’ve keep you all updated, but don’t hold your breath.

    The only cold turkey, I know is the one that’s set on prema freeze somewhere in my freezer.

    Darkness 2008

    [Compiled by Harphoon – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  93. NEW ARTICLE 18-5-08 said

    MY FALL, MY PAIN AND THE LESSON – ONE DAY WHEN I FELL IN PULAU UBIN.

    This article was originally published in the Singapore Daily / 18 May 2008 at 3:22 pm. You can also access it here: http://dotseng.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/my-fall-my-pain-and-the-lesson-%e2%80%93-one-day-when-i-fell-in-pulau-ubin/

    Pain, both physical and spiritual, is often seen as synonymous, with either “dexterity” and “toughness.” It’s interesting to note; after Ah Thiol had been run over nice and proper by the blogomotive (the train) after her impersonation of McCarthy’s, “reign of terror,” in Parliament during the S377A debate.
    She referred to the tumult as a parliamentarian in Apollonian terms describing it as a baptism of fire. Lan Chaiu lah! You know what? I never even thought anyone could romanticize the whole idea of “sati” (bride-burning) cum flagellation and even make it sound like a visit to a Banyan tree spa.

    Nice thought if only you can abide it. Or you’re still staying with mummy and haven’t really experienced life beyond the satisfaction of a battery operated dildo.
    Unfortunately, it’s false to all human experience to find growth in tragedy (except perhaps the bacteria variety when the yellow puss oozes out). In fact, the dull truth is that pain of any kind is tautological.
    The only thing suffering teaches us is that we are capable of suffering.
    Pain really teaches one nothing except that when a hammer falls on your big toe; you have every right to hop around like a Red Indian with his pants on fire – I should know. Just a few hours ago, I got “buang” (thrown off) nice and proper down a ravine, on the new mountain bike trail in Pulau Ubin; result; my mountain bike is totaled. My arm is fractured possibly in 3 or more places.

    So much for pain being a teacher, friend and Counselleri.

    Here, as I stand before the prow of the sampan unfurling towards the mainland. I am reminded no one, not Buddha, Jesus Christ or even the Dalai Lama can possibly have the sagacity, the intelligence, the endurance, or any other capacity of a “survivor” which would allow him to learn very much from the same pain that’s coursing through my body right now – not the type that proves anything at least. Or even the variety that allows one to learn anything from it!

    Pain is pain.

    I remember being told by my Kendo master once, real willpower does not requiring proving; one doesn’t need to win; walk through hot burning coals or even endure the extremities which the elements, people and conditions may spew out.
    REAL sacrifice, REAL pain and REAL courage has to be very simple. For one it’s an idea that even has to be gutted out from the for King and Country narrative where we usually associate with chivalry and even uncommon acts of valor. I don’t doubt for one moment; it takes either exceptional courage or simply a lack of imagination to charge up against a machine gun battery; or to even hardened oneself to the prospects of gut wrenching muscle cramps, if one decides to stake a claim on the upper reaches of Everest.

    Only my point is all these acts despite their seeming radiance of bravery, courage and chivalry; all have a definitive start and cut off date. One can lower the rifle and go back home to family and friends when the ink has dried on the peace treaty; one cannot climb beyond the limits imposed by mountain peaks; all there is, is to make for base camp, where perhaps, we can even contemplate the smallness of our courage over hot chocolate; here pain doesn’t possess the terror of litany; it even lacks the one requisite quality which sharpens it further; heightening the sense of hopeless and terror: the power of continuity.

    My feel is real pain. The one that’s most acute and most heart felt resides in the ordinariness of life. Here it’s even woven intimately into the folds of everydayness even, reflected in the wan of people as they walk around as best they can. Sometimes even the act of waking up every morning and just going to work can be an extraordinary act of courage.

    Here the type of pain, I am talking about takes it’s cue from chronic back pain; it’s always there, mixed with the past, present and future; always omnipresent, always lingering around; seeping into every minute, hour, day and week. It’s ceaseless, endless and there lies it true terror.

    Somewhere in its unceasing pathos, it even threatens all prospects of driving away redemption; the courage of a parent with an autistic child to even harbor the dream his son or daughter would one day be able to live a normal and independent life; the silent caretaker who toils to give balm to the sick; knowing full well death will always win on the final throw; the father who skips lunch; so that his children can have an extra scoop of ice cream, because; he didn’t quite cut it into the $2.2 million club as much as make it to the $2.20 per hour fraternity; the manager who struggles to do the ‘right’ thing, even if it means he has to put his reputation on the line; to find the courage to fight the big bad whatever that threatens tries to take whenever is good out of him; the embattled Christian who tries to hold on to his faith; despite knowing full well there will always be fools and knaves in any church to loosen his grip on his faith; the lone blogger who continues to think and write; despite the stat counter telling him; “hey buddy what are you trying to prove here? You the statistical nothing against us!”

    I salute you all; you are the true $2.2 million superman, every single one of you; the others; they’re just a bunch of cheap pirates.

    In the litany that confront us all in this never ending story of pain, we don’t see our pain as much as we try to seek it out in others; to even witness it, if we can. In the way devotees seek out miracles which have the capacity to edify and exalt. It could even be said; when others see us carry our pain with grace and dignity, with even a smile; perhaps here even in this simple act it’s magically transformed into an art form; one which even allows the rest of us the permission to accept ourselves for who we were really are; just humans trying our very best to make the best of the journey called life; that I feel is the real lesson from my fall.

    You see I have to believe LKY is dead wrong. Only because what I have just shared with all of you has to be ‘an admirable sentiment’ no matter how one slices it.

    Darkness 2008 (This has to be a very short one, I am afraid. My Sampan has arrived at the jetty. I see Harphoon and the Chronicler waiting for me. It’s time to smile. After all the good fight certainly doesn’t need another sour puss)

    [The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  94. dotseng said

    SHE TOLD ME, HER NAME WAS ‘SANDRA’ – A STUDY ON THE PRICE OF SOCIAL CONFORMITY
    May 21, 2008

    To be or not to be? That’s the question. In today’s society we are taught to give in. Fortunately, most of it is what I call the good giving; like volunteering to give up one’s seat for the aged or a pregnant woman. Slowing down for pedestrians on the zebra crossing and even digging for shrapnel whenever school girls accost me no end for donations.

    But there’s a less savory side of giving in; which isn’t so good; and that’s the part where you have to give up part of who; you are or who; you aspire to be; so that no one labels you a troublemaker. Here like thumb screws; it’s the law of steady increments that really squeezes you where a plethora of fuzzy justifications such as the “collective good” or the “socially acceptable” kicks in. Sounds innocuous enough; after all everyone wants to get along, everyone wants to be happy; besides who wants to get red flagged as a trouble maker?

    But what happens when, the cost of conforming just slips over the line into plain selling out? What happens when saying yes or bowing out thrusts one’s consciences into turmoil because deep down, you just know its just plain rotten right down to the core?

    I guess you can even throw the question against a broader canvas and ask yourself questions like what are you really expected to do; when society is telling you one thing but your mind another?

    When the question of conformity is posed that way, it gets terribly complicated, even darn right impossible to seek a happy balance. At the end of the day, it really boils down to beliefs and how prepared you are for the long haul. I mean this reminds of the time; when I saw this transvestite sprawled out across my bonnet in Changi Village; she had probably been whacked up by one of her customers over the bonnet of my car.

    At first, I said to myself, I better outsource this to the police, but I don’t know whether they’re going to book her? So there I was running through the calculations till it was just about smoking; Mmmmh, what if I decided to take her home with me? After all it’s only for the night; besides, I am sure she or he will be up and running again by then. But what if the nosey parker bible thumping brigade in my condo spots me out with their high powered binoculars? What if someone whips out a camera phone and machine guns away? What if someone tells my ram rod pastor? What will happen to me? See my point, it’s a slippery slope, but one thing holds true in every calculation: to be or not to be; it all boils down to how others see you and not how you actually see yourself, as person.

    That’s one of the things that confounds me no end about the whole business of giving in; as what it usually boils down too is a form of fight or flee. Where usually the response is the latter only because one has to take care of one’s interest first before others; you know what? You can even call me someone who has a very weak personality, since I am just the sort to be bullied into conformity. I am just being really honest here about how I make those sort of life calculations.

    As it turned out; I did take Mr Chin aka Sandra back home with me; that’s at least is what I gathered from his and her IC. And yes, the Bible brigade did turn out in full force. They even filmed me carrying Sandra into my apartment with one silicone augment tit splaying out; and yes, my church was duly informed and it even reached a point when I even asked God why: did he allow all these things to happen to me?

    At first, I tried to explain to everyone; but after a while. I realized, I was merely compounding their suspicion and very slowly, I just settled into a sort of stoic silence where you could even say. I just didn’t give a damn any longer.

    That one incident set me adrift in more ways than I can possibly elaborate. You could even say; as far as my known community in condo land was concerned; I was the devil incarnate; gone were the days when every door was open to me; some people even came up to me and expressly told me not to look at their children; eventually, I kept to my world which saw me ridding mostly in the nights on my bike; it was a period which allowed me plenty of time to reflect; to really work out some things which I’ve just taken for granted all my life; respect, position and even the sense of belonging to a community.

    Here I wish, I could say there is some redemptive ending which one usually associates with Hollywood movies where the sun suddenly breaks through the clouds and the hero discovers what he’s been searching for, but no; trite homily sugary narratives like if you conform to a way of life that is completely alien to their own, then you lose part of yourself in them! Sounds well and good, but it doesn’t cut any ice when one has to deal with malicious mail that’s regularly slipped under the door. Words of comfort which are supposed to steel and fortify; like if you gave in to your principles then some little bit of the real you dies and you’re taken over by someone else who is the epitome of what society is looking for. You know what? I have no idea who is the idiot who came out with such clap trap. I really feel like shooting him with a tranquilizer gun and stripping him naked and tying him up to the flag pole in the padang with a Ah Kua with a moustache.

    Truth remains, life gets tough when you go against the system and it really doesn’t matter what the system is; it could just as well be the consortium of nosey parkers who run the condo community; the pastorial dream team; your bosses or even a group of people who think they are so smart in the net when they go about building us all a giant coffin. At the end of the day even the best of us eventually learn not to cross those boundaries and to stick to our preplanned yellow brick lives. Those who do not conform will simply learn it just doesn’t pay.

    They will have to fight for their beliefs and constantly defend themselves and their ideals while they are living in a society that is constantly trying to hold them back, push them down, and beat the individuality out of them. Yet those who make it through, those who can proudly stand on their own two feet, will have a mental and physical strength entirely unknown to the other category of citizens also known as the conformists. You know, what? I don’t even believe in the last two sentences, but I just thought, it would allow me to reach the word count if I just included in as an adjunct.

    At the end of the day; the life of the cookie cutter goes on; I still ride at night to Changi Village and on one night; when it just rained cats and dogs; I settled into a chair in some non distinct kopitiam in Changi Village mesmerized by some forgettable HK serial where this one eyed swordsman’s with really bushy eyebrows was fighting to save the planet; besides the ABC beer auntie there never looked so good in her cowboy booties and tank top. She’s even gave me the “special,” buy one get two free providing I stayed right on till her shift ended – and in the land of the fee where everything is going up and up; how can I say no to all that?

    And to cap it all off, Sandra, the he or she, I once saved, sashays in with a few of her colorful friends; there, I was in my super skin tight spandex cycling outfit; amid the boisterous recount of how I saved her and the whales; the endless trades of yam seng and fren forever; providence won the day; good finally triumphed over evil; the serpent’s head was crushed; and of course the lingering question: how they hell am I going to get home after this? The night wore on, unfurling like a prow on a calm ocean of time – there amid it all. I felt like crying for the very first time. The world suddenly became silent, calm, soon in my minds eye. I found myself like the mythical explorer standing before the prow of a boat as the ocean of time unfurled – life I realize just goes on.

    Darkness 2008 (I have to leave the office now, I am sick and tired of pretending to work. Today, I took out a PAP application sheet.)

    The Brotherhood Press – 2008

    Auto Generated Related Article:

    http://dotseng.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/the-day-i-cancelled-my-subscription-of-the-strait-times/

  95. BROTHERHOOD ARCHIVES said

    [This is an auto-archiver / it deploys a 93-NB alog and will copy and paste materials at various sites. Randomly – we are the brotherhood, “we come in the name of peace.”

    WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CRAFT A SINGAPOREAN INTERNET IDENTITY?

    13 April 2008 at 6:17 pm

    1.BACKGROUND:

    The questions this paper will attempt to address are as follows: Is there a need for Singapore blogosphere to define an internet identity? What are the elements of this shared identity? How will it be constructed? What will it look like? And what function will it perform?

    2. WHY IS THERE A NEED? / FOR AN INTERNET INDENTITY

    The theme of identity be it the supra national, tribal or ethnic context has long been noted to be important – here questions such as “who are we? What do we believe in? Where are we going?” forms the main montage of a narrative that successfully binds people to place and purpose. Foucault referred to this as “collective-centredness – the glue that makes possible coherent progress in all societies.” What binds the community together, for him, was not so much a place as it remained a “discursive narrative” which manages to successfully bridge the intellectual gap by allowing different groups within a community to form linkages, bonds and work towards a common enterprise. How conceivable is the idea of a “common enterprise”; how true is the contention without such a shared identity, blogosphere as we know it may not even be able to grow holistically?
    We presented this question to Vollarine, the head of the brotherhood think tank / ASDF:

    Vollariane: “Will blogosphere be able to grow holistically without a shared identity? The short answer is yes, but it’s a bit like the last leg of Phileas Fog’s race around the world in 80 days – where to reach the finishing line, he needs to strip every plank from his steam boat to feed into the furnace. I really don’t believe that’s a very intelligent way to goal set. And this simply underscores the importance of having a shared identity, if blogosphere is to progress coherently and not erratically – there are a few ways in which we can discuss this; by examining the works of the great intellectuals like Foucault, Nietzsche and even Marx. The problem with that approach Harphoon is only a room full of people will understand what we are really talking about……it seems more profitable to illustrate the nexus between identity and growth by looking at straightforward case studies which cut to the chase; e.g why did the North American Indians and aborigines die off suddenly in the early half of the 20th century after successfully surviving for millennia? – what accounts for their untimely extinction as a ethnic class? What’s the anatomy of failure there? Well, the executive summary is simply this; the white man took away their peace pipes, boomerangs and tepees and put them into reservations – that’s to say, they attempted to civilize them by imposing their version of what they considered to be order, structure and symmetry, but this was nothing short of cultural genocide as it had the effect of eradicating their sense of identity so completely, their social hierarchy corroded to a point where it could no longer effectively regenerate itself? Result: They all just took to the bottle en mass and eventually degenerated to a point when they could no longer renew themselves culturally and politically and died off. Granted, I am painting with very broad strokes here, generalizing in iceberg even, but that in a nutshell is the sad story of what can happen when the idea of shared identity is decoupled from the broader context of a community – the question we really need to ask ourselves is this; when we talk about the internet in the context of Singapore; we really need to identify what are the conditions that may precipitate such mega extinction event? It may appear this seems implausible given there is so much diversity in the Singaporean blogosphere – that we may even feel justified to label it as resilient – but all our research tells us the Singapore blogosphere is very fragile.

    3. HOW WILL THIS SENSE OF IDENTITY BE CONSTRUCTED?

    It’s conceivable not only does crafting a sense of identity in the net marries a collective memory amongst stakeholders, it also fulfils a didactic purpose for the community. History teaches us if a genuine dawn of collective consciousness is to be had, then it must also be able to avert a monstrous cultural collapse and a complete loss of identity and autonomy – here the net is essentially a double edged sword; while it possesses the unparalleled capacity to circulate information – it can also precipitate a process of transculturation or even accelerate deculturalization – In this dystopian vision, the survival of multi-cultural discourses within the not so united states in blogosphere is threatened along with its capacity to renew its vitality. Neither can it counter outside forces in the absence of a shared internet identity as it lacks the pre-requisites of autonomy. This brings into focus the form and shape of the share identity.
    Vollariane continues:
    “How should this sense of shared identity be constructed in the internet? A better way to answer this; is to reverse the enquiry, only because we know more about that end of the story (LOL); how should it NOT be constructed? Now this is where I am going to hit very hard; a theoretical short cut is to assume just because the new media prevailed in the recent general elections in Malaysia, it has succeeded in transforming Malaysians into an more enlightened society where they are well on the road to blissful democratization.
    Nothing can be further from the truth Harphoon. You need to understand we studied the Malaysian GE in great detail and all the evidence suggest, what we may be seeing in the Malaysian experience has very little to do with democratization and its even conceivable what we may actually be witnessing it a form of electronic Balkanization – where online consciousness is polarized, fragmented and fractured into smaller pieces; what does this translate into? It goes a long way to illustrate the point without a shared identity; the worst case scenario is; Malaysians may not even get what they bargained for; in the best case scenario, if they are very lucky they will get something resembling a patch work democratization that may not even work properly…”
    To be Con’t

    [Harphoon, Catherine The Great & Jasta 1 – Vollariane / ASDF – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CRAFT A SINGAPOREAN INTERNET IDENTITY? PART 2

    13 April 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Vollariane:

    “….One reason for this less than favorable prediction is because what we usually see in the internet culture in Malaysia is essentially a reactive anti-government identity – much of it has to do with Malaysian internet legacy and the historical baggage it has managed to accumulate after so many years of state inspired harassment. In certain instances, the condition was rendered acute and chronic by BN – this accounts for why; the internet sense of identity in Malaysia can be best summed up in “us against them” terms. IMO that sort internet identity does very little to solicit real meaningful change and its not even is even a credible basis to move forward constructively – what I believe has often been disregarded in the recent Malaysian GE analysis is the degree to which some internet agencies contorted the truth. You really need to ask yourself whether this would have been possible if there was a shared internet identity which is able to solicit intelligent discourses, recruit intelligent minds and sustain the intelligent movement?
    Where I feel the analysis the for the Malaysian GE may be skewered is how so little attention has been directed towards the bad currency i.e how the internet as a means of disseminating information is able to compress even the complicated to make it conform to serve a very specific goal; history, the notion of progress itself, grand legitimating myths, all of this can just as well be rehashed and reprocessed to fashion a form of reality that represents the truth – the question one really needs to ask Harphoon is where were the intellectuals? What were they thinking when all this happened? Did they have a means, a quorum to even say, “hey stop, but something is not right with what you’re saying here?” – I know what I am saying here hits very hard. However, let me be very clear here. I am not trying to exonerate the BN for their misgivings or the way they ran down their mandate and failed the people, but I do question as a political scientist whether in the absence of a share identity that provisions room for the intelligent; is it possible to even bring about real and meaningful change?
    The picture that emerges in post Malaysian GE remains very disturbing, as no where in both of qualitative and quantitative research did we even observe; the internet dismantling ethnic boundaries (this incidentally debunks the myth ethnocentrism should have become obsolete with advancing modernity) as its often claimed. Neither did it successfully snuff out partisan votership and inure racially inspired politicking with any degree of added rationality – on the contrary, you can even say in certain instances it even exacerbated the divide and sharpened the contrast and this simply brings into stark focus the question; can we even afford that sort of internet identity to take hold in Singapore? Especially when it cannot serve to deliver a higher purpose, good or calling? That I believe is a good case to weave into any form which the share identity needs to take – central to its raison, is it needs to be able to deliver the measurable good currency.

    4. WHAT WILL THIS NEW INTERNET IDENTITY LOOK LIKE?
    Vollairaine: “Whatever the eventual shape and form of this new internet identity – no progress can be made without first addressing the MSM and Internet divide. I believe this is really the main bulwark that stands in the way of any real progress. Here we have to grapple with not only different schools of thoughts, but also entrenched interest – if you ask Dr Cherian George, he would advance the idea of increasing the latitude for reporters, if you speak to someone like Darkness, he will tell you the direct opposite as he considers it akin to renovating the ball room in the Titanic just 2 minutes after it struck the iceberg – to him you might as well go and plough the sea – so what we have here is really a summary of fundamental differences which may not lend themselves very well to compromise; then to complicate matters we have the position of the government who believes the press should focus on nation building and interspersed along the whole length of the spectrum in the internet, we have different view points harbored by each community each using their respective means to reach out, be it the P-65 bloggers or even using satire as in the case of Mr Brown – what we are seeing in cumulative terms is something very close to the not so united states of blogosphere – I think before we can even make any progress, we may all need to first buy into this reality; this may well be the starting line and all we have to work with.”

    Thank You. Vollariane.

    [Harphoon, Catherine The Great & Jasta 1 – Vollariane / ASDF – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

    END

  96. Deb said

    Hello,

    Can someone pls help me. My name is Debbie. I heard a big space ship is coming to take us all away. I have already packed all my things. I just want to know where I should wait for this space ship and can I please have a window seat. I dont need inflight service. I am very independent. I just dont want to be left behind. Darkness once told me, he will leave no one behind this time. Thanks.

  97. BROTHERHOOD ARCHIVES said

    [This is an auto-archiver / it deploys a 93-NB alog and will copy and paste materials at various sites randomly – we are the brotherhood,

    “we come in the name of peace.”

    WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CRAFT A SINGAPOREAN INTERNET IDENTITY? – THE UNPLUGGED VERSION / PART 3

    April 16th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    1.BACKGROUND:

    This is a follow up interview based on an earlier paper http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/12/sgdaily-roundup-week-15/#comment-1739 that attempted to address the following issues: Is there a need for Singapore blogosphere to define an internet identity? What are the elements of this shared identity? How will it be constructed? What will it look like? And what function will it perform? Following the release of Part 1 & 2, the readers reaction judging from our intranet bulletin board has been a mixed – this follow up interview is designed to tease out some of the issues raised and to elaborate on them further

    2. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THE TERM INTERNET IDENTITY?

    Q: [Harphoon]: Vollairaine in the last interview we conducted on this subject some people have mentioned that you are advancing the idea the internet should be subject to certain controls, restrictions and regulations – can you please elaborate further on what you mean by the term internet identity and why is it relevant to the whole idea of social / political growth?

    A: [Vollariane]: Certainly Harphoon, I may have rushed through some of these issues without first laying down the ground on why we, the ASDF believe crafting an internet identity should be pursued as a matter of strategic priority – allow me to just go back to the A,B and C’s of this whole discussion concerning ‘internet identity.’ And how we may correlate it to the broader construct of growth in the social and political sphere.

    Now when we speak regularly of ‘identity,’ in the online context what do we actually mean? Now chew on this for a while and think about it. As this is the part where I need to recruit the readers understanding of the world to make the explanation possible – the first thing that hits anyone is there’s considerable ambiguity here; no sooner do we begin, we suddenly find ourselves in a hall of mirrors. Why? Simple; identity here can mean varying things to different people – it’s very elastic, malleable even. But no matter how amenable it is to manipulation it cannot run away from its history. These endless vignettes and disquisitions more or less shapes our understanding of what we term as our internet identity. The problem occurs when one’s understanding of identity is so radically different from what is substantively real that these two concepts remain mutually exclusive; that’s to say logic gives way to confusion.

    Q: Can you give us a real life example how this ‘substantive reality’ decouples into a ‘false reality?’ I feel if our readers had a handle based on a actual case study, they would be able to understand this whole idea of internet identity clearer.

    A: Certainly Harphoon, let me give you an real case study of how this disconnect between reality and identity can occur with tragic consequences; Question: what is the identity of the US with regard to middle east policy? You could of course say it’s a loaded question as it dependant on so many variable, locality, values and even what you ate for breakfast – let foreclose on these variables for one moment and consider one facet of US identity; the big bully who goes around invading peaceful countries and locking up people for no reason in the name of some fantasy called the war against terror – now we can argue in the lobby of the security council till we both turn purple as to what should be the gold standard of US policy in the middle east, but one thing remains relevant in whatever theatre here, if we don’t consider for one moment how prevalent this ‘identity’ is and how entrenched it is in the minds of most Arabs in the ME, then this may have catastrophic consequences – plans cannot pass smoothly with relief from theory to reality – now if you say this is nothing other than a philosophical discourse that has no bearing on foreign relations, risk mitigation and theater strategic planning, then you are naïve; as I can very well say, this negative ‘identity’ of the US can and will not only color relations in the middle east, but it may in certain cases even throw up conundrums to continue challenging US hegemony – my main point is; in the absence of a clear and unambiguous identity – there can be no such thing as common ground or even shared understanding – the neocons in Capitol hill made this fundamental miscalculation when they decided to invade Iraq; though its universally given; everyone, including Arabs gravitate towards freedom; what they did not count on was while that remains broadly true, the (Arabs) certainly don’t want the US variant of freedom. In fact their (Arabs) understanding of freedom is closer to an Iranian sort theocracy – which also happens to be the sum of fears for every US planner – this is what happens when the whole idea of identity is skewered, it usually leads to lousy results. So flowing from this logical thread, for there to be anything resembling ‘coherent and rational’ progress there first needs to be a clear identity that can effectively harmonize shared vision, roles and goals – you could just as well seek out these ties which bind in firms, community or even something as complex as the internet – I can see no compelling reason how progress can even be made without first addressing this as a strategic priori.

    To Be Con’t

    ———————————————————-

    [Harphoon & Jasta 1 / Vollairaine – The Interview Series – The Brotherhood Press]

    WHY IS THERE A NEED TO CRAFT A SINGAPOREAN INTERNET IDENTITY? – THE UNPLUGGED VERSION / PART 4

    April 16th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Q: [Harphoon]; OK so you’re saying that a shared identity harmonizes the collective visions, goals and roles. I am fine with that, it makes perfect sense, but how does one reconcile this with the net, as its bound to have long tail only because reading remains largely self selecting? So how do you manage to reconcile this long tailed diversity with the idea of having a internet identity?

    A; [Vollairaine]; Let me just spent sometime fleshing out the whole idea of what is really the internet identity; I am not even asking why is it so important here? Let’s just gut out those sort of questions for the time being and focus on the what-is-it or wachamikcalit first. Well first of all, something doesn’t come from nothing – if had to compress it into one word; history will do just as well to adequately capture all the elements of what we usually consider to be synonymous with identity – on another level of detail, the chronological phases of how our internet has developed will be even better as it brings into focus the key drivers which led to the make up of what we call identity; if we go another level deeper into the sub-atomic level this is where it really gets complicated, but stay with me as its really easy to understand; at this microscopic level; we are not really looking at the make up of identity as much as we are studying the agents who fashion this reality; by agents I mean, the stakeholders i.e oligarchies who usually have a vested interest such as the govt, the MSM and even academics who have promulgated certain stereotypical assumptions concerning how our internet; now if you ask Darkness what is the sum total of our internet, don’t be surprised, if he proclaims with lashings of levity, “Xiaxue, Mr Brown and probably the NLB.” I believe he refers to them as the three stooges – of course, this provokes the usual round of laughter. However there is a very serious under current that runs through this seemingly harmless categorization – because no matter how you want to nit pick on his vulgarization of his depiction of the status quo; you cannot deny (darkness idea i.e how did he form such a lowly opinion about our net) he has made that reference based on his understanding of past events (i.e our brief internet history). Here what important for our learning outcome is the context of identity i.e the past is not some distant country, spread out behind us, which we could visit leisurely if we had a time machine; this is naïve. On a contrary the past operates by exacting its hold directly on the present and future. By this I mean; if we interrogate darkness by putting electric wires around his well endowed bodily parts (his brain, what were you thinking?) and asked him why he believes the sum of our internet can be summarized in the metaphor of the three stooges; he will probably tell you; did the MSM not astudiously promote the cult of Mr Brown and the glorification of Xiaxue all these years? Why? Because in their relentless zeal to legitimize their mandate on our collective consciousness i.e for their own identity to continue retain meaning; they need to assassinate the counter narrative and this requires the systematic dumbing down of the internet.

    The irony is what they have (MSM and policy makers) really created in spite their zeal to seek a justificatory premise to base their own oligarchies on; that’s to say the price of pursuing a systematic policy of dumbing down the net and ascribing it the personality of a dunce with an IQ of 5 below idiot all these years is – they have inadvertently fashioned the very means that guarantees their own extinction – what many fail to register is what we are seeing today in our net; isn’t so different from one of the distinct phases the Malaysian internet went through probably 5 or 6 years ago – the question; we really need to ask ourselves is not whether an internet identity should be purchased; against the back drop of the extinction equation, the question acquires a renewed urgency and it should be paraphrase along the line; can we even afford not to craft an internet identity, if we don’t want to evolve in the same trajectory as the Malaysian internet. My feel is although much can be said about the Malaysian internet – it’s still premature to give it the seal of approval and to wax lyrical no end about it – if I may use an analogy, the internet as a force for good is really still at its infancy. In the time line of our comparative understanding its maybe as old as only 2 minutes after the Eleanor Gay dropped exploded the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Everyone is celebrating – but the real nightmare is yet to unfold, the nuclear arms race, 3 mile island, the Chernobyl disaster etc.

    My gut feel is we need to control it, before it controls us, if we are genuinely sincere to build a better tomorrow, that is.

    To be Con’t

    [Harphoon & Jasta 1 / Vollairaine – The Interview Series – The Brotherhood Press]

    Possibly Auto Generated:

    “How Do We Find The Perfect Singaporean Leader?”

    http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/daily-sg-10-apr-2008/#comment-1717

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  98. mm said

    Dear Sir / Madam

    We had no idea things were so desperate with the brotherhood. We in Malaysia have also received a host of such messages requesting us to allow them space to temporarily hide their materials. My friends in Thailand and my cousin studying in the US told me the same thing. A robot seems to be doing it.

    Aiyoh why so susah la?

    If life is so difficult. I wonder why suffer la? The brotherhood has written extensively about Malaysian politics. They offer not only critical, but unique insights which many of us who seek the truth trully value in more ways than I can possibly elaborate.

    If they are having so many problems. I would just like to say, there are many sites in Malaysia who are more than willing to host them. I just want to know that wherever they are. As many of us all are still in a state of deep shock.

    I believe as Mr Darkness once said

    ” Malaysian Politicians can go and play their game with Singaporean politicians. And vice versa. But as an individual, I have every right to say. I don’t want to play your game! Let me be clear. I do not see you all as Malaysians or even I as a Singaporean. The internet has taught us only one thing. Boundaries, divisions and walls all exist up here (pointed to brain). As individuals, we have the power to break it down! What are we? We are just people who share many things in common with each other. You want to cari makan, so do I. You want your kids to be able to grow up in a place of dreams, so do I. So what is really so different between you and me? Can we really be so different? Providing we always remember this. There will always be more similarities than differences. Any idiot can look out for divisions to say why – no – but or how can? If you want! We can talk idiot language or what many of you here call Bahasa Bodoh? But why should we? Our politicans in both countries are already doing that? (laughter in the crowd). I think life is too short to wayang, lets really work to make a better tomorrow.”

    MM

  99. teva said

    Hello

    I don’t think it’s just a dumbo random post robot used by spammers. Its very smart, it seems to be able to read what is posted in the WWW. As if it seems to be searching for the most used key words in the WWW and then it will search through the brudderhud archives and post the most relevant article. It’s interactive. So I think, this is how it works, if 9 out of 10 netizens are talking abt lets say fish head curry. Then it will list out an article about Muthu Curry house or something like that. I’ve seen this sort of interactive module before, but I have never seen it configured that way.

    For example, I got this one, this morning. It looks ok, but the weirdo part is there is some weird end code at the end. It’s like a retrieval code a sort of programming that allows it to return to one point sometime in a future. I googled the code, found a hardware store site in Osaka the specializes in installing fire extinguishers. There in the seven digit code. Its listed. Guess what?, its supposed to be some inspection protocal exactly in 10 years time. Exact month. Exact date. I’ve never seen anything like it bfr. Teva.

    This is what I got. I was told to put one copy here.

    WHY IS THE OLYMPICS REALLY SO IMPORTANT TO THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT? PART 1 & 2

    25 March 2008 at 6:59 pm

    It’s often been said, the Beijing Olympics this summer is supposed to be China’s coming of age bash, celebrating the end of nearly two centuries of weakness, poverty and humiliation.

    Really? How true is it?

    Truth is stranger than fiction – no one can deny there is much of China’s painful history that requires righting – the humiliating defeat of the Manchu’s by the world powers in the 18th century – the tumult of the Japanese occupation of China. These are narratives which are sheered in the mind of every Chinese.

    China has come a long way – these days, she’s the world’s fastest growing economy – outstripping even the EU and US put together – the leading manufacturer of laptop computers to Teflon coated woks – she has even managed to sent a man into space and by all accounts, as far as appearances goes, the Beijing Olympics is simply an extension of this new found nationalistic pride to celebrate it’s arrival in the world stage.

    But look again! Carefully this time with the brotherhood magnifying glass, what’s really behind the chimera of all the ongoing preoccupation with success icons that simply say, “we have arrived?” Why is China exhibiting all the maturity of a testosterone pumped teenager just before the graduation prom?

    (1) THE EVER INCREASING DIVIDE BETWEEN PEOPLE AND THE CCP

    One clue according to our resident China expert Cerebus lies in the psyche of the ruling communist party (CCP). China’s leaders face a troubling paradox: the more developed, educated and prosperous the country, the more the party elite run the risk of being marginalized and sidelined by the masses. They are justifiably insecure and even threatened by this turn of events. Men like President Hu Jintao and former President Jiang Zemin have always struggled with two diametrically opposed realities every since China opened her doors in the early 80’s; how to sustain economic growth and yet preserve the fragile communist regime. Indeed at times, it seems keeping to one’s balance on the razor’s edge has been touch and go, in 1989, the Tiananmen Square incident was a stark reminder things can go very wrong in a blink of an eye. And the disintegration of the Soviet Union serves only to sharpen the paranoia, the Chinese leaders harbor; the days of the communist party are numbered.

    As Cerebus, our China expert noted:

    “Now if you ask me why China is so obsessed with the Olympics? It’s the same reason why people who suffer from osteoporosis frequently consume large doses of calcium – the need is driven by the deficiency psychology, but lets be crystal clear; it’s powered by one underlying impulse; fear – To understand the divide better one needs to appreciate certain realities. Firstly, while the rest of China has changed by leaps and bounds – the Communist party has remained virtually unchanged and this naturally accounts for a lag between the China that is and the China that simply must be. In this changing landscape the communist party is very brittle, as she is the one with the least capacity to effect change– this calcified state is very much reflected not only in China’s blend of foreign policy but also how the communist party carries itself. Let me just give you a few visual motifs to illustrate my point; every year there is one event in the calendar which marks the starting line, the China Congress; what do we see? Old men in dark suits laying out in Soviet style centrally planned policies in a huge cavernous hall to a sea of clapping bureaucrats; Question: how plausible does that image measure up to reality when you consider the sheer size and diversity of China? Not very, not even by a long shot. I’ve mentioned this only because it’s a fitting metaphor that effectively conveys how little has actually changed in the political psyche of communist party.

    When I use the term communist party – it’s nothing short of the personification of the state. That’s the vital difference between political parties in the West and the party political reality in China. In effect, the state is considered the “People’s Party” (although the CCP is an oligarchy of only 5% of the population). To paraphrase it’s often marketed as the proxy of the people and so there is a certain degree of reciprocity here; most Chinese cannot divorce the state from life and culture, it’s very different from the Western psyche of how most of us typically view our own political oligarchies; you stay here and I stay there, see the line! In China this mental border doesn’t exist –State and citizenry are one of the same reality – if the state says, you should have only one child, then you will have only one child – all further dialogues starts and ends there. This in essence is the very bedrock on which the Communist party seeks a justificatory beach head in the minds of most Chinese. The assumption here; that a non-elected minority knows what’s best for the masses.

    The problem with that assumption is it’s giving way progressively to a new compact between people and state; this is not a new development, it’s an ongoing story and we see this very clearly at every way point in Chinese social and political history, let me just run through these stages briefly; in 1950’s, the politics of wrath featured as the cohesive force i.e if you are not with us, you are against us; in the 1970’s this gave way to the mantra; the party knows best; leave it all to the great helmsman; in the 80’s, the an economic component featured for the very first time in the relationship and it was defined as, we will run the country, you just focus on getting rich; Today, the belief isn’t so clear, it’s very fuzzy – and that I believe it the nucleus of the problem.

    (2) THE ASSAULT ON THE LEVERS OF POWERS

    No doubt break neck economic growth was partly responsible for this re-definition, but what’s important here is increasingly the divide with the traditional communist party ethos and justificatory rationale is reaching a point when it is so stressed that it’s no longer a cohesive force; what the communist party is being increasingly confronted with these days is a new creed of intellectuals who openly challenge not only their authority but also the rationale which makes possible the current politics – I need to qualify myself here; we are not talking about democracy vs communism here! Most people in the West, I feel don’t realize how united the Chinese are as a people; believe it or not they actually trust the communist party more than the Western media gives them credit for. If you trawl the internet, you will soon pick out how many Chinese netizens see the coverage of CNN and the BBC in the recent Tibetan uprising as a double standard reportage – So let me emphasize this again, this not an ideological divide, it’s not even a difference of opinion as it is remains a methodological divide; where people may hold a different view from the State. In other words “I believe the pollution would be better solved this way, but I also believe it would be good, and not wrong, to do it the States way.” Here what we see is an accommodative stance, that one hand challenges the assumptions, yet preserves the status quo of “’Six’ of one, ‘half a dozen’ of the other.” This is very much Deng Xio Peng’s “black cat, white cat what does it matter as long as it catches the mouse” ghost being revived again – only this time, it’s directed squarely at the communist party! My point is this; this has never been done before. This is why the communist party feels the heat and even the need to reinforce the trite belief, they remain the gold standard of governance – staging the Olympics may be political pyrotechnics, but like blasting Chinese into orbit feasting on desiccated bird nest soup, it fulfills the necessary function of feeding the justificatory narrative – you can even say, it’s a strategic precondition, if the imperative is to remain in power! This is one of the main motivations why the coming games is so important – it’s nothing short of a mental bridge to close the great Chinese divide”

    Against this back drop of shifting sands what’s increasingly happening is one by one the levers which were once effective in controlling thought are fast frittering way. Zoo keeping the intellectual class through programs such as the “Patriotic Education Campaign’ (for all college students), which relies implicitly on nurturing ‘popular resentments against Japan and America and the Mickey Mouse club and fueling the expectation that Taiwan would soon be reunified is beginning to reach the point of diminishing returns – the communist party realizes this only too well.” Cerebus writes.

    Cerebus continues, “if one looks carefully at how the Chinese communist party replies to the Tibetan crisis or even something as mundane as shoddy products complaints from US consumer groups: Instead of acknowledging the cogent issues concerning the “autonomy” vs “independence” or quality control in Chinese manufacturing practices – the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda organs have goes into full scale defensive mode. They are in certain respects very similar to the brotherhood – where we will roll out darkness and off he goes ranting no end about, discrimination branding these moves as a campaign to isolate and weaken China.” The problem, as Cerebus observes, “that doesn’t work any longer – most Chinese intellectuals these days have not only the benefit of a first class Western education, but many have been integrated into the MNC culture of how to define personal and organizational success – so they know things are not so simple. They can connect the dots and make informed decisions. This naturally limits the effectiveness of relying on the traditional lever of nationalism that it has fomented to deliver the goods.”

    (3) THE LIMITS OF CENSORSHIP

    Another lever of power that’s rotting way is state censorship. As Cerebus observes: “Most Chinese have very little idea of what is actually happening in their own country, if you don’t believe me; go and ask any Chinese whether he agrees with China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979; but don’t be surprised if the reaction is ‘was there a war?’ This merely showcases the pervasive extent of censorship. The communist party nurtures this state of selective amnesia very carefully, till most Chinese are left with the understanding that everything China does is always for the greater good. In a sense this accounts for why skepticism, denial, and infuriation usually accompany Western revelations about the truth.

    To overcome this state of infuriation, its expedient for them to make the source of their frustration disappear, than to subject it to critical analysis for fear that it may expose the ineptitude of the Communist party. Once again what we see here is censorship is not just a way of controlling people in the Western sense. In the Chinese context, you can even say it’s a necessary lie and without it life will simply cease to have any meaning. What we see here is not only the whole sale assassination of the truth in censorship, but also how it remains a very effective way to maintain the façade that the party is always right. Here what we see is a strain of Joseph Heller’s catch 22 crisis management 101 at work, ‘don’t recognize the symptoms and the disease automatically disappears.’

    In this regard the Beijing Olympics is simply extending the justificatory causes to further validate the communist party in the eyes of most Chinese – trust me, they care very little about us foreigners, things haven’t really changed that much from the vermillion days of the Manchu court, that’s usually the psychology of people who know that the art of how to stage circuses to keep the mob happy. Now you know why the Romans were big on coliseums – let the games begin!”

    Cerebus.

    [Harphoon & Scholarboy / Cerebus / ASDF – The Brotherhood Press 2008)

    23542-303 / Retrieve Date 3883/08465 ARCO 5552894-3709466 URBANA
    YEAR: 2018-07-05

  100. BROTHERHOOD ARCHIVES said

    Why Freeing Up The Press Just Means “You Want To Die Ah?”

    By now I am sure most of you are familiar with Cherian and his stellar plans of freeing up our press. I have absolutely no idea where his seminal article is rotting in right now. But I do faintly remember the gist of it; where Cherian advances a host of reasons why he believes a freer press would be able to successfully seed the supreme good and even drive out the dystopian bad from our society. Now if you haven’t read that article; don’t worry, as what he has to say can more or less be compressed into a postage stamp. In washing machine language it goes something like; more freedom = better press / less freedom = net will continue to be a zoo.

    My feel is Cherian’s formulation deserves closer rexamination as the sum of what he’s forwarding is really closer to alchemy than anything that resembles cold cut logic; in a nut shell, he postulates by simply ‘opening’ up on a regulated press. This magically ‘opens’ up endless opportunities for a broader all inclusive national discourse that will hopefully recruit an eclectic class of readers who may be willing to indulge in a spot of literary Sudoku.

    Now obviously Cherian has never read an article entitled, “why I will never ever read a blog or ever.” Am I surprised such repressed views do from time to time secret their way from the cloistered cloves of the sisterhood to the public square? Nope, only because I know the sisters of perpetual hesitation (SPH). It’s even conceivable the whole idea of freeing up the press will exacerbate the decrease the aperture for free speech; here one really needs to dwell deeper in the whole issue of what really accounts for the lag between what is usually published and how it comes across; is the disconnect simply a function of a systematic disorder, one presumably brought forth by a constriction of the state? Or is it even possible many of these journalist have simply lost touch with the broader community of readers? Are they really so out of touch, when one of the sisterhood’s mother superior Sumiko sighs; “I’ve missed the boat.” A cheery chorus of “our aim must be improving” resounds?

    According to Cherian one reason why our net these days looks like a zoo, is because the MSM aren’t stepping in to do the job of slaking the thirst of the collectively conscious – now I am not saying Cherian’s wrong. I am not even saying he doesn’t quite understand the finer issues related to the whole idea of re-constituting the intellectual deficit needed to sustain a free and independent press. Only if you buy into his idea that we have a ‘crippled press,’ then you must also accept that what makes up its attribution must be so riven, that they must be so complacent and supine that they are incapable of stepping up to the role demanded of them.

    It gives me no pleasure to say this, but of late, I’ve even been toying with the idea ; if the press were actually given the freedom which Cherian has been harking for; can they even be entrusted to do the right thing? And not abuse this new found freedom to assert their hold on our collective consciousness by using ever more nefarious means?

    Of course, we all like to buy into the idea that the press corps in general comprises of an eclectic pool of averagely educated aspirants who all seek the truth very much like all of us and perhaps they can even be counted on to do the right thing. The problem with that sort of logic is. While it remains palpably true; every vocational calling tends to make representations concerning how power and politics affect people to master or in some way continue to assert their hold on the public. Yet, not all oligarchies make these representations and in fact master and control them so as to regularly bring goodies to people. It didn’t happen to the nuclear technologies who promised us all sixpence for wattage with the advent of the nuclear age; or even with nutritionist, who once wax lyrical about solving global hunger by being able to deliver 3 square meals into something as compact as a pill. Neither did the much heralded age of supersonic air travel bring with it the promise of cheaper and faster trans continental flights – when I consider how every door man in the business class lounge even knows how I want my bacardi and lime served up.

    This is the vital distinction that needs to be grappled with when we consider the idea of freeing up the press; knowing what’s good doesn’t mean people will necessarily deliver good, not when it runs counter to their interest – such vocational territorial instincts are just confined to journalist but one can even say it extends right across to the spectrum of trades to explain why opticians suddenly turn into undertakers when they insist on telling us no end how Lasik is still very much in the experimental stage and its long term effects are still unknown. Or why professional call girls never ever accept American Express – This requires us to ask further what really makes up the marrow of the bones of a free press? Does it just require freeing it up as Cherian said? Or does it require something more in the way of complimentary thoughtware?

    Here what we need to understand is the modern idea of the oppositional writer, the journalist who writes against power, who writes against the political order of his day or the even questions the whole apparatus of assimilation and the marketing manifesto. Is essentially a person who never once honed his skills in the environment of openness as Cherian likes to us to believe. On the contrary his crèche requires him to struggle against the acute sense that he may be living in a reductively binary culture that threatens to level the field of possibilities no end; in this dystopian landscape, where you are either successful or a failure; a scholar or a peasant; with us or against us; functional or autistic; patriot or a lunatic in the fringe; and so its conceivable when such a writer commits himself to waging an un relentless war against that flattening of the field of possibilities; he may even be question the whole idea of state imposed ‘realism’ on how we should all define organizational and personal success. Against this backdrop, this effectively demolishes the myth freedom to write in the comfort of ease without the fear of state inspired harassment, persecution and bullying could even produce what we like to call the oppositional writer. Against this backdrop where such a writer wordsmiths; writing ceases to be writing in the true sense and what emerges is its not designed to change anything as much as it strives to preserve something intact; that which is worthy could be something as dreamy as having the right to read poetry or even a battle royale that attempts to take on the necessary lie of every successful regime. I suspect here freedom does little to inure the oppositional writer with the right spirit to tease out the nuances and to seek out the greys in our omnipresent binary world.

    If anything when that day comes when writers and this includes journalist, bloggers or even the diarist is described in post scripted terms as having the freedom to write anything they want; it has probably meant real writing that continually seeks out the truth has dwindled to near nothingness, it will probably also mean that the thing we’re talking about when we use the word, ‘truth’ has reached a terminal end.

    [Written By Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008 / Social-Political – EP 99374655-2008 – This article was first posted in the Singapore Daily @ Sunday, May 04, 2008, 8:48:42 AM – this document has been sent by a auto crawler and is powered by a N-95 Archiver programmed by the Interspacing Federation of the Brotherhood on behalf of the newly formed Free Virtual Library Board based in Primus Aldentes Prime – copy serialization is managed wholly by the IMG / Serialization: 907392-0092ELFIMAN / Retrieval Date: 2015]

  101. BROTHERHOOD ARCHIVES said

    google: 9936734-00327-882

  102. irdeta said

    What i really cannot understand is why the likes of Alex, BL and George did not just sit down and talk this over with the really reasonable people like Harphy, Scholarboy and Darkness?

    It wouldn’t have turned ugly like this. As it is, its a lose even from the word go.

    I mean, if I am going to use the lower foyer for a wedding. As a matter of courtesy, I will inform all my neighbors in the void deck one full month ahead.

    In this case, all they seem to do is to say. Oh we are going to deregulate. It is good for you trust us. We dont need to discuss it with you as we said, it is good for you, trust us. We don’t need to address any of your concerns either. Trust us, it is good for you. We don’t even require a referendum, as we said for the umpteen time. IT’S BLOODY GOOD FOR YOU! SO TAKE YOUR COD LIVER OIL AND BE HAPPY ABOUT IT!

    You have to be kidding me right??? This is not how civilized and educated people go abt soliciting real and meaning change. Not the better at least.

    Keep up the good work care taker of this site. You’re doing an immensely valuable service.

  103. BROTHERHOOD ARCHIVES said

    “The ides of March of Barisan Nasional?”

    Auto-Crawler N-95

    Google: 9989-0038

  104. FREE INTERNET LIBRARY BOARD said

    Do you really want to know the A to Z about Community Regulation? Do you want to know your rights? What’s really been taken away from you as a netizen?

    Click here for the full 360 degree sweep.

    http://magnezium.blogspot.com/2008/06/internet-deregulation.html

    This has been brought to you by the FILB.

    “One is always glad to be of service.”

  105. Humphery said

    I left the country for 6 years and only go back on business trips.There are fewer Singaporeans in this city (as compared to Australia, or some other English speaking countries) which I lived in and I rarely mixed with Singaporeans during my off days. To be frank, the only thing I miss about Singapore is my friends. However, with modern day techonology, we can always communicate with each other on MSN.

    Personally I think that the debate about whether those who left are “quitters” or not is a total waste of time. In this globalized economy it doesn’t matter where you live or where you choose to go, as long as you are happy and satisfied with where you are. There are pros and cons living in every country. Some people prefer the freedom to efficiency. Some prefer adventures to safety. Some hate hot and humid weathers and prefer to live in countries with 4 seasons. In other words, it’s a trade-off, it all depends on what factors are important to you in life.

    In conclusion, let those who share the same vision with our government go and live in Singapore. The rest of us who aren’t sharing the same vision, let’s get out either by creating or grabbing every opportunity that comes by.

  106. KOHO said

    tagged for archiving 230974

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