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It’s Official: The Singapore Government Has Blasted Off To Cyber Space!

Posted by intellisg on August 21, 2007

space.jpg Man it had to happen – it’s bound to happen – and now it’s finally happened. What am I talking about? The Singapore Government has decided to put on their space suits and magnetic booties to explore cyber space big time. It’s all here in this article:

http://www.straitstimes.com/Free/Story/STIStory_150344.html

Nope it’s not just talk this time, it’s real and just in case you have any doubts, I have even gutted out the juicy bits just to show you how serious they are in projecting into the virtual:

“AN IT-SAVVY government agency here owns an island – but one which does not exist in the real world.

Along with at least two other agencies, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has bought real estate to operate in a universe that exists only online.

This virtual world, called Second Life, is visited by more than 8.9 million residents from about 100 real-world countries.

Besides the IDA, the Singapore Tourism Board and Economic Development Board have bought stakes there – not for commercial gain, but to reach their audiences, or to explore operations in a virtual world.

Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Balaji Sadasivan, revealing this yesterday, noted that life in this digital age was making the world increasingly porous, so it was important for people to ‘exploit the opportunities opening up’ in the cyberworld.”

Now I know most of you don’t really know what the virtual is – it remains the stuff of I know, but not really. So I am going to spend a few minutes just laying it out. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Government, Sociology, Technology | 109 Comments »

A Guide For Socio-Political Bloggers to Survive The Extinction Event

Posted by intellisg on August 19, 2007

survive.jpgWhat’s the Dodo program again? – The proposition: that socio-political blogging accomplishes nothing because it’s sorely lacking in affirmative action.

This is gloss from a two part series, albeit with my own personal twist on how Socio-political bloggers can survive the extinction event. If you have not read the two part series please do so, as it will provide you the foundation to understand much of what I have to present in this article.

Part 1 and Part 2

This is my first attempt at “machine” writing with the kind guidance of my colleagues who have both been patient and very helpful to give me insightful tips. I has always been one of my dreams to write for the brotherhood press and this is a debut article.

The general theme is to tie in many of the loose ends mentioned in Part I and II of this series. Along with this I have also highlighted the importance of setting the right expectation, perspective and strategy for both blogger, readers and researchers if they are to thrive in this brave new age of the internet.

I hope all of you enjoy it. Happy Reading. Aurora. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Economics, Politics, Sociology | 36 Comments »

Is it the “end” for Socio-Political Blogging? – Nailing the Dodo, Part II

Posted by intellisg on August 19, 2007

dodo-2.jpgThis is the second of a 2 part essay.

You can really call it what you want. For me, the whole idea of floating the balloon “socio-political blogging doesn’t accomplish anything just because it’s a wind bag” is as close to buying into Dodo software.

The term deployed is precise, premeditated and deliberate because taken to its logical end Dodo software is just lousy and unimaginative thoughtware – follow it to the ‘T’ and don’t be surprise if it you end sitting in a cave picking ticks off your mate while the rest pick entrails to make sense of the destiny of mankind’s fate.

The whole proposition of linking socio-political blogging with affirmative action or even doing something is flawed because firstly, it imposes a corseted definition on ‘usefulness’ in the context of how it’s able to solicit real and meaningful change. It’s not so different from saying anyone who is over six-foot is tall and useful, and those who fall short of this criteria must simply be relegated to the ranks of “useless.” That’s hardly a new theme. Every age crafts their own respective measures of what constitutes an effective means to solicit social change. Even in ordinary speech, it’s to be seen every where often taking the guise, “get on your bike” – “go and do something useful” – don’t just talk, make it happen” – it’s appears cogent, persuasive even to suggest seeing to be doing something remains the only to effect real change.

However, there is a fatal flaw in holding on to this logic as it elides whole sale the need to first address the first protocol of reasoning: Where are we? What is our environment? What is the best way to cut the cake? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Economics, Politics, Sociology | 22 Comments »

Is This “The End” For Socio-Political Blogs?

Posted by intellisg on August 17, 2007

dodo.jpgYou all know what Dodo birds are don’t you? The Dodo aka Raphus cucullatus was a flightless bird which once lived a placid existence on the island somewhere in West Indies. The dodo has gone the way of the dinosaur since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of describing lousy thoughtware that leads to inexorable extinction. The phrase “it’s history like the dodo” means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead beyond all possibility of recall. The stuff of gone with the wind, kaput, habis, finito etc. The verb phrase “to go the way of the dodo” means you’ve just bought yourself a one way ticket to the end of the road.

Recently, I came across a Dodo statement, don’t ask me where I read it, but it’s probably very near a place where the road runs out and after that a cliff follows. The statement goes like this:

“I share a common view with Alex Au (aka Yawning Bread) that there is an over optimistic view that the internet is the answer to the tipping point for political change in Singapore. In reality, it does not work for a few reasons. First of all, there is no direct translation of activity from social political blogs to the real world. Most of us (including myself) are armchair critics. If Martyn See’s video is that effective, the political parties involved should all be helping those poor people out there. Has there been any action taken to help those poor people? Has anyone alerted the authorities that we need to help those people? It is the lack of action that convinces me that the social political blogs in Singapore do not have an influence in the off-line world.”

Do you really want to know why I believe this statement deserves the Dodo award of the year? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Politics, Sociology | 32 Comments »

The Art of Agelessness and Timelessness in an Ever Changing World – The 20/80 Rule.

Posted by intellisg on August 16, 2007

agelessness.jpgYou know what? It just dawned on me. There are a few things which are iconic to only “me.” Well not actually the ‘me’ that I am even remotely conscious of – rather it’s the “me’ that others just associated with me.

The stuff that usually provokes the trite expression, “it’s so him, isn’t it?”

One of them has to be my venerable Hewlett –Packard 12c which I never fail to whip out to mark out my boundary on a conference table. I am sure you all seen that prehistoric Soviet era paper weight. Born at an age when microchips where vomiting and struggling to say, gu-gu-mama. These days when my HP 12c sits alongside the likes of modern PDA’s cum phones, camera’s, GPS navigator etc, it just looks like a prehistoric fossil set alongside space age high tools.

But you know what, it doesn’t bother me. For one it’s a dream to use and through the years you’ve be amazed what I have managed to do with this little baby. For one it’s a winner with its easy-to-use layout, crispy buttons with just the right tactile feel, a clear monotone one-line LCD display and the best thing, its discreet, not like the modern ones that all regularly dole out ring tone torture.

Yes, I know these days, one can probably get something that’s roughly a million times better than my trusted HP 12c, but that’s hardly the point of this article – I am asking a very fundamental question here; why do some things endure? While others just go the way of the dodo bird? To paraphrase, why do some things remain ageless and timeless well beyond their age? While others can hardly even maintain their foothold as they’re swept away into the garbage heap of “has-been’s” I guess you could ask the same for monuments, sculptures, music, film stars, relationships, firms, philosophies, ideologies or for that matter anything under the sun.

Have you really wondered, what’s the winning secret that separates a winners from a loser? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Economics, Sociology, Technology | 1 Comment »

The Economics of Finding a Soul Mate – A Singapore Tale of Love.

Posted by intellisg on August 15, 2007

soulmate.jpgRecently, I lunched with a university mate of mine and half way through, he lamented how it’s almost impossible these days to find a “decent” girl. Usually, I don’t butt in till the rant runs it’s course, but on this occasion. It just came out the way it did. Please don’t press me where it came from. I have absolutely no idea besides I have a good excuse, I fell down a flight of stairs when I was six and hit my head in every conceivable direction to qualify as a “believe-it-or-not” showpiece. I am serious. I even have those grainy X-rays and autographed plaster cast to prove it.

What did I say? Well something like this, “Maybe you’re still single because you don’t understand the economics of getting hitched?” That did it, my friend promptly stood up, flashed a flustered look of frustration and promptly packed off leaving me to pay the bill. Now as I sat there negotiating how I could down the remainder of his tuna sandwich without getting half of it on my trousers.

I wondered to myself why can’t we use economics to make sense of love? I am serious. Hell, we use it from everything to send a man to the moon – designing how wide roads should be even how many families should be pigeon holed into HDB estates. It begs the question: why do so many use economics as a basis for making sense of matters of the heart? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Economics, Sociology | 3 Comments »

Let’s not go down the way of the Crazy Horses Again! – A Lesson in Basics in Business.

Posted by intellisg on August 13, 2007

crazyhorse.jpgYou have no possible idea how I rued the passing of the Parisian inspired Crazy horses show. Only because a perky derriere and a silken mane does wonders for a flagging appetite – these days, I am back to staid Sentosa, whenever I have to entertain my regular troupe of overseas customers whenever they make their way to Singapore. Things just aren’t the same.

Recently there has even been talk of turning our little red pimple into a Monaco of sorts. Yes, I know the Formula 1 is scheduled to make its roaring debut soon. Along with the ear shattering screams and the aroma of burning exotic rubber – it’s enough for me get excited again.

But I am already jaded and there is enough of me to say “we’ve seen it before haven’t we?”, the sort who knows only too well how hatching a smart product is only half the story. The other half of is whether such “great ideas” can sustain and more importantly make money without fizzling out like Crazy horses and packing off like a traveling circus. Whenever I am in one of my famous fatalistic moods, I console myself with sobering thoughts like – have you forgotten the helium filled days of the dot-com era? – didn’t Temasek take a dive with Shin Corp? – Hey remember those Iranian Siamese twins who died?

Yes, we have all seen it before haven’t we –the before, during and sad after when some great idea starts off with all the razzmatazz only to slink silently away with an air of abject embarrassment – I wonder: why do good ideas go so bad? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Business, Policy, Sociology | Comments Off on Let’s not go down the way of the Crazy Horses Again! – A Lesson in Basics in Business.

Why “Civil Disobedience” Is a Game Clever People Never Play!

Posted by intellisg on July 26, 2007

civildis.jpgI am sure we’ve all considered it. One time or another, the whole idea of peaceful “civil disobedience”(CD). As an undergraduate, I remember boycotting a lecturer for a whole semester. I didn’t like the way he picked on me (real or imagined). I even made doubly sure, I studied triple hard just in case, he tried to do me in on a technicality. At the end of it, I earned a distinction and I felt vindicated. I had proven my point in empirical even scientific terms – not only did I pass. I scored a distinction! While it lasted, I was the darling of campus as a veritable Martin Luther, my distinction even acquiring the patina of Magna Carta. I had proven without a shadow of doubt, by removing myself peacefully from the “process” the “system,” he (the offending lecturer) was truly irrelevant to my destiny!

But let’s be honest. How effective is the idea of peaceful Gandhi styled CD these days? Does chucking in blogging really make a difference to the system? Is deploying the dreaded black arts of “bochapness” and “dowanlah” styled CD capable of soliciting change in people, institutions and governments these days?

I wonder…. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Politics, Sociology | 20 Comments »

The Perils of Living in an Apathetic Society.

Posted by intellisg on July 22, 2007

apathetic.jpgWe’ve all heard it before, haven’t we? – “We are living in a politically apathetic society.” Do we even care if Mickey Mouse or Barney the magical dinosaur runs for the post of secretary general in the UN? Do they even show the slightest interest in politics? Name me five cabinet ministers? There you see!  We are just plain apathetic aren’t we? Is this a local thing? Or is apathy like the bubonic plague spreading insidiously across every major city in the world, jading whole masses of people turning them into indifferent, ambivalent and door knob zombies?

What does it mean for us to live in this new age of bochapness? Do you really want to know? Sorry, really I am, so-so sorry allow me to re-phrase in prosaic terms: do you dare to know what it means to live in an apathetic society? That’s to say do are you man enough to face the truth? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Politics, Sociology | 25 Comments »

Hey, Don’t Kachau* me OK! I Have a Right To My Privacy!

Posted by intellisg on July 21, 2007

privacy.jpgYou know, I just want to tell you, I am one of those oddballs who invariably begin every sentence with the words, “I have a right…..” And it ranges, to the ‘right’ to ride my tricycle on the pavement without getting snide stares from pedestrians, to the ‘right’ not to be flattened by 4X4 driven by a bi-focal pint sized auntie. I once even confronted my neighbor, proclaiming in my Martin Luther King voice I had a ‘right’ to fresh air, because he puffs away in the balcony and it wharfs into my living room. And once when I was commuting in the MRT, I came across an inconsiderate asshole doling out ring-tone torture to an entire carriage, I gave him my jedi stare that said,  “I have a ‘right’ to some peace, if you don’t stop it, I will shove it up your ….”. After a few murmurs of teeth sucking defiance, he got off on the next stop. The aunties in my carriage beamed at me like I had just saved them from bird flu pandemic – Yes, I have a ‘right’ to my privacy specifically my ‘right’ not to be disturbed, what about you? Do you know your rights? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Sociology | Comments Off on Hey, Don’t Kachau* me OK! I Have a Right To My Privacy!

When is “Voicing Out” just Meddling?

Posted by intellisg on July 20, 2007

voicing-out.jpgWe all know the phrase only too well, don’t we? “Don’t meddle in things that don’t concern you?” To paraphrase in Singlish, “why are you so like dat! Don’t be so kay poh la?” But hold on a second, I have a “right” don’t I? To pontificate about why I loath the Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer only because I believe it masquerades some secret plot to glorify Neo-Nazi’s. Yes, the hills were certainly filled with the sounds of Jews being herded off to concentration camps. What about environmental degradation? I have a ‘right’ to voice my view about global warming and rising sea tides. For goodness sake, I stay next to the sea! I have a vested interest! Right? And no one can stop me, I don’t care whether it’s the ISD, Mindef or even his holiness the Dalai Lama in a ducky suit. I have a right! Err don’t I?

Yes, I do!

So I started “meddling”. Granted its hardly impressive meddling, judging from the dismal hits I get in from my articles, just my sister and me so far. Fortunately anyone with an ounce of common sense probably gives as much credence to my ill informed ramblings as the croaks of frogs.

Besides I don’t really don’t count. I am a loser. But what happens: when seemingly influential people who are unelected begin to make comments? I am of course referring to that privilege lot who don’t have to figure out why we all need superglue, rubber bands and sellotape. Folk who don’t have to make do, the likes of film stars, royalty and members of the first family like the Kennedy’s and the Rostchilds of this world.

What happens? When they begin to make all sorts of pronouncements about the common good, architecture, social and political happenings – are they just commenting? Or are they meddling? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Sociology | 7 Comments »

Hey! What Happened to the “Golden Age,” of the Future?

Posted by intellisg on July 16, 2007

goldenage.jpgSomewhere hidden deep inside, the dark recesses of the store room just beneath the stairways in a small briefcase – I’ve got a stack of old popular mechanics magazines, a gift subscription my parents bought for me around just around the time I turned 13. From time to time, I still leaf through them usually during lazy Sunday afternoons. It’s surprising what one finds when one rummages through the past. I once found a nine page death threat from a childhood sweetheart. Obviously it never got to me but that explains why I didn’t get the job in the firm where she now works as the human resource manager.

Popular Mechanics was a perfect magazine for a boy of a certain age and interest with it’s heady mix of pseudo-science (UFOs, Bermuda triangle, Yeti, Area 51 and Where is Atlantis galore), all written in way as to suggest the golden age of flying cars, wrist radios and Lunar vacations was just around the corner.

Fast forward to the present – what happened to those promises? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Sociology, Technology | 2 Comments »