THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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The Digital Age

THE DIGITAL AGE: NEW MEDIA FOR A NEW SINGAPORE

“The Digital Age,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, “The Government has to adapt to the digital age. … We will use the new media–multimedia, podcasts, vodcasts–all these things which you get in the Internet or somebody sends to you by e-mail. … So we have to update, we have to try these out and we have to move with the times, and when our laws have to change, like our laws governing podcasts during elections or our laws on political videos, these are things which we have to update as we go along.” (20 Aug, 2006)

“Why the internet is the most powerful voice we have” Kitana “Our letters may not often get published to the Forum, but Derek Wee has shown that we no longer need the Straits Times to have our views heard.” (Oct 26, 2006)
Contents:

A. On the Main Stream Media

B. On New Media

Cartoons courtesy of Sei-ji Rakugaki _______________________________________________________________________

A. On the Main Stream Media

“National Day Rally Speech Informative, But…” Dr Huang Shouu Chyuan, “The skeptics will suggest that alternative views have been omitted in this over-enthusiastic attempt by the media “bosses” to depict a semblance of unequivocal support for the government’s position.This is not necessarily healthy in the long run.

Diversity of views is vital for our nation’s development. Does it not make sense that only when differing views are exchanged freely then some true consensus can perhaps emerge?

Bhavani Commandments… Of course “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a tale every child has learnt in school and is just a metaphor not to be taken literally.

From what I have seen these past few days,the MSM is doing all of us a disservice.” (24 Aug, 2006)

“Propaganda and its Discontents,” Ms Molly Meek, “Molly is very angry with the mainstream media for violating the Bhavani commandments. How could they?? It’s not the job of journalists to campaign for or against the government. While they certainly have not campaigned against the government, they seem to have forgotten the first half of the commandment.

First, they tell us that mee siam mai hum is mee siam mai hiam. Then they keep reporting about the wonderful advantages of immigrants coming to Singapore. What makes many peasants angry is that the media and the clever ministers have misunderstood their feelings.” (25 Aug, 2006)

“Short Review of NDR 2006,” by Free Thinker, “Well, while I concede that there are indeed websites out there which offer false & unconfirmed information, I think that it should also be noted that, when it comes to providing accurate information, the track record of the traditional mainstream media has not been exactly blemish free either. Just try doing a search on Google for “journalistic fraud” and you all would see that there is no lack of cases in which the traditional mainstream media has provided inaccurate information.” (26 Aug, 2006)

“Singing the Same Tune,” Singapore Patriot, “In response to Singaporeans’ pleas for a freer media, the Government has liberalisedBulldog our film, video and TV classifications, permitted and promoted a topless cabaret show, and most recently, lowered the age restriction for attending that show. These are the kind of censorship restrictions that most Singaporeans want to keep. Yet the Government relaxes them, I suspect, as a symbolic gesture to Singaporeans that they are loosening up, when they really aren’t, politically.

Our media doesn’t have to go the way of Taiwan or Philippines. All Singaporeans are asking for is for the Government to free up our media a little, to make it more in line with the rest of the developed world. Is that too much to ask for? (26 Aug, 2006)

B. On New Media

“This Thing About the Internet,” Chemical Generation, “NDR is a watershed rally not because of mee siam mai hum, mee siam mai hiam or laksa mai hum, but because the Establishment were so concerned about the Internet that PM Lee Hsien Loong devoted one chunk of his speech to “The Digital Age” – about 3,600 out of about 12,800 words (28%) in the entire Rally speech. Compare this year’s intensive focus on the Internet as the new arena to battle for Singaporeans’ political support with the 2005 rally. There was almost no acknowledgement of us in the Internet as a budding mostly responsible socio-political force then. It was as if the government behaved like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand, pretending not to see although we were going round and round in the blogs and forums waving our heads and trying to get notice and respect when it was due.”

“Changing the Noodles,” Two Steps from Twilight, “The reaction to what was a nothing-issue is a damning reflection of the lack of self-direction in Singapore’s blogs. They Scared Journalistare shockingly pristine mirror images of actual newspaper columns one can find in the Straits Times by its own writers, not just in the content but in style (marked by more extensive use of the first person than necessary) and attitude (it takes some kind of writer to pen columns for a commentary section that calls itself Insight**).

It is time for local blogs to lead the intellectual agenda rather than expect the mainstream media to do it when the latter is inextricably constrained to the very exacting demands of the government.” (25 Aug, 2006)

“Checks on the Executive,” Sylvia Lim, NCMP, “Thankfully, the advent of new technology has been a driving force for change. The use of the Internet to “leak” information and to disseminate non-official views is now widespread. This serves as a pressure point for the mainstream media to be more balanced to remain credible. The authorities are also responding to Internet criticisms. These are healthy signs.”

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