Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And the first salvo has been launched.

I just read the Brown article, you know the one causing all the furore on the blogosphere at the moment. I have to admit, it's one of the most cynical and sarcastic pieces he's done so far. And there's been a reaction to it. (Being very understated here)

Bhavani's written a reply to the Today newspaper which, as much as I would like to credit our civil servants for keeping as emotionally detached from these kinds of articles (read: Mindless automatons), shows certain cracks in layers of bureaucracy that keeps our government nicely out of touch with we the citizens. That said, with the rather emotional reply to Brown, which has brought about unprecedented comments on MB's blog (426 and counting) was rather hasty IMHO and as a result, lends itself to so many attacks. (As we all know, fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side) So where should we begin?

  1. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics. ~ Firstly, when did attacking the government become partisan politics? Is Bhavani admitting that the government is a single party government? Is she therefore saying that the government is partisan? Very bold madam. Did you actually have permission to say that? Perhaps (*shock*) our government is ready to announce that the government in Singapore itself is partisan and therefore liable to punish those who have the audacity to vote for the other guys. Oh, wait. They already did that with the upgrading thing...never mind.
  2. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with. ~ Oh...Dang. Did she just try to cut away support for Mr Brown? Or perhaps she's trying to ruin his credibility by painting him as a naysayer and a ringing gong. How, pray tell, can things get worse if people stop believing and start thinking? Are the people in Singapore merely mindless sheep (don't answer that, I know you want to) who are willing to listen to anti-governmental rhetoric simply because it comes from the mouth, or keyboard, of a prominent person? Do you honestly think, Ms Bhavani, that Singaporeans are so stupid that blind criticism is simply accepted? No, there has to be a problem that needs to be addressed if we start thinking that this naysayer makes some sense. And by the way, change (and hopefully improvement) comes from cynicism. Look at all the changes that the world has made in all human history and you may notice that it's all been brought about, pardon my french, by people being pissed off with the status quo. Cynicism brings change my friend. Live with it. By the way, wasn't it our very own government encouraging critical thinking in schools? Well, these are the new products you're getting. Sorry...They don't come with a money back guarantee.
  3. It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. ~ Wow...It's not? What then is the role of newspapers in Singapore? "Sho nuff Mr Government sah, I'll carry them balls for you. Yes Sah." (Of course, I mean stuff like soccer and basketballs........) Maybe to make it really clear, we should just rename the Today newspaper to Toady newspaper.
There are many other instances of problems with Bhavani's letter but you can read it all for yourself in Brown's site...assuming that it hasn't actually been shut down. That said, I think it's safe to say that the letter was the first big shot that was fired in the war for free political speech in Singaporean cyberspace. Meanwhile, I think we should all batten down the hatches, grab your guns and bring in the cat.

It's going to be messy.


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