The Online Citizen

MDA replies to Lionel De Souza

June 24
09:11 2009

On 15 June 2009, a complaint letter was written to TODAYonline alleging that certain comments on The Online Citizen violated the Penal Code. The letter also implored the Media Development Authority to “look into the conduct of TOC’s moderators”.

We reproduce MDA’s reply below:

WE THANK Mr Lionel De Souza for his feedback on TODAYonline (“Website moderators failed to exercise moderation”, June 15) regarding the posts on The Online Citizen, pertaining to the article “Perdition and Sedition”.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) places a high premium on safeguarding against harmful and undesirable online content that could disrupt our religious harmony. At the same time, given the global and borderless nature of the Internet, we recognise that there are practical limitations to what legislation can do to regulate the Internet.

MDA has therefore adopted a pragmatic approach that emphasises industry self-regulation and public education in addition to a light-touch regulatory framework via the Class Licence Scheme.

Under this approach, Internet content providers and service providers are required to exercise their own judgment and discretion to ensure that their content and services comply with the Class Licence conditions and the Internet Code of Practice. Please refer to www.mda.gov.sg for details.

If the content breaches the Code, the content provider will be warned and given a chance to remove the content, and should the content provider fail to do so, MDA will not hesitate to take more serious action against the content provider.

Community self-regulation and public education are critical prongs in our strategy to ensure responsible use of media on the online platform. Hence, we encourage Internet users to make known their concerns to website administrators directly, should they come across objectionable content on their websites.

Yuvarani Thangavelu
Deputy Director (Licensing Policy)
Development Policy Media Development Authority

 
  • http://thesketchtimes.blogspot.com The Sketch Times

    Looks like MDA not siding poor Lionel.

  • ABC

    So no action taken, shut up and sit down.

  • Colonel Jessup

    MDA….u can’t handle the truth

  • intent

    but this is how the internet works. It happening everywhere. In fact TOC shouldnt be reprimanded like that because it attracts more discerning readers than say the visitors on youtube. Just because one or two monkeys post irresponsibly doesnt mean that everyone is like that. Learn to ignore those comments. The best method is not to even reply to those seditious comments. Im mean if you go on youtube you can get very racist comments against indians and nothing is being done about that. I would really like MDA to do something about that but i know there’s nothing they can do because of the nature of the internet.

  • David

    Punishment, censorship? what is our govt afraid of? The more they are frightened by us means we are telling the truth.

  • blackfeline

    #2..u r too kind…i would have asked him to shut up and get lost!

  • ABC

    To 6) blackfeline on June 24th, 2009 11.06 am

    He is an old man loh, so give him face lah, if he do it again, than tekan lah.

  • aygee

    Let’s look at this positively. MDA understands how the Internet works..and Lionel De Souza will now also need to understand how it works.

    I think TOC has written to Lionel before, i suggest TOC does it again, with this response as a background, and ask him to embrace the Internet. Rather than complain, be part of the process. If Lionel feels there are comments that can be inflammatory, ask him to write to TOC and alert us.

    Let’s all collaborate and work together, rather than be antagonistic to each other.

    Change, we can.

  • Gilbert Goh

    TOC readers should continue to self moderate when commenting here. This will help the moderators here in their work.

    So far I think majority of readers here are articulate and matured.

    When commenting, it is good to ask if what we are posting is encouraging, positive and logical. This way, we will save ourselves alot of trouble.

    This time round MDA is on our side but the next time we may not be so lucky.

  • http://www.sgpolitics.net Ng E-Jay

    QUOTE: “”Hence, we encourage Internet users to make known their concerns to website administrators directly, should they come across objectionable content on their websites.””

    Thanks, MDA.

    Well said.

  • it should be like that lah

    “MDA has therefore adopted a pragmatic approach that emphasises industry self-regulation and public education in addition to a light-touch regulatory framework via the Class Licence Scheme.”

    Glad that MDA has come to its senses. Public resources should be rightly employed in tackling genuine crime and not to be used selectively just to protect a certain line of opinion / persuasion.

  • http://gangasudhan.com/blog Ganga


    One must of course note that it is not MDA’s ‘magnanimity’ that is the cause of this approach but the fact that it is impossible to legislate such an entity as the internet – local or otherwise.

    I see MDA’s response akin to a king telling his people that “I have decided to leave the mountain where it is as it does not harm us” when in fact there is no way that he can do anything about it in the first place – he may be king but the mountain is (naturally) more powerful.

    Food for thought…

  • sadoh

    This is the appetizer before the main course. Of course the ultimate motive is to inflict more control mechanism onto the online media, such as TOC. They too know that more people depends on online blogs and news for Information, and if TOC keeps hammering government as it grows in influence, more people will be unhappy with the government.

    Sooner or later, MDA will come out with another scheme, or framework, or Act, or Law etc, to control and threaten the online media into regulating themself. All comments will have to be reviewed before posting online. Comments that deem offensive to the government will be deleted. No more free posting.

  • TrueBlood Singaporean

    MDA job is to develop Singapore Media Industries or Media Crop to the likes of Korea or Taiwan whereby it generate Billions of Revenue for Singapore!

    But it seems they fail but it just a Regulation Authority and why don’t be like China!
    Install Filters in all PCs shipped from Dell, HP, etc etc!

  • Fellow Netizen of Cyberspace

    To Lionel De Souza,

    First, I would like to welcome you to the Cyberspace Age, which is a new revelation-cum-revolution that is here to stay.

    Will you kindly, next time round, inform or complain directly to TOC if you were to find any comments on this site (or inform/complain to the owner of any other websites) that you deem inappropriate in your personal perspective, opinion or judgment?

    It would be better for our society if people like your esteemed self can help to actively give feedback directly and immediately where it concerns. In this way, it would also be more effective and efficient because the matter can be addressed and measures taken without delay, if your complaints were valid.

    Writing to the newspapers and demanding government authorities to take action, when the very action could be done more efficiently and effectively by your good self at the point in time, would not only cause a delay in the action being taken but might also arouse the sentiments of some other netizens (and readers) to take a negative view on your would-be genuine concern, will it not?

    As matured Singaporeans, wouldn’t we do our very best to try to educate the younger generations in a more non-dictatorial and non-parent-to-child fashion of transactional relationship? I believe, in the long run, such an approach would bear better fruit. Don’t you agree?

    Looking forward to your full co-operation in cyberspace.

    Thank you very much.

    From: A Fellow Singaporean.
    24 June 2009.

  • aiyoyo

    aiyoyo

    very luan leh.

    on one hand promote IT, on the other want to control internet?

    blur leh.

    aiyoyo

  • Loyola

    Sadoh,

    That’s fearmongering. :)

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Neutral Voice – to be frank ….

    To be honest, being not a LDS supporter nor TOC supporter, I feel that, upon analysis, LDS’s accusations does not hold water.

    He has already been debunked countless times by readers and the net.

    A consolation prize for LDS is that he has received free public education on this aspect.

    LDS, injoy TOC. Have a blast.

  • Upsize the Downsize ?

    Folks, lets look at things from a clear perspective.
    There is no need to spend so much attention on poor LDS whose views is merely a private personal view and for all we know, he may be the ONLY guy in singapore to hold that view of his.

    In short, lets not waste time on him and his little 1-man tiny view. He is not even able to respond to any rebutals here. Is that not convincing reason enough to show he is not ready to accept a 2-Way communication channel?

    Lionel, you are just lucky that MSM publish your article, for whatever it is worth.

  • http://thebosonicstate.blogspot.com Jackson Tan

    I think this reply by MDA is quite illuminating to the whole approach of “light-touch” that has been adopted some time ago. When Lee Boon Yang announced this strategy, many netizens were questioning what it means exactly. At that time, it does resemble the OB markers: invisible and seemingly arbitrary.

    Of course, this one reply does not define the light-touch in detail, but it exemplifies the strategy MDA takes to deal with online issues.

    On the other hand, quite a portion of the responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the moderators. Different people have different tolerance for what is potentially offensive and seditious, so there may be quite a lot of feedbacks from people who are more easily concerned with such comments like Mr De Souza. And since there is no a priori reason to disregard their views, I think, as TOC grows, the moderators may find their inboxes filling up more rapidly than before.

  • Neutralitic Psychosis

    I hope and trust that someone in IPS is taking note of this issue.
    Maybe can IPS hold another round of workshop for bloggers to attend and discuss about such issues since MDA respond like that?

    I recommend TOC to assist IPS in Media regulation thingies. They got so much info.

  • smallvice585

    MDA wrote:

    1. Community self-regulation and public education are critical prongs in our strategy to ensure responsible use of media on the online platform.

    2. We encourage Internet users to make known their concerns to website administrators directly, should they come across objectionable content on their websites.

    TOC wrote on its 18 June 2009 Reply:

    1. Mr De Souza has chosen to bypass a far more effective solution to the problems he is alleging: community moderation.

    2. If Mr De Souza had raised his concerns directly to TOC, we would be happy to consider removing them if they were indeed a potential violation of the law … Unfortunately, Mr De Souza sent us no such notification or email.

    At least the positive outcome of Lionel De Souza’s complaint outcome is that we now has a positive example of MDA’s light touch regulation, compared to the previous cases of negative examples, such as charging bloggers for Sedition for posting racist comments. There are always two sides of the same coin.

  • mike

    my moto in believing is this…… THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL…..

  • No Wolly Wan

    While singaporeans are net savvy based on number of citizens who regularly go online, this should not be mistaken that singaporeans are not Apathetic on social – political issues.

    When this is the case, even if there are good quality social – political sites, these types of 1st world singaporeans , by definition (apathy) , WILL NOT or DO NOT bother to visit these sites.

    Thus, I believe the issue of moderation is not as great as some may perceive.

    Singaporeans majoritily do not bother if not shun social – political issues BY Choice, consciously. They are unique in this world.

  • ErniesUrn

    Lionel should start a protest at Hong Lim Park

  • A Tan

    Govmin to Lionel:

    Shut up and sit down.

    Lionel to Govmin:

    I tot I was carrying balls.

  • Yang

    Is time things had change. So let’s move on from here and hope MDA should not involved too much as we know what is right and what is wrong.

  • Regnis

    #24) ErniesUrn on June 24th, 2009 2.56 pm

    I’m sure at least 3 “people” will attend the protest… 1) The auntie who sweeps the area 2) The uncle who sleeps at the benches there 3) The street cat ambling in the area….

  • Daniel

    “Lionel should start a protest at Hong Lim Park”

    “I’m sure at least 3 “people” will attend the protest… 1) The auntie who sweeps the area 2) The uncle who sleeps at the benches there 3) The street cat ambling in the area….”
    Oh… how can you miss the majority of supporters that are so shy ? How can you miss the numerous rat and mouse scurrying in Hong Lim Park, willing to lend support to Lionel ?

    Still, don’t underestimate Lionel because he will guarantee to have some supporters in his protest. His very die-hard supporters: his wife, his son/daughters and maybe his maid too.

  • Daniel

    Lionel De Souza start to believe that he is somebody having won numerous award but in fact he is just nobody, Just Like many gahmen who start believing his own myths.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    Lionel to Govmin: I will carry some heavier balls for you;;;;;Govmin to Lionel: Shut your silly gap you old fool; we got better ball-carriers, we don’t need you.

  • Ball Index

    “I tot I was carrying balls.”

    when more and more people know how to carry balls because they see a value in doing so, the novelty will gradually be lost and the value for knowing how to do it will also gradually begin to drop.

  • RC Nember

    Sorly, i no sure what u meanting by caryyinf balls.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    #31–Ball Index ///// when more and more people know how to carry balls because they see a value in doing so, the novelty will gradually be lost///// ;;;;;;;; I am afraid where Lionel is concerned the novelty will never be lost, because each day Lionel wakes up in the morning, the first thought that comes in his nitwit brain is ” how am I going to fine-tune my balls-carrying huh?”

  • http://blog budamax1952

    Lionel old boy;;;The weather is real nice and cool tonight huh;; Don’t you lose your cool and start throwing the furniture around huh.

  • rvian

    mda approach has been pragmatic, at least for this case.

    the undertone in the reply sounds like “if u no shiok what u see in the internet, just let the website admin know, dun anyhow just tell us what we should do”. but the strange thing is that mda did not say it directly that they find the content to be acceptable else they will take action against TOC.

    anyway, lets just understand it this way. an ex-civil servant voiced his “concerns” publicly (unfortunately in the wrong forum). civil servants are trained to highlight problem up the “chain of command”, esp so when they are uniformed personnel. LDS has no command channel on top of him, so he took his “initiative” to inform the Superior Command i.e. the MDA.

    lets be magnanimous, give him one mark for his civic-mindedness (by his own standard), can? as for initiative, 9 marks will be deducted. 1/10 is still not bad.

    not too sure if in future we will still hear from him in the msm now that the superior command asked him to go direct to websites admin.

  • http://none GABRIEL

    Why don’t we move on – and leave the likes of LDS to simmer in their own curry? Some people will never see the light, and we should not waste time trying to convert them. We should, with the help of TOC, stir up worthy debate on issues of the day, and in the process, perk up the interest of the young and less politically-aware Singaporeans. This is not to say that folks like LDS should not be debunked for their fallacious line of thought — but to continue belittling him will only result in giving him a higher value than he deserves.

  • http://www.xanga.com/pothepanda/weblog Tan Yeong Hong

    Lionel De Souza has always been a nice watchdog his entire life.

    Retire liao still so angsty.When will he grow up? :D

  • http://TOCSingapore Edward

    #6) blackfeline
    #2..u r too kind…i would have asked him to shut up and get lost!
    ………………………………………………………………

    We should encourage more people to TOC and get a bigger audience even if they have different views. If we don’t want the PAP and the media to brainwash the people, we should not have a closed mind.

  • Darren

    Small nugget for you guys out there,

    He also write in letters to The Catholic News complaining of this and that!

  • smallvice585

    If Lionel De Souza does not trust TOC Moderators, he will not deem community moderation regardless of its extent. In another words, he most probably believe that if he posted his complaint in a TOC commentary thread, the moderators will remove his comment. Btw I have heard about Lionel De Souza writing in to The Catholic News requesting the Roman Catholic Church of Singapore to return to the old practises of singing latin hymes at Mass. LOL.

  • http://www.johnharding.com John Harding

    Bowing down and kowtowing to MDA is no way to improve the status of censorship in Singapore. Have courage, what’s the worst than can happen to you?

  • c-p-k

    Lionel has done a useful service to all moderators.

    He has extracted a reply from MDA which would not

    be forthcoming if the moderators had asked for it

    themselves!

    Thanks a million, Lionel!

  • theforgottongeneration

    @41) smallvice585 on June 24th, 2009 11.51 pm

    Let leave religion out of this forum, shall we. Anyone that think he/she can reverse Vatican II would really have some very serious mental problems.

  • SS Stirrer

    My fellow readers

    Do you guys know who this Lionel De Souza is ?

    He’s the retired cop who is staunchly pro-PAP.

    Need i say more ?

  • SS Stirrer

    One more thing — the word boot licker comes to mind

  • Ball Index

    “34) budamax1952 on June 24th, 2009 8.00 pm
    how am I going to fine-tune my balls-carrying huh?”

    let me digress a little bit. when someone places too much value (in believing that balls should be carried with loving tender care) in places where there are none, bubble balls will grow so big that it will implode with a bang when the time is ripe – just like the recent financial crisis has shown.

  • Joel Low

    This is exactly the type of attitude a mature society should avoid. Lionel attitude is no different from the NEW EXCO in the AWARE saga. When he saw something that he do not agree with, instead with engaging in communications with the involved parties, he suggested that the government should just go in and forced changes and compliance to suit his standards.

    Just like North Korea, when they are not happy with you, they will point to their nuclear weapon to warn you and use fear to control you.

    Lionel has only proved to the public that he is only out to please his employer and he is disengaged from the people and do not know or represent the public at all. He has shot himself in the foot and if in the next election he dare to stand for election and not hide behind anyone, he will have his due respond from the constituency that he is MPing.

  • ABC

    To 48) Joel Low on June 25th, 2009 10.57 am

    He is too old to stand for election under PAPies banner, this PAPies wants young & talented candidates, so he is not qualified.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    #47Ball Index;;;;I see what you are getting at and i must add i do agree with you. This phenomena of ‘balls-carrying’ is quite prevalent in Singapore, especially when people get involved with the PAPies. These people(of course Lionel being a premier ace among them) surely must get some sort of kick out of it. But personally what i believe is that balls-carriers are hypocrites who deserve a different kind of kick–a kick in the groin area with some exploding balls will serve them right.

  • smallvice585

    Hi theforgottongeneration #44,

    All I am just saying is that The Catholic News is also a victim of Lionel De Souza’s writing. In this letter to The Catholic News, he wrote “As a Singaporean, I am proud of the Government’s unceasing efforts to promote religious and racial harmony that is sadly missing in many countries.”

  • rwkc

    To Lionel De Souza,

    Grow up, LDS! Are you still in kindergarten?

    We are all adults here, we have no place here for kids like you to whine or cry.

    So buzz off, kid, go back home, find a doll or something to play with. If you prefer to suck egg do it privately; and don’t teach your grandpa how to suck eggs, because it was your grandpa who taught your pa the ‘hows’. But you learnt it all from your pa, right?

  • Cookie Mac

    52) rwkc on June 25th, 2009 2.25 pm

    No use wan. People can just communicate 1 way if they wanna.
    1 Way meaning they tell you something like published via MSM, and then, when someone rebuts with good reasoning, there is no law to say he need to entertain your rebuttals, unfortunately.

    my sympathies.

    LDS, LDS, where are you? ? ? ? ? ?

  • Cookie Mac

    My only dislike about 1 way communications is that naive people like my nephew has been assuming that what is published is the truth or to be accepted.
    I have been trying to change his mindset. i not sure how he got such a unintellectual mindset.

  • rwkc

    To TOC,

    I wonder why the “comment box” for the thread “The Emperor’s new clothes” has been disabled/removed.

    Because of the note TOC received from Lionel De Souza?

    Because the discussions about metaphysics can lead to disharmony between the different religious groups?

    Because of what?

    Are we an “open-minded” or “close-minded” society?

  • To Cookie Mac

    “I have been trying to change his mindset. i not sure how he got such a unintellectual mindset.”

    it will take time for him to settle down to some understanding as he slowly experiences through life. it is quite normal when the good things encountered by some lucky ones so far until now mirror nicely to what has been observed (preached by) in the public domain.

  • In my View

    1 Way communication is for olden days and unintellectually satisfying nor convincing nor impressive nor a credible form of communication.

    Why waste our time?

  • Teo Kueh Liang

    We should treasure every room for public discourse and not to regret till it was deprived because we violated the right given.

  • Arix

    smallvice (#51),

    That letter you linked to is far too demure. Surely you could have found a better one?

    rwkc (#55),

    No, the closure of the thread on “the Emperor’s New Clothes” has nothing to do with LDS’s letter.

    I felt personally that the quality of discussion on that thread had gone down after Smallvice’s consistent “political” interference, and the tension between me and him, and that he was pushing the discussion too off-tangent.

    After personal consultation with the Editor, we decided that the best option would be to close down the thread to further comments.

    Rgds,
    Arix

  • smallvice585

    Hi Arix #59,

    The bridge between the political sphere and the moral authority of a religious institution lies in the religious motivation of social institutions. To ensure that the moral authority of religious institutions ends in the political sphere, there has to be eternal vigilance to ensure this bridge remains dismantled.

  • AngelVision

    41) smallvice585 on June 24th,
    “….he most probably believe that if he posted his complaint in a TOC commentary thread, the moderators will remove his comment.”
    This means LDS most probably does know what he is doing – the intent to malign or slander.

  • http://www.eureka75.com/SingaporeporeWayang Eureka

    Lionel De Souza lack intellect and only good in ball carrying. He thinks that whatever printed on the Shit Times is right no matter how biased it is to the (PAP) government. How on earth Temasick Holding perform better than Warren Buffet when Temasick Holdings got constant capital injection from the Ministry of Finance and they can sell off National assets like Senoko Power, Power Seraya, Sinktel, etc for a huge profit and these GLC doesn’t cost much to acquire and build up.

  • smallvice585

    Hi Rwkc #55,

    You might like this TOC article written last June: Religion and the Right Not to Respect it. FYI. If you (plus Arix, Peter Sellers, Sllim and me) want to debate on this article, let’s do it on that thread. Let’s keep off-topic discussion on this thread minimal.

  • rwkc

    #59 Arix and
    #63 smallvice585

    Thank you both for your response.

    Going forward, I would like to propose that if any message posted is thought inappropriate, the person holding such a view should institute a post addressed to the other participants concerned, explaining why he/she considered the message to be inappropriate, and then request for their the feedback or opinion. That way, even if we may not achieve full convergence, we should at least go along with the view of the majority.

    There are so many interesting outstanding issues to discuss in the thread “The Emperor’s new clothes.” Personally, I would like to see this thread reopened for further discussion. God/religion is such an interesting topic for me [and perhaps for other people also]; billions of people in the world are affiliated to one religion or another.

    Although some or many of the points we have offered or may offer in future may sound like old hat, there may be views others may not have heard of before. I for one would welcome anyone who has a fresh point to make or perhaps to offer a new insight or perspective that may change our own views or outlook on life, be it God-oriented, religion-oriented or otherwise. And we cannot discount that there is always a first-time for some people. In fact, come to think of it, most or all of us have gone through first-time experiences of one sort or another, e.g. eating out for the first time, watching a movie for the first time, etc.

  • Aids Dengue Malaria

    I say, for every such characters that appear on MSM, can we do a special on them? Like this article allowing people to comment on people like him?
    We must be fair to everyone, especially people like that one.
    We must treat them the same fair logical treatment.
    It will be good for everyone. Also, learning opportunity for many.

  • Annie How Say

    Agree with #65, all writers and contributors in MSM should prove their credibility by responding to readers’ rebuttals. Else, i feel that 1-way communication does not hold water. Naive people may take that as the truth , especially if alternative views and rebuttals are not published and given the same fair treatment.

  • Annie How Say

    In addition, All MSM reporters, writers and editors should at least respond to some comments by readers.

    1-way communication is not the way to go ‘in the digital age’.

    News can be more credible if it can tahan the scrutinization by the public.

  • patriot

    May I say that anyone can express whatever views, opinions and ideas online. As in this Case, after Lionel De Souza wrote to the Forum, we got a very good reply from MDA to LDS in my opinion. Had LDS not written to the Press, we would not have know MDA’s Stand with regards online moderation.

    It is common knowledge that whoever expound anything online will naturally and automatically be subjected to scrutiny by other online participants, which itself is a form of moderation as well as education(enlightening).

    LDS has not appear on TOC lately and I hope that he does not feel unwelcome after the Incident. The Cyberspace is for all of us to use and of course we do hope that participants will not be too emotional, personal, political and vindictive.

    The Net will not be interesting if there are only a handful of participants, it is only worth reading and participating when there are diversities in responses, views and ideas.

    patriot

  • Chia Tai Hoh

    As long as everyone comes out of their apathetic shell and express their views, the net itself can self-regulate with minimal moderation. People whose views that cannot standup to scrutiny will be very quickly if not immediately debunked by the net community. The success of this depends on the number of readers – the more the better quality and self-regulation. Its like market forces will take care of itself.

    people who write on the MSM must learn to be responsive to their critics especially the logical ones. Don’t run away after your article is published. We should engage debates with ALL MSM writers as well. I am sure they are up to the challenge.

  • gee

    Best comment is 12) by Ganga..

  • AngelVision

    If any ‘run away’, it means that they have nothing better to say anymore, in a sense they admit defeat. Simple as that. The same happens with Straits Times writers, no response to comments to their stories mean they accept readers critics.

  • rwkc

    I agree that we should not discourage anyone from posting, especially on this, TOC website.

    LDS would have managed in a less controversial manner if he had posted, using his real name or a pseudo name, and constructively challenged each viewpoint he disagreed with, with coherent arguments, instead of writing directly to TOC and flatly claiming that so many of the posts were not worth his efforts in reading them and that 8 posts were infringements [of the law?] and had the potential of raising friction between the various religious groups in Singapore. That, in my opinion, was high-handed and narrow-minded.

    The ball now is on his side of the court so to speak. It’s for LDS to hit it back.

    LDS, do a post here, with your real name?

  • Naivette

    last time, i get to read LDS’s articles on MSM and thought his must be something worth reading since ‘endorsed’ by the MSM in terms of allowing it to be published, so i guess must be some calibre.

    now, seeing so many questions posed to him by readers, i am totally utterly completely disappointed in this LDS.

    i agree that anyone’s article published in the msm papers must be able to defend what they say. non-reply is a not in favor of the authors. they must understand this as it involved their credibility. next time, anyone here think i would read his article? or save some time?

  • http://gangasudhan.com/blog Ganga

    70) gee on June 26th, 2009 4.43 pm
    Best comment is 12) by Ganga..


    Thank you…

  • http://blog budamax1952

    Further to my treatise on balls-carrying, i must say that, this phrase balls-carrying or carrying balls is a uniquely Singaporean concoction, a popularly used Singapore slang word which most people are familiar with here. You won’t find it on wikipedia or free online dictionary or in the oxford or cambridge dictionary either. Its a direct transliteration from the malay “angkat-bodek” or “bodek” for short. This piece of information is for the benefit of younger netizens who might not be familiar with local lingo and after all these younger netizens are the ones who are going to be on the frontline in our war with the PAPIES, and without a doubt they will be meeting up with a lot of angkat-bodek characters every now and then.And also, if characters like Lionel de Souza pop-up every now and then, i say good because they certainly provide comic relieve for everyone because as you know debates on TOC tend to get very serious sometimes.

  • Lee Sia Say

    LDS, look 75 comments staring at you. hahahahahaha!

  • 85thmptobe

    ole dear ole dear
    ex-inspector lioneldesouza is bein SNUB…………..
    shame shame
    go away
    so malued
    that lionel de souza must donned a wig just to drink beer in serangoon road…

  • BooBoo

    Everywhere I read, it seems like only losers are on Gahmen (aka PAP) side. Its only those who are really lousy or no backbone that lean on the Godfather (aka PAPa).

  • Arix

    rwkc (#64),

    1) For a discussion to remain sane, it must be free of populism and other hidden agendas. On the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, I hardly had a chance to fully elaborate my views, because Smallvice was over-intent on painting me as a Fundamentalist. That is why I asked to have it closed.

    2) Perhaps, we can raise the issue on the next thread of similar theme. Or you can always come to gmail to discuss the topic with me. [arixion@gmail.com]

    3) I agree with you. Being constrained by dogma on either side is a hindrance to proper debate.

    I am uncomfortable with apologetics who only want to participate in rigged debates where they can always win; hypocrites who accuse their opponents of rigging debates but think that they are perfectly entitled to do so because God is on their side. It is true; the proper purpose of debates/dialectics is to reach the Truth; but clearly that cannot be done if either side already believes that it has obtained the precise and complete truth.

    Concurrently, I am also uncomfortable with the New Atheists (e.g. Dawkins, Hitchens) who are only willing to see everything through the narrow prism of science. They are debaters who refused to contemplate new approaches and broaden their mental horizons. I was watching a documentary on History Channel (StarHub Ch 09) yesterday, where I was surprised to learn that the first person to propose the foundational idea for the Big Bang, the Super-Atom Theory, was not just a physicist, but an Anglican Priest as well! So, who says religion and science can’t go together?

  • rwkc

    #79 Arix

    Re the Big Bang, yes, it was a Belgian priest by the name of Georges Lemaitre who in 1927 proposed the BBT.

    Discussions on such a metaphysical subject as God/god should be open for review/input by others, and thus I think TOC is an ideal forum. If you have it on a one to one basis, via email, either party can go on endlessly without knowing that what was said makes no sense.

    In the scenario here you happen to be the only person arguing on the theistic position. There are, if I am not incorrect, at least six of us here facing you. And that’s why I suggested that only one or two issues should be raised at a time, by any one of us. Furthermore, a single issue may result in spin-offs to other areas.

    I am not sure whether it is correct to use the term “New Atheists” to label Dawkins and Hitchens. They happen to be among a crop of atheists who can argue cogently for their position.

    It is for others, theists and non-theists alike, to judge whether it is reasonable to argue for or against a proposition, and the arguments being offered in this respect. If a person cannot reason or understand simple logic, then it would be pointless to discuss with that person.

  • smallvice585

    Hi Arix #79,

    There is no hidden agenda. I have openly said I will oppose anyone who wants to install the voice of religion in the political sphere, not just electoral politics. If religion wants to have a voice in politics, then it would be asking for a witch hunt. I don’t like witch hunts, so I implore people not to pursue this line of thought.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#80),

    1) yep.

    2) As Smallvice would be only too willing to point out, the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act might be enforced if we become too religious here. After all, this is the thread which discusses LDS’s complaint to MDA. Somehow, I doubt that LDS would find arguments by either Smallvice or Sliim to be very much non-inflammatory, and him complaining to MDA isn’t good for TOC, because it at least puts TOC on MDA’s watch-list.

    I don’t wish to be part of a discussion that ends up putting TOC in jail. I wonder if MDA still has that “political website” classification.

    Perhaps a better forum would be Terence’s blog at http://irreligious.blogspot.com. At least his blog is fully declared to be on religious matters.

    3) As I said before, I didn’t coin the term. The term was coined by other Agnostics and Atheists who believed that Dawkins and Hitchens are too “religious” (yep, exact word). Coming from the Atheist camp, “religious” isn’t a very flattering word; I think that much we can both agree.

    4) And there have been many responses to Dawkins and Hitchens from all sides of the debate; a few examples:

    The Dawkins Delusion (Alister McGrath, Theist)
    (I can’t remember the title)(Francis T. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, Theist & bioscientist)
    Why I don’t Believe in Atheists (Chris Hedges, Agnostic)
    God Without God (Michael Hampson, Agnostic)
    The Atheist Manifesto (Michel Onfrey, Atheist)

  • rwkc

    #82 Arix

    First, we need to understand that smallvice585 has made clear, on more than one occasion, that he has no hidden agenda [#81 being his latest on this issue].

    LDS has expressed his views but that does not mean he must be right. You seem to be having the notion, in your own words, “the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act might be enforced if we become too religious here. After all, this is the thread which discusses LDS’s complaint to MDA. Somehow, I doubt that LDS would find arguments by either Smallvice or Sliim to be very much non-inflammatory, and him complaining to MDA isn’t good for TOC, because it at least puts TOC on MDA’s watch-list.”

    I think it was you who first raised the God/religious issue and then as a natural consequence further discussions developed. Remember, Peter Sellers specifically asked TOC to allow the discussions to continue?

    I cannot recall anything inflammatory being said by anybody, and I cannot accept your viewpoint that “LDS would find arguments by either Smallvice or Sliim to be very much non-inflammatory.” That is every bit as subjective as saying: “I don’t agree with your view or palate that chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla ice cream.” “So what?” – would be the rational and natural response.

    If I say suicide bombers are evil people or some Christians were at one time fanatical bigots [bigotry still exists, by the way], would that be construed as inflammatory? Let’s not mince words – we should call a spade a spade. Religious bigotry of course is not expected to entertain alternative or opposing viewpoints. Inciting violence is the style of demagogues; discussing a subject matter in a civil manner will lead to clarification or enlightenment.

    If you have read widely, you would know that religious debates have been conducted in prestigious institutions, such as universities, in the last several decades. And transcriptions have been made available for some of these debates, for the benefit of the public. Debates of this nature have also been conducted in Internet websites and many websites can be found to be ongoing forums for such discussions.

    Articles about religious beliefs have been published in The Straits Times, notwithstanding the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act. I don’t see how our discussions can be the subject of infringement of this enactment.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#83),

    1) That is so rich of him. well, obviously he doesn’t have any hidden agenda after his agenda has been revealed.

    2) As Smallvice would say, it doesn’t matter whether he is right; what matters is whether MDA thinks LDS is right.

    3) Actually, Smallvice was the first to raise the issue. And yes, I remember PS’s request. The point though is not so much who started the debate/discussion, but who first turned a “civilized” discussion into a flame war. As far as I note, Smallvice and Sliim came within a hairlength of flaming me for being a theist.

    And I am far more progressive compared to LDS (who laments frequently about how much the Church has changed from the Middle Ages). So I logically extrapolate.

    4) So what, you ask. Well, so it leads to LDS perception that Christianity and Religion are being insulted on the thread.

    5) It would be inflammatory if you didn’t specify how they are bigots. What else would be inflammatory in a debate on religion is if you flat-out told a Religious person to abandon his or her religion. Arguing that the religion is false or inaccurate or whatever is fine, but telling people to leave a religion crosses the line.

    6) Yes, I know that. I am not as ignorant as many of you seem to think I am.

    7) The Straits Times mostly publishes statistical articles, not discussive ones. The closest to a discussive article it published with regards to the AWARE Saga was Prof Thio’s (Sr) Op-Ed, and even that was generic, and nothing like our discussion on the Bible.

  • rwkc

    Arix, on 2 Jul I did a response to your #84 but I am unsure whether it is open for review by others. I can see from my PC that it appears on the screen as #85 with the qualification “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.

    I am now reposting my message.

    [#84 Arix]

    1] I shall leave this to smallvice585.

    2] What if MDA thinks LDS is right and we all think that MDA is wrong in giving in to LDS’ views? As you have presumably read the vociferous criticism made by many of us here regarding the huge financial losses incurred by Temasek, notwithstanding the defense, abject from our viewpoint, being offered by several govt ministers on behalf of Temasek, would you say we have no grounds to criticize as we did? Would you accept that If the govt insists that Temasek did no wrong, then the govt and Temasek must be right and we are wrong?

    3] I disagree; the discussions we were having were conducted with civility. There was no question of the discussion turning into a “flame war”. It appears to be a matter of personal perception – yours.

    4] It was LDS’ prerogative to think along those lines, but LDS by now and assuming that he has since read the responses to his complaint, would have realized that many people have expressed disagreement with his views. So what if he still insists that he is right? Thinking oneself is right does not by itself make it right, right?

    5] The bigotry of the Christian religion in the past is well known; I suggest that you surf the Internet to ascertain pointers about “Christian bigotry.” Who is telling who to abandon his/her religion? If people want to discuss religion or religious issues/beliefs, they have to be receptive that their ideas may not have any influence on others. Immature people should not of course engage in intellectual discussions, let alone discuss sensitive issues like religious beliefs/practices. Who is “stupid enough” to do exactly what he/she is being “told”? I am sure that you are not that stupid or immature to carry out such an action. Maybe, you are right if you insist there are stupid people around us.

    6] Yes, you seem to be a person with potential. But the point to remember is: what others think of you carries more weight than what you think you of yourself.

    7] You were probably unborn or a toddler when The Straits Times carried an article that projected religion as a curse on humanity.

  • dodo

    Wow……LDS and TPL now have so many netizens to sue.

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