The Online Citizen

Future media: Evolution of a discerning public

September 20
16:43 2011

~by: Howard Lee~

When the Singapore Press Club closed its forum discussion on media coverage of the 2011 general and Presidential elections, there was still one unanswered question on my mind – the way forward for Singapore’s media environment.

Two on the panel, Cherian George, associate professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and Lydia Lim, deputy political editor at the Straits Times, discussed at length the extent of coverage afforded by both traditional and online media, and the technology exploited by both. The general thrust of their presentations, to put it simply, was that traditional media has reached a significant milestone in 2011 in how it covered politics, and while it might never go the way of online media, it was testament to its willingness to respond to the growing ground demand for fair play in political debate.

I wasn’t going to disagree. In all fairness, traditional media’s coverage of the 2011 elections has given more exposure to the opposition parties than before, and the extent of coverage has at times also been critical of the ruling People’s Action Party.

But the 2011 elections has left an uneasy feeling within me, which the forum was not able to provide a resolution for. What will be the role of both media after 2011? Will we see a regression to sterile traditional media coverage of the political incumbent and government policies, to be criticised in vain only by online media? Will the PAP promise of greater engagement with the ‘Internet generation’ be a promise sold short, or even merely lip service?

It is with these questions in mind that I requested an interview with Viswa Sadasivan, CEO of Strategic Moves and the third presenter at the Press Club forum. Unlike Cherian and Lim, Viswa alluded to a void in critical thought which pervaded mainstream media, which was robustly filled by online media. There was a particular tone in the content of coverage that readers demanded, which transcends extent of coverage and technology use. It is this demand that characterised 2011, and which I was most keen to get to the bottom of.

What I did not bank on was a rather interesting insight into Viswa’s take on what might have been an anthropological account of Singapore politics, which he took pains to explain as a context for his views on our evolving media environment.

Viswa spoke of a nexus of symbiotic relationships that underlies our principle of governance, and of society as a whole. This nexus applies not just to party politics but to all aspects of society, including commercial interests, the public service, government linked entities, non-government bodies, and other institutional bodies that are technically independent which you would normally not associate with politics.

In his analysis, Singapore society has historically been governed by the right wing, the key interest of which is to ensure stability in a system that will maintain, if not enhance, their control over a system of benefits.

That nexus has also traditionally been apexed by the political incumbent, not least because in Singapore, the government is pervasive in every aspect of our lives. Hence, it is not strange to find politicians taking top and centre positions in commercial entities and other powerful organisations, or organsisations that desire to be powerful. Think our media conglomerates, People’s Association, trade unions, sports associations, and many more. All these represent the “expanded establishment”.

“It is a patron-client relationship, and everyone who wants to move up the ranks needs to be a patron of people. And people like to be clients of these people, because when the patron moves up, you get rewards. It is that system of interdependency that creates this whole structure that has moved a significant number of people towards the right wing.”

The opposing position, by logic, was the left, characterised by the minority voice that favours change at all cost, which is opposed to the right that favours stability and maintaining the status quo at all cost. The left in all its forms, from socialism to people with ideas that buck the norm, was not able to gain traction because it lacks the support of the nexus. If the right is, according to Viswa, framed by “a strong belief that we should work against any move that is adversarial”, then the left is made up of adversarial voices. Or perhaps it is also true to say that any adversarial voice is relegated to the left as a matter of public discourse that is dominated by the right.

In addition, the entire social structure that the PAP has built up during its dominant rule since the 1970s gave very little impetus for people to support the left, either at a corporate or personal level. Viswa described the “systematic increase of the stakes” during the Lee Kuan Yew era, where public goods were delivered on the back of robust economic progress and affluence, like so many miracles, that Singaporeans would seem insane to vote against. It is a system that makes us naturally more conservative. Indeed, there was nothing sinister or deliberate about it. In fact, Viswa believed it to be a “benign dictatorship” that, in the past, most people have been happy to be part of.

But he also indicated a change in the 1980s. With increasing education and overseas exposure, the Singapore public has grown to be more discerning, and the appeal of the right-wing waned. People have grown to realise (and you would have guessed this, if not heard with your own ears from others) that progress at all cost is not always for the best. As with any maturing society, and ironically as a by-product of affluence, people began to ‘rediscover’ their principles and desire to buck defined and established norms.

Nevertheless ground resentment need not necessarily lead to a change from the status quo. The condition of the nexus, due to its established position, did not compel the PAP to change. “A minister once told me (when I told him about how the ground feels) that yes, they will feel this way, they will be angry and it is good. It will last for two weeks in coffee shops, and then life goes on,” related Viswa.

But life did not go on. The critical step forward came with the age of the Internet and the boom of ‘alternative’ media. The conversation carried on beyond idle chatter, and carried with it the desire for change, defying any restrictions that the political elite have tried to impose on it, light touch or otherwise.

Viswa believed that the age of the Internet beckoned a new technocracy where people were finally given the ability to make their voices heard. However, that point does not account for the latest survey by the Institute of Policy Studies that insisted online media consumption, much less its usage as a platform for self expression, did not match-up to traditional media consumption.

But we might all have been led to believe wrongly that direct consumption is necessary for direct action. My antithesis is that people do not need to go online to seek solace, discover alignment or be mobilised to a cause. By virtue of knowing about dissenting voices, people realise that the left is present, alive and at large, and are able to credit a more mainstream position to what they have always believed as fringe ideals.

It is quite possible that the online world has a much greater influence on the outcome of the elections in specific, and social sentiment in general, something that no quantitative survey is capable of measuring, by virtue that these extended virtual communities were formed not by participation, but by the simple knowledge of their existence.

In many ways, then, the single biggest mistake that the political elite did was to depend on traditional media, its partner in the nexus of the right, to fight the media battle for maintaining the status quo. When online media first emerged in the early 2000s, I remembered a dedicated push by traditional media, bolstered by many a quotable quote from the political elite, to discredit online media. The attempt was likely reactive from lack of an understanding of what to do, but it is probable that the effort only served to push people away from the status quo.

The effort would have likely been based on a miscalculation of ground sentiment, as much as a miscalculation of the intent of online media. The political elite quite likely believed online media to be the new poison that must be stopped, and the people as mainly right wingers at danger of being converted to the left. It would have taken a different mindset to realise that the people were already disenfranchised with the status quo and the “progress at all cost” mantra, and were already prepared for a fresh perspective. Online media merely provided the spark, simply by existing and subsequently then molded discursively into the champion of the left, whether it intended to be or not.

In fact, it matters not that online media does not necessarily champion the left. It matters more that people are now aware of the existence of alternative voices that dare speak out against the establishment. Because it clearly indicates that there is an alternative to the status quo. Opposition parties, I then propose, are merely the options that people can take action with by voting. Whether that option is exercised or not is just as inconsequential. What matters is that the people know they are not alone in their desires, dilemmas and choices.

Reflections

“Great piece on the dolphins. Look forward to your take on the ge/pe”, texted a friend of mine.

That message nearly made me groan aloud. After the curtains went down on 27 August, I have resisted writing, and to some extent talking, about the elections. In truth, it has left a bad taste in my mouth, and it has nothing to do with my expectations of my vote.

Politics has never been my cup of tea. While I enjoyed covering the general elections and (regretfully) gunning from the commentary sidelines for the Presidential one, it is the policy issues that made more sense, and I have been eager to get back to my two interests of media and the natural environment, and to champion progress for these in my writing.

It was for that reason that I listened to Viswa’s concept of the nexus of the right with a mix of caution and intrigued. Caution because I thought I had enough of politics and power, but intrigue because the idea triggered the Foucauldian synapses of governmentality that have always been the sieve of my brain since I first read Discipline and Punish.

But it found its way to this article, because I felt it provided for an artful look into where Singapore society is today, particularly in political and media appetite. Matched against the anecdotal evidence I have heard and read, it was a view that I mostly agreed with, although Viswa suggested clear percentage shifts away from the right in his historic account, which I’d rather not touch on, since it draws very close to speculating the results of the elections. To be honest, it doesn’t really help to stir up that debate again.

It also made me realise that, like it or not, our media environment has always been preconditioned by our political environment, and it is near impossible to frame the position of one without due consideration of the other. Minimally I hope it provided you with an interesting background read.

But do watch out for part 2 – “Future media: Revolving door of the Centre”. I have sought to answer questions about how our media can move forward, and have no intent to let that slip.


Part 2 HERE.

  • critic

    Temasek Review took the donation money for itself. That’s what happened to online media.

    No explanation. No news. No thing. Just a cryptic rumour that there’s a copyright issue. So convenient.

  • BS

    critic,

    Temasek Review was forced to shut by the govt. It also lack funding.

  • Titiana Ann xavier

    The government has no better weapon to use on its critics than the use of silence. The monopoly of the MSM ensures that only the voices of the rulers are heard. State-controlled media ensures a blackout of alternative views and non-conformist thoughts or beliefs.

    Today dissenting voices have found a way through the blockade via the social media. A more level playing field will evolve much to the chagrin of the authorities. The use of silence will cease to an effective weapon with the rise of a discerning population and in the use of online media.

  • popcorn

    TRE is domiciled in Hongkong. It was shut down by our Govt, in collaboration with the Chinese Govt.
    If TOC tries to be a smart alerk, it will go the same way.
    Many people dun get the threat from Pappies during the PE, and they make good that threat by taking action immediately after.

  • rama

    Popcorn rite but TRE made a major technical mistake to have parked via Asian carriers as SG commands weight to influence and shutdown.TOC wakeup and have backup plans.
    Anything well position in states or Euro makes it difficult for SG partymen other than DOS attacks via internet carriers they control. Expose further they are venerable.

  • rama2

    Singaporeans IPS, School of Lee Kuan Yew, Funded Media research arm and schools/institution are recent creations by the government just like influential American lobby bodies under specific government. Main objective to spin “truths” and research work,including surveys which are then used by government controlled entire media in print, tv, radio adn online to present to public and world as independent facts and recent statistics and analytics. The recent IPS survey on Online media and traditional media is such an example. If yous eriously analyse the very people heading and representing the institution are pro party backed ex journalists, government linked beneficiaries like Janadas Devan, other others involved in similar research and consulting bodies. Indirectly they present and clever sell the very facts to support the views and credibility of the party and government as tasked under their new portfolios and organisations they represent. Evene Cherian George-ex ST whose wife was Zuridah -co autors on LKY’s hardtruths all present a professional view and assessment on our SIngapore media and politics based on their experience but sadly voice the much needed propaganda sell fo the government as much of their pay, funding and salaries come from the establishment. Including promotions, new titles and new institutions to add weight to their professional profile as ex media experts and domain leaders but sadly reflect the only establishment view as truths wo considering otherwise. Viswa’s views are vey righta nd accurate as they are the newly formed groups tasked to challenge and dicredit online negative crticisms as noises and irrelevant as the recent IPS survey inorder to sell the public the establishment version that mainstream media is flourishing despite online challenges. And the MSM merely trumpets the same message daily and hourly on their govt controlled platforms of TV, print, online media which are entire monopolies under party and government.But reality tells a different story vs the Spin done here and this I believe is the part of the “right” Viswa talked about. It is everywhere and new institutions like IPS and other bodies are created and funded by government to spread their message of the establishment-An old LKY trick which still in works to date.
    Even Polical commentator AssocProf Eugene from SMU comes under the wing of the establishment as end of day his views reflect his funding and paymasters and not entirely independent as he is presented in CNA news events.

  • ricardo

    There is a much darker issue emerging.

    http://www.todayonline.com/Commentary/EDC110919-0000281/Selling-Singaporeans-on-the-ISA

    I’m not sure whether I’m more nauseated by Prof. Tan or that fact that Today saw fit to publish this as Expert Legal Comment on the ISA.

    This is surely the purest manifestation of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

    The ability to overrule the Supreme Court is ensuring the “authorities should not have extensive discretionary powers that are not subject to judicial review.”

    “The Constitution and ISA were amended, confining judicial review only to questions relating to compliance with the ISA procedural requirements” is a Safeguard against the abuse of the ISA for personal & political ends.

    White is Black. 2 + 2 = whatever PAP want it to say.

    Professor Tan is teaching our young lawyers too. He will surely be Dignified multi million times by our Lord LKY for his remarkable interpretation of the Truth.

  • David

    Very good article. Briefly, the patron of the right wings tried to blur the news. The new media tried to make it clear As the new media began to develope, people began to open their eyes and want to question the ruling party. Before new media first discovered, Singaporeans have been cheated by traditional media. Now the world is different, PAP can longer hide under its own patrons or the traditional media.

  • Stevenkhorfather

    We are no better than Burma,North Korea or even China when it comes to liberalisation of online media.

    So sori for TRE ,kenna whack as usual by the Pappies who feels insecure & being threaten.

  • Robert Teh

    To mature our parliamentary democracy, it is essential to depoliticise our national print and broadcast media.

    This will help to energize the people from the stifling controls of our kiasu government, for transparent and accountable system of governance in which information constitutes as the forth estate of government.

    A new Information Act should be passed by parliament to de-control the press and broadcast media except on matter of national security.

    The kiasu government should drop all the threats against people who speak up and the critics in the social media and treat them as assets to bring about greater maturity to our hitherto kiasu divide and rule system.

    This will be the beginning of change to bring about a truly first world government in the interest of all, government, oppositions and people whether the 60% or 40%.

  • Good article

    Good article, great read. lky raced ahead of china which realized the failure of ideology and have quietly abandoned substance if not form of control. Obama trying to inject new life into ideology/ soft control by resuscitating bread/ butter, plus ideals. Tricky waters to navigate because ideals and security (pork barrel) always appear to be at odds. As for shaking off this control, I just hope that we are not exchanging one for another.

    If I want to be optimistic, I’d say this is a breather period in which we found power in exercising our voices and will learn how to live with it. But I am skeptical and not assured by history. All peaceful transitions were negotiated and managed with intent to peace. EE/ EU template makes sure to handle pork barrel while instituting liberal values. Maybe this example is off. Right/left divide is very interesting to note.

  • fair

    TR took the name of TH’s annual report without seeking permission. TR is in the wrong first.

    TR is led by stupid people. They want to be anonymous. They want to attack the Singapore government. Yet they want to infringe on copyright. How stupid can that be?

  • doppelganger

    I have a feeling that the PAP is trying very hard to stop Social Media in Singapore. There are signs of it. They do not wish that their efforts are noticed, that’s why there is no Government ruling on this matter nor the iron fist in the usual style: Get the ISD to soften the enemy. It’s actually a race, whether the Government runs faster or the social media runs faster.

  • Rename

    TRE needs to be renamed to soc.culture.singapore being the thrash bin that it is.

  • yeoman

    the MSM is now flooded with FT-STAFF N REPORTERS.

    it has become from bad to worse.

    in the past,there were still true blooded singaporean reporters who at least tried to highlight the basci concerns of their fellow singaporeans some of the time.

    these days, FTs at SPH etc keep PAINTING N HARPING ON HOW ‘ugly’ we singaporeans are when in fact the BAD N THE UGLY ONES are these FTs themselves!

    i have stopped buying ST like more than 10 years ago eversince i noticed that they kept disgracing SINGAPOREANS;i was wondering then why would our own ‘singaporeans’ screw their own countrymen until i realsied that many of the reporters and writers at ST are the UGLY FTs who have to paint a dirty picture of their AVERAGELY GRACIOUS SINGAPOREAN HOSTS in order to LOOK GOOD themselves?!
    how ridicu;ous it is for our elites to allow some idiotic foreigners to put their countrymen in bad light;how could we then ‘sell’ our talents to potential investors?

    it is time to take score with these erring n errant reporters and reporting.

    the best way to do this is to BOYCOTT their products and support ALTERNATIVE MEDIA like TOC.

    LONG LIVE SINGPORE N TRUE BLUE SINGAPOREANS!!

  • Aloevera368

    What the gov. Do is none of my business. I read and get in touch with TRE & TOC to know what our bros. Sisters, aunties & uncles comments like singaporeans do. It’s surprising after the newly EP, then TRE -suddenly it’s license being revolt & close the site,is it because the media critices & bombard his son about his NS critically. I hope that another new site won’t be ban and close suddenly. Will it happen to The Online Citizen (TOC), I am quite worry, if it really close suddenly than I think the ‘ ONE’ who did it is afraid is very Kia-su and very Kia-C,than don’t call S’pore a democratic society,freedom of speech, regardless of language & religion.it’s the only source I get the information,coz the ‘papers’ are not to be trusted only says about the good things, by the way I am only interested that the prices for everything don’t go ‘up & up’ what’s go up never comes down,what’s the point of subsidy, then slowly increase every thing,don’t bluff & bluff, we are not so blur like sotong,and not senile yet.many of us are not happy some suffer from depression, see for yourself why so many suicides, in the papers,call for help,how & what u can help you tell me, talk & talk only,i think the ‘pressure cooker’ also going to burst, come the next general election,good luck to the ‘ lightning’,

  • observer

    My sincerest hope is for an evolution of submission standards on syndicated site such as this. When there’s not enough quality articles, it is better not to post rather than lowering the standards and attracting the lowest political vermin who have no respect of reporting for general enlightenment. The future is not in evolution of public readers, but protecting and upholding the reputation of online media.

  • johnr

    Don’t you think if TRE had an official reason, they would post here at TOC or even SDP’s site?
    Come on people…think! Don’t speculate. Just wait for facts.

  • dodo

    When TRE declared support of specific candidate and promoted it on the front page, any hope of it turning into a trustworthy outlet is completely demolished. If revived, those who have a fetish for demagogy can still have a good time, maybe even better than before, but not those who don’t have the time to browse through a sea of junk for the occasional good article.

  • ricardo

    http://www.todayonline.com/Commentary/EDC110919-0000281/Selling-Singaporeans-on-the-ISA

    Carefully re-reading Prof. Eugene Tan’s article, I see I have wrongly implied he is PAP bootlicker in my 20sep11 comment. I sincerely apologise.

    Tan in fact suggests the present system has inadequate safeguards against abuse of the ISA for political & personal ends. (This is the history of PAP use of ISA. 9/11 was a God send. They can now build a history of use against terrorism. Before, all use was for polical & personal ends. Don’t believe me. Check it out.)

    He wants a return to the previous system where the Supreme Court cannot be overruled if it thinks Detention without Trial was for political & personal ends.

    But it is still sad that he had to hide his point in obfuscating language so the unwashed masses, even a poly-syllabicicist like myself, see it as defense of ISA & PAP.

    Perhaps, his article was subject to the famous Ministry of Truth editing so it presents the complete opposite view of the original. Several recent cases of this in Straits Times & Today. Complaining to the editors that your post or article has been mangled out of all recognition only results in deafening silence.

    Perhaps, Prof. Tan’s teaching specialty at SMU Law Faculty is Sophistry.

    At worse, the cynical can only claim, if Prof. Tan is a PAP bootlicker, he is a reluctant & fearful one. His Dignity, though not multi-million like Lord LKY, HoLee Family, their Ministers & friends, is still beholden to them.

    But Ministry of Truth is fully effective. This is exactly the result they want; especially with editors of ST, Today, MediaCorps etc.

    Little sign that Viswas’ nexus has changed things here.

  • Ovs Singaporean

    I live in a Western developed 1st World country where online media or internet is an extension of print for major newspapers. There has never been any conundrum of traditional vs online with regards to left vs right political views. The simple reason is that traditional media in the West are balanced by both left & right traditionally.

    Sg has this conundrum with the advent of internet, unlike Western countries, is due to the Govt’s own doing by not allowing alternative views traditionally.

    There is nothing complicated about it, the idea of seeing traditional vs online as left vs right only exists in dictatorial countries.

  • Lesson 45 : Two sides of a coin

    dodo 21 September 2011

    If revived, those who have a fetish for demagogy can still have a good time, maybe even better than before, but not those who don’t have the time to browse through a sea of junk for the occasional good article.

    —————————-

    You and those who don’t have the time can still stick to ST, CNA online or MM.

    When it comes to demogogy, you can only be successful if the ingredients are already there. Like they say, there’s no smoke without fire.

    It is good that it being revived just for a chance to get the occasional good article on something very local. Same for the many magazines / newspapers which more and less keep on rehasing the same line of script by different players but occasionally you get to read something totally new that you have never come across.

  • Kampong boy

    If the PAP government has forced the closure of TRE, they should also close SPH and Mediacorp down.

    If you consider TRE trash, the latter two media companies are even more so, for they only present one sided views, ie the views of the ruling party.

  • TR II

    Nevermind what the pap do to TR.
    It is the natural course of things that the more something is curbed,technically, the more people want to seek out, and when they seek out, they will embrace what they read even harder, and when they embrace harder, they accept what is written without any consenses.
    Further more, it will only make the people hate the pap more.It will only affirm the guilt of the pap.
    They seem to miss the psychology of social media.
    Also, they may close one website today, the next day 2 other websites will emerge, and this time, info will travel more vicious than ever. And they find themselves having 2 websites to handle instead of 1.

  • Robert Teh

    @Kampong Boy

    If you consider TRE trash, the latter two media companies are even more so, for they only present one sided views, ie the views of the ruling party.

    ……………..

    Absolutely right. The current mindset about social media is it is full of grouses, rubbish and anti-government utterances.

    SPH and CNA seem to be regarded as the norm.

    I would rather consider that social media is the norm for telling things as they are the hard truths.

    I hope all netizens will not fall prey to any brainwashing by experts’ talking like the social media is full of craps.

    If netizens so much as to believe this is so, we will all retrograde and shoot ourselves on our feet.

    Be united and stay coherive. Ask for change with the intention to vote out all the miscreants and hypocrites from government.

    Otherwise we will only be a heap of fresh.

  • Hypocrites In White

    We remember some pap Nut ever said something like want singapore to be an ‘open’ nation ?

    These Nuts eat their words.some kind of leaders we have.

  • aziz kassim

    To be frank all politicians in singapore are corrupted including the oppositions. The problems is that the pap having these schemes of corrupting the politician of paying them high salaries. Look at mps earning 15k permonths. Are u elected because of the moneteries or the welfare of the people? r there any honest politicians out there? sight!

  • Brendan

    If TRE was really shut down by the PAP, then they wold have come out and issue a statement, unless they are conspirators themselves.

    My guess is they were probably given a too good offer to resist by TH ppl (yes – on taxpayers money, of course) to buy over the domain. So now they dare not face the people. When TR was doing so well, a few readers cautioned them not to be bought in by PAP. Yet, it has come to pass. This is what money can do.

  • Kampong boy

    Please lah PAP has done a lot of things without any parties coming out to issue any statements.

  • popcorn

    Some people sneered that TRE has infringed on the copyright name Temasek Review of Temasek Holdings.
    Well, our budget airline, Tiger Airlines, must have also infringed on the name Tiger of Tiger beer, and the Companies that use Singapore in their Company names, must also infringed on our Sovereign country name too, so sue all of them?
    Thought this website has changed its name to Temasek Review Emeritus, so where is infringement. Cannot use “Emeitus”, only reserve for Goh Chok Tong to use?

  • yeoman

    it is unwise to think that TRE is just the site itself and teh comments and writigns posted on it.

    on the contrary,TRE is ,in truth,the spirit of all good true blue singaporeans who just want to be heard and who just wnat to determine the hard truths.

    this is much the same with TOC,though,both have slightly different approaches but both attempts to seek out the HARD TRUTHS.

    IT IS FOLLY to think that the kindred spirit of TRUE BLUE SINGAPOREANS can be silenced just by the mere disappearance of a site.

    the fact is,the SPIRIT grows stronger than ever!

  • Peter Sellers

    Viswa is hardly a credible or neutral person to comment on this subject. See his client list here and check out how many are government (and PAP) linked:

    http://www.strategicmoves.com.sg/index.php?/info/our-clients.html

  • calibri

    ricardo

    You begin your statement by apologizing for misunderstanding him and calling him a bootlicker.

    you end by calling him a reluctant and fearful bootlicker and a sophist.

    What’s the hell is all this ringmarole? An apology that was not.

  • it’s all relative

    so they interview the brother-in-law of Yacob Ibrahim to ask what he thinks about information freedom in a state such as Singapore.

    how intelligent can that be???

  • HL

    Peter Sellers – I initially had some apprehensions about interviewing Viswa, chiefly because I have seen him on his job, teaching media engagement to a group of senior public officers. But during the interview, he was quite clear in saying that he is belongs to the “centre right”. I’m going to touch a bit more on the centre positions in my next article. Meanwhile, I have to say speaking to him gave me a wider perspective of our socio-political structure, that we can no longer simply classify ourselves into pro-PAP or pro-opposition, pro-MSM or pro-online, pro-estab or pro-change. Indeed, while the polar opposites are easily seen in traditional media, the online world is a better reflection of the political diversity that is prevalent in Singapore society. More of that later… :)

  • shit

    “Nevermind what the pap do to TR.
    It is the natural course of things that the more something is curbed,technically, the more people want to seek out, and when they seek out, they will embrace what they read even harder, and when they embrace harder, they accept what is written without any consenses.
    Further more, it will only make the people hate the pap more.It will only affirm the guilt of the pap.
    They seem to miss the psychology of social media.
    Also, they may close one website today, the next day 2 other websites will emerge, and this time, info will travel more vicious than ever. And they find themselves having 2 websites to handle instead of 1.”

    i agree totally with TR11. it will back fired and more will wonder hungryly for truth which cannot be sealed totally.

    history had showed how things worked and revealed whatever happened in the past.

  • doppelganger

    @Rama2, in other words, all these think tanks and expert bodies springing up in academia the last two decades under the names of the great men are just spin machines for the PAP. Maybe also an illegitimate use of taxpayers’ money if not fully funded by the benefactors themselves. What a shameful waste of everybody’s time!

  • Unbelievable

    Younger Singaporeans have always been discerning. It’s the older generation who don’t know what is going on and still voting PAP.

    That’s why LKY called them DAFT.

  • TR is a bunch of wacko

    Social media like TR is just crap shit. It attracts people who are already wacko biased in the first place. Birds of a feather flock together. It’s just a few of wackos self-reinforcing each other.

    Who says it has influence over the rest of the soundminded objective people? Those who think so are deluded fools.

  • superman

    popcorn, I agree that “temasek” is not copyrighted and that’s why the issue is not about the word “temasek” itselfbut about the entire name “temasek review”. Do you realise the undeniable fact that “Temasek Review” is irrefutably the name of Temasek Holdings annual report? TRE intentionally copied this entire phrase “Temasek Review” as its name knowingly. TRE refused to rename itself. Appending “Emeritus” at the back is obviously no count because the truth is that “Temasek Review” is still at the front.

    TRE is wrong. You must acknowledge this fact instead of diverting your attention on the single word “Temasek” whioh isn’t the issue at all in the first place. That’s the wrong tree.

  • Not us

    @Unbelievable
    “Younger Singaporeans have always been discerning. It’s the older generation who don’t know what is going on and still voting PAP.

    That’s why LKY called them DAFT.”

    I am not sure how old you are, but I am of the “older” generation. Please refrain from creating another divide by claiming your generation (whichever one you are in) as the smarter generation.

    If your parents are as daft as you have pointed out then perhaps you could assist them in understanding what the true situation is. After all, they gave you an education so that you can claim to be smart.

  • Angelina

    @superman

    Had the TR site been pro-PAP, do you think that it would be shut down because it violates the name of a report? Do you have so much faith in the PAP Govt to be upright & decent enough to say yes?

    Imagine the same TR site sing praises of PAP, promote PAP politicians heavily and slander oppositions. Instead of shutting it down due to violation of a name, the Govt would probably find excuses to keep it alive. This is my take on this matter. Enough said!

  • Kampong Boy

    What is the difference between TRE and the pap controlled media?

    With TRE, you know what you will get from the beginning.

    With the pap controlled media, it will take you years, if not decades, before realizing that you have been brainwashed to believe in only one view, ie the view of the pap, on political issues.

    And without the emergence of new media, many of us will never come to this realization.

    Which is more dangerous?

  • kassim

    Whether his client base is more pro govt and party linked is irrelevant as his views counts and make sense giving us a different perspective on the various positions which no one from MSM or government ever talked about.
    This is not rocket science nor simple statement. But putting the views in perspective in the right presentation enables us to think and question.

  • andrew leung

    PAP must let go of the strict controls over the media and allow people to develop the discourse and intelligentsia. They are dumbing down the people, with the smart ones leaving and importing dumb and dumber people. They will reap stupidity if they sow stupidity.

  • superman

    Angelina, do you realise your highly illogical argument is not making sense? The issue of copyright is by itself. The issue of anti-establishment is by itself.

    TRE can settle the copyright issue very easily by changing name totally.

    The anti-establishment slanders of TRE can be resolved very easily by debunking all the biased lies.

    Both the issues are very easy to settle. So, why go by a roundabout route chasing in circles?

    TRE is obviously out for a quick buck by demanding ransom from TH in misusing its report name negatively.

    TRE is also looking for easy money by cheating donations from gullible victims blinded by their propaganda.

    Don’t know which candidate and which party the money has gone to.

  • Angelina

    @superman

    Since you are so expert in intellectual property, tell me can I book SingaporeReview.com? The domain is not taken yet. Am I violating any copyrights if the name Singapore Review has not been registered by anyone for copyrights?

    For your info, Temasek Review was not registered until long after the success of TR website. So now, who is out for a quick buck?

    Am not surprise that my post does not make sense to you. I don’t think you are simple but you have evil intention to smear & demolish TRE like it has already been done.

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  • Fact

    The fact is that TRE is a poorly designed website that exceeded bandwidth and server performance capacity under a combination of heavy load and DoS attacks. The ISP shut it down, demanded more money and a better designed site. While coming up with funding and a new site, being TRE, the downtime is used as a tool to further TRE mission to undermine the PAP by any means, including festering propagandas.

  • superman

    Angelina, the issue is clearly not whether the domain is taken or not or whether the name’s registered, but that it’s exactly identical to one already in use. A little integrity inside will point clearly at the real issue. Of course, people will want to play dumb for various reasons, for example commercial as I stated.

    My intended message above is as clear as integrity can be. Fact makes a point too. TRE is anonymous and mysterious. Nobody knows what’s it up to.

    What’s more, TRE clearly deviates from its stated mission. Unless you know so much about TRE to comment, it takes a great leap of faith to bend your integrity for TRE. What does your integrity really tell you after so much questionable past experience with the mysterious TRE?

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  • Angelina

    @ superman

    I am not trying to go against what you said for the sake of it. I am just not convinced by your train of thought. You said, “A little integrity inside will point clearly at the real issue.” I take you mean people should know that the name Temasek Review is the name of a report. I am honestly telling you I myself did not know of it before the website came about. I know Temasek is name of one of the most famous corp organisation but not name of its report. Similarly like Singapore Review or Singapore Times, it is normal for people to use Temasek xxxxxx for a website or papers.

    The fact that TRE is anonymous & mysterious does not make it reasonable for anyone to shut it down. Are you now saying that it is being shut down because it “deviates from from its stated mission”. It is up to people to boycott it if that is the case but it does not give the Govt or anyone any right to shut it down for this reason. There is not any advertising standard in this country and you are now saying there is a standard for website articles?

  • Singaporeans Deserve Better!

    The new media has shown us how the government has been deceiving us for so long. It has led to the unthinkable – an apology from the government and numerous about-turns like DBSS and HDB. It is time they realised that their old tricks no longer work and that we are a more knowledgeable, discerning and probing electorate!

    We, the people of Singapore, need to demand more transparency and accountability from the government – didn’t they admit to being our servants? More transparency after some disturbing revelations like some of them receiving their pensions even while receiving their out-of-this-world salaries! They took our pensions away from us and gave it exclusively to themselves. Many other disturbing news still float around like TT’s son’s favourable NS treatment – something that has been vehemently denied but never fuuly explored and investigated or even explained.

    We need more accountability after seeing how Ministers just shrug their shoulders and carry on without a care like the YOG budget, DBSS and more importantly the escape of Mas Selamat which could have had far-reaching repercussions for Singapore! And what does WKS do after his major boo-boo? He sacks those lower down the line but leaves himself untouched! And how does he get “punished” for such a major mistake? He gets appointed Special Advosor for Economic Cooperation for PM!!!! If this is not blatant nepotism, I don’t know what is!

    They justify their mega-salaries by telling us that to get quality, you must pay for quality. Well, we have been paying for quality all this time but looking at the many boo-boos, we are definitely not getting what we paid for!!! We, the people of Singapore, have made Singapore the miracle it is today by making sacrifices when asked to by the government – tightening our belts during the hard times, taking no bonuses and even going along with the many unjustified increases over the years (HDB, public transportation etc.)

    And what do they do while we make sacrifices? They increase their salaries, give themselves pensions, bring in FTs to replace us in the job market (mainly to increase their decreasing votes), give full-paid scholarships to foreign students while most Singaporeans struggle with their children’s education expenses. And to make matters worse, after bringing in FTs to replace us, they say that if we Singaporeans cannot compete with the hungrier FTs, that’s just too bad!!!

    I think more Singaporeans (especially those who voted for TT) should read George Orwell’s Animal Farm (or just read its analysis and underlying message) to “have their eyes opened” and see clearly what has been going on in Singapore for so long. Let’s keep our foot on the pedal and maintain the momentum of getting the government to listen more to us and to be more transparent and accountable!

  • True Singaporean

    Unless there is a significant paradigm shift by the incumbent, or a change of government, little will change. A liberal media is impossible, as this is perhaps the ONLY thing the incumbent is doing absolutely right.

    Most Singaporeans are hardly apathetic, but are limited in their news sources, and are unaware of the effects of advertising. There are many others too, who have a justified resentment, but are aware that the media will not give them a voice. Above all, we are a pragmatic lot. So they will continue to show their displeasure at the polls silently. It will reach a tipping point, which is why next GE is going to be interesting.

    It’s interesting you should mention Tony Tan. Our current president used to be Chairman of SPH, and coincidentally receive the MOST (by far) coverage I’ve ever seen any media give any one man for such a long time. Conflict of interest much?

  • Ah Cow

    di 23 September 2011

    Sick? See doc.
    Bugging toothache? See dentist.
    Psycho ala Oh Thumb Eng? See shrink, yes definitely absolutely shrink. ASAP!!!

    ===============
    V. MARK II
    I say Oh Tham Eng, why aren’t you here posting all your usual convoluted, perverse, upside-down, demented religious shits?

    Methinks you are in IMH having your brain fried. Perhaps the hangman has already gotten to you? Culling is what a mad dog like you deserves. RIP!

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