The following are letters or emails to The Online Citizen during the course the past month or so.

Sock puppeting

Dear Sir, Madam.

I would like to inquire what’s the stand for TOC with regards to sock puppeting?  I mean I understand the moderation is difficult and time consuming. But it seems clear to me that there’s a very high possibility of sock puppetry among the comments within articles related to the AWARE saga.

I won’t list out who are the suspects, it’s true they share a sentiment different from mine, but from what I can see; it seems clear to me that it’s just one or two person sock puppeting. I mean come on, the language and how the arguments are formed are so similiar. Not to mention the moniker used. xx parent, xx parent, parent xx. The current system seems to be open to abuse and does not provide a proper representation of members of the community.

My suggestion is that you consider adding a report button to make moderation easier and if its not too much trouble for TOC; to require registration of an account for commenting. I believe it would make life a lot easier for your moderation team and clean up the commenting 

I appreciate the platform that your site has provided for discussion, but although current sytem is useful for anyone who wishes to comment but do not want to go thru the hassle of registering. However when a system is abused, one should look to change it. It is interesting to engage discourse with people who have opposing beliefs, however when its clear that its just one or two individuals posing as multiple individuals. I believe it is not conducive for any form of reasonable discussion.

Thank you and Regards



Sad with TOC AWARE coverage

I am disappointed and sad to see how TOC handled the AWAREsaga”. I used to appreciate and admire TOC’s objectivity in reporting (especially issues that are not reported in mainstream press) and the sharpness and depth of analysis and comments. However, in this instance, objective facts were being
manipulated and mingled with subjective views and one-sided comments, in a way which is no different from mainstream press, which frequently try to sway public opinion… greatly disappointing… maybe the only consolation is to see the “true face” of TOC now…



TOC broken new ground

Just a note of thanks and my heartfelt congrats for a wonderful job. I think TOC has broken new ground with your live coverage, and the way the entire saga was reported, and comments moderated. I appreciated your updates – which were much faster that what was coming over the news media (though they have other constrains). Thanks for the effort.



English – old guard or old guards?

TOC, kudos for quality reporting on the AWARE EOGM.

Just a small note on your English.. It should be “old guard” instead of “old guards”. The sense of “guard” you are using is figurative.. The old exco aren’t “guards” in the same sense as the auxillary police.

I don’t really know the exact explanation why “old guard” should be without the “s”, but I’m pretty sure I’m right 🙂

Kevin Seah


Appeal to ministers to “do something to stop… unscrupulous people in TOC”

The following letter was sent to Ministers Vivian Balakrishnan (MCYS) and K Shanmugam (Law) and copied to The Online Citizen.

Dear Ministers

I would like to bring to your attention that TheOnLineCitizen, in its biased objective of supporting the old guards of AWARE, had dangerously thread on using religion to fan opinions of its readers that it was Christianity who was behind the new guards’ actions.

Based on this, it had successfully stirred up some degree of hatred and wrong perceptions towards Christianity, just based on the kind of comments and opinions expressed by the various posters within the

I urged our dear Ministers to do something to stop these unscrupulous people in TOC from conveniently using religion for their own gain in solidifying influence at the expense of our harmonious society.

In the same manner, I would like to also urge you to take actions against Church Of Our Savior, for crossing the line and using their religious influence in supporting the new guards of AWARE.

The settlement between the old and new guards must be done in accordance to the constitutions of AWARE and in full spectrum of Singapore’s law.

Thanks for your kindest attention and actions on TOC and Church Of Our Savior.

A Concerned Citizen


Offer of help to AWARE’s women in need

Dear Sir/Madame,

I work as an ethicist and have become deeply concerned about the recent change of leadership in AWARE and about the ability of AWARE’s counseling arm to continue providing professional help and support for women in need, given the views of the current Exco on homosexuality and also given how they have spoken about the capacities of women for self-determination.

I have written a commentary addressing this issue and also other issues deriving from this which have an impact on their counselling services.

I wonder if you would be willing to provide some space on your website for this letter? You can find it here:

Thank you for taking the time to consider this.

Alexandra Serrenti


Angry that comment was not posted


I had responded to Stephanie’s post in TOC “Care about AWARE: Leaders we respect” (see below), and was surprised that you had chosen to delete the post, which therefore, prompted me to ask TOC’s positioning in this whole saga.

Has TOC moved from being an “A Community of Singaporeans” to now being “A Community of Singaporeans Gays & Lesbians”? If you are not, why did you chose to only feature post that supports Stephanie’s view and delete opposing views.

I hope to get a response soon, otherwise, it only highlights the fact that you had decided to make a stand on this issue and I will have no choice but to start an online communiqué denouncing your hypocrisy and double standards! I am not from a Christian group, but from a grassroots organization (we have members from all religions and nationalities) that believes in the wholesome upbringing of Singapore children, and we will not allow sites like TOC to shamelessly support gays and lesbians at the expense of the majority of Singaporeans who treasured true family values.

I hope to have your response by today before we start our own campaign against TOC and the old guards of AWARE!

Song Heng Khow

The Online Citizen’s reply to Song heng Khow through email:

Relax. Your comment was posted at 2.38am (according to the time stamp on the comment). It is Sunday. We’re not at the computer at all times to release comments caught in the moderation queue. (I think we were all sleeping at 2.38am., literally.)

There was no intention to “delete” your posting.


As for your threat to start a campaign against TOC, I find it unfortunate. A campaign because of one comment posted on TOC caught in the moderation queue? We’ll leave it to you to go ahead with the campaign if you so wish.


Andrew Loh


Dear TOC;

The latest topics in TOC are almost all linked and associated with religions or have connotations of faith.

Me feels that Singaporeans are intimately and negatively affected by the global economic downturn and that our policy makers not only failed to take care and look after the welfares and well-being of the people, they have made living very difficult for Singaporeans. TOC, in my opinion, have been and being
sensitive to the plights of the people and had helped to raise and highlight the sufferings.

However, recent discussions (discourse) have diverted away from the bread and butter issues or it may be argued that issues of social/religious matters are as important and relevant. Me will not dispute this view/claim, however, may i take the Aware Organization itself to tell You my observations.

Awares\’ existence hardly matters to the average citizen, as the record itself shows, it had only a couple of hundred members and though memberships inexplicably rose because of the recent publicities, it has yet to rise beyond thousand. This is self explanatory in terms of its\’ importance in our society. Aware is just a drop in the ocean as far as its\’ influences is concerned with our daily livings(my opinion)

If i may say it this way; had we not have more pressing issues affecting our livings, it would be nice to talk about other issues. To concentrate on the two aforesaid religiously influenced topics at this juncture greatly distract the people (readers). Like to suggest that TOC explore some social developments/phenomenons in people relations such as parents/offsprings, employer/employee, relative/clansmanship, colleague/fellow worker, neighbours and ruler/ruled relationships etc.

The above is forwarded as a personal opinion/suggestion and not intended to be any form of disagreement or criticism. I hope to be constructive and wish that I do.

Yours Truly:



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