About five years ago, in China, prominent online personalities were “invited” to a conference in Beijing. They were each given a notebook with a logo of the powerful intelligence and security agency.
Then they were treated to a presentation about personalities who switched from blogging about politics to blogging about food, fashion and travel. They naturally found it much more fun and lucrative.
The message from Chinese authorities was clear: For your own good, stay out of politics!
We are not aware of any such conference here. But we can see a parallel.
Travel vlogger Nuseir Yassin, creator of the video series Nas Daily, had been effusive in his praise of Singapore. He scored an invitation to tea with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Days later, he was invited for a stroll at Gardens by the Bay with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said in the video: “Hi, I’m the Prime Minister. This is what we have been building in Singapore for 53 years and will be building it for many more years to come.”
The message was clear: It pays to blog on travel, especially if you call Singapore “an almost perfect country.” You become a somebody who can even hobnob with VIPs.
If travel is not your cup of tea, what about food and fashion and the charmed life of a socialite? Anything but politics.
But if you are foolish enough to blog on social and political issues – and you are foolhardy enough to give them the stuff they hate to hear – good luck to you!
Let us console ourselves that the foolish ones among us may not be the outcasts and pariahs. For as Shakespeare wrote in King Lear: “When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.”
Just imagine for a moment: What if no one blogs on politics anymore, and all socio-political websites are extinguished?
What kind of society would we end up with?