I mentioned a few times in my blog that I was quite shocked by the lack of sympathy for MP Seng. A number of blogs and sites not only lacked sympathy but said some pretty ugly things about MP Seng. ...the same blogs that wants our govt to show more respect for human rights seem to lack basic human decency when a fellow Singaporean is badly burnt and lying in ICU.
Minister Liu has concluded that the online community is incapabable of self-regulation and that the best way to “serious and meaningful debate” with the authorities to do so on its feedback channel, the Reach portal, and on the online forums of mainstream media — a stance the Government had spelt out in December. Minister Liu is right. You can't engage the govt online because it is practically absent. I don't think anyone starts a blog to have a meaningful debate with the authorities. Most blogs are started to express personal opinions. For example, if you go to the feedback unit to express your view that the HDB flats are too expensive, you think it will get you anywhere - they will just take out their fixed standard answer. You won't get an inch of change for many issues for which the govt is philosphically hardened. Name one major change that have resulted through feedback channels....for that matter any change that has come about as a result of people engaging the govt? Many openly engaged the govt on the casinos, GST hikes, foreign talent policies, human rights issues, death penalty and countless other issues. If Minister Liu's accusation that the online community is incapable of self regulation is true, then the inability of our govt to change through engagement with the people is also true. I've never missed a chance to engage the govt at meet the people sessions. If you ask for a blue dolphin fountain at the nearby garden, you might get it....but if you ask for Town Council accounts to be fully transparent, it will never happen. The lines are all drawn....you can't improve the political and social system they have put in place.
What is left is for you to express your views on the Internet, change a few Singaporean minds and over time more people may see things the same way you see it. If you're wrong and your views inferior, your audience will disappear and you can stop writing. The fact is a large segment of the population does not agree with the PAP on various issues (GST hike, ministers' pay...) and they know they can't stop the PAP from doing what it wants to do and they are so tired of the one sided views on the mainstream media...where else to they have to go except the Internet....that is when the Internet forums activity and blog visits ramp up. Take the Jobs Credit Scheme. It is a critical issue because our reserves are drawn down for this, yet the govt has difficulty explaining its effectiveness, they don't know how many jobs it will save (they don't seem to have done even the1st cut research or modelling on the policy), and many people actually want the money to go to the jobless. The fate of our reserves was put in the hands of a group of 20+, 30+ yr olds who came out with this scheme - it is what businesses want, not what the people want and people will go to the Internet to get a better understanding of the scheme and its effect. The way for the PAP govt to vindicate itself is to show us the same evidence that convinced them the scheme will work. They have not been able to do this - they have trouble with MP Low and the Internet...and it is all their own doing.
Community didn’t do enough to rebut ‘outrageous’ comments on burnt MP, says Lui
Loh Chee Kong firstname.lastname@example.org WHEN news broke of Yio Chu Kang Member of Parliament (MP) Seng Han Thong being set on fire last month, some of the comments posted online about the incident were “unhelpful” and “downright outrageous”. Sadly, the Internet community here “squandered” an opportunity to show that it was capable of a “higher degree of self-regulation”, said Senior Minister of State (Information, Communication and the Arts) Lui Tuck Yew. “There were a small number of comments sympathetic to him, expressing condolences ... praising him for the work that he has done.” But “the vast majority of the comments were unhelpful ... a significant number were unkind ... a small number were downright outrageous. It was disappointing”, he said, without citing examples. Pasir Ris-Punggol MP Penny Low asked for examples where Netizens “have acted relatively irresponsibly”, following online reactions to the attack on Mr Seng. Rear-Admiral Lui’s response: “I do not think the community itself has done enough to rebut some of these unhelpful comments.” “It would have been an example of the genesis of the first steps towards a more responsible, a greater self-regulatory regime. But many of those responses were not rebutted nor answered,” he added. R-Ad Lui noted that while the Government has not done any studies to “assess the level of maturity and consistency of local Netizens” in terms of self-policing, the prevalence of “rumours, lies, flaming and cyberbullying” made it “quite apparent that the Internet is not an effective self-regulating regime as some may have touted it to be”. Relating her own experience of how some “political websites” did not allow “positive” comments about the Government to be posted, Aljunied MP Cynthia Lim asked how the Government ensures such websites were “open to all (views)” . Mr Lui said a regime “where we regulate and direct the proprietors of the sites to take measures where they have to accept all comments” was not the way to go. Instead, he encouraged those who wish to engage in a “serious and meaningful debate” with the authorities to do so on its feedback channel, the Reach portal, and on the online forums of mainstream media — a stance the Government had spelt out in December, when outlining its approach to new media.