Thursday, February 05, 2009

Minister Liu : Community squandered” an opportunity to show a higher degree of self-regulation

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 cheekong@mediacorp.com.sg 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.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't wish it on anybody. MP Seng could well be a saint. But the fact is he got burnt as a direct result of his failure in executing his job properly (not getting proper assistance for the mad fella).

LuckySingaporean said...

Hey the man made a mistake perhaps there is no policy in place to institutionalise mad people. I wrote also in my blog earlier that I'm surprised the MP Seng found this mad person in his constituency but did not have him institutionalised. Now this mad guy is a treated as a criminal and no insanity plea? ...But all that doesn't mean he deserves to be burnt.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the 82 PAP members who burnt Low Thia Kiang and no one came to his rescue.

No, no one deserves to be burnt.

Anonymous said...

Now PAP MP Cynthia Phua even want to charge a karang guni man!

CHRIS HO said...

"change a few Singaporean minds and over time more people may see things the same way you see it"

Thanks to your blog i really can see issues around me with a different perspective and that's something i cherish. I believe there are more frequent readers of your blog as appreciative of your voice in this blog as i do. Good job and Happy Niu Year to you Lucky.

Anonymous said...

In case you are fr the sg gov and reading this message: "We are not trying to communicate with you. Your are thinking too much. If you find yourselves too lonely, go back to your PROPER CHANNEL, such as SAF hotline."

a kind of chicken said...

Think the online community with leaders like lucky have demonstrated more resposibility than the establishment. Despite tha anger, this blog has managed to attempt to take a balanced stance on most issues.

Further, the community as a whole has demonstrated the capacity for self criticism that is woefully lacking in the establishment.

While it is not right to be gleeful over the burning of anybody, the establishment's refusal to question whether the underlying resentments have anything to do with themselves is typical of their "its all the peaseants fault rethoric".

To use the misfortune of their comrade to score political points is bad taste to say the least.

Their general short sightedness, selfishness, lack of responsibility and team spirit, has demonstrated their unfitnees to lead.

Lucky for PM!!! =)

Joking. Why is it only a joke? Because I suspect lucky will lack the experince to do a good job... If only the system allowed such guys like lucky to rise. They will do a much better job than the entitlement mentality blame the ppl fellows we have.

Hopefully one day we can say it in full seriousness.

The Reservist said...

Sighhh.....

I was filled with shame and disgust when reading some internet postings on the burning incident.

I was also filled with shame and disgust when reading the Condolence Letter to the family of JB Jeyaratnam.

Is this what one calls "What goes around, comes around" ?

Anonymous said...

Outrageous or ugly things said make interesting and entertaining reading, especially if it also sound realistic. Just like naked walking news, horror and x-rated movies.

These blog commentators want to seek an audience (although no money made), just like movie makers.

So all this is human nature, much ado over nothing, really. Surprised that a minister saw it fit to attack on this aspect in Parliament. Don't he understand human nature and the problems arising from wide income gap?

Anonymous said...

I was also filled with shame and disgust when they took Low Thia Khiang to task over the jobs credit scheme debate, even though some PAP MPs were doing the same thing. Were they kind and sympathetic? No, they were vindictive.

Anonymous said...

Before you guys start sympathizing with tiu na seng, it is better to find out what is this guy doing in NTUC comfort and which department is he in charge of.
And why 2 taxi drivers went after him?
Is the second taxi driver who went after him really crazy or only made out to be by the MSM?
With the export economy (running by foreigners) 3x the local economy there will be a lot of hurt and the SG govt is only propping them up with the job credit scam (tax payers' hard earned cash).
Cash meant for the Singaporeans instead went to support the foreign owned MNCs hoping against hope that they will retain the few Singaporeans in their employment. Pathetic and sad.

Anonymous said...

lucky, thanks for a very balanced perspective on this matter. minister liu seem to sound like they own the internet, and is about to abolish it altogether. oh, when will we start to realise that the world doesn't revolve around this team of overpaid leaders

Wang said...

Hi Lucky

Would state there have been changes thru feedback whether the participants get credit is another issue

Regards

Taishan said...

As always it seems another leader is unable to appear puerile and detach from hubris.

kwayteowman said...

Lucky,

You and the KTM are both old farts in the blogosphere. The KTM gives you some face because you're a good person. You write because you care.

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.

You comments on the JCS are however completely way off. You don't know enough. You are writing about things you don't understand. In the present instance, even the KTM concedes that these 20+, 30+ yr olds are really quite smart (at least this once).

Unlike you, who seems very free, the KTM has really had little time or energy to blog 'cos his kway teow all chow taring already. However, the KTM will give you face and try to find some to explain the JCS to you at some point. :-P

Please try to learn a bit more and think a bit harder before you talk lah. :-P That said, the KTM also doesn't understand why it's so hard for the Govt to explain good policies when it's so damn obvious. You're not stupid. Quite sure you will get it if it is explained properly. :-)

That's all off topic - back to the topic of your post. The KTM feels a bit sorry for this new MICA minister. He seems very clueless and if he doesn't understand this whole business of the online media in a hurry, we're going to have another Bhavani vs Mr Brown fiasco soon enough.

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

In essence I think the acts to justify the act of violence is to defend the indefensible.

To rejoice or argue that the MP deserved it, is to me an extreme view.

And that's what so many netizens have been saying all along. That the net is self-regulatory, that the wackos will always get shouted down by the majority, that sense and truth will always prevail.

In that sense, I do feel that I have let the ball slip on this one. And perhaps for once, just once, we can admit when we've screwed up.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those who were overjoyed with Seng's great fortune though I did not make my comments public.

The fact that if most of us actually feel a little good that it happened says a lot about what PAP stands for in our minds.

Same goes for the Job Credit Scheme. If most of us think it is a stupid scheme to waste our reserves, the government shud ask those 30 something scholars to eat a few more nights of porridge or cook up something more tasty.

The government serves us ... we no longer are those early goondus who voted for LKY to lord over us.

THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. In the past, straight A scholars are hard to find. Now, most of my neices and nephews graduated from the very same universities they went to.

Don't tell us that only they know what is right. LKY was terribly wrong about the Goldern Period. It was just period, a huge full stop to everything.

If they continue to rule with that almighty attitude, I wish more will be burnt.

I will celebrate with champagne and caviar.

Anonymous said...

Lucky,

Like your post.

But can't help notice why it attracted this kway teow fella who is so rude. He sounded like he worked up the policy himself.

This msut be one of those that Mr LUI is referring to?

Anyway, thanks for a good job of telling us that JCS was a copy cat polcy!

Why should I be surprised!?

Kaffein said...

After reading KTM's blog, I still disagree with the JCS. I am more inclined to believe Lucky is spot on.

Kaffein

Anonymous said...

Aiyah. KTM mostly misses the forest for the trees la. :-)

JCS serves the govt's purpose of forcing eligible foreigners to become PRs where they'd be lumped together with the locals. Is kill many birds with one stone ma.

THAT is the brilliance of JCS. But when KTM can't see the things, he rubbish everyone else ma. Aiyah, KTM is only a good bureaucrat la. Not politician material.

Anonymous said...

This KTM sounds patronising.
Dun like it one bit.

LuckySingaporean said...

KTM,

I've read your blog and I respectfully disagree with what you said.

I believe everything that needs to be said has already been said and Lim Swee Say and all the PAP MPs who support the idea have said.

The govt has explained why they think it will work and MP Low has explained why he thinks it doesn't work. This is not so simple as you pushing your mouse left and it goes left. You add nothing to the argument by saying I don't understand. I understand everything you write in your blog and disagree with it. I disagree but I don't claim that I have sole possession of the truth and wisdom. A large part of it depends on how businesses behave towards the JCS and what they do with it. I've also said there is some onus on the govt to provide more evidence that what they do is effective give the large amount involved.

Now the debate is over, the scheme will be implemented but there is no agreed measure of success or feedback. The govt can just say it is successful whatever the outcome.

Anonymous said...

"You add nothing to the argument by saying I don't understand. I understand everything you write in your blog and disagree with it. I disagree but I don't claim that I have sole possession of the truth and wisdom."

Very well said Lucky. When KTM thinks he's right he thinks everyone else is wrong and dumb. And when he turns out to be wrong, he'll say, Let's move on. LOL

Anonymous said...

Message for KTM / Tharman

Quote of the day from Tharman - do we trust the holders of the second key?

Are you kidding me - They were given less than 2 weeks to consider and ponder on these issues. Sounds like an open and shut case for the cabinet ministers.

Is the Parliament a ‘wayang’? Gee, that is what all bloggers have been saying for ages. Wake up buggers. Start blogging.

Do we trust the president and council to do the right thing? Yes, I trust that somewhere , someone has the spirit of Ong Teng Cheong and see this job credit scheme for what it is, a way to give a cash line to companies out of the backs of millions of taxpayers including the poor and retrenched who pay the 7% GST.

It will not save jobs, but it will make CEOs of MNCs and GLCs smile broader.

After the salary adjustments of cabinet minister, sorry, I do not trust the judgement of the cabinet ministers and if the second key goes thru and NO PRECONDITIONS on JCS is made, I will definitely not trust the holder of the second key.

They are only given 2 weeks to review and approve the budget. Now is the time for parliament to suss out the details and for the PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL TO GET TO WORK AND LAY DOWN KPI FOR COMPANIES WHO REQUEST FOR JCS.

No free lunch from gst payers, come on!

Yes, I support the job credit scheme and the budget fully, but only for those CEOs who receive pay of $500,000. OK?

For those who pays their CEO more than $500,000, they don't need JCS and can continue to pay their CEO megabucks, just don't expect taxpayer to pay one cent to your salary.

I mean $500,000 per annum hor, not per month……muahahaha.

Tan said...

Thanks Lucky for your interesting and enlightening articles. Really appreciate your effort.

What I can observe is that the online and internet community is muturing, with all diversified views and criticality (not necessary balance but that is the nature of it). Many credible and well argued articles are now NOT from the main media, and the worst arguments now come from our government!

kwayteowman said...

Lucky,

I've read your blog and I respectfully disagree with what you said.

You give the KTM too much credit. The KTM hasn't really been writing lah. :-P Earlier just spouted some ramblings. Writing requires TIME, which unfortunately is in short supply these days.

The KTM sat down over the weekend and actually WROTE something: http://kwayteowman.blogspot.com/2009/02/untruths-about-jobs-credit.html. So paiseh for the delay. Been really swamped.

Perhaps come to the KTM's stall to lim some kopi and we can discuss? :-P

The govt has explained why they think it will work and MP Low has explained why he thinks it doesn't work.

Talking about these wayang shows that is the Parliamentary debates, really quite jialat. People can watch, but nobody gets any smarter. :-P

Anonymous 1:58 PM,

This KTM sounds patronising. Dun like it one bit.

The KTM would like to clarify that he was not trying to be patronizing. The KTM is just one kay poh who's not a fan of political correctness and will say exactly what he means.

The KTM and Lucky go back a long way lah. They might not agree with each other almost all the time, but at least there's a healthy dose of mutual respect.

You must be new to the blogosphere. This is how it works. :-) Just take a leaf from Lucky. Does he seem offended? And if Lucky replies to the KTM in the same tone would the KTM feel offended?

Young bloggers, please learn something. The old farts dun survive so long if they haven't already grown some thick skin and learnt some self-restraint. :-P

Lucky, you agree? :-)

Anonymous said...

KTM, fuck off.

Nobody reads your blog, izzit?