Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don't touch that potato

According to an Institute of Policy Studies' (IPS) 'yet-to-be-completed' study, there are not many blogs in Singapore that are 'really politically engaged'. This is in spite the fact that Singapore is probably one of the most wired-up country or metropolis in this world, the study continues. Of those that are, yawningbread and mrbrown were cited as a few of those that are seriously political engaged (what a mouthful!).

Without taking away credit for much of the 'liberalisation' that has taken place at the highest levels in the Singapore government in recent years (e.g. greater tolerance of 'gay' themes), the political environment in Singapore, as far a writing goes, remains dicey. Not too long ago, Mr Brown's Today column was pulled because he wrote a piece that was critical of some government action. Some in Singapore thought that writing that column was his bread and butter and his being 'sacked' from Today would lead to hardship for him. So there are perceived serious consequences when one writes something that the government does not agree with. Well, yes, the government doesn't actually run Today, but the pressure on the paper's editors must have been that the 'sacking' action by the paper was inevitable.

So, really, it is no great mystery why bloggers do not want to be engaged in the political discussion in Singapore 'seriously'. If nothing, they fear for their rice bowls and careers, and consequently their families. This one incident involving mrbrown's Today column set back the budding political discussion on the Singapore blogosphere, which is such as pity.


Desmond Lim said...

i think that people don't blog about politics not because of their 'rice bowls' (though there might be an element of it) but because of our mentality. i mean we believe that the gahmen doesn't listen so why bother, we can rave and rant but nothing will change. so might as well save your energy.

and the gahmen wonders why Singaporeans are apathetic.

Anonymous said...

Our 'mentality' is shaped by the environment. Singapore's political environment is hardly conducive of 'active' political discussion taking place. Dr Catherine Lim got a hard knock on the wrist by then-PM Goh when I thought what she said made sense, and of course Mr Brown. The government insists that if you want to make a serious political statement, you have to join a political party. They don't welcome people who just have a view. That's where this environment induces apathy.