[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Thursday, January 04, 2007

[BlogTV Experience]
1. Last night's recording of BlogTV's 'Big Boys Blogging' was fun. The Flying Dutchman ('call me FD, everyone does') and Xue Ling ('please call me Ling') were great hosts, putting me at ease. Since we were at Brewerkz, I ordered a light beer. Gayle recommended 'golden ale'. She had hardly completed her sentence before someone asked if she was old enough to drink. Gayle and Bernard had appeared on BlogTV before and were very comfortable on the bar stools. I am not used to having my feet hanging in mid-air and took a while getting into a comfy position. But, once the conversation started, time just flew by. Ephraim was supposed to put in a cameo appearance on 3G phone but it became only a voice conversation because the 3G connection did not come through.

2. The entire microbrewery was converted into a studio. I did not expect such a big crew - three camera teams, sound equipment, cables everywhere, individuals looking very serious behind control panels. One helpful lady passed me an oil-absorbing face wipe everytime she noticed a sheen on my balding forehead. From time to time, someone barked out instructions: silence please, please remove your watch, ten-nine-eight-... When I was Minister for Information, I visited Caldecott Hill quite often and got to know some of the TV people. But this is a new generation.

3. FD asked Gayle if she read my blogs. Not after the first one or two, she replied, deadpan. Why? 'Oh, I didn't find them interesting.' Boy, my ego was so bruised I couldn't sleep all night. But I gave what I thought was a clever reply, my teenage kids didn't read my blogs either, except when I asked them to. Ditto my wife. Bernard asked why I did not blog about the GST increase, blog regulations and other things. I protested that I did. It turned out that Bernard only read my postings on BeyondSG, not Ephraim's blogsite. Why? Because the 'serious stuff' is on Harold's blogsite and they also appear on the Intelligent Singaporean aggregator site. That was a compliment to me, Bernard suggested. So, if you think you are clever, better click on the Intelligent Singaporean from time to time. My grassroots leaders don't read my postings on BeyondSG much. Too cheem, they say. They much prefer what I write about on Ephraim's site. I better put this posting on both sites as they seem to attract different readers.

4. I must say that I felt younger after the session, provoking and being provoked. Without that altercation, there is no communication. The new media has its own grammar and vocabulary. I have been criticized for numbering the paragraphs in my postings. It is not supposed to be cool. But, hey, I've been numbering my paragraphs since SAF staff procedures day. I'm not going to change now. But one must learn new tricks. For months, I thought LOL which my kids often included in their emails to me meant 'lots of love'. Parental hopes run eternal. It was only recently that they told me it meant 'laughing out loud'. I better re-read the old emails.

5. After the recording ended, I was relieved that some snacks had been prepared. I can't drink too much beer on an empty stomach. The sandwiches and pizza were above average. We carried on a lively conversation. Gayle promised not to blog about some of the things I said. It was a pleasant evening (and an educational one for me) for which I thank FD, Ling, Gayle, Bernard and the Mediacorp crew.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear George,

I was precocious law student who grilled you on Burma and Iraq at the Ben and Jerry's dialogue at Cathay Cineplex. I was pleasantly surprised at your erudite and historically well informed remarks.

I used to be a history and current affairs buff before I became a student of law. As I'm quickly realising, my discipline requires pretty exclusive reading, to the detriment of my other indulgences. Primarily reading roman classical history of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and comparative mythology.

Hence I was pleasantly surprised that someone whose discipline was engineering was so informed of the history of Burma. From what I've read of you in the press, you seem to have a strong interest in inter-faith dialogue and are genuinely trying to understand Middle-Eastern culture and politics beyond FTAs.

Although I find you slightly too cerebral (I am often accused of the same failing), I genuinely appreciate your attempt to reach out to a new crowd without being artificial. In fact, I LOLed when I read your defence military writing and numbered paragraphes.

I would, however, like to see you discuss more bread and butter issues that are close to my heart. I would like to hear your opinions on extreme poverty in our country (which is comparatively less prevalent than in many countries, but no less real).

I don't want to hear about policies. I want you to tell me how you feel when a deaf mute tries to sell you packet tissues in a kopitiam, what you're thinking when you see an old lady digging in the trash for recyclable cans, or numerous examples of such poverty that you'd encounter in a walk along any neighbourhood.

In the blogosphere you can't afford to be impersonal or personable only to an extent. I, and I'm sure many out there, am waiting to see who you really are. A policy implementer or someone who cares genuinely and intensely about social justice. A proffesorial comparative theologian or someone who feels strongly against discrimination of people of any faith, atheists included. Someone who'd go behind the platitudes about striking the balance between free speech and other liberties, and tell us from first principles what values and freedoms he holds dearest to him. The person behind the office.

You know what'd really mark out a Minister I'd give my loyalty to from one who's just technically competent? Tell me how you feel. I can read in the press how you act. I want to know how you feel.

Choo Zheng Xi

Saturday, January 06, 2007 11:42:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You asking this of a guy who says a IR is not a casino? He'll probably tell you that Amy Yip's prime assets are not boobs but milk dispensers!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 2:28:00 pm


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