[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

Sunday, May 25, 2008

[When the PAP is the opposition]
Come next General Elections, the PAP will be the opposition. That is if they do not start to react now.

If you have not guessed, I am talking about the interaction online.

In the online arena, the PAP could jolly well face this challenge during the next elections. Critical and credible bloggers have been establishing their presence for many years now. This allows them to have a consistent following and to develop credibility over time. And one has to look at the number of comments and hit rate of blogs that have developed this sort of critical thinking compared to blogs linked to the ruling party.

The P65 blog is dwindling and has been criticised by mainstream media. I went to browse the Young PAP blog last week and indeed, efforts taken to challenge and debate on issues that matter are close to naught. Some posts are there for the sake of being there.

If that is the kind of effort that is put in, then I worry for the party in the next elections.

Case in point: If the ruling party wants to win the online war they have to act fast. If not, the PAP will be seen as the party that just appears before the elections online just like how they attacked the opposition in real life.

Then again, it may not backfire since opposition views during the elections tend to attract the highest number of people. That may well happen for the PAP's online efforts.

If you ask me how I envision it to be when the time comes my answer will be a straightforward one. The PAP knows of the potential repercussions after the case in Malaysia. How they choose to react would largely reflect how powerful they think online interaction is. I hope they do not underestimate the power of the online media.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Bernard said...

Yes, I share the same sentiments like you about the party. In fact, I am quite alarmed to see an increasing number of young Singaporeans becoming cynical about things or even worse apathetic. I gather from these people's sentiments that PAP kinda projects a impression of being elitist and thus indirectly implies that the govt knows better. If you say anything else that run out of line, PAP will find some way to punish you. Therefore, some people think that there is no point at all - hence apathetic. Some people start to get cynical. This is gradually poisoning the future of Singapore, in my opinion.
In America, some young Americans might be critical of the govt and some might be pro-bush. At least most people are aware of the issues and its implications. They dare to take up their stand. I witnessed this quite a few times - anti- Iraq war demonstration, criticism of the Bush administration.
By the way, I have officially graduated and now touring around on a graduation trip around America. I will be coming back in Mid July. During my tour of Washington DC, many Americans were paying homage to their founding fathers. The war veterans of WW2, Korean war and Vietnam war were paying their respects to their fallen brothers. It was a sight to see about American patriotism for this memorial day weekend. Personally, I am a military history buff. "Freedom is not free - korean War memorial" For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know - Vietnam War veteran" WW2 - the arsenal of democracy. Lincoln Memorial - Civil war to Civil Rights. It took a long long time before the African Americans were fully recognized. From this and other cases such the women's suffrage, I know that in America's democracy, people must and will fight for their rights. And they do it. Some are even willing to lay down their lives for it. Now the latest case is equal rights for Gays. Only 2 states - Oregon and recently California has approved of same-gender marriage.
This goes to show that even in America, people still got to fight for it. Only then will people treaure it and even cherish those tougt h times that they had to undergo.
Now for PAP, I think that PAP have to learn to let go. PAP cannot continue to keep Singaporeans like robots and continue to act like a nanny. It is about time we take the next stage to grow further as a nation. At the same time, Singaporeans must be prepared to take on more individual responsibility . Do not expect the govt to do everything for you. It takes 2 hands to clap. In America, people want less govt control and regulations. So they form mutual self help groups. Of course, some of these groups may falter like United Way charities's Mr Bill Aramony like NKF's Mr Durai. There is no Commissioner for Charities regulation. Take the recent financial sub-prime crises, US banks are less tightly regulated in accordance to the basel accord. Whereas Singapore banks are more tightly regulated by MAS , well above the criteria set by the international basel accord. In layman's terms, this is one reason why the America banking is reeling from the sub prime crisis.
If Singaporeans really want less govt involvement, Singaporeans must be prepared to work with self-regulation. Accept any possible bad consequences that may happen along the way. have the guts and prepared to take the risk of failing. I disagree with MM Mr Lee's saying that if Singapore fails, that's it. Singapore can never get up again. I sense that you are trying to preserve your legacy and your place in the history for posterity.
I say this, "What is life w/o failure ? " It is through failure that we learn how to be successful.
If Singapore fails, life goes on. after all, we have done what we can to the max. So be it. At most, start all over as a fishing village.
And to MM Mr Lee's comments @ April 2007 Young PAP gathering at St James power station about Young Singaporeans wanting to leave for greener pastures. I also say this, " Aren't we all sons and daughters of immigrants who left China and India to seek a better life ?" Well, I might well go back to China now that China is rising. All Singaporeans can vote with their feet if they want, just the rich or the top 33%.
Another thing is I have nothing against foreign people coming to Singapore for work. Here in America, I see many immigrants from the low-end jobs as cab driver to the high end jobs of scientist. You are right in saying that we should welcome foreigners and reach out to them. So they feel welcome and willing to integrate into Singapore society. This is cross-cultural migration exchange.
Now for us - the overseas-based Singaporeans from what I gathered from my fellow overseas-based Singaporeans, We would feel more greatly encouraged to come back if the govt recognize that we naturally want to bring pieces of our overseas experiences and foreign culture and customs back home to Singapore. Personally, I must admit that I am a little bit Americanized. Well, I feel fascinated by the interesting diversity I witnessed that I almost did not feel like coming back sometimes. At the same time, I do also feel homesick. Hmm Maybe one day the world unite together and formed one country. Perhaps 200 years later at least.
I hope that I won't feel alienated in my own homeland. And my fellow friends from various social circles would still recognize me. Hope my fellow PAP friends will still take me back into the fold. I shall see

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:55:00 pm

 
Blogger Ephraim Loy said...

Thank you for your comments Bernard. Pretty insightful stuff about American politics there. I must admit that I do not know much about Government rules and regulations there, but what you have explained shows a more individualist perspective that the Americans adopt - it's all about the individuals choosing what they want and not what is prescribed to them. In mature states that should be the case. Let the people choose what they want, let them fight for their cause.

This week, the Straits Times YouthINK group debated about voting at 18 instead of 21. One writer argued for an opt-in scheme - so youths can choose if they wish to vote or not - which I think is reasonable and something that I support. I felt that youths could be engaged through the voting process because voting at 18 will encourage apathetic youths to be interested in politics. Youths would then feel they are part of the process of choosing their leaders and value the responsibility that comes with voting. Further, most countries in the world have their voting age set at 18.

The downside is that some may be rebellious and use their votes to make a political statement.

In Singapore, where people feel a lack of freedom of speech, their voices can only translate into votes. These votes are the voice of citizens. If we do not want an apathetic streak in Singaporeans, perhaps we should start letting their voices be heard. Then again one might not even get to vote at all due to the huge number of walkovers. And that is the result of a weak opposition (or perhaps you can say a fragmented opposition).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 10:48:00 pm

 
Anonymous bernard said...

To start with the American Revolution, the founding Americans never considered themselves as politically mature enough. After all, they were attempting to create a new form of government never seen or heard before. Yet they dared to do it. The British viewed them as a just a motley crew of upstarts.
American democracy is constantly evolving. In the beginning, only white male landlords were allowed to participate. The rest of the lot i.e. females and blacks were excluded. As time went by over the years - decades, white females lobbied hard to be included. Then the blacks, Asians and so on etc.
The US declaration of independence said that all men are created equal. That is the basis foundation. Of course, it is not so in real life practice. The Native indians were the last major group to be granted US citizenship somewhere in 1930s. Before, they were being forcibly assimilated - " civilised" by the white man's "superior" culture. Many resisted of course.
From all this in American history, I can see that American democracy is not exactly perfect. It takes time to change. The people know that they must take serious action to exact change for their benefit such as Martin Luther King's million strong rallies and many other cases.
In Singapore, Are the people 'politically mature enough' ?? Are we still like babies who need the care of a nanny to take care of us ? Hey is there a 42 year old kid around in the world ? If we never get up on our own, we never learn.
The Americans forced themselves to rise up, then they learned to be independent. They did not learn overnight. The females andBlacks forced themselves to stand up for their rights, then they got it.
Is Singapore ready and prepared to go the next step and mature from a 42 year old kid to a adult ? I am asking this question to my fellow young Singaporeans. Ephraim, what do you say ? How about anyone else out there ? Anonymous, come and have the guts to reply !

Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:05:00 am

 

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