Vox squawk

pic_201212_13

A funny thing happened on Tuesday 18 December 2012. Three mainstream media reporters called me asking the same thing: Do I know anything about construction workers going on strike in Yishun? They said that Andrew Loh had a story on Yahoo! and Publichouse about such a strike and they needed urgently to confirm the veracity of it.

“Is the story true?  Where is the worksite?”

I rang Andrew to congratulate him on the scoop and to tell him about the calls I received. In return, he told me how he got it.

The workers had been unhappy for some time and had approached both the Ministry of Manpower and a local non-government organisation for help. I’m not sure that the NGO wants to be named, so I won’t. As is so often the case, the ministry officials were seen by the workers as unhelpful, and the workers felt they had to escalate the matter if they’re going to get any solution at all. Someone in the NGO told Andrew, and that’s how the story began.

Many years ago, when people wanted publicity for a cause, they would approach the mainstream media. The custom of sending out press releases originates from there.

But this episode shows how times have changed. The newsmakers went to the alternative media, leaving reporters from the mainstream media in the lurch and scrambling to catch up.

Media analysts, such as Cherian George, had long predicted this day would come. As long as our mainstream media is unable to break out of the government’s grip, it will not gain the public’s trust. Without it, people on the ground won’t feed news to it, and without being offered news leads, our mainstream media will lose its relevance.

* * * * *

Yet, for the People’s Action Party government, mainstream media’s loss of hegemony is a crucial loss for them. They depend on it to get their message out and to shape public opinion. Or, in some instances, to put a lid on unflattering news. That’s why, through the years, ministers have insisted that media should not be “setting the agenda”; it is for the government to set. Press editors and broadcast news producers were kept on a short leash.

The problem now is that while indeed the mainstream editors and producers do not set the agenda, increasingly it is alternative media that does. The story about the Yishun strike is a classic example.

It may not be related, but it’s nonetheless an interesting conjunction of events that the strike story was followed by not one, but two, op-eds in the Straits Times casting aspersions on the political value of opinions expressed in alternative and social media.

On 22 December 2012, Leslie Koh, Assistant Political Editor, wrote:

It is time for the silent majority to speak up.

For too long, a small but vocal group has appeared to dominate public debate in Singapore, making its judgments so strongly that it often shapes public opinion as fast as the public can form one.

– Straits Times, 22 Dec 2012, Online voices = Vox populi?

pic_201212_12The next day, Warren Fernandez, the Editor no less, invokes the ‘silent majority’ again:

But there are troubling signs of some pressure groups emerging, putting on war paint and pushing their agendas vociferously, especially in cyberspace. They seek to influence — and even intimidate — others to their point of view, foisting a form of political correctness on the silent majority which is too disparate, or just plain disinterested, to fight back.

– Straits Times, 23 Dec 2012, When politics springs a surprise

This is getting tiresome.

The Straits Times may deny it, but it is evident from the very loaded way they use the term ‘silent majority’ that they have injected into it a constructed meaning that goes much further than the two words alone. They use it to signify a block of citizens whose socio-political views would differ from those active on social and alternative media. Not only that, they would differ in a direction that is more conservative and more PAP-government-friendly.

They are both right and tragi-comically wrong.

Of course there is a majority of people who do not express political views very much. This is not just true of Singapore, but of all other countries. In that sense, there is a majority who is, in ordinary times, silent. But to impute to them a certain homogeneity of views, or any views at all, is completely unfounded. They tend to be silent for a reason: they don’t have views, or they don’t have strong views, or they are just not politically engaged. At least in ordinary times.

But when they are called to give their views, the evidence shows that they’re not very conservative or government-friendly at all. In the general election of May 2011, two out of very five voters voted against the PAP. In the presidential election of August 2011, two out of three voters voted against the PAP’s preferred candidate. It takes considerable self-deception to see any homogeneity in the great middle block which the term ‘silent majority’ conjures.

Speak to any number of people on the streets on a typical day about housing prices, job security, the income gap and the cost of living and you will probably get a variety of views with many — almost certainly a plurality, perhaps a majority — critical of present policies. They may not have the confidence to articulate them well, which may explain why on social media they leave it to others to speak up.

Even Leslie Koh, in the cited passage above, chips in with some evidence. What he calls the ability of the “small but vocal group” to “shape[s] public opinion” is really the ability of this group to speak in such a way that resonates with many more people. Relatively non-vocal readers may not have well-formed views prior to seeing what they see on social media, but they are not going to form views diametrically opposed to their pre-existing values and experiences just because they see someone say something. That’s not how humans form opinions. So, the very fact that public opinion takes greater shape after the vocal ones have spoken out suggests that there is a certain coherence already between the speakers and the listeners.

It must be very frustrating for the Straits Times not to enjoy such resonance.

Yet, there isn’t any homogeneity about the voices that do appear. Leslie Koh himself provided the examples:

When NTUC employee Amy Cheong spouted racist remarks on a posting, for example, the online furore that ensued was seen as a factor for her sacking. But the same netizens who demanded it later came under fire for overreacting and acting like a lynch mob.

[snip]

In the wake of last month’s strike by SMRT bus drivers, opinions on social media were decidedly mercurial – first an outpouring of anger against mainland Chinese, which quickly turned to sympathy.

– Straits Times, 22 Dec 2012, Online voices = Vox populi?

No they were not “decidedly mercurial”. They were different voices speaking up to criticise the stands taken by other social media participants or to offer a different point of view. It can only be described as ‘mercurial’ when one insists on seeing the many individuals as being of one mind, a mind that is quickly changed. Here again, it indicates how the Straits Times’ characterisation of new media participants borders on fiction, just as their idea of ‘silent majority’ is borne out of wishful thinking.

And because it is wishful thinking, it is tragi-comic, for even if many more people — the majority — speak up on the internet, the editors of the mainstream media will still not be hearing the ‘silent majority’. Simply because they will not be hearing what they want to hear. Consequently, they will continue to castigate such voices as are heard as yet more ‘vocal minorities’, accusing them of shrillness and putting on war paint.

But at some point, people will see that the tables have been turned and that it is the Straits Times, desperately trying to present itself as the only remaining voice of sanity, desperately demanding relevance when others ignore it, that is the shrill one. The chicken will squawk louder yet.

43 Responses to “Vox squawk”


  1. 1 Rin 25 December 2012 at 21:18

    Love the last sentence. ST failed and still tries to sound like it’s THE “neutral” and “sane” voice representing the “silent majority”. oh please.

  2. 2 the shit times 25 December 2012 at 21:58

    Who read shit times?? I only use them to pick up my dog’s poo…

    • 3 Duh 26 December 2012 at 01:17

      Rightly so, I also stopped reading that trash years ago – I mean, Bad English and Bad News confer no saving grace to the ‘Shitty Times’ (so aptly named).

      When I read some of the articles printed in that newspaper I often cringe at the grammar and content.

  3. 4 Kelvin Tan Tuan Wei 25 December 2012 at 22:38

    The structure of their argument is like this:

    Premise 1: There is a small group of Singaporeans who are the vocal minority

    Premise 2: There is a corresponding large group of Singaporeans who are the silent majority

    Premise 3: ‘Vocal’ is the opposite of ‘silent’

    Premise 4: ‘Minority’ is the opposite of majority’

    Conclusion: Thus, I conclude that the silent majority’s viewpoint is also opposite to the viewpoint of the vocal majority.

    This is the well known structure of the “argument from analogy” where the structure is

    Object X has characteristics a and b

    Object Y have the characteristics ~a and ~ b(~ means negation, i.e. not a, not b)

    Object X has a particular characteristic c

    Therefore, Object Y also has the characteristic ~c

    This kind of argument is definitely invalid deductively, but as an inductive argument, it depends on many factors.

  4. 5 Perry 25 December 2012 at 22:50

    I now read the ST only to understand the thinking of the powers that be. I wonder how many still read it for the news.

  5. 6 Chow 25 December 2012 at 23:25

    Oh, I know how they came to this conclusion: Through the National Conversation. ESM Goh (what a title!), presumably on the behalf of the PAP, is certain that our youths have similar ideals as the government.

    Wait, that can’t be right. The youths are pretty avid users of social media, so they can’t be the ‘silent majority’… furthermore youths (those less than 24 years of age) form only 30% of the population so they can’t be the majority either… well, whatever. The mainstream media has spoken…

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1242963/1/.html

    • 7 yawningbread 25 December 2012 at 23:53

      Now what I really find funny is how a week after Goh Chok Tong’s assertion, Lawrence Wong encountered the opposite!

      Compare and contrast these two news stories:

      ——————

      http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1242963/1/.html

      Youths have similar ideals to government, says ESM Goh
      By Saifulbahri Ismail | Posted: 15 December 2012 2245 hrs

      SINGAPORE: Singapore youths generally have the same ideals as that of the government, observed Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the end of a national conversation session at the Marine Parade constituency.

      Mr Goh said this will make it easier for the government to work together with the generation of the future.

      “Supposing they come up with very different ideals from what we think should be for the prosperity and stability of Singapore. It’s going to be very troublesome,” he said.

      “Supposing they had all argued about welfare state and so on, then that’s very troublesome for us because we know that without resources, without economic growth and so on, a welfare state will lead us to ruins.”

      —————-

      http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC121221-0000073/Poly-students-want-stress-free-society

      Poly students want ‘stress-free’ society

      Their vision for Singapore in 2030 at odds with increasingly competitive global environment
      by Amir Hussain
      04:46 AM Dec 21, 2012

      SINGAPORE – A more gracious and inclusive society with a slower pace of life, where Singaporeans are happier than they are today and not caught up in the rat race.

      This is the Singapore that 185 students from four polytechnics here hope to see in 2030.

      In particular, the students hoped for a “stress-free” society, less competition at the workplace and a four-day work week – wishes that are at odds with the increasingly competitive global environment that Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong tried to paint to them.

      The youths from Temasek Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) were participating in a two-hour dialogue yesterday with Mr Wong as part of the Our Singapore Conversation project.

      The participants’ views prompted Mr Wong to explain at length the increasingly competitive global environment that Singapore will find itself in.

      • 8 Chow 26 December 2012 at 00:39

        To me, it seems more like the National Conversation really seems more like a PR exercise (in light of the two articles).

        First, ESM Goh says that our (youths) ideals match up with the government and that makes their job easier. Things like work-life balance, a gracious society etc. are things that both us and the government want.

        Next, Lawrence Wong says that we cannot expect a stress-free society because we are in a heavily competitive society. I take this to mean that current methods of social coverage to the vulnerable will only see tweaks.

        I will go out on a limb here and conclude that they will finally come up with a report stating how all of us agree on certain things (so let us all work together!) but because of the global economy, we can’t have all of these things although they (the government) will do all it can to help create a gracious and caring society but the choice of being happy eventually lies with the citizen (a.k.a being satisfied with what you have) while citizens should be caring and extend a helping hand to the less fortunate (nothing wrong with that) because the government is doing enough for them by growing the economy and they don’t want citizens to develop a crutch mentality because who is going to pay for all these?

        There, that’s one long sentence but it was the only way to make sense of what I’ve been reading and hearing.

      • 9 passerby 26 December 2012 at 11:29

        Doesn’t this demonstrate exactly what you’re saying, though? The public isn’t a monolith. (Which Mr Goh may not have realised, but it’s not as if the articles themselves simply state that all Singaporean youths think x.)

  6. 10 ^_^)/ 25 December 2012 at 23:30

    The fact that mainstream media has successfully portrayed alternative media as the “silent majority” in a negative manner to mainstream society proves that it still retains significant, albeit waning, power to influence and mould public discourse.

  7. 11 Jimmy 25 December 2012 at 23:41

    Do those employed in the mainstream media consider themselves as the vocal minority or silent majority ?

    • 12 Saycheese 26 December 2012 at 01:38

      Whatever, but David Marshall’s derisive description of journalists comes to mind.

    • 13 Jayne 26 December 2012 at 03:01

      Neither. I’m an employee of the mainstream media and you’ll be surprised that many of the reporters are educated liberals at heart who have no choice but to hold their tongues and struggle with conservative editors everyday who have no choice but to toe the government line. The worst part is that our bylines reflect our names and when netizens want to bash, it is us they target, not the editors, not the legislation/legislators that makes this skewed reporting possible.

      It gets to the best of us sometimes but I clench fist, grit my teeth and tell myself, “I have a family to feed and a scholarship bond to serve.”

      • 14 Lye Khuen Way 26 December 2012 at 20:25

        Agree that when ones get too high a salary, switching job may not be as easy as one wish.

        Rest assured that most of us will apportion part of that heartless, poor journalistic writing to the editors and their political bosses.

        That is my opinion. All bosses must take responsibility for their lowest subordinates’ mistakes. Except, possibly in Singapore, no?

      • 15 Duh 27 December 2012 at 00:05

        I believe so. But you could leave for an alternative job elsewhere perhaps in another country where divergent views are welcomed. I am sorry but one shouldn’t play the role of the victim and I believe educated Singaporeans are able to find jobs out of this little island. You chose to stay and subject yourself to this abuse so you are partly to blame for the situation as well.

    • 16 Anon H635 26 December 2012 at 10:51

      Good one!

  8. 17 SS 26 December 2012 at 01:04

    The silent majority is no longer silent. It is more like the vocal majority vs the silent minority nowadays. Even retirees are voicing their thoughts on Singapore politics using their iPads and desktops.

    Three or more corner fights is increasingly the only solution for PAP to maintain control on the government.

  9. 18 yuen 26 December 2012 at 03:45

    SPH is more than Straits Times; the Chinese afternoon papers are quite diligent in dirt digging, though with bias for certain kinds of dirt

    ST depends heavily on advertising income, which in turn depends on readers’ consumer behaviour; individual journalists, however, need to show information-gathering capabilities; they ought to have been able to find the source of the strike information by good footwork (but maybe now phoning Alex Au is part of the footwork track already)

  10. 20 ricardo 26 December 2012 at 05:57

    Lets be very clear. Straits Times is the most important weapon .. I mean voice of the Ministry of Truth.

    Many Singaporeans, particularly the elderly and poor do not have access or are intimidated by the internet.

    The Ministry of Truth controls everything they see or hear so there are no problems “correcting” History and Truth to the greater multi-million Dignity of our Lord LKY, the HoLee Family, their Ministers and friends.

    If only the Ministry of Love was as efficient as in da old days at persuading individuals, minorities and majorities to agree to this same HoLee cause.

    Then all views, mainstream or otherwise will be congruent.

  11. 21 YMC 26 December 2012 at 07:41

    Are the editors of the ST eating mushrooms grown from their own poo? I think its very arrogant of them to think that they can sway public opinion. And its extremely ridiculous of them to blame “the alternative media” for the problem

  12. 22 stngiam 26 December 2012 at 07:42

    Yes, this is one of the reasons the govt planted a booby trap for alternative media in the Data Protection Act. The journalistic exemption only applies to “licensed” media organisations. That means that the govt will be able to make use of its proxies to harass alternative media sites for alleged “privacy violations”.

  13. 23 MS 26 December 2012 at 09:07

    By the way, Warren Fernandez’s use of the evocative expression “war paint” came curiously quickly after Obama’s use of the same expression, albeit in a slightly different context, when describing his Republican opponents in Congress.

  14. 24 Chanel 26 December 2012 at 11:14

    The Oracle of Omaha, whose investment holding company owns many newspapers in the US, said that the most important investment assessment of a newspaper is the quality of its news content.

    The Straits Times (and the other SPH newspapers for that matter) certainly doesn’t print unbiased news when it comes to domestic affairs. The newspaper is really just a public relations arm of the PAP. With dwindling readership, it is not surprising that the Straits Times has (several months ago) resorted to giving out gold bars to entice people to subscribe to the newspaper.

    The former editor-in-chief of Straits Times, Cheong Yip Seng, said in his book that Warren Fernandez was almost fielded as a PAP candidate during the 2006 general election. Fernandez’s consistent pro-PAP “news” reporting was a key factor of him being considered a candidate. Now that Fernandez is the editor of Straits Times, the tradition of pro-PAP “news” reporting will continue.

    I always wonder why anyone with even an iota of journalistic integrity would want to join SPH as a reporter.

    • 25 sporescores 26 December 2012 at 13:14

      Some joined SPH when they were wide-eyed teenagers ignorant about the dynamics of Singapore’s journalism landscape, and lured by scholarships offered by SPH.

    • 26 Jayne 26 December 2012 at 14:09

      Some of us need it as a stepping stone to further our journalism career. Who joins a company and stays there forever?

      • 27 Paul 26 December 2012 at 19:33

        …and who would subsequently employ someone with such a cavalier disregard for journalistic integrity? Don’t be disingenuous, Jayne. Any long-time reader of the Straits Times can list a whole bunch of journalists who have been working there for years. I applaud you for giving your perspective on this site. But as an ST subscriber who has read it practically every day for the last 15 years, I’m afraid I find it difficult to summon any sympathy for your situation, or even much understanding. I don’t know whether you yourself are an ST journalist. But for as long as I have been reading it, that newspaper in particular has been a contemptible organ because its journalists are contemptuous of their readership. To suggest that they privately believe otherwise does not, I’m afraid, reflect well on them. Quite the contrary.

      • 28 Jayne 27 December 2012 at 01:07

        I’m sorry Paul, such a view is reductive, bordering on being personal. I don’t fault you for being myopic, for not everyone has insider knowledge on the workings of the newsroom to develop a proper understanding.

        Firstly, you are right that the same journalists who’ve been writing for years for ST specifically toe government line, but that does not mean everyone working at ST is. You are guilty of tarring all of us with the same brush simply because we work in the same publication and I find that argument naive and incomplete. Let me state this clearly: There are journalists who ARE pro-government, and it is them that the editors will pick to write certain stories while the rest of us cover the not-so-political ones. In every workplace, there is a pecking order and it is them that are higher up on the list of preferred reporters for certain stories. These are the journalists who will not argue with editors to have lines or alternative views included but write it in a way that is smoother for the editing process.

        Secondly, simply because an editor has to toe the government line does not mean he is pro-PAP. I know a few who have been working for the title for decades, twice longer than you have been reading for those “15 years” and have voted for the opposition at each election where there are no walkovers. Whether or not you think this reflects well on them sadly, is of no consequence for it’s what they’ve been doing, and it’s what they will keep doing whether you like it or not.

        Now, you might think that SPH is a place where all of us can air our private political views, but be realistic and snap yourself out of your idealistic stupor. This might be a simple ritual you do after brushing your teeth and while having your morning coffee but it’s the source of our income.

        Take a look at the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act, in particular section 10 where they differentiate between Management and Ordinary shares. In short, only people approved by the ministry is allowed to hold management shares which accords the person voting rights in the appointment and dismissal of any member of the staff, including the directors. Anyone is liable to being sacked for being “difficult” as has happened quietly in the past.

        And please, don’t mistake any of this as an appeal for your sympathy. I have no interest nor any use for it.

      • 29 Duh 28 December 2012 at 02:57

        There are some stepping stones that will tarnish your future journalistic career. What’s stopping you from trying for jobs outside of Singapore? Fear of the unknown? Lack of courage? Thousands of Singaporeans do each year, why not you?

  15. 30 Anon L5r9 26 December 2012 at 12:17

    Just look at the number of unsold ST at the newsstands…

  16. 31 Jake 26 December 2012 at 12:22

    The Straits Times is in defensive mode. Like its masters, it does not know how to convince others of its merits other than by attacking the alternatives. Its concerted attacks on the social media actually show its insecurities.

  17. 32 Kuok Minghui 27 December 2012 at 01:05

    I see ST’s answer as nothing more than a facade. There’s nothing much an agenda apart from an intent to maintain their customary stance.

    Case in point: Why did the mainstream journalists come up to Andrew Loh to verify whatever being reported in the so-called alternate media, knowing full well on how the system actually works? If we’re talking about the so-called “your ah-kong’s days”, the Gov would have done something about it and it’s really something happening not so long ago.

    Is it a subtle show that the Gov has admitted defeat so as to speak? I can’t be 100% sure, but I think we should all ask ourselves why Mr Brown and quite a few like-minded bloggers were invited to PM’s residence despite that well-known controversy involving Mr Brown and Today.

    I still remember Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel entitled “Interesting Times”. And there is a curse: May you live in Interesting Times.

  18. 34 SingaporeWTF (@singaporewtf) 27 December 2012 at 12:15

    The Straits Times can write what they want.

    There is 1 big thing against them.

    One: Fewer and Fewer people are reading the crap the spew out. Case in point: The internet, and the blogs.

    So who cares? They are fading into irrelevancy. Let them write what they want lor!

    The best things blogs etc can do, is not to comment about their newspaper articles. Let their dwindling mindshare reduce even further!

    The worst thing they want, is to be ignored!

  19. 35 Dew 27 December 2012 at 13:53

    Very astute observation, Alex. I have noticed the incessant characterization of a certain ‘minority’ and ‘majority’ by the Straits Times for quite some time now. You could say they are fighting a losing battle and are trying to re- impose their hegemony on the discourse in Singapore. Whether they succeed in framing what and how Singaporeans view this whole ‘new vs old’ media issue will depend largely on the strength and influence of alternative voices all over the social media landscape(including yours and many others dedicated and brave enough to speak up).

    One can draw a parallel to the Fox News Vs Mainstream Media dichotomy in the US, which is propagated by Fox News. Fox News, as the unofficial arm of the Republican Party, propagates views that are wholly one-sided, at times bigoted, and downright irrational, but always in line with the Republican Party. They vilify the ‘mainstream media'( by which they mean everybody but themselves) as biased, anti-God and what not to stir up rejection against it. They are doing so possibly to split the masses into an ‘Us(Republicans) Vs Them(everyone else)’ camp and hence create a politically-charged electorate living in a black-or-white bubble.

    You can see attempts by the dominant powers in Singapore trying to shape the conservative and more importantly, centrist voters, into a hard-lined anti-social media, pro-government block. They are certainly taking things into the far end of the spectrum, as evidenced by the rhetoric you have alluded to. It’s ironic though, that despite being dominant, they are taking this route – it’s usually the marginal ( like the Republican and Tea Party) that try to sway opinion in this manner. Hopefully, Singaporeans have more sense than Red State America than to give in to all these nonsense.

  20. 36 Png Kiok Khng 27 December 2012 at 17:39

    Could Straits Times be the vocal minority instead? Just go to any coffeeshop and a lot of the uncles there are expressing unhappiness with the PAP Government even though they are usually the ones voting for PAP because they don’t want to rock the boat.

  21. 37 Chanel 27 December 2012 at 21:44

    Notice how the Straits Times tend to interview the usual “experts” on domestic issues. For example, SMU’s law lecturer Eugene Tan is often quoted by ST on issues that have no relationship whatsoever with points of law. ST must think that S’poreans are such suckers for authority or “pundits” that we would accept whateve thy say

  22. 38 Perry 27 December 2012 at 22:11

    Anyone who wants to start a career in journalism has few choices apart from the ST. Hence I would not tar all their reporters with the same brush. I think even the ST knows having an entire team of syncophantic MIW supporters on their staff will only deepen the cynicism of their audience and hasten their inevitable irrevelance. The MIW are also practical. Keep the crucial few on their side and who cares about the rest. Even if you think the ST is Singapore’s Pravda you still have to skim through it. Most of us look forward to reading Alex’s post, the New York Times, IHT or the Guardian and Economist. We don’t avidly reach for the ST. But It is pretty much a necessity , like toilet paper.

  23. 39 Alan 27 December 2012 at 22:50

    In the first place, whatever the ST editor or reporters write may only represent their own personal opinions or perceptions of certain issues ? How are they, in the first place, be able to convince us that their views are representative of the majority anyway ?

    For all we know, they could be posting the opinions of fake persons, couldn’t they and we are in no position to really tell, isn’t it ?

  24. 40 George 28 December 2012 at 21:02

    I am addressing this to Jayne:

    If you have no choice because of a bond, please continue until such time when you have served out your bond. I hope you would then leave the ST/SPH if you truly believe in journalism as a professional career. I also hope that you are even now looking further afield outside of this country for careers in journalism that befits the reason why you have decided on it as a career.

    Or, there is a choice, you don’t have to leave Singapore after your bond, you can simply drop out of the ST/SPH.

    I hope you would do one of this because if and when you are free to choose but choose to remain then you stand guilty of supporting a system than in every sense of the word is perpetuating the enslavement of your fellow countrymen and countrywomen.

    While you may not or claim not to be immediately or directly supportive of this, you are nevertheless one of the reasons why this enslavement continues to be successful. By acquiescing to be the nuts and bolts that keep the machinery of repression running, you are as guilty as can be for the repression.

    • 41 yawningbread 28 December 2012 at 23:36

      I think we should stop giving Jayne unsolicited advice. All of us consider unsolicited advice intrusive, if not a little condescending. Do not to others what we would not want done to ourselves.

  25. 42 jonno 29 December 2012 at 14:04

    The Macro picture here within this article is that the Singapore Government’s foreign labour dependent policy is fast unravelling.
    The chain of recent events linking the SMRT bus driver strike, crane tower protest & now this Yishun worker’s quarter strike – all points to foreign workers’ exploitation and poor work environment leading to this explosive situation.

    All the so-called propaganda talk about inviting more “Foreign Talent” and implementing a wide open immigration intake policy amounts to just paying low, low wages, exploitation of foreigners’ ignorance and most of all, poor working conditions. The worst of all is the institutional suppression of workers rights and humane treatment. All this leads to an exploding outcome which is happening now.

    The fact that the Mainstream Media cannot even fathom the escalating problems of the above policy is the result of a severely muzzled & pro-govt media. It points to a media channel that is fast increasingly becoming irrelevant & totally reactive to social upheavals. The fact that the MSM have to go to the alternative news sources for news leads shows that “the tail is now wagging the dog.” It simply shows governmental and institutional administration is at a breaking point – it cannot serve societal needs and need structural and fundamental changes. It depends on the electorate’s will for change.

    That’s the way I see the situation. Pity that no one in the forum has picked the major issues & finer points. Methinks that the majority will not do so in the foreseeable future. It’s heartbreaking!

  26. 43 george 29 December 2012 at 23:44

    jonno,

    That may be your opinion, but it cuts no ice with the govt since, at least on the surface, it is business as usual. The media dog is still muzzled, and the PM now has court support if his knees and backbone are too weak to face yet another BE.


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