Archive for the 'media' Category

Re-introducing the climate of fear


The People’s Action Party government has essentially given up on engagement. This change of tack is becoming clearer by the week as more and more instances arise where ministers and members of parliament go out to bash citizens trying to raise issues or comment on current affairs. Staircase railings, face masks and who-knows-what small thing emerging tomorrow are considered serious enough issues to roll out the government’s big guns.

The impression one gets from recent events is that they have concluded that engagement is a “been there, done that and it’s brought us nothing but grief”. Continue reading ‘Re-introducing the climate of fear’

Home Affairs hits out at filmmaker for ‘contempt of court’

He Junling

He Junling

A few days ago, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a letter of warning to filmmaker Lynn Lee  for “having committed contempt of court”. It asserted that two video clips released by her, featuring interviews with former bus drivers He Junling and Liu Xiangying, “amounted to contempt of court by creating a real risk of prejudice to criminal proceedings which were pending then”. Choo Zheng Xi and Andrew Loh, writing respectively at The Online Citizen and, have criticised this move by the AGC, albeit from slightly different angles. Both however are concerned that this represents a usurpation of judicial power by an executive branch.

I can imagine a retort that the AGC’s warning is just that:  “rather than proceedings in Court to commit Ms Lee for contempt of court” (words from the AGC’s statement), it is a warning that prosecution will occur if she repeated her act. That said, the opening sentence in the statement itself — “for having committed” — would undermine such a rebuttal; it sounds like passing judgement. Amazing how AGC lawyers can’t even write clearly! Continue reading ‘Home Affairs hits out at filmmaker for ‘contempt of court’’

Parity’s a good idea


Channel NewsAsia quoted Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim saying:  “It’s about making sure that our regulatory framework is consistent — that’s the most important thing. At the moment, whether we like it or not, Singaporeans are receiving news both from mainstream media and online sites.

“Our mainstream media are subjected to rules, you know… Why shouldn’t the online media be part of that regulatory framework? Continue reading ‘Parity’s a good idea’

Singapore creeps towards more acceptance of gay people


In the bad old days, whenever a mainstream newspaper had any report about homosexuality in Singapore, reporters would be obliged by their editors to run to the nearest self-appointed guardians of ‘morality’ for some choice quotes about how terrible the ‘affliction’ was. Some such guardians could be relied on to say that all these ‘perverts’ should go for counselling and be cured. Those bad old days weren’t so long ago. I remember a case from May 2000 and from the ‘gay civil servants’ controversy of 2003. Continue reading ‘Singapore creeps towards more acceptance of gay people’

Vox squawk


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?” Continue reading ‘Vox squawk’

As bus drivers strike, government messaging goes into overdrive.


I have three points to make about the industrial action undertaken by bus drivers of SMRT Corp earlier this week.  171 of them, all recruited from China, failed to show up for work last Monday; 88 were absent the following day (Source: Straits Times, 1 Dec 2012, SMRT has deep-seated issues: CEO).

My 3 points are:

1.  There should be equal pay for equal work;

2. The government is shooting itself in its own foot by abandoning principle #1 above;

3. The government pretends there is a process for labour justice, but there isn’t and its absence sows the seed for future instability. Continue reading ‘As bus drivers strike, government messaging goes into overdrive.’

Neither priest nor philanthropist welcome here

Father James Minchin arrived from Australia around midnight between November 7 and 8 and was told that he has been barred from entering Singapore. Immediately, one associates this turn of events with his appearance on a video talk show produced by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP):

Minchin was held inside a room, his phone taken away, with no access to the internet. Since there were no flights back to Melbourne till around 10pm the following day, he was thus confined for nearly 24 hours.

Continue reading ‘Neither priest nor philanthropist welcome here’

Alvin and his university, Jovan and his school

If there was any breath of fresh air in the news last week, it was the attitude of Alvin Tan Jye Yee. In a week dominated by Deputy Prime Minister Yeo Chee Hean trying drearily to spin his arm-twisting of the Catholic archbishop into a friendly chat, and the tabling of a data privacy bill before parliament that completely exempted government agencies from its scope, it was wonderful to see a young man stand up against convention.

As most readers will know by now, the law student at the National University of Singapore (NUS) had uploaded onto his blog sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and his girlfriend Vivian Lee (some however have said she is not his steady girlfriend, but this is not a material point). When he posted on an online forum a link to his blog, he became the sensation of the week. Continue reading ‘Alvin and his university, Jovan and his school’

Middling going on to transport hell

Our mainstream media has a habit of trumpeting country or city rankings that show Singapore in good light. It’s part of their mission to publicise the supreme achievements of the People’s Action Party government.

This ranking below would not make the cut:

Continue reading ‘Middling going on to transport hell’

Blinkered MDA worried that media consumers may trust the internet

The reporter pointed out to me that the survey found that “35% of respondents believe that all, if not most, of information on the Internet is true,” and asked what I thought of that.

I clicked the hyperlink he had provided to the survey results and was momentarily perplexed. To me, the graph seemed quite normal, with a bunching of answers around the middle. The vast majority thought that information on the internet was partly or mostly true — which, if you’re an internet user, would seem like a very reasonable assessment. So why was the reporter’s question phrased the way it was?

Taking the data from a table in the report and converting them into bar graphs:

Continue reading ‘Blinkered MDA worried that media consumers may trust the internet’


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