Bhavani vs. Brown

July 3, 2006 at 2:38 pm 2 comments

Today in Singapore, the press secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) (or is it Ministry of Propaganda?), a Ms K Bhavani issued a reply on Today to Mr Brown’s column (last Friday) regarding the rising cost of living and the depressing of wages stretch(ing) out (of) incomes in Singapore.

But this is not the ominous part. The implicit threat came in the second half of the letter.

mr brown’s views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.

mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government’s standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.

Much (and better comments) has been said on this issue on other blogs, so I shall not repeat them. If you can’t even voice out what people on the ground feel, then what role is there for the newspapers/mass media to play? Rehashing press releases from the respective Sg govt’s ministries and stat boards?

But one thing’s clear – I shall look to tomorrow with more significance than I do now. If anyone wonders why I have such a low opinion of my own country’s leadership, this letter by Ms Bhavani partially explains it.

Acidflask, Singapore Rebel, and now Mr Brown. Who’s next?

(Edit) PS asked: Is moderation by both sides possible? Can both the Gahmen and bloggers take a step back?

I don’t know, but this reminds me of Newton’s Third Law of Motion. If you hit something hard, be prepared for an equal but opposite reaction force directed back at you.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peishan  |  July 3, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    sometimes, i think, singaporeans whine and bitch too much about their country. it’s sad. is everything honestly as bad as they make it out to be? is there nothing they have to be thankful for? or are we just an ungrateful lot?

    i know, i know, i might not be one to talk, given that im not living in singapore now. but i didn’t escape because the system felt choking, claustrophobic. i left because im young and i want to explore. i want to see the world. i dont intend to settle down in chicago, not if i can help it. so it’s nothing against singapore.

    Reply
  • 2. -ben  |  July 3, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards.

    Oh? You mean like certain journalists on a certain sunny city-island-state engaging in blatant plagiarism? Higher standards my pale yellow ass! I’ve seen better writing scribbled on the walls of gas station restrooms. Though clearly without cause or direction, at least the vandals possess something the sickening sycophants on a certain sunny city-island-state would never grow–a spine.

    It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government’s standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.

    In other words, the role of the mass media on a certain sunny city-island-state is to be shills for the government. If such a system is in place in America, Nixon would never have been brought down. The same goes for Canada’s 21st Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who was brought down (along with his party) by an American blogger, Ed Morrissey.

    Remember the opening battle scene of the fictitious movie, Enemy at the Gate? With the officers shooting the conscripts in the back if they do not fight for their motherland? I think that is the only way the authorities can “motivate” their conscripts to defend their country.

    Reply

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