"The Thai Journalists Association said in its annual report that the (Thai) government used sophisticated and subtle means to co-opt the media in 2002," The Nation in Bangkok reported on Jan 3, 2003. Familiar?
not! If Thailand is emulating our system, it has (like Malaysia) much-much
more to learn. Firstly, OUR journalist-association (if we have one) would
never say such a thing about our Government. Besides, our Government resorts
to "sophisticated and subtle means to co-opt the media"? NEVER!
We dont ever need to resort to such asinine tactics. Ours is a system
born solely of love as in, paternalism, honey, and with enough
of it to make the media WANT to uphold the pillars of society on its own
a little disturbing to note that the Thais have forgotten something so
fundamental to their nature as "free-will" and "own accord." But then,
even concerned members of OUR public can sometimes forget the obvious
transport is a basic necessity of the masses, the lifeblood that moves
resources. It should not come with the added cost of unnecessary technology
and automation (like having a driver-less system on the North-East MRT
line)," a reader wrote in to The Straits Times Forum on Jan
assumption there, luv. "The lifeblood that moves resources"
on these shores is not the masses but, of course, the Govt. So consider
it not unreasonable that more money has to be
well, tapped for running
the new MRT line. Ungracious? Of course, not. How dare anyone even think
maybe theres no need for me
for us to get all defensive now.
The word is finally out. "Come on, Govt., dont be stingy with
praises" Mrs Tisa Ng, present president of the Association
of Women for Action & Research, bemoaned in The Straits Times (Jan
24, 2003). Professor Tommy Koh, our Ambassador-At-Large, responded to
Ngs plea with this very daring statement: "The Singapore Govt.
is very ungracious."
I do hope my citing this will not cause the sweet professor to be sidelined.
I mean, my diehard-readers will surely remember the fate of Koh Buck Song,
Tan Sai Siong and even the minister who said that OB-markers cannot be
defined, after they were quoted in The XHo-Files. I mean, whats
happened to those public figures high profile now?
of mine says theres no need to fear for the sweet professor in todays
more-than-funky climate. Its a little tactic to let Singaporeans
know that our Govt. is graciously owning up to whatever needs owning
up to, even ungraciousness itself. But then, she could be wrong, thats
why I fear. After all, its not funny being marginalised on these
ardent-for-praise-singing shores. Me, Im so taken in by what the
papers say, my mind is working in even stranger "praise-singing" ways.
nabbed for selling porn videos a Chinese national tried to bribe
an off-duty police with $300, when she was caught with pornographic VCDs.
She was unable to produce valid travel documents to substantiate her entry
status. She was charged with illegally entering Singapore and peddling
pornographic VCDs." (ST, Jan 26, 2003).
to that is I sure hope those poor starving folks in China, when
they read the report, will nonetheless still wanna come to Singapore for
a means of living. I hope they dont think that our system wants
to keep out Chinese nationals. We already have an alarming number of immigrant-Chinese
in our midst
So yeah, from that, what I deduce is we want
YOU, China-Chinese, Hong Kong-Chinese
dont think that a little petty crime you commit will repel us so.
On the contrary, who else can we count on to create that exquisite little
chaos in our kiasu-midst? Its nice to have obedient citizens on
the one hand, but what can we show for a little World Class Chaos to achieve
that funky dynamism of a swinging new gracious Singapore? (Click
here for Januarys XHo-Files on World Class Chaos.)
no to agreement (on selling water). Later no to
independence?" went the headline for Chua Lee Hoongs
essay on how water-talks has soured in the issue of Malaysia selling water
to Singapore (ST, Jan 26, 2003). "(We) ask the Malaysians to name
a price a reasonable price. They wont. They name one price
today, ratchet it up 10 times a few months later. Sixty sen becomes RM
6.25. They dont really want to resolve this issue," explained
So, the fluctuating
price from Malaysia is, I take it, a little like the state of our ERP
pricing? As in 7.30 am 50 cents, 8 am $1.50, and 8.05 am
(!) $2.50! I thought the whole rationale is you want to
use, you pay, lor! Maybe weve forgotten that the Malaysians
dont have to concede to OUR well-regulated system. Besides, we shouldnt
stretch the argument to Changi Airport to ask what if no
to independence? The Malaysians, we must remember, are not obedient Singapore
Oh, one more
thing. Ong Sor Fern wrote in her essay on censorship: "More than
just relying on the State to decide what to ban or not to ban, the populace
need to acknowledge their own individual responsibilities in terms
of exercising judgement, and striking a balance between tolerance and
respect for others when it comes to censorship." (ST, Jan
I know some
of you may be tempted to say in response Oh purlese, who is she
really addressing? Indeed, Ongs call for Singaporeans to (re)claim
some self-empowerment is way too subtle for the kiasu-populace to grasp.
Consider me old-fashion, but what happened to the good old father of all
rationale paternalism? If its history, let it be bluntly
declared so (as in "the Govt. is ungracious," that sort of directness.
Thats how mindsets can only be changed. Just ask the professor).
Lets face it, we do need to be told on every, and I mean every, which way to think with little beating round the bush for the desired effect, thank you. X'Ho
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