Friday, September 30, 2005

Porn? No, blogs bug me more

Porn? No, blogs bug me more
With inaccurate and inflammatory postings on the Internet, how do we keep kids from believing everything they read?
ST Life!, By Carl Skadian

THE past few weeks have thrown up another worry about children and the Internet, as if parents don't have enough on their hands.

I'm talking about blogs.

As a journalist, I'm naturally wary of blogs already, mainly because bloggers are wont to throw accuracy out the window.

That's because checking facts seems to be the last thing on bloggers' minds unlike, say, mainstream publications which, for the most part, do their darnedest to make sure what they publish is accurate.

For bloggers, saying what they feel like saying seems to be de rigueur, consequences be damned.


No, Mr Skadian, bloggers don't say "what they feel like saying" but say what they feel and think. What we say may not be profound but we're speaking for ourselves and not for anyone else. And we value this independence and are proud of it.

If Mr Skadian wants his kids to become one-dimensional beings, go ahead. I don't think any blogger will lose any sleep over it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Arrest of 2 Racist Netizens

The arrest make me rather sad for despite our progress, some of us have yet to evolve from the primitive level of existence. They use the anonymity in cyberspace to turn the cyber world into an anarchical virtual jungle, a free-for-all no-man's-land where ethics and morals are thrown to the wind.

We embrace the internet because it offers freedom of access and expression. But freedom of speech does not mean saying anything we like without any constraint. That would trivialise the noble idea of freedom. Freedom ought to open up channels to enhance understanding, build solidarity, bring truths to the light, expel ignorance, prejudice and hate.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Insight into political orientation of young Singaporeans

Insight into political orientation of young Singaporeans
By Wayne Soon, TODAY
First published : 07 September 2005

SINGAPORE : I recently attended the Singapore International Foundation's International Student Symposium, where I gained some insight into the political orientation of young Singaporeans.

While some were engaged on issues ranging from the role of the arts to the state of the political opposition, the majority of the student audience either chatted among themselves or played with their mobile phones.

When asked if there would be more political pluralism in the next generation, a speaker replied that the next generation simply would not care enough to make a difference. This generated much laughter - probably of affirmation.

To encourage young Singaporeans to take a greater interest in our nation's affairs, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Government have taken steps to engage them since his first National Day Rally speech last year.

There is the National Youth Forum, last August's Youth Consultation Exercise and the yearly Pre-University Seminars. But for these initiatives to have an impact, should they be expanded to embrace a larger, more diverse audience?

Youths today seem to have been depoliticised by the education system - which involves the learning of the official "inspirational form" of Singapore history; the discouragement of political discourse on campus; the absence of opportunities to study social science subjects such as sociology and politics at the O- and A-levels; and a set of prescribed "shared values" that emphasises consensual rather than competitive political participation.

Our education system is intentionally designed to depoliticise us for the ruling party believes that a politically apathetic populace is easier to control.

Young Singaporeans either tend not to think critically or feel that being critical results in unwanted consequences or has no purposeful outcome.

If a generation of Singaporeans grows up with only basic notions of political participation, can Singapore expect good political leaders in the future? Or, for that matter, to be a global and cosmopolitan city, a vision set out by Mr Lee in his recent National Day Rally speech?

In order to ensure that our future leaders have empathy for Singaporeans, passion for Singapore, knowledge of political history and the ability to manage a complex economy and society, our education system must place a greater emphasis on critical thinking.

The ruling party is not interested in nurturing real political leaders as it wants only academically brillant technocrats. Its version of global and cosmopolitan city is not one that is developed organically from the local community but one that springs up instantly with the importation of foreign talents and recreation.