power to the people

Please excuse the hackneyed title post, but I just read the most compelling argument for blogging as citizen activism ever.

For those who think that we are cocooned in our safe little online havens, we are not. The government monitors our blogs. They have to. It isn’t just about security threats; they need to know what we think. They need to know what concerns us. And events like the Wee Shu Min incident shows how much power and influence we can actually have on them. Sure, the beauty of the incident, is that not everyone agreed with each other. A number of people sympathised with Derek Wee’s post; a number didn’t as well. A number of people thought like, and still think like Wee Shu Min, and do believe that in a meritocratic system, “survival of the fittest” is a way of life. Yet more believed that this ought not to be the case in any nation-state with a government machinery that was to serve the citizenry. It isn’t really a question of who is more right or who is more wrong – the important thing is that there was a proliferation of debate. Everyone had a view because it hit so close to home. Sure, a number of people got carried away with mud-slinging and condescending abuse (which a number of people also said that they did not agree with); but for the most part, everyone was talking. Everyone felt strongly enough this subject to not want to keep it under the carpet.

And the result? MP Wee Siew Kim was forced to address the concerns in the national newspaper. He did not have to; the majority who did not read the online blogs and visit the forums would not have known any better. But he did.

After giving it further thought, I guess the real consequence of the online debate was an apology from an MP – which admittedly, is a rare and wondrous thing – but there hasn’t been really much of a revolution or actual policy change as a result of the whole affair. So not really activism as I see it.

Nevertheless, a definite sense of change is in the air, and I’m pretty damn excited to see how we’ll go from here.

So please, please go to Coffee and Cigarettes to read the rest.

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5 Responses to “power to the people”


  1. 1 vk October 29, 2006 at 16:24

    ok only la. they are still shutting ppl up. things like meritocracy are still not within the OB markers that ah lee drew up for singapore.

  2. 2 billy October 29, 2006 at 16:59

    but quite cool that there’s some kind of progression mah.

    actually george yeo should take over mica lah, he seems to understand blogging better than the p65ers.

  3. 3 vk October 30, 2006 at 11:22

    dun pray pray, he blogs on the blog of a relative of a dean from a top comms school lor.

  4. 4 Ivan Chew November 4, 2006 at 21:29

    >>> “The government monitors our blogs.”>>> Just like how we “monitor” blogs that we want to read? 🙂 I think to use the term “monitor” is a bit strong. To say that blogs are being read (some more than others) would be my preferred phrasing. Well, my golden rule is that if you dare to blog it, be prepared to stand by it and bear any positive or negative consequences : )

  5. 5 billy November 4, 2006 at 23:57

    yeah lor, especially gahmen bloggers like us.


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