Daily SG: 26 Mar 2008

Malaysia Elections
– BothSidesOfTheJohorStraits: badawi now ‘loves’ bloggers; what about the PAP?
– Where Bears Roam Free: If only Singaporeans are like Malaysians

Prison Break, Singapore Style
– The Itch to Write: How long more are we going to wait?
– Think, thought, thunk: Mas Selamat T-shirt: What will they think of next?

Starhub EPL, Singtel CL, Football Fans LPPL
– The Online Citizen: To all sports fans
– TNPPostman: Weekend Question(What do you think of not watching European Football on SCV?)

Transport Reforms Announced
– Simply Jean: Pissed off by those bus ticket cheats

Freedom, Choice and a place for my Voice
– SG Review: This is what we pay our multi-million dollar ministers for
– THE armchair critic: So what if all of us TAK BOLEH TAHAN anymore?

– Enblocing Singapore: Stayers’ Poll & Links to Parliament Debates

Daily Discourse
– A L V I N O L O G Y: Reservist discrimination in JobsDB.com?

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2 Responses to Daily SG: 26 Mar 2008



    Anyone who still harbors reservations that the Internet is changing politics in major ways just isn’t paying close enough attention – the writing is a plenty on the wall – the on-going presidential race between Obama and Hilary / the recent general elections in Malaysia. All these suggest the template for the battle of the minds is fast shifting from the MSM to the cyberspace – how will this affect the blogging scene in the future?

    We presented this question our resident nobody Darkness;

    Astro Boy Q: Was the internet the primary cause of BN’s failure to secure in decisive victory in the recent general elections?

    Darkness A: I know what everyone is thinking, this is new and improved! But take a closer look, if you rummage through the four corners of the box, you will soon discover this entire preoccupation with the net as the super duper political power is just the stuff of Reiki crystals and voodoo dolls, it’s fundamentally old dressed up as new – there’s no Da Vinci code here – no mystery even; did the internet plug the BN in the Malaysian elections? Yes and no. No, because the BN is first and foremost a lousy political party run by a bunch of dummies who didn’t even bother to deliver the goodies to the people, so if it wasn’t the internet that plugged them, it might as well have been newspapers, TV, radio or even a cage full of homing pigeons – nothing can save a political party that doesn’t deliver on the baseline promises!

    It bears repeating the is the internet is merely a means to an end and it doesn’t have the capacity to assume the end itself, unless of course you believe the mystery of the universe is written at the back of a chewing wrapper.

    Astro Boy Q: So Why did Malaysian PM Abdullah say that underestimating the internet was “my biggest mistake?”

    Darkness A: Well let me try to put it as diplomatically as I can; Abdul right now is like a naked man with a bag standing on the crossroads of life. It’s very cold out there. He’s a bit like Caesar two minutes before he got done in on the steps of the senate, because everyone in UMNO is busy sharpening their parangs on the look out for a sacrificial lamb, so what does any decent desperate man do? I mean it was me, I will just point up to the ceiling and say, “look, your Mama is up there!” and slip off to the nearest jamban, hopefully I can slip through the window and hobble promptly out of dagger range – isn’t it obvious? He’s trying to dissipate some heat by using distraction strategy – it’s very easy to put the blame on the something as big and fuzzy as the internet. I can understand. But we know better because we actually studied the Malaysian GE very carefully and we even have reams of quantitative and qualitative data that proves conclusively, the internet didn’t deliver the mortal blow to BN.

    Astro Boy Q: Did you know the BN recently invited a few key bloggers for tea? What’s your read on that?

    Darkness A: As I said earlier this is old dressed up as new – the way I see it, BN is simply trying to consolidate their hold on power, and these overtures are simply an extension to explore how best they can work with the blogging community. If that means doing a 180 degree, then so be it. After the recent pummeling in the GE they (BN) really don’t have much bargaining power. So naturally, they see the internet now as some sort of wonder weapon. Even they cannot deny their obsolete campaign bullocart would benefit from a timely change; the internet is after all, a game leveler. For the short term at least, they are confronted with two central problems if they want to stay in the game. One is how to develop the core competencies to project on line credibly. And the other more important question is how to assure the loyalty of those who would man the internet siege machine – always bear in mind these two are intimately connected.

    Astro Boy Q: Do you think BN will develop the core competencies to project into the internet?

    Darkness A: I don’t think so, why re-invent the wheel when you can buy a proven solution off the shelve complete with even a warranty? Do you see any country making a beeline to Papua New Guinea to recruit pygmies into their armed forces? Everyone goes for to Nepal, because they are know the Gurkha’s have a proven battle record – so it’s fair to assume BN will take the course of least resistance and probably profile some intermediate method of rewarding bloggers to come over to their side – this can easily be done, be it giving them meal coupons to Long John Silver or even lining them up with adverts.

    Hey, don’t give me that look! I am just telling you the way, I see it!

    Q: You actually believe the BN will co-opt the bloggers to their side?

    Yes, I do! I said, don’t look at me like that, it’s bad enough were discussing this matter in my car in Changi Village and its nearly midnight, so if you don’t mind, wipe that look off your face – otherwise we will end up on homo charges in the cop shop. You call them bloggers, I’ve tell you what, you could just as well call them body guards and mercenaries.

    These terms are interchangeable to me. I really don’t see how the BN can avoid the temptation of not co-opting them – the question is whether they can afford not to do so? Especially when the opposition have already developed core competencies in this area which gives them a competitive advantage. These skill sets are not easily replicated. That’s why it brings into stark focus the basis of the mercenary system. It’s not only the basis for staying in power politically it’s now a precondition if they want to remain in the race. Don’t sound so surprised. As I said, this is old dressed up as new – the BN now is a lumbering beast being chased down a windy road and cornered, it’s facing a condition of acute attrition, one needs to understand they are desperate and it’s a direct result of been so miserly, complacent and supine as to depend exclusively on the MSM – that failed so it’s game over there! The corollary is these bloggers have now come to see that they constitute the effective power within the political machinery – there is vacuum that needs to be filled – as I said before this is hardly new and I see no reason why BN will not seriously consider supplementing their campaign movements by hiring these mercenaries (bloggers) in earnest. Historically, it’s a cogent case when you consider the French and the Swiss, and Nepalese demonstrates, it is not only possible to buy into a well regulated mercenary market to which hirelings will fight for only money. So history is clearly on their side – my feel it’s important to be realistic about this and call a spade a spade – otherwise this report will just be a waste of time!

    Q: So are you saying this is the end of blogging as we know it?

    No, not completely, but in Malaysia at least – it’s a foregone conclusion, the major bloggers will eventually be forced to take sides – that’s part and parcel of how politics is conducted when money features in the equation. That I can assure you is a certainty. Blogging as far as the big bloggers are concerned is likely to be a professional occupation like PR, Marketing or speech writing. However, for the smaller bloggers as they don’t have the economies of scale, it will still remain a very passionate affair.

    Q: How do you see this unfolding scene in Malaysia panning out in Singapore?

    A: In Singapore I have no comment for the moment – I understand, the so called “experts” are studying the data and numbers – that I fear will tell them absolutely zero. You need to understand the results of the Malaysian GE took everyone by surprise, including us. We were just very lucky we were there in the neighbor to see the before, during and after. Even then we would not have been able to manipulate the data to effectively make sense of it without the help of our French and Hong Kong channel partners – so I really don’t see how the so called ‘experts’ can crack this nut. Lets all wait for MDA and IDA report. I could be wrong. But don’t hold your breathe, it’s not likely to made public as it has a strategic value – knowledge is power!

    Q: Let me summarize, since this is the last question Darkness – you’re not very positive of the blogging scene in Malaysia are you?

    A: Let me put it this way. In the age of the $2.2 million man everything is for sale. It’s a bit like interrogation, you can hold out for the first hour, but after that it’s anyone’s guess – these days everyone is into the money game, look around you, even churches are venturing into the property development business in the name of our father, so what of the ordinary Joe? This certainly brings a new understanding to everything including blogging. I feel it’s not realistic to equate bloggers to Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Everyone has a price, if it’s right, they will bow – this is new reality when money features. Stick didn’t work, but honey I feel certainly will. The prognosis? Blogging in Malaysia doesn’t look too promising. I am sorry, if this hits hard, but what did you really expect? Anything else would simply be an ‘admirable sentiment.’

    [This is written by Astroboy / Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

  2. shoestring says:

    If the Internet isn’t the primary reason, it should at least be one of the reasons. The ruling party could have been a really lousy one and almost everyone has reached the ‘Tak Boleh Tahan’ stage, but without the Internet connecting the people and opening their eyes to alternatives that might otherwise be camourflaged or glossed over by the MSM, it is unlikely that voters are able to realize that they have collective power in bringing about change. The Internet, as you have noted, is a ‘game leveler’. That is why censorship is prevalent in the MSM – to block out knowledge and confine the individual to a make belief world, cripple interconnections and prevent the formation of a collective will.

    As for co-opting bloggers. It is simply a short-sighted strategy. I don’t know much about Malaysian politics, so let’s look at our own local scene. We used to have promising young MPs who would speak candidly about government policies. As long as they were ‘independent’, the people trusted them. Once they were co-opted, the tide turned against them, because they no longer spoke for the people. The same will happen to bloggers who are co-opted.

    No doubt, they may have the skills, but they no longer have the heart that will win them more hearts. They will ultimately lose in the battle of minds because people will be more suspicious, vigilant and alert. And lastly, nobody is irreplaceable. The Internet may lose a few stellar bloggers, but there will be others who will rise up to take their place in due time.

    That is why, I believe the a government should try to work with netizens instead of co-opting or suppressing them. That is if that government is really sincere about leaving nobody behind.

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