“Remember! Prison got no broadband!”
Politicians have stopped blogging but netizens continue to give their takes on next monthâ€™s elections
SO IT seems you can blog about politics during the election period except when your website has “persistently political views”.
But Workers’ Party member Goh Meng Seng is taking no chances as he stopped blogging after his entry on April 19. His blog, Singapore Alternatives, “is about the political struggle” he is “engaging in”.
Podcast: the mrbrown show 26 Apr 2006: the persistently non-political podcast no. 2 (MP3, Filesize: 1.4mb, Time: 00:02:44)
In his last entry, Mr Goh welcomed the announcement of polling day, saying “the time has come for battle!”, but he is dissatisfied with the authorities regarding the regulation of blogs during election period.
The Media Development Authority’s announcement â€” that bloggers would be allowed to comment on politics so long as they did not promote any political ideas or support any political party â€” seemed to rile Mr Goh most.
“That really bugs me!” he exclaimed. “How could one make any sensible comments on politics without having an idea? Are we supposed to make comments without any ideas behind them?”
Furthermore, he said, a person taking a political stand has a set of ideals. “Thus, when he makes any comments in the political arena, of course he will be “propagading” [sic] what he truly believes in! If he is not “consistent” in promoting his views, then what type of bloggers are you talking about?”
The type, perhaps, Assistant Professor (and veteran journalist) Cherian George (singaporemedia.blogspot.com) describes as having been “stereotyped as mere entertainment” by a Government that has “engaged in rhetorical campaign against alternative media, in an attempt to delegitimise the form in the eyes of the majority of Singaporeans who may not be technologically literate enough to know better”.
Mr George continues, “The letter of the law provides an exception to license news providers (newspapers and broadcasters), including their websites”. In other words, these can carry podcasts, streaming video or “editorials telling Singaporeans how to vote”. But independent websites are not exempt from Internet electioneering laws, “even if their content is identical”.
So, what’s been going on in the political corner of the blogsphere? Well, the Singapore People’s Party’s website (www.spp.org.sg) was last updated on April 18 and the National Solidarity Party’s (www.nsp.sg) on April 16. While the Workers’ Party website is up to date, the last entry on its blog (wpsgnews.blogspot.com) is dated March 31. (And the Singapore Democratic Party’s website? Gee, what’s the URL? I can’t seem to remember, and I can’t find a 10-foot pole.)
And what about private individuals? Blogger “Goldfarp” (goldfarp.livejournal.com) wrote about his indifference to the announcement of Polling Day.
“I can pen an entire essay about politics in Singapore, but I won’t. This country isn’t worth my time,” he said, before railing at detractors of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Chee Soon Juan, whom he likens to a certain religious figure whom “we turn away, throw stones, hurl insults and point at laughing”.
Self-described “communications practitioner” Chin Wei Chong , 27, (weichongz.blogspot.com) wrote about how he bought a copy of the SDP’s publication The New Democrat “out of curiosity” and as he walked away, “felt pity for him (Dr Chee)”.
On the other hand, blogger “Fish Yang” (fishyang.blogspot.com) responded to the news of Dr Chee’s legal predicament by observing that “politicians are simply childish”. She offered some advice for the beleaguered politician:
“Despite being sued already, he still continued to sell and this is a very childish behaviour. Want to write at least write the truth, correct??? like “Mr Lee is old and not handsome. he has many wrinkles on his face”, thats the truth wad. Thats why I am not getting sued for that sentence. Grow up lah. Stupid guy. Sorry ar. Mr Lee, ok you very handsome okay. Sorry sorry sorry.”
Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been regaling readers at miyagi.sg for over two years, and doesn’t mind having his blog labelled as pure entertainment.