I KNOW it’s a little way from Aug 9, but my friends and I stumbled upon the idea of making use of podcasts (which, as I’ve previously explained, are audio files stored and distributed via the Internet), to create a little buzz in the lead-up to National Day.
We hope to make this a viral meme, where readers and bloggers follow our lead, create their own audio files and put it on the Net for other people to download.
Think of it as one of those government agency initiatives such as the hugely popular Fabric of the Nation project (www.channelnewsasia.com/fabric/), only this one’s on the Internet.
And you don’t need any sewing skills.
I participated in a similar National Day meme last year, called One Singapore Minute (www.flickr.com/photos/tags/onesingaporeminute/), where a series of photographs had to be taken within a minute, then uploaded and shared. That little campaign garnered more than 700 photos in the month’s lead up to National Day.
This year, our podcast project will be titled I Am Singaporean, with each person voicing around a minute and a half’s worth of what being Singaporean means to him or her.
Each podcast should end with the line “I am Singaporean. So say we all” and be tagged “iamsingaporean”.
The files should then be uploaded on the Net for all and sundry to enjoy and maybe shed a patriotic tear or two.
Here’s an example: You could start by saying something such as “I chope seats at the hawker centre by putting tissue paper on the table”, and “I join any queue I see, even though I don’t know what it’s for”.
Try it and you’ll probably end up jotting down things about being Singaporean you hardly noticed previously.
They could be heartwarming, serious or downright silly.
Whatever it is, you will, like us, suddenly realise how much or how little you love this country. Patriotic background music is optional. (Please check for copyright issues before you flout Intellectual Property laws.)
Okay, so it’s not exactly an original idea.
We were inspired by a television commercial entitled I Am Canadian for a Canadian brand of beer called Molson (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Canadian) which was so popular it spawned several spoofs available on YouTube (youtube.com), including one featuring William Shatner.
Already, we’ve had variations on our theme, with one contributor penning this version: “I pay income tax. I pay CPF. I pay fines â€” and I am a Singapore PR.”
If, however, you’re a little bit on the passive side when it comes to Internet activity but still care enough about the country to want to find out what people are saying about it, there’s this revamped blog called www.singaporeangle.com, previously known as From A Singapore Angle (singaporeangle.blogspot.com).
Created last month by Huichieh Loy, a recently returned overseas graduate, the blog is the group effort of eight contributors, including bloggers Kway Teow Man (kwayteowman.blogspot.com) and The Void Deck (thevoiddeck.org).
These are what I would call “serious bloggers”, and they write in a serious manner about the serious issues that affect Singapore and Singaporeans.
And by serious I mean … well, here’s how Mr Loy describes the blog:
“Our individual motivations for casting our lot in the project â€” I am sure â€” are as varied as our choice of monikers. But (if I may hazard a divination of a mood) each is drawn by the possibility of reasoned discourse and civil discussion on matters to do with Singapore.”
Reasoned discourse, as opposed to what appears more regularly on blogs, could be what works for singaporeangle.com in terms of audience numbers (at last count more than 300 per day) â€” because satire, sarcasm and humour, as some people say, might be lost on readers who are not accustomed to them.
Or as the moderator of popular local Internet forum Sammyboy.com’s Alfresco Coffee Shop puts it: “I have learned from experience that humour, satire, parables, sarcasm et cetera are absolutely wasted on 99% of the patrons of this coffee shop.
“Messages here must be in simple straightforward Singlish with some Hokkien expletives thrown in for good measure.
“That’s the only way you can ensure that you’ll get your point across to everyone.”
Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over two years.