" There are SO many radical blogs out there, like Mr Brown and Mr Wang Says So."
Turns out that a debating competition was being televised. It was between Raffles Institution and Hwa Chong Junior College. The motion was "Are young Singaporeans politically apathetic?".
I think that the Hwa Chong guy was trying to argue that that since "there are SO many radical blogs out there, like Mr Brown and Mr Wang Says So", this proves the motion that young Singaporeans are not politically apathetic.
This is flattering - I'm still young. Not such a dinosaur, after all. Even more flatteringly, Mr Brown is also young. What really makes me laugh is that Mr Brown and I are being described on national television as "radical". Well, I suppose that Singaporeans with strong opinions are still quite rare. Maybe that makes us "radical". But if we do represent the cutting edge of free speech in Singapore, that's a rather sad reflection on our society, actually.
In the past few days, I've been reading a couple of draft essays, meant to be compiled and published as a book by the Institute of Policy Studies later this year. They are not my essays - I've just been invited to read them and give some comments. The book is about digital freedom of speech in Singapore (oh yes, various bloggers are mentioned, including Mr Brown and me). To give you a flavour, here's the opening paragraph of the essay by Tang Hang Wu, an associate professor at the Faculty of Law:
"In 2003, Gary Rodan argued that although there are social groups in Singapore attempting to negotiate `new political spaces for expression on the Internet', these efforts `have generally been modest in their scale and impact'. Randolph Kluver, writing in 2004, took a similar view. Kluver concluded that during the 2001 Singapore General Elections, in terms of a means of outreach, the Internet has not been deployed effectively by the [political] parties in Singapore. However, we know that two to three years are a long time in Internet terms; Rodan's and Kluver's analysis may no longer be accurate to describe the state of digital speech in Singapore. In this paper, I argue that the 2006 Singapore General Election ("2006 GE") demonstrated that the Internet, due to its evolving architecture, has an impact on the laws and norms governing free expression in Singapore."Somewhere in this essay, I get mentioned for my "intelligent and incisive critique of government policies". Interestingly, I am mentioned right next to Sammyboy, Rockson and Talking Cock. Hey, didn't you know, radicals tend to come in motley crews.
Tell you more next time, about this book and its essays. Mr Wang the Radical Young Dinosaur needs to go brush his teeth, shave and go to work now.