Feb 8, 2007

Leaks & Squealers

So many things to blog about. Where shall I start?

PJ is an NUS student who recently interviewed me for her thesis. Among many other questions, she asked me if I would ever enter politics. I laughed and said no.

One reason I gave is that entering politics means you have to be partisan. Once the party has decided on a particular stance on a key issue, you have to abide by it (publicly, at least). Internally you can bicker and argue, but to the public, party members must present a consistent, unified position. That's in the interest of the party.

This is very unappealing to me. I prefer to be true to myself.

Recently, the PAP had a
leak (or so it would appear). Someone - and the best guess is that it must have been an insider - leaked some info to the press, which placed the PAP in a most embarrassing position. Serious damage has been done to a key item on the PAP's agenda - their cyberspace communication strategy.

And lest anyone be in doubt, the PAP's cyberspace communication strategy is definitely a key item on their agenda. Otherwise PM Lee wouldn't have talked so much about the Internet in his National Day Rally Speech last year. And the PAP wouldn't have placed a heavyweight minister like Dr Ng Eng Hen as chairman of their "New Media" committee.

How did the Great Leak happen? We don't know for sure, but my guess is that the "leaker" was someone in the PAP. It could have been a member of the rank and file - who disagreed in principle with the "anonymous poster" tactics that the PAP had decided to employ. He felt so strongly about it that he decided to do a very non-partisan thing - secretly tell the Straits Times about it.

And now, we might also guess that there will be a hunt through the party ranks, to find out the person behind the Great Leak. Of course, even assuming that they do find him, dealing with him may be a delicate matter. Firstly, there may be other members who also disagreed with the "anonymous poster" tactics. Secondly, the squealer is unfairly treated, he will be tempted to make new, even louder squeals to the press.

We mustn't presume that every PAP member really has that much to lose, if the party severely reprimands him. Or that every PAP member even wants to be a member forever. Don't forget people like Chia Ti Lik - who left the Young PAP to join the Workers' Party and run in the 2006 Elections.

On a separate point, it's now Day Six since the Great Leak, and we note that the
P65 bloggers are still completely silent on the matter. The P65 Blog was conceived as a key PAP tool in communicating with the public in cyberspace, and one might expect that the P65 Blog would be the very first place where the PAP would respond to the story of the Great Leak.

Well, it appears that this expectation is wrong. Maybe the Great Leak has made the P65 bloggers speechless and they just don't know what to say. Maybe they're still working out their next corporate communications step. Or maybe they have decided to stay absolutely silent and hope that this thing will blow over and be forgotten.

If so, then they will learn that the blogosphere does not forget so easily. Unlike yesterday's newspapers, every blog post stays online forever unless the blogger decides to delete them. Years from now, whenever it's relevant to bring it up again, all it takes is a hyperlink to remind readers of the story of the
Great Leak.

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have visited the P65 blog. I cannot be the first to say this, but I will say it anyway - the site is bland, uninteresting and will go the way of dinosaurs very soon. It is difficult to understand why the MIW, till this day, do not seem (or choose not to) to understand the blogsphere. Well, I suppose in life there is always the yin and the yang. If there are interesting and refreshing blogs, there will also be monotonous and indigestible blogs.

Anonymous said...

If it's dissent from the rank and file of PAP. It'll be good news for all Singaporeans. If it's so, cracks are begining to show in the PAP then.

If they persist in not listening to the people. If they(PAP) insist in treating citizens, borned and bred in Singapore, as second class people in their own country. They(PAP) will definately be history. In fact, they have to be, they must be, for the sake of SINGAPOREANS.

thor666 said...

actually, i am not sure if it is a leak per se. Coming out of the closet is better than being caught red handed - the repercussions for the latter far outweighs the former.

deepthroat.sg said...

Coming out of the closet is better than being caught red handed

If so, it seems that the PAP has stolen a march on their opposition counterparts, who are still silent and pretending no one will notice that theonlinecitizen is operated, staffed, and funded by members of a certain party.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Oh really? That's news to me.

Among other things - what costs are there to be funded, in operating a blog?

Anyway I shall invite the Online Citizen to come here and clarify.

Anonymous said...

deepthroat.sg,

It (theonlinecitizen) come across to me as either directly from PAP group or "group having key-member with self-vested interests/gain to eventually associate with PAP"?

It, in my perception, is unlikely related with SDP.

Is this right with your perception too or is it totally off-target?
but then again, my perception may be wrong too...

regards,
"non-insightful"

juicybaby said...

I dont know alot abt politics, but I really dont think it is a leak.

I dont think anyone believes it is a leak except you.

You are right better, you better dont go into politics.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a leak either because the leak has to go through at least 2 layers - the reporter and the editor, not to mention the thunderbolt.

They want to manage the Internet and since it is obvious that their existing sites and blogs are a failure, they realized the need to join us in our playgrounds. At the same time, it is to test the reaction, to see if netizens would panick and be scared of the Big Brother's presence. They started off with threatening remarks on sites such as Gayle Goh's post on Tochi, citing contempt of don't know what but found it ineffective. They have since mellowed down and decided to hide behind anonymity.

Reasons the PAP made it public indirectly:

Tomorrow.sg readers (and perhaps other netizens) already suspected they are there. So, they may as well come clean so as to appear above-board.

The PAP had, less than a year ago condemned anonymity, and to be seen as doing a 180 degree turn, is too much of an embarrassment. So, they soften the blow by using the leak. If things go awry, they can always claim the leak was bogus.

deepthroat.sg said...

You could begin by asking if theonlinecitizen is a project headed by a certain Andrew Loh of the Worker's Party.

Anonymous said...

How can it be a leak when it is published in the party's daily paper? The review process for each article is extremely exhaustive and thorough.

Mr Wang Says So said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Wang Says So said...

You mean, like the way Mr Brown's article would have been exhaustively and thoroughly reviewed?

Mr Wang Says So said...

You must pay attention to the identity of the journalist. It's Li Xueying. She's a young version of ex-ST journalist Cherian George; every now and then, she loves to push the borders of what can or cannot be published.

Click here to read Xueying asking Minister Ho Peng Kee some aggressive questions on homosexuality.

Click here to see Xueying venturing into the taboo subject of religion in S'pore.

If you pay a little attention, you'll notice that Li Xueying often works closely with Ken Kwek (the young ST journalist who made a somewhat valiant attempt to argue with LKY on TV, and promptly got squashed).

The above may give you some sense of how Xueying thinks.

Don't presume that every civil servant and every employee of a GLC is an unthinking, idiot follower of the PAP. Why, at different times of their lives, even JB Jeyaretnam and Francis Seow were civil servants.

recruit ong said...

I also don't believe its a leak. Bcos its the ST mah... the 147th editors not doing their job of filtering the news meh? I see it as intending to strike fear and more fear into an already fearful people.

thor666 said...

In either case, it's not a big deal, leak or otherwise. One point to note is that now bloggers can engage with the anonymous workers of the PAP on issues.

However, one has to see whether they are truly appreciative of other opinions, however critical and anti-government they may be, or are they just a negative force trying to tear the credibility of the blogosphere down.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I don't think we are assuming that all journalists have sold their soul, but that it is too easy to conclude it is a leak.

I do not know Li Xueying or Ken Kwek. If they have really tried to push the boundaries, I am definitely appreciative. But perhaps the the editor was under invisible influence to allow their articles through?

The PAP is not that straight forward. Dishonest and manipulative people are never so. The fact that they are amending Penal Codes and labelling us insurgents tells a lot to me.

Anonymous said...

Like to add, Mr Brown's article was published by Today right?

Yes, what is important is whether they are genuine in wanting to engage. We should not be afraid to tell it as it is. We have done nothing wrong.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a leak but I would like to think that Mr Wang is right. Why? It means we have friends in parliament :)

Also, it is possible that what they say in public may not be representative of the conflict they are hiding because they have to appear united in public.

On another note, deepthroat.sg and company who keep harping on the opposition parties will do better to tell the PAP to respond to the SDP's challenge directly in the open rather that plant seeds of doubt here, which is cowardice at its best.

Anonymous said...

isnt this like how "old" NKF staff were told to write letters to the straits times forum posing as members of the public saying how wonderful nkf was? hows this any different...??

sighh...

(heh heh...i'm ANON! just who am i representing, i wonder?)

moomooman said...

it's interesting to note that we have always view ST as being a PAP vehicle, and yet this "leak" incident seems to have a more negative view towards PAP.

Few questions.

Is ST becoming more independent?

Is there a bigger picture that we are all missing, perhaps PAP wanted us to know that we are being monitored?

Anonymous said...

They can monitor or threaten all they want. What's new?

As for ST, it'll take a long time, if it ever becomes independent. I trust them not.

tinrina said...

To Anonymous who commented on 8 Feb 07, 9:05:46pm.

It seems to me that by labelling the PAP as "dishonest and manipulative" based on a personal/apparently popular conjecture is rather unconvincing. In fact, I'd like to think that you are manipulating the psychology of those who read this blog and the comments submitted.

Just like what Tan Tarn How spoke of at the NUS DSC forum about the press manipulating minds, let us not forget that every piece of article/commentary/argumentative essay, including Mr. Wang's blog, your comment and even mine, are mere efforts of persuading people to believe in what we would like others to think and agree with.

Am I not right? :)

Anonymous said...

tinrina,

I am the anon you were referring to.

When the government first raised the issue of 2% more GST, they claim it was for the needy. Very altruistic. Most people will/can not object to doing good. Subsequently, they added more economic reasons:

- MM LKY says that GST is to offset the 1% corporate tas cut to stay competitive.
- GCT says GST is needed to realise promises made during GE.
- And now the Mah Mah says that GST is needed to build roads, bridges and etc.
- Palmer says GST is for HDB upgrade.

And don't forget that LHL also used Hongkong as a competitive rival. But Hongkong decided not to implement GST because it's people objected to it. That is real sincerity in wanting feedback. Their government listens to them.

Ours? They tell you they want feedback. But in the end, they do what they want despite obvious objections from many. I doubt there is sincerity.

Back to the reasons.

So, you are now telling me 2% is not entirely for the poor? What next? What is the real reason? Cover losses from investments? But of course they won't admit, because it may jeopardize someone's golden rice bowl.

I call that manipulative and dishonest. Manipulative because they want to get us used to the idea with a difficult-to-rebut reason and then slowly introduce other debatable ones. Why don't they reverse the order of reasons, for instance?

Dishonest because they do not tell the full story. Omission of truth is as dishonest as lying.

You can call that psychology or whatever you want. Yes, it is my opinion. Am I not entitled to it? You have yours too.

Me manipulating? How may I ask? Those are facts. Or are you not aware of them?

Perhaps you may wish to explain why you think I am manipulative. Being persuasive is not the same as being manipulative. Aren't you trying to twist the meaning of words? Now, that is manipulative.

And I believe that Singaporeans are more intelligent than you think.

Anonymous said...

tinrina,

Compliments from me,

Hongkongers petition against GST:

http://www.petitiononline.com/NoGSTHK1/petition.html

Their government listens:
http://www.travelretailexecutivenewsdigest.com/default.asp?newsid=2173

Evariste Galois said...

Looks like the Straits Times bears some autonomy from the central government.

Wah! It's almost like Soviet Union political drama, between Pravda and the different factions within the party.

deepthroat.sg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr Wang Says So said...

I just lurrrrrve my blog. You guys have such interesting comments. :)

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear all,

Deepthroat.sg has made some allegations about theonlinecitizen and has also taken it upon himself to reveal personal particulars of certain people.

We have responded to his allegations
here
.

Mr Wang, thank you.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

deepthroat.sg said...

Is Andrew Loh now a member of the WP?
Is Koh Choon Yong a member of the WP?
Simple answers: Yes, or No?

If yes, then theonlinecitizen is staffed by members of a certain party.

Is Koh Choong Yong the Second Vice Chairman of WP’s Central Area Committee? Is he is also an Executive Committee Member and Sub-webmaster of WP Youth Wing? The WP records say so, apparently, here: http://wp.sg/cac/members.htm.

There, you have the webmaster of the WP Youth Wing administering the website of theonlinecitizen, if that’s what “technical contact” means. And that means theonlinecitizen is operated by members of a certain party.

Is Andrew Loh a member of the WP Youth Wing? Was he a member of the WP Youth Wing during the period when theonlinecitizen was registered and set up? The WP records say so, apparently, here: http://wp.sg/youthwing/events/bowling.html.

Is Andrew Loh the registrant of theonlinecitizen as well as a WP member?

If yes, then theonlinecitizen is funded by members of a certain party.

If all the answers to the above questions are yes, then theonlinecitizen IS operated, staffed, and funded by MEMBERS of a certain party.

Nowhere did the deepthroats of sg insinuate that theonlinecitizen is operated, staffed, and funded by a certain party. We hope you will not misrepresent our words by wilful ommision of words in our statements.

Next. Does this website state anywhere on its front page or its info page that it is operated and set up by members of a certain party?

The point - as with the PAP case - is of party operatives participating and molding internet discussion without due disclosure of their identities or affiliations. What difference is there if PAP members post anonymously to defend govt policy, and if opposition members set up a website, solicit articles critical of govt policy - without revealing their identities?

By the way, since both of you registered theonlinecitizen.com, you will realise that your full contact info would be up for public viewing as well, right?

http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=theonlinecitizen.com&prog_id=godaddy

Anonymous said...

So what if the online citizen is indeed funded by the opposition?!

Only goes to show the opposition does it better than the PAP, I'll say. Look at their pathetic PAP site and the P65 .... good for insomniacs.

Deepthroats should just ask the gahmen to learn from the opposition a bit lah.

Whether they got name, no name or nickname also so boring .... macam parrots.

By the way, I don't think it's a leak too. It's probably one of those misguided strategies that they have thought of during one of their illegal assemblies to cause more mischief to singapore.

Everthing they do, it backfires. From overseas investments to their talking cock as well.

Anonymous said...

Actually I wonder what kind of funding a blog really needs.

Isn't blogging free? You just have to go to Wordpress or Blogger and you have enough features to set up quite a nice, professional-looking blog, without spending a cent.

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear Deepthroat.sg,

We have responded to your comments on theonlinecitizen

You have made some factual errors in your attempt to 'bring balance to the blogosphere".

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

Anonymous said...

There's a new blog in town. Url's http://chiam-see-tong.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Ahem, Mr Wang,

What has Sally Yeh got to do with local politics?

Mr Wang Says So said...

It's all show business, mah.

Anonymous said...

The petition against increase in GST. Let's see how the Singapore government will respond to this feedback:

http://www.petitiononline.com/GST7/petition.html

Anonymous said...

It may or maynot be a purposeful allowing of small voices of dissent in the main media to "let off steam".

The occasional "blunder" is interesting, given PAP's powerful ability to control practically all information flow in our little island. Or do I have too much faith in them?

suo_myno_na said...

"It's all show business, mah. "
matching this, is this adage too ..
"No Audience No Show , mah "

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone calling it a leak ? It's more like the "peanuts" case. The PAP just honestly does not realize that they are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.

Jasmine said...

The names of Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Baey Yam Keng and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Josephine Teo are clearly mentioned in the "leak" story. Sounds more like a planted story to instil fear into the bloggers, as in Big Brother is watching. Big deal.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Actually it was the unnamed sources that provided the info about the involvement of Baey etc.

That is why Baey was then contacted. Baey then got cornered by the journalist. He could not say:

"This is all untrue"

because the ST had already got verification from two sources.

He could not say:

"I decline to comment"

because that looks even worse. So he ended up saying stupid-sounding things to defend the indefensible PAP position -

"Identity not important; if too obvious, then it's propaganda" etc.

There are many little clues littered throughout the article that show you quite clearly what happened.

Anonymous said...

tinrina,

"`There are no homeless, destitute or starving people ..Poverty has been eradicated` Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's permanent representative to the UN"

What say you, is the government lying or not?

Lesley said...

Mr Wang,

independant candidate doesn't have to be partisan.

No one will ever accuse you of joining for the sake of the peanut allowance.

Anonymous said...

After going through this blog and subsequently visiting the theonlinecitizen's website for the first time, I honestly feel there's really nothing exceptionally bias in the latter's website which is no different from any of the other websites that are critical of the Gahmen. So what is wrong if its members do belong to some political party. Does Deepthroat require that every blogger to need declare their political background or self vested interests before setting up a political blog or website? So why is this Deepthroat so 'upset' that he/she has to take the trouble of "exposing" the personal details of the members behind theonlinecitizen website.

Does this not remind us of a particular "win-by-all-means" political party who has frequently used unshameful dirty tricks such as those which "Hit below the belt" to strike at the opponents.

Anonymous said...

Can Deepthroat similarly please expose your own personal details so that it will be fair to onlinecitizen members which you have taken the trouble to expose ?

And also, it will give more justice to the comments that your have made in this blog. Otherwise, it's only a piece of shit !!!

Anonymous said...

Deepthroat.sg and company must win or someone else will strangle their throats. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

You see, they cannot win by logic and reasoning, so they must resort to means that only desperate low-lives will resort to.

deepthroat.sg said...

Andrew Loh and Koh Choon Yong have defended themselves so well and convinced everyone that there was nothing unethical about their operation of theonlinecitizen! The most logical next step they've taken after clearing their names is to completely mask the ownership details of their website!

Since there was nothing for them to hide, there is now nothing for us to find! Since it was unimportant for people to know the website was registered by WP members, it is now impossible for people to find out it was registered and run by WP members!

But nothing can be deleted or replaced, not even old whois information!

tinrina said...

Hi to the various (or is it the same Anonymous) Mr. and Miss Anonymous who had responded :)
It's really difficult to address my response to anyone in particular...

Allow me to address some of the concerns raised.

Firstly, to the first Anonymous who had replied me. It is interesting to note how you interpret and judge from my initial response. Do you think you might have jumped to your own conclusion all too fast? I hope I hadn't touched on a topic that you are sensitive to... You sounded really angsty.
Anyway, the facts quoted in your subsequent arguments are not untrue but how do you know for sure that reasons such as, compensating the losses made overseas, drove the GST hike? Intuition? Inside trading? Or mere speculation?

Secondly, to the other (or the same) Anonymous who asked me if the government is lying about no destitute and homeless in Singapore. Well, I don't know for sure. Do you? Did I say that you anyone's lying? I believe I hadn't.
I take a walk along Chinatown, I do see people sleeping on benches etc. But whether it is a matter of self-choice or some other personal reasons, we will never know till we ask them ourselves. For all we know, it could be due to domestic conflicts and hence, they are reluctant to return home. In fact, you pique my curiosity and I'd like to ask what do you see as a possible solution to this? :)

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear all,

It was an oversight on our part in not using the privacy options when we registered the domain name.

We have decided to 'privatised' it to protect our family members - especially when we now have people like Deepthroat.sg who would post the private details publicly.

We do not want to take the chance of some weirdos turning up at our houses and doing harm to our family members.

As for Deepthroat himself, his allegations have been fully debunked on our site theonlinecitizen.

He made unsubstantiated claims such as Andrew being a member of the WP Youth Wing.

He also claims to "aim to bring balance to the blogosphere" but his factual errors shows his lack of effort in finding out the truth.

He decries others for being private but yet, he has not divulge who he/they are - especially when he 'aims to bring balance to the blogosphere'.

Hiding behind a nickname and casting unsubstantiated claims at others is hardly the way to 'bring balance to the blogosphere'.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

le radical galoisien said...

"Well, I don't know for sure. Do you? Did I say that you anyone's lying? I believe I hadn't. "

Please don't tell me that you think that the majority of them are there by choice or that the majority of the homeless are homeless because they are afraid to return home.

I think you have watched too many Channel 8 drama serials. I know it's a common theme right? Unhappy character gets so upset with some other character so leaves home out of spite, right?

Sure got domestic abuse and unhappiness one, but they do not account for the majority of he cases.

Channel 8 is one of the worst channels in terms of propaganda, especially subliminal messaging. Before I left in Dec 2004, Channel U was one of the better channels because of its willingness to challenge state restrictions on the media.

With such dangerous competition to their propaganda channel, no wonder LKY forced its merger into the state telecom industry!

tinrina said...

Well, you are entitled to your views and opinions. :)

period.

Chen D.N. said...

TheOnlineCitizen,

I apologise for the length of this comment, but I think you are being unfair to DeepThroat.sg.

Andrew Loh. I think DeepThroat came to a reasonable conclusion, based on information publicly available on the WP Youth Wing website, that Andrew Loh was a WP Youth Wing member. Many readers would come to a similar conclusion if somebody were similarly listed on the Young PAP website. You are trying to rebut the letter, but not the spirit of DeepThroat's concerns.

Home Addresses. As for "weirdos who might want to turn up at houses", I understand that Koh Choong Yong's home address is still publicly listed in the phone book. So I'm not sure if your "weirdo" rebuttal stands up to scrutiny. The weirdos of Singapore have always had access to this information -- but you have censored the important issue of who is responsible for TOC's existence and has official responsibility for the domain name.

Avoiding Neutral Venues. Your full "debunking" has not been published on a third party website like Mr Wang's, where neither DeepThroat nor yourselves can edit content. Please publish it here.

Insufficiently Open. In fact your "debunking" is buried in a comments thread on your website. Why not append that correspondence (home details blacked out if you wish) in an "About" or "Write for us" section of TOC, so that your readers and potential writers can decide for themselves?

Official Listing Means Official Responsibility. Even if Choong Yong is "no longer involved" as you claim, he was officially listed as the Administrative Contact and Technical Contact for your domain name. e.g. A charity director still has responsibility, even if he/she chooses to be "no longer involved" -- so long as the name is officially listed.

Chen D.N.
No affiliation with DeepThroat, although he has a sore throat

deepthroat.sg said...

theonlinecitizen,

It's rather strange that you proclaim you have "completely debunked" my claims!

As far as everyone knows, you are still Andrew Loh, member of WP, administrator of theonlinecitizen, and the key person who solicits other bloggers to submit articles for your anti government website.

As far as everyone knows, you have not stated on your website that it is staffed and run by WP members. As far as everyone knows, you have now taken steps to ensure that no one can easily find that out anymore.

As far as everyone knows, this is an unusual step and out of step with WP practices! We all know who the WP bloggers are because they proudly identify themselves as such on their sidebars, on their profiles! But Andrew Loh is the one WP member who sets up a website... and hides his party membership from the blogging public!

deepthroat.sg said...

Ney Reed's account of being approached by theonlinecitizen is revealing

http://neyreed.blogspot.com/2006/12/online-citizen.html

"A pretty long time ago, I received an email from one Andrew Loh to be invited to write for a local Singaporean online magazine...", it begins.

"Then when the online magazine was finally up, I was rather taken aback. It was called The Online Citizen. It did not keep away from discussing politics in Singapore which is a country that notoriously de-citizenizes the political space."

Very impressive. Singapore needs more political and current affairs blogs!

"I also noticed that there were some sympathizers of workers party writing for The Online Citizen."

Wow. Ney Reed obviously didn't know that Andrew Loh was a member of the WP, and it's apparent that Andrew Loh did not identify himself as such to the blogger - NR would certainly have noted it in the blog post instead of this.

Which brings us to Andrew Loh's "debunking":

"As for revealing our identities, the writers know who we are – and even some non-writers know who we are. We have been open about this from the very beginning."

Obviously not quite true, given Ney Reed's account of the website!

In fact, it's extremely disturbing how WP and former WP bloggers describe theonlinecitizen:

"A new initiative is being taken up by some political concerned citizens in Singapore to start a new website accompanied by a forum...", says Goh Meng Seng. Obviously GMS didn't know it was run by WP members.

PAP counter-insurgents participate in the blogosphere by posing as anonymous politically concerned citizens, hiding their identify as party members from public view. WP member Andrew Loh participates in the blogosphere by posing as a politically concerned citizen, hiding his identity as a party member, and his website's status as a website of a WP member from public view.

The blogosphere needs to operate independently from the covert or overt management of any political party, whether they are the ruling party or the opposition. Note that WP has recently imposed some form of rules for its members on internet engagement. We invite WP's leadership to judge whether Andrew Loh's covert operation of theonlinecitizen has breached these rules.

Beware! The price of freedom is eternal vigilance! Yesterday we condoned LKY's covert operation to seize power from the leftist PAP leaders through subterfuge. Today we pay the price: the hero who rode the tiger is now the master who holds the whips and bids us dance. Today we condone WP members' covert internet operations because they are not in power. Tomorrow they will be in power, and they will have the stranglehold on the blogosphere; they will hold the whips and make us dance.

Beware! The price of freedom is eternal vigilance! Today's vociferous and fierce anti-PAPgovernment members shouting down all criticisms of their party will be the same vociferous and fierce pro-WPgovernment members shouting down all criticisms of their party tomorrow.

le radical galoisien said...

Yes but your rhetorical question was a tad unfounded in its inquisition. What then was the purpose of asking it?

tinrina said...

Err... Le radical galosien, a little confused but who are you asking?

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear Chen DN,

For deepthroat.sg to claim to "aim to bring balance to the blogosphere", and yet make factual errors, is well unbecoming for that stated aim.

Did Deepthroat.sg seek clarification before he jumped to conclusions?

Did Deepthroat make any attempts at finding out the truth?

If Deepthroat.sg saw pictures of us at the P65 forum on the GST hike, would he also immediately conclude that we are PAP members?

I think if one claims to "aim to bring balance to the blogosphere", it is incumbent upon such a person (or persons) to at least attempt to seek clarification on what he wants to say.

Notice that deepthroat.sg has side-stepped all questions which I've asked him:

1. Who is this "we" that he claim to speak on behalf of?

2. Why is he, someone who decries other people's privacy, hiding behind a nickname and not identifying himself - when he "aims to bring balance to the blogosphere".

3. Does Deepthroat.sg require everyone - every blogger - to declare his/her affiliation - political or otherwise?

4. Did Deepthroat.sg attempt to seek clarification from the WP?

Lastly, Deepthroat.sg seems to preclude a person's right to independence as long as the person is a member of a party, or an organisation.

I am happy that the Workers' Party allows members their independence.

Also, if theonlinecitizen is a WP project or endeavour, it would have been declared so.

As such, what one can determine is that deepthroat is just someone hiding behind a nickname and casting aspersions based on factual errors, lack of clarification, making no attempt whatsoever at such clarification.

Neither has he admitted his errors.

Instead, he has gone on to further bring in other peripheral issues.

Thus, TOC shall not be responding further to his comments.

Theonlinecitizen shall let readers and the public judge the blogsite for themselves.

Having said that, theonlinecitizen shall be open to meeting up with Deepthroat.sg in person and clarify things with him - if he so wishes and if he has genuine aims in "bringing balance to the blogosphere".

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

le radical galoisien said...

eh, connection troubles made me send the post a bit late. I meant it towards you.

le radical galoisien said...

*tinrina

Pronouns tend to be ambiguous.

just a singaporean guest said...

About this dispute/allegation on TOC, there was recently an episode by a canadian (capt_canuck)who was doubtful and casted aspersions prematurely over a certain issue.

See the comments (capt_canuck hit on the 1st comment)in this blog-post:
http://singabloodypore.blogspot.com/2006/11/canadian-professors-write-csj-protest.html

In that case, capt_canuck did at least an honorable thing, i.e. he admitted his mistake though he defended his earlier stand/right to doubt over that issue.

Back to this dispute here, I feel that the accuser,i.e. deepthroat.sg , is somewhat the same as capt_canuck in that he could have easily ascertain with WP on his allegation that TOC is indeed WP's project. If WP denies then, it's not too late too for him to start firing those allegations. The ways things(i.e. comments) are going now, the world will be more inclined to denounce the claims of deepthroat.sg as simply aspersions of no good intent.

just my 2 cents worth.

Anonymous said...

Aww tinrina,

Poor thing. You sound so upset and lost. Take it easy. Nobody's is talking about you or angry with you. It's the government they are referring to. Go take some rest and, really, you don't have to smile if you don't feel like it. Or you'll end up like the Joker.

a straits times reader said...

theonlincitizen's reply to chen d.n. answers 0 of the 5 points of concern that the latter raised.

Similarly, theonlinecitizen's rebuttal to Deepthroat.sg answers 0 of the 1 ethical question that the latter raised, namely: Why is Andrew Loh and his team - all WP members - operating a blog soliciting sociopolitical essays from the public, without informing the public of their status?

I've read enough of civil service replies in the Straits Times forum page to know when someone is giving me a non-reply.

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear straits times reader,

It is clearly stated in our blog site thus:

"TOC is non-partisan and is not affiliated to any organisation - political or otherwise."

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear all,

It is interesting to note that after having been debunked (and not just by theonlinecitizen) on theonlinecitizen blogsite, Deepthroat.sg has shied away from theonlinecitizen blog and continues to make the same allegations here in Mr Wang's blog.

One can only wonder why.

Obviously, bringing 'balance to the blogosphere', according to Deepthroat.sg, does not include being open about his own identity - the very same thing he is taking issue with, with other people.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

a straits times reader said...

theonlinecitizen, thanks for your clarification (which I still think is a non-reply), but how is your site "not affiliated to any organisation - political or otherwise" when you and your team are all members of the Worker's Party?

tinrina said...

le radical galosien,
maybe you can start by explaining a little further what you had meant by "unfounded"..

I think when we speak of issues, we shouldn't just focus on a particular case, but the grander scheme of things as well. Hence, I asked the "rhetorical" questions in hope of some further discussion and perhaps, some answers.

The questions I had asked do not particularly pertain to the stuff Mr Wang had blogged about, but of relevance. We want a diversity of views, no? What's wrong in asking questions as an attempt to elicit thoughts from another perspective?

In fact, I had only commented on how each article/commentary written by anyone is really an overt/covert way of persuading others to agree with the writer. It spinned off with other allegations, some sarcastic, some distortions, some simply derogative. Of course, there are those who are kind and polite enough like yourself, le radical galosien. :)

Side-note: I don't find smiling a chore here. In fact, I am happy to engage a discussion here or in some other form. Helps to understand people better.

I am not out to make enemies, neither am I here to prove anyone wrong (hence the questions and not assertions). If we truly belong to a community who believe in plurality of views, then I urge everyone to discuss issues (whatever it may be) rationally, without any labelling. It's ok to show some emotions, just be careful where your emotions may lead you to.

And no, I am not lost. In fact, I am very clear where I stand. Anyway.. Here, I state my opinions, I don't make personal insults and I see what people have to say about different things. Is that unacceptable?

Anonymous said...

My, my, someone is really agitated here. Ah, maybe there is no room for alternative views in those stuffy party meetings so there is a need to let it all out here, whether relevant or not.

Understandable, when one has been forced to practice smiling for the million smile campaign.

le radical galoisien said...

"theonlinecitizen, thanks for your clarification (which I still think is a non-reply), but how is your site "not affiliated to any organisation - political or otherwise" when you and your team are all members of the Worker's Party?"

Wait, all of their staff are WP members? And here I thought it was a YoungRepublic project that got absorbed into some larger thing.

akikonomu said...

"And here I thought it was a YoungRepublic project that got absorbed into some larger thing."

The YoungRepublic groupblog/magazine was its own project, but eventually Andrew got to know about it from Zhengxi (who was scouting for writers), and offered to absorb the project into a website he wanted to run called tentatively theonlinecitizen. AFAIK, negotiations stretched from June - august last year, where Zhengxi, Jiekai, En and Vernon all met up with Andrew's team - himself, his co-editor, the web designer, a PR and media manager/consultant who were all members of the WP.

Eventually it was agreed that instead of TYR people editing and commissioning other bloggers to write the political articles and the WP personnel editing all the non-political stuff (this arrangement was to avoid any conflict of interest problems on the WP end, I believe), that the WP management will take control of the entire project. AFAIK TYR has nothing to do with theonlinecitizen, and I'm sorry if you've been led to believe otherwise. also, I think TYR blog/magazine project has been put in cold storage for now.

Anonymous said...

Take for example "Are we moving towards a punitive society?", an article written by theonlinecitizen. On the whole, it's not a bad article, but his glowing account of the forum, so glowing and full of praise for its success, is way off the mark from everyone else who has blogged about it. Is this glowing account an unbiased opinion, or should we take into account the fact that theonlinecitizen is a member of the WP? (AFAIK, yawning bread and Singapore Patriot have written very negative reports of this forum. Commentors at their websites have reacted negatively towards WP's performance at the forum.)

What is glaringly missing from theonlinecitizen's account of the forum is this significant incident, reported by yawning bread and SG Patriot:

Participants from the floor continued to press the question, despite the chair trying to move the debate away from it. Finally, one member of the Workers' Party stood up to say that there were "certain moral values that we should uphold." He quickly added the platitude, "not that I am against the community", but nonetheless reiterated, "we should not compromise on morals."

Is there a conflict of interest when a WP member writes a report about a WP public forum, without informing readers of his party membership?

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear all,

Thank you for the questions. I will try and answer them the best I can.

The Young Republic (TYR) and Theonlinecitizen (TOC):

Theonlinecitizen came about as an idea which I - Andrew - had. I initiated it alone as my own independent project.

Talks started when I was contacted by Jie Kai and Remy last year. Both of them are members of TYR.

Collaboration was discussed between TOC and TYR but the nature of such collaboration was murky. I spoke to Remy several times about this.

Suffice it to say, at the end of everything, TOC decided to go it alone - with Remy and Jie Kai being ordinary contributors to TOC. This is because of their entry into tertiary institutions which, as I explained to Remy, would not allow them the time and commitment they needed to put into TOC.

Remy agreed.

Remy also informed me that Vernon would not be able to contribute to TOC as initially discussed.

As such, it was agreed between me and Remy that they (Remy and Jie Kai) would contribute as ordinary writers on an ad hoc basis to TOC. Theonlinecitizen is glad that they are part of the team and indeed Remy is a very good person to work with.

Remy and Jie Kai are not members of WP.

Akikonomu says: "All of whom are WP members". This statement is not correct. The media person involved at the beginning is not and was not - as far as I know - a WP member.

This media person is no longer involved with TOC.

Also, as I have explained, Choong Yong is also no longer involved with TOC. The same as the co-editor, who left TOC before we even launched the project online.

Thus, TOC is now primarily run by me alone, with articles submitted by volunteer writers.

TOC is NOT a WP initiative.

Although I am a WP member, TOC is not a WP initiative and never was it a WP initiative. The party did not initiate it, neither was I asked to initiate TOC as part of any WP internet strategy, if indeed WP has an internet strategy.

Anonymous asks: "Is there a conflict of interest when a WP member writes a report about a WP public forum, without informing readers of his party membership?"

Theonlinecitizen did seek others to write a report on the forum but was unable to find anyone who would or could do it.

Thus, I decided to write about it myself - and do it as objectively as I could.

There are things which are included in my report which are not included in Sgpatriot's report. Alex himself was not at the forum and was basing his own account on recordings of the forum and on media reports, as he said in his article.

Also, I do not believe that the forum was held by the WP Youth Wing - as far as I know - which Alex said.

It is not possible to report on every word that was said at the forum and neither is it possible to report on every question that was asked.

Theonlinecitizen tried to be as fair as possible - thus we ended the segment on the gay issue with a quote from the 'gay lobbyist':

“If you allow one thing to happen to one minority, it will happen to another minority. You have to be alert because if you keep quiet, then there really will be no voice.”

To be clear, theonlinecitizen - as is made clear on the blogsite - is and always be a 'work in progress'. And this includes its editors, writers, content, and even owners.

Theonlinecitizen takes the view that a person's political membership or political affiliation is a personal choice.

Indeed, writers to theonlinecitizen come from a varied background of political beliefs. We welcome anyone of any political persuasions - or no political persuasions.

Deepthroat.sg's insinuations are off the mark because:

1. Andrew is not and never was a member of the WP Youth Wing.

2. Choong Yong is no longer involved with TOC.

3. TOC is not funded by "members of a certain political party". (What funding is deepthroat.sg talking about when everyone knows that wordpress provides free usage and TOC does not pay anyone for any article or contribution?)

4. TOC is not a WP initiative - nor is it an initiative of any political party or organisation.

5. Deepthroat.sg accused or labelled TOC as "anti government" and "anti-establishment". This is false and untrue. TOC is not anti-government or anti-establishment. One only needs to look at the report on the P65 forum on theonlinecitizen and other occasions when TOC commended the govt.

I am glad that this issue has allowed us to discuss an important aspect of political discourse in singapore - namely:

Should a person's political affiliation preclude his right to independence in thought, expression and opinion?

And this is the more important question, in my opinion, which should be discussed instead of aspersions being cast on certaiin people just because they belong to certain political parties.

As Deepthroat.sg claims to "bring balance to the blogosphere", it would only be proper that he divulges who he/they are.

And in aiming to "bring balance to the blogosphere", is it not incumbent upon him/them to seek clarification and verification of facts before they jump to conclusions and cast aspersions?

Deepthroat.sg could have ascertained all these with a simple inquiry to the WP and to myself.

But he did not.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen.

theonlinecitizen said...

By the way, anonymous, you said:

"AFAIK, yawning bread and Singapore Patriot have written very negative reports of this forum."

I do not find their report "very negative", especially Singapore Patriot's report.

Indeed, Singapore Patriot ended his report with this:

"Even if one were to set aside moral arguments, this stance by the WP is certainly a sound political move which will put it in a good position to reach its target voters, namely Singaporeans who want an alternative but credible voice in Parliament to check and balance the ruling party."

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

a straits times reader said...

I think the issue here is one of full disclosure.

To wit, "Full disclosure in media refers to disclosing the interests of the writer which may bear on the subject being written about" (wikipedia)

That means if I'm a member of the PAP, I should disclose this fact if I am writing a report on a PAP forum on my blog. Anonymous (16 Feb) alludes to this principle, which theonlinecitizen has not answered.

I feel theonlinecitizen has misunderstood or misread all queries, instead believing that his critiquees want to shut him up: "Should a person's political affiliation preclude his right to independence in thought, expression and opinion?"

I don't think anyone is demanding that theonlinecitizen stop posting political essays. I suggest however that some concerned bloggers believe theonlinecitizen did not practice full disclosure when it was needed.

theonlinecitizen said...

Anonymous:

You said: "What is glaringly missing from theonlinecitizen's account of the forum is this significant incident, reported by yawning bread and SG Patriot:" (Here you quote the incident of a WP member talking about "moral values")

You have got it wrong. The incident is reported only by Yawning Bread.

Singapore Patriot did not report on this incident. Please read Singapore Patriot's account again

Also, you said that "Commentors at their websites have reacted negatively towards WP's performance at the forum."

There is only one comment on the Singapore Patriot's posting.

There are 13 comments on Yawning Bread's posting.

Out of the 13, some are negative, some are supportive on the WP's position regarding the gay issue.

Alex himself said: "However, taking Sylvia Lim's words literally - that the party is split on the matter - it also means that there are also others within the WP who favoured speaking up on this issue. My take therefore is that we don't write off the party, but keeping working on them."

I support Alex's view, personally.

I do not see that "commentators have reacted negatively to the WP forum".

Some have, but not all.

That's to be expected.

We believe we have given a fair report on the forum.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear Straits Times reader,

I understand your point - but only if theonlinecitizen is a WP blogsite.

Otherwise, I do not agree.

As have been explained, theonlinecitizen is not a WP project or initiative.

If it were and was kept from the public, then theonlinecitizen would have done wrong.

According to what you said, should we then demand that Deepthroat.sg reveal his identity so that we can ascertain if what he says is true - that he "aim to bring balance to the blogosphere" - and allow us to see where he is coming from?

Regards,
theonlinecitizen.

PS: Apologies to all for the hyperlink in previous post.

akikonomu said...

1. The issue of full disclosure

"I think the issue here is one of full disclosure"

a straits times reader, that is a matter of whether one considers blogging to be citizen journalism - and then bound by the rules of mainstream journalism.

2. Many thanks to Andrew for clarifying the history between TOC and TYR!

3. Andrew's coverage of the WP forum

"Theonlinecitizen did seek others to write a report on the forum but was unable to find anyone who would or could do it.

Thus, I decided to write about it myself - and do it as objectively as I could."

Again, thanks for clarifying what happened.

Technically, theonlinecitizen was in conflict of interest the moment he wrote the report on his forum and his party leader, no matter how objectively he decided to conduct himself. While conflicts of interest do not automaticallyr mean dishonesty and intent to deceive, the easiest way to avert such suspicions is to be honest, candid, and inform readers at first opportunity that potential conflict of interest exists at the beginning of the article.

Full disclosure is the best practice, even if you put in every effort to be objective.

To paraphrase someone, it is not just important to be objective and fair, but also to be SEEN as objective and fair.

Anonymous said...

People may have different focus on the Penal Code Forum and write reports according to the focus without any specific agenda in mind.

We should take note that the TOC article “Are we moving towards a punitive society?” ended with a reference and link to Singapore Patriot's report:

Read also Singapore Patriot’s report here.

TOC also referenced Yawning Bread's "Workers' Party shies away from the gay issue" in its Elsewhere On The Net section when it was available.

These two references serve to show that TOC is providing readers with diverse sources of view.

It is not easy for anyone to cover all angles of a topic. It is the willingness to include others who cover the topic in different angles that make the difference.

Please put this fact in mind in assessing if TOC is an objective and neutral blog site.

chen d.n. said...

TheOnlineCitizen,

I am really sorry but I am getting really confused about what you're trying to say. :-(

On the one hand, your website says that "Andrew was never and is not a member of the WP Youth Wing."

But we also have TheOnlineCitizen saying in response to DeepThroat.sg:

"Is Andrew Loh the registrant of theonlinecitizen as well as a WP member?
If yes, then theonlinecitizen is funded by members of a certain party.

The answer to both question is yes. But you are saying “members” with an ‘s’. That is misleading.And in any case, wordpress is free to use."


This is very confusing... how does this work? Does this mean Andrew Loh is a Workers' Party member, but not a WP Youth Wing member?

Anyway I agree with Akikonomu that the main issue is about declaring conflicts of interest.

a straits times reader said...

"That is misleading. And in any case, wordpress is free to use."

Wordpress is indeed free to use. But it is now public knowledge that Andrew Loh registered a domain name (www.theonlinecitizen.com) for the blog instead of hosting it on wordpress itself. That separate domain name costs money.

Now, if theonlinecitizen was totally free (hosted on wordpress itself), it would be theonlinecitizen.wordpress.com instead. This implies that the blog is hosted on a separate, private server outside wordpress. That server space again requires money to rent.

Looking at it logically, the project has to involve funding from individual or individuals, and I'm curious to know why Andrew Loh insists the blog is not funded by anyone by pointing out that "wordpress is free" - a non sequitur.

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear akikonomu,

Thank you for stating your stance. We will take your comments into consideration for future reports and articles.

We have tried to be as objective as we can not only in our report on the WP forum but also by highlighting other bloggers' report too, esp singapore patriot and Yawning Bread's report.

Much appreciation.


To anonymous,

I will not go into how one becomes a member of the WP Youth Wing - as it is best for the WP Youth Wing to answer your question.

Suffice it to say that being a member of the WP does not necessarily make one a member of the Youth Wing.


To straits times reporter,

Yes, registration of domain name requires money. But that does not mean theonlinecitizen is "funded by members [with an "s"]" of the WP.

PS: Are you deepthroat.sg posting under a new nick?


Dear all,

I think TOC has tried its best to answer all questions as best as TOC can.

TOC apologises for any confusion and any shortcoming. TOC will take all your comments into consideration in future reports and articles.

We would like to thank everyone for expressing your opinion - whether it's supportive of TOC or not.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen.

a straits times reader said...

"Yes, registration of domain name requires money."

Thanks for the clarification. How about my query whether theonlinecitizen is indeed hosted on a separate server outside of wordpress? If true, that requires money as well.

"PS: Are you deepthroat.sg posting under a new nick?"

Perhaps too many people are raising questions about the onlinecitizen project that they begin to melt into each other in your mind. In any case, I'm not a straits times reporter, but a straits times reader. Maybe if akikonomu, chen d.n. or more anonymous commentors ask more questions, you'll accuse all of them of being DeepThroat.sg? And then, anyone who questions your website and lack of full disclosure will be accused of being PAPanons as well?

I am sympathetic to your current position, but your defense is poisoning the well of discourse and making it impossible for anyone to ask legitimate questions or even offer suggestions to improve theonlinecitizen.

Yes, registration of domain name requires money. But that does not mean theonlinecitizen is "funded by members [with an "s"]" of the WP.

I've read enough letters in the straits times forum to suspect that Andrew appears to be splitting hairs here - perhaps he's "refuting" DeepThroat.sg's suggestion that the website is funded by WP members, because in reality the website is only funded by 1 WP member.

It's the same pattern of hair-spitting when Andrew claims that he's only a WP member, but not a WP Youth Wing member, and hence has "refuted" DeepThroat.sg's claims that theonlinecitizen.com is run by WP members.

"TOC apologises for any confusion and any shortcoming. TOC will take all your comments into consideration in future reports and articles.

We would like to thank everyone for expressing your opinion - whether it's supportive of TOC or not."

Again, I have read enough letters from the straits times forum to realise that this is how civil servants reply to queries and comments - by thanking everyone, but with no promise that any concrete action will be taken. I hope this impression is a wrong one tho.

theonlinecitizen said...

Dear straits times reader,

TOC has endeavoured to answer all questions as best as it can.

No answer will satisfy everyone.

TOC has revealed more than the questions would have deserved.

Deepthroat.sg has not replied to any of TOC's questions.

And since Deepthroat.sg no longer is engaged in this discussion, which he started, TOC will therefore end its participation here.

We will leave our readers and the public to judge us by our blog site and make their own decision about us.

Any further enquiries are always welcome.

TOC can be reached at theonlinecitizen@gmail.com

Thank you for your comments and offering your opinion and even crticism.

We will take all comments into consideration for future articles and content.

Thank you, once again.

Regards,
theonlinecitizen

ed-infinitum said...

The 'citizen' is one who enters politics by virtue of his being a part of the politically enfranchised citizenry and the decisions of the government impacting upon his welfare. 'Entering politics' means to attempt membership amongst the immediate decision makers.

le radical galoisien said...

The Athenian ideal would have them both the same. The citizen that wasn't part of politics was the classical "idiot", because people who kept to their own private affairs and "idiosyncrasies" were looked down upon.

TOC - uh, I was initially supportive of your role, but this seems a tad hasty. It looks all too much like a "oops! Too many holes! Damage control!" situation.

Anonymous said...

They have to do anonymous postings because they do not have convincing facts to back themselves up !

Anonymous said...

Doing anonymous postings could very well damage their sincerity and intergrity

Deceived said...

I think PAP top guns have seriously lost touch with the ground. Most of them have beome little LKYs, after prolonged incubation, hibernation and exposure to the One and Only Ruler, who can never take "NO" for an answer.

So, they only know how to say "nice and agreeable" words; and also as a result develop for themselves the inclination to listen to only "nice and agreeable" words.

Therefore, they developed an intolerent and inability to hear bad or negative comments or criticisms. As a result, those around them have been very cautious to feed them only "nice and agreeable" words.

So, without them knowing it, they have slowly but surely lost their feel of situations on the ground. They developed the "Helicopter" vision, while the ground people developed the "Worm" vision. How to see eye to eye?

Since I perceive them that way, whatever they put up, whether in the Mass Media or Internet, I will avoid reading them. I refuse to get myself contaminated by their "Bigotry". I look for alternative sources of news and information elsewhere.