Jan 10, 2007

Blogospheric Musings

Recently, two prominent bloggers emailed me. Somewhere in her email, Gayle Goh wrote this sentence - I have respect for your work. Somewhere in his email, Mr Brown wrote this sentence - I love your work.

No, the purpose of my present post is not self-congratulation. What strikes me is that both Gayle and Mr Brown used the same word to refer to my blog posts - work. Presumably, they would refer to their own blogging in the same way.

Work implies something to be taken seriously. Something to be done with diligence, skill and care. I believe that as a medium, blogs will continue to matter, because many people out there strive to blog with diligence, skill and care. Of course, how exactly they strive to do it will vary.

When I left my old blog and set up this new one, I did a couple of things differently. For example, I no longer use the Extreme Tracker program. Also, I no longer have a quick, convenient hyperlink to my own page on Technorati. What are the consequences?

I can no longer tell how many readers I get each day. I don't know where my traffic is coming from. I've become much less frequent in checking who's been saying what on the Internet about me.

I deliberately chose this state of affairs. Why? Because unlike Robbie Williams, I'm not a pop star. I'm not an exhibitionist. I'm not here to tickle your imagination nor entertain you for entertainment's sake.

By refusing to track my blog traffic, I will avoid being tempted, even subconsciously, to write things just for the sake of gaining more readers. Unlike TV or newspapers, I will have no incentive to sensationalise for the sake of sensationalising.

So instead I will write only when I think I have something worth writing about.

Which is the way I've decided it should be. For my blog, at any rate.

As I had mentioned, I don't monitor incoming hyperlinks that frequently anymore. I must confess I was a little slow to realise just how much blogospheric debate
my non-appearance on BlogTV.sg had generated. See for instance, this, this and this. I would say that Elia Diodati came closest to reading my mind.

The best commentary on this matter, however, will remain unknown to the public. In his long email to me, ex-TODAY columnist Mr Brown made several very perceptive comments about media & politics in Singapore. Mr Brown is indeed a clever man. But I think he intended the email to be a private communication, so I shall not discuss the details.


Anonymous said...

As the saying goes "If you are good, you don't have to prove anything." So what is 100 million people read what you write, or only 1 person read what you write? I guess your move towards this direction is indeed make yourself true to yourself. Keep on doing in what you believe in, I believe that is the most important thing. Why let others affect you? :)

Anonymous said...

I hope it is a sign that you and Gayle can agree to disagree. It will be a pity to lose one of you to the you-know-what through the "divide and conquer" tactic.

Anonymous said...

Forget Gayle - she claims to want to "engage" the MIW, but when put in front of George Yeo, she didn't even venture to tell the truth why his blog is not read - because it stinks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you mr wang for injecting some intellect into my mundance life.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I'm pretty okay with Gayle's approach to the BlogTV thing. Bloggers are all different people, with different ways of doing things.

Anonymous said...


If the farmer wants to warn the fox, why volunteer to be a chicken? Nobility comes at a high price.

ugly man said...

Mr Wang, I personally feel that you are much wiser in your decision and approach toward this new blog.

It is more important to write what is true in your heart than write to get more reader to your blog.

Lastly, Thank you for keeping your blog alive.

Anonymous said...

Methinks Mr Wang doth protest too much.

If traffic and viewership truly meant as little as his ostensibly reborn self claims, why keep the link to "Just ask his fans"?

And on the e-mail quotes -- it is clear that private communications are private for Mr Wang, so long as they serve his purposes. When it serves him to quote extracts or bits, he will do so.

Unless Mr Wang sought prior permission, quoting Gayle's "I have respect for your work" would be as much an infringement of the "I think he intended the email to be a private communication" doctrine. In fact some might say it is worse, for there is no more context. What if Gayle had written:

"I have respect for your work. But..."

As for "divide and conquer", who was it who launched the broadside first? Who first mentioned Gayle accepting the BlogTV appearance, and then cast aspersions?

It wasn't the Men In White. It was Mr Wang.

Anonymous said...

Matt: I believe what Gayle said to George Yeo was "'Oh, I didn't find them interesting".

Why did you say she didn't dare to say the truth?

Mr Wang: I'm wondering if you stopped measuring the traffic count because it has been falling over the past few months? To be honest, I think there's a general sentiment that the quality of your postings have dropped (One memorably bad article was the one on your shock at finding an adult novelty shop in Chinatown).

The interesting thing is that you have recently put GoogleAds into your blog, yet you claim not to be interested in traffic figures. As we all know, ad revenue is directly proportional to traffic. Is it not earning as much as you had expected?

Anyway, I do hope you'll focus on quality over quantity. Yawning Bread's postings are consistently of a high quality, though he doesn't post as frequently as you. I think that will be a good model to strive towards.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Devil's advocate: well said.

nofearSingapore said...

boon: FYI, googleads is not dependent on traffic but on the clicks on the ads. Also, I don't think it says anything less about Mr. Wang's blog if he has ads on it.

I respect Wang's decision not to be on TV as much as I respect Gayle for being on it.


Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"Mr Wang: I'm wondering if you stopped measuring the traffic count because it has been falling over the past few months?"

Nah. Just went to check. In 2006, September, October & November were actually the three best months ever, beating even May (elections month).


By the way, I didn't cast any aspersions on Gayle. Whatever gave you the idea? Don't anyhow anyhow say, hor.

Anonymous said...

devil's advocate

In scrutinizing the trivial details, maybe you have lost the big picture.

What makes you think Mr Wang does not have other purposes in quoting emails? You think he is that studpid to betray confidence on the blogosphere? If what you said is true, the two bloggers could always speak up and surface the truth.

And don't you think Gayle's exhortation for the rest of the bloggers to challenge on MSM all too familiar? For a moment I thought she was a puppet.

There are opportunists who would exploit every weakness in the opposition just to get what they want. They don't have to initiate something. That's too obvious.

I thought the devil's supposed to be highly intelligent and deceptive. It seems you still have much to learn to be his advocate. Stick to being a naive green-eyed monster.

Anonymous said...

70 percent of jobs went to foreigners.

Home ›
Singapore News

Middle class wage stagnation could lead to social instability
By Pearl Forss, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 11 January 2007 1856 hrs

Photos 1 of 1

A Singaporean office worker reads a newspaper while walking during lunch break in Singapore

SINGPAORE: Middle class wages have been stagnant in the past 5 years, according to economists, and this could lead to social instability

These concerns were shared at the annual Institute of Policy Studies Singapore Perspectives conference.

Economists believe a US economy slowdown in business and consumer spending may cause problems for Singapore, but as Singapore is tops in the ASEAN resilience index, it should be able to weather external shocks, thanks to a diversified economy and strong Asian demand.

They predict that growth going forward will be above 3 to 5 percent.

The long term growth speed limits for a mature economy was previously in the 3 to 5 percent range.

However, economists are asking who this growth is for. The income of the bottom 30 percent of the population has fallen. What is more worrying is the fact that the majority of Singaporeans in the middle class has only seen about a 1 percent increase in nominal income in the last 5 years.

It is not just Singapore - economists say stagnant wages is a global problem, and the chief reason for this is globalisation.

India and China are introducing a large pool of skilled and unskilled labour to compete with the labour forces of industrialised countries.

Singapore is susceptible to this because of its open economy.

123, 000 jobs were created last year and economists estimate some 70 percent of these jobs went to foreigners.

"With the rate of immigration even among unskilled and semi skilled labour at a rate twice of what we experienced in the 90s, at a rate fastest in the developed world, the question is does this dampen our real wages as we grow? Does the strategy itself dampen real wages and depress real wages at the low and middle end of the spectrums? They are sacred cows but we should step back and think about them," said Yeoh Lam Keong, Vice President, Economic Society of Singapore.

Another reason cited for middle class wage stagnation, is the move by the government to cut CPF employer contribution rates for older workers by 4 percentage points over the last 2 years.

"So if you were a worker in the 50-55 age group, you could have seen your wages fall as much as 10 percent over the last 3 or 4 years. Now with the economy improving, the government could bring that back, the increase is 1 or 2 percent. I'm in support of CPF tinkering but probably it happens far too often, but I think there's probably some justification to look back and think that the restructuring was a bit too aggressive on the CPF side and it has contributed somewhat to a very sandwiched middle class," said Chua Hak Bin, Director, Asia Pacific Econ & Market Analysis, Citigroup Global Markets Singapore.

The government is looking at increasing CPF by 1 to 2 percent in 2007.

Economists say workfare should become a more permanent pillar of the economy so as to cushion growing inequality.

Adding that long term middle class wage stagnation could lead to social instability. - CNA /dt

Anthony said...

I can definitely relate to taking away the temptation to write for an audience. Well done.

akikonomu said...

"Yawning Bread's postings are consistently of a high quality"

Presumably you didn't consider his far off the mark review of Borat...

moomooman said...

Since the topic is about musing, that means I can also make a posting here without going off-mark.

My apologies for not following about this blogtv thingy. I thought "dun go.. means dun go lor". I didn't think it can be an issue with anyone at all.

As I said previously, Mr Wang might be George Yeo. But Of course, that is a joke.

When anyone declined any invitation, no reason is needed. Just happen that Mr Wang decided to be honest, and then kenna. In Hokkien, there is this term... it's called.. LPPL.

That aside. Bravo to Wang for not taking statistics too seriously. Not that I have heavy traffic to my blog, I don't care less about traffic as I write what I want. I think with this attitude, I can expect more variety of postings from Wang.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Please stop putting yourself on a pedestal again...spare us lah tolong.

Gosh....I think ppl like you really wished there were two of you, just for another to either pat you on the back or angkat you 24 hrs a day.

Who really cares about Mr Brown these days and his passe pod cast. Besides do you notice, they ALL sound the same? Koincdence huh duhhhhhhhh!

As for you try to cut the trans and hit the gym and remember stop gripping abt how high and mighty you are and how low the rest of us are just bc you dont bother with counters! Or decided on a no show on Blog TV

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

"Who really cares about Mr Brown these days and his passe pod cast. Besides do you notice, they ALL sound the same? Koincdence huh duhhhhhhhh!

As for you try to cut the trans and hit the gym and remember stop gripping abt how high and mighty you are and how low the rest of us are just bc you dont bother with counters! Or decided on a no show on Blog TV"

Wow, for someone who doesn't seem to like Mr Brown nor me, you really seem to keep very up-to-date with our blogs. Kekeke.

Anonymous said...


I think his was an honest review of Borat. As a film satire, did it really work?

I had high hopes for the show, but I was left disappointed. The scenes purportedly exposing the dark inner belly of Americans look more like people trying their polite best to accommodate a weird foreigner.

Seriously, if you encounter such a character, how would you react? More likely than not, you'd just go along with whatever he says simply because you're too astonished to react otherwise.

And I'm sure that scenes showing offended Americans admonishing Borat for his offensive speech and behaviour would have been edited out, just to present a biased one-sided story. It's just a movie, not a documentary, in case you forget.

So I'd say his review of Borat hit the nail on the head.

As to whether all his articles are good, of course not. He has a tendency to start ranting on gay issue whenever possible. Otherwise, I think his is one of the most consistent blogs around.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I like YB. Especially in person. He's funny; down-to-earth; sincere; clever; very likeable; and consistently driven by ideas of how society can be improved. He comes across as a very good sort of human being, certainly better than all the PAP MPs I have ever met. And I find him very admirable for his consistent dedication to the gay cause.

I would not say that he writes infrequently. He posts less often than me, but his posts are much longer than mine. I'd say that his average post is two or three times longer than my average posts; while I have two or three times his number of posts per month. So in the end we blog about as much.

His preference is for long, detailed, well-argued essays. Mine is for short, sharp, succinct posts. Mainly, I want to be sure I can hold the reader's attention. I feel that many readers tend to give up halfway through long posts, unless the topic really, really interests them.

Not saying that one style is better than the other, just that they're different styles. In fact, I don't think that bloggers should strive to copy or imitate one another's writing styles or approaches. The charm of blogs is the individual's unique personality & voice. If readers don't like one particular style or blog or blogger, they can always stop reading and go visit another blog. Theory of the Long Tail again, go see my next post for more details.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang, point taken.

But I wasn't talking about a change of style. It's about quality over quantity. You could still keep your posts succinct, but a little more QC would be great.

Also, didn't you use to have another web site where you file away your reference news articles? That's a good idea, instead of clogging up this blog with copy-and-paste entries.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Hmmm ... I think that quality is often subjective. You don't seem to like YB's "rantings" on gay issues, for instance - but I happen to think that YB is at his best when he writes about gay issues.

In fact, no one writes better on those topics. This is where YB knows his stuff best - (unsurprising, since the origin of his blog is as a "gay rights" blog and he is a key member of the "People Like Us" group).

One of the consistency problems for my blog is that I tie my commentaries to the latest news events in S'pore. Obviously this means my blog gets very interesting when things like IMF, General Elections, Mr Brown vs Bhavani, take place. But sometimes nothing really happens in Singapore - there aren't any significant events or new developments which catch my eye. This is when the consistency problem arises. In the past, I would then tend to throw in "fillers" (that's the term which MSM uses) - i.e posts which fill the space mostly for the sake of filling the space. Like cut-&-paste articles, just to give people something to read.

Well, no more fillers. This year I just intend to write about whatever interests me. Apart from current affairs and issues in Singapore, that would include spirituality & religion; personal financial planning & investment; parenting & kids; books; poetry. Oooh, and my personal health goals.

I expect that a good chunk of those topics will not interest the current pool of my regular readers. You might also view those topics as further signs of inconsistency. Well, too bad. Maybe I'll lose some readers, but perhaps I may gain some new ones. Either way, it doesn't matter. As I had said, this year I do not intend to let readership numbers influence my blogging content in any significant way.

Anonymous said...

great, no more fillers!

hmm, if we are using the term "inconsistency", then I would say it's inconsistency in quality, and not the topics. Personally, I would like to see more diverse topics being discussed, and move beyond whatever was reported in ST that particular day.

As for YB, what I meant was that he might be talking about a different topic for the first 80% of the article, and then suddenly veer off topic into his gay rant at the end. It just weakens the argument he had been building up, I find it such a pity. IMHO, he's much better when he focuses.

Anyway, enough on this, I'm looking forward to the changes in your blog.