Monday, June 13, 2005

Soundbite Censored

Bloggers like 22-year-old Gabriel Seah think nothing of her lack of inhibition. 'The Internet is a free society, there is no reason why anyone should not do this, because it doesn't hurt anyone.' ~Straits Times/Naked blogger sets Net community abuzz
I know exams are tomorrow, but I really think I want to have tea with Melissa and Serene, the two journalists who wrote the article on SarongPartyGirl (adult material) that appeared in the Straits Times last Saturday. SPG has a nude photo of herself up on her blog, so it's supposed to be a big hooha. As you can see, she has exceeded her bandwidth in two days. Anyway, I would like to ask them out for tea to enquire how's life, and also ask how come they chose to publish Gabriel Seah's quote, only to censor half of it, and regrettably, the more pertinent half. What Gabriel (Agagooga, I presume?) really said in his statement to the press was (via SPG's latest post): "The Internet is a free society, there is no reason why anyone should not do this, because it doesn't hurt anyone. A lot of things that used to be considered bad are now acceptable, so maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge and condemn." I don't understand it. Is the newspaper afraid of anything? That suddenly everyone would pose nude on the Internets if the second part of the quote was published? (OK, apart from funnyman KennySia (adult material), who actually went ahead and posted a nude picture of himself, much to everyone's delight and chagrin.) Now, I do realise that word restrictions, column width and length guidelines, and so on that might explain this. But could it be because the second part of Gabriel's quote challenges people to think? And perhaps that is not seen to be too good for public consumption? Art challenges us to think. SPG's blog has depth, her pictures are done well, and her writings also challenge us to think, even if one might agree or disagree with her ideas and attitudes. All things considered, however, the article was still fairly unemotional or judgmental. Sigh, used to be the case that interviews were cut into soundbites. Nowadays, even two sentence soundbites have the potential to become even shorter... LOL Edit (!): It seems that Malaysia's The Star has shrunk the ST quote by half! (It's now, "The Internet is a free society.") By geometric progression, the next newspaper to pick up the story would print only two words: The Internets. Edit (!!): Oops, it seems that the Sydney Morning Herald [jefftest, jefftest] has already done that! The quote is missing altogether. Probably the editor thought, "The Internets? I can't run a quote with two words" Edit (!!!): More from 医学の学生, mrbrown, serialdeviant, MercerMachine, brandnewmalaysian. Edit (!V): messrs brown and miyagi have just gone onto NewRadio 938 to talk about the topic currently in the comments section: privacy, nonprivacy and you. Expect a podcast soon. Edit (V): I take back what I said about the relatively nonjudgmental tone of the newspaper. In a new article published on 18 June, the first line says, "The now infamous Sarong Party Girl has taken down the nude photograph of herself from her weblog - after her parents found out about it." Infamous? Very, very unprofessional word to use in a news article, I reckon.

17 comments:

elyrie said...

I wish I could see the ST article. But from what you described, it really sounded like a typical ST article - judgemental and moralistic.

Personally, I like reading her site. She writes so much better than many other Singaporean bloggers, and she holds refreshingly unconventional views.

Kevin said...

I think that to be able to go nude requires a deliberate open-mindedness, which would naturally be reflected in her uninhibited style of writing. In a way, she's become a Neo in our Matrix... "Free your mind". :P

Seriously though, I'm interested in how information flows and newspapers are the easy to track (just after blogs). You're spot on in seeing how the "telephone game" is played in our media. Keep up the great investigative work!

jeffyen said...

>>But from what you described, it really sounded like a typical ST article - judgemental and moralistic.

Actually I thought it was fairly unjudgmental taken as a whole, I can't reproduce the whole article here (copyright regulation), but if anyone wants to see it, just email me or leave a comment with your email address and I'll activate their 'email article to curious people' function.

Neo?! That's a thought...hehee

Agagooga said...

The full quote was in the original version of the article (as read back to me by Melissa), so I guess the editors chopped it out either because of space constraints or to avoid offending the Moral Majority (TM).

jeffyen said...

Thanks Gabriel for the clarification. Thank you Melissa, I'd now like to have tea with your boss LOL

I've been thinking about this Neo thing. Will people accept this Neo even if he or she is in front of us? I do know if Keanu appears before us, we would go crazy!! (Or at least some girls...hehe) OK lah, I like Keanu in Constantine...

Keven, if you're interested in more 'investigative work' or 'media watch', CommentarySingapore is a very good resource.

The full text can now be read at igakunogakusei.

Ali said...

I'm sure a lot of non-Singaporeans have similar "adult material" blogs right? I don't see the what the big deal is anyway. It's not like it's taking advantage of anyone.

And we all know that news in biased right? So what else is new?

jeffyen said...

Well, there a few 'adult blogs', I guess. I don't know much... The interesting thing is that this one has a nude picture! (One small thing I didn't like about the article was that 'naked' was used in the title. As one Out-of-Bounds Jedi Master likes to say, "so uncivilized!")

The last time this sort of thing created a hooha in the press was this mainland Chinese blogger who I guess did the same thing a couple of years ago.

seadrop said...

and i have to say, she is kinda good looking... :p i mean, from all those blur blur pictures..

igakunogakusei said...

I'm impressed by your handle on kanji and katakana :)

Bink Bink said...

Somewhere out there, a certain Ms. Chong is wondering what all the fuss is about. Pictures? PICTURES? Let's talk movies and world records shall we??

jeffyen said...

hidi: well, I think there will be more pictures coming up... I wonder how it is for her in real life, especially since she's entering uni soon. When real life and online life mix. When the public and the private clash...

med student: well at first I thought it's one of those fancy {artsy} [phrases] that doesn't have any meaning LOL, but when you mentioned Japanese and eye-logy, I got it...studied the language for a couple of years, forgotten most of it hahaa

bink: maybe she's thinking..."those are quite good,i should go and take some photos myself..." ;p

seadrop said...

eh I know how it's like when private and public life clashed...somehow I don't know which is which...*sigh*

methegirl3 said...

i don't see what's wrong with posting those pictures, though i wouldn't do it personally. would rather be seen as a person with a mind than just a body.

jeffyen said...

hidi: I think private life is something that is not online. Anything that is online is not private anymore. (Actually, I guess the whole point of putting up an online diary/journal/blog is for it to be public, unless specific measures are taken to ensure it's not.) Another way to differentiate is to create boundaries, if it's at all possible. Online personality is online personality/facade. Offline personality is offline personality/facade. And try not to take things too personality... ;)

And the other issue is the issue of context. A lot of things written on the web are only applicable for at most 5 minutes after the writer has written it, I reckon lol.

girl3: The funny thing is: I think her blog is mostly about her writings, and not pictures of her body! hehee. Her writing is far more 'risque' than a simple graphic I think. This disparity is what's ironic about the whole thing.

methegirl3 said...

Anything that is online is not private anymore.

hm. i don't really agree with that. online blogs/sites could very well be just a personal storage space and not for necessarily for the world to see.

i see that her blog was mentioned in an ST article, right? i can't help but think back to orwell's '1984', where even a person's thoughts is picked up by the folks at higher authority. now that, to me, is scary.

jeffyen said...

girl: I wrote something about this issue here. Essentially, the privacy issue is a technical issue (with regard to Internets technology).

If I'm not wrong, the story was first 'broken' not by the newspaper, but by the local websites aggregator www.tomorrow.sg . Since it's a slow news day, the newspaper naturally picked it up! hehee. The press has the power to do that, yes. And increasingly, individuals blogs have the same power too.

Anonymous said...

"hm. i don't really agree with that. online blogs/sites could very well be just a personal storage space and not for necessarily for the world to see."

Yes and Michael Jackson simply likes having children around his bed for the fun of it.