Friday, September 16, 2005

I Love Op-Eds

There're two interesting Op-Eds today in the newspaper Today. One's titled "Free speech: Are you responsible enough?" from 23 year old Timothy Tang Nam Yen.
There has been much confusion over what can — and cannot — be said on the Internet... People who do not practise self-censorship are often the ones who create civil unrest. These people are often seen as threats to national security and the law stands by to keep them in line... ... As soon as a blog entry is posted, the key words can be picked up by search engines worldwide... For youth who wish to discuss controversial political issues, I feel they should not do so in online forums or on popular blogs, as they may still come under the ambit of local laws governing the Internet... ... However, they should be encouraged to do so in real-life group discussions. This would encourage greater responsibility and civic consciousness (since they have to own their opinions, unlike online where they can remain anonymous or use pseudonyms)... ... In short, the questions for readers to ask are: Is freedom of speech in itself truly constructive? Or does one also need to practise self-censorship before engaging the public with one's possibly controversial views? And, if self-censorship fails, does the Government have the obligation and right to keep individuals in line?
Read the full article here. This op-ed is as funny as it is scary. It's funny in that Timothy feels that folks should discuss politics in 'real-life group discussions'. I guess he's right since most Internet discussions are not real-life hahaha! Even Dubya Bush thinks so too. There are so many different Internets, each one residing in its own parallel universe LOL! The other problem is that to do a 'real-life group discussion', one has to apply for a permit, and the only four or less people (I think) can sit at a table to avoid been labeled an 'illegal gathering'. So, yeah, there might be logistical problems in taking this approach. The scary thing is the last part about the failure of self-censorship and whether the government should keep folks in line. It's abundantly clear to me that at least one person should be afraid, very afraid. Yes, you guessed it: Timothy Tang Nam Yen. Unfortunately, self-censorship is clearly absent in him from the contents of his letter. He suggests legislative measures upon others, and sent his political letter to the newspaper to get it published, for the purpose of engaging the public with his possibly controversial views! He should have censored and stopped himself, putting his letter quietly back into his drawer. I do wish Timothy the best; I won't want to see the government exercising its obligation and right to keep people in line! (But maybe that's a good thing, for people like him are often the ones who create civil unrest.) The other nice article 's titled "Still room for bloggers", read it here. There's a discussion about blogs that need to be registered with the authorities if they seem to be 'political blogs'. Naturally, one would ask what such a blog might look like, as compared to a 'non-political' blog.
... MP Zainudin Nordin, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Information, Communications and the Arts, offers a distinction. It is one between opinion and advocacy. "If the Government were to launch ComCare to help the needy and someone said the scheme was rubbish, well, that's his opinion. But if he said, 'Let's all gang up together and demonstrate against it', he's standing for something. He's politicising it," he said. His viewpoint is reflected in MDA's Internet industry guidelines, which state that web pages that promote political or religious "causes" are automatically licensed. An echo of this approach is also in the Government's view of "crusading journalism" as unhealthy. While blogs are online diaries, the MDA told Today that with regard to political content on websites, "current rules applicable to the media will continue to apply". In general, that means nothing which is against "public interest or order, or national harmony or which offends against good taste or decency"...
I took a full three minutes looking at MP Nordin's response, and I'm still unsure what he meant. How does anyone realistically 'gang up together and demonstrate against it'? And isn't a person who says that the ComCare scheme is rubbish also standing up for something? He's standing up for his opinion that the scheme is rubbish! I don't know leh, that's why I love local Op-Eds. They keep my mind occupied throughout the day with such interesting brain teasers... ;p

15 comments:

Popagandhi said...

FYI, the same author is the author of the 'popular' blog stopgays.blogspot.com.

=)

Anonymous said...

Adri, aren't you like supposed to be in jail for being a lesbian?

Popagandhi said...

Yep. They took me out when they realised I had a thing for women in uniforms.

Tym said...

The last line of your post is a real kicker. If only I could be as sanguine...

I don't understand Zainudin's 'distinction', either. And his comment that "when in doubt, refer to the authorities"? Oh, please --- nanny state much??

lakeside girl said...

Ohh, that's the same guy who said this...?

"I am moving on from Blogger cause I just realised that blogging is really for low level kiddos and my targeted audience(they are not gay perverts) have much better things to do than to read blogs so I am moving from here to somewhere where I can find them."

Wonder which place he's gonna move to to cater to his "targeted audience".

jeffyen said...

I was rather disappointed that the stop-gays blog was taken down (I think he has a right to his opinions), probably due to the publication of the letter (even though I did some research in the Jedi Archives today and it seems he has quite a few articles published in the press before.)

Maybe he's taking it off blogger, and shifting it to 'real life group discussions.' :)

Anonymous said...

I think you the only or one of the few people on the internet to comment on the articles from Today.

Seriously, I am seeing quite a few elements from this blog post that the relevant parties involved can really use to sue you for defamation and slander(if they want to). I would delete this post if I were you.

Anonymous said...

hahahah

Jeff got TOLD!!!!

hm.. btw wats op-eds????

weird stuff u look at!

Jul Jul

jeffyen said...

Thanks, anon, for your concern :)

Amy, from wikipedia,

"An Op-Ed is a piece of writing, expressing an opinion. The name originated from the tradition of newspapers placing such materials on the page opposite to the editorial page. The term "Op-Ed" is derived from combining the words "Opposite" and "Editorial" (or "Opinion" and "Editorial"). It is primarily an American term.

The editorial page contains editorials and the Op-Ed page contains opinion columns and sometimes cartoons:

* Editorials are (usually short) opinion pieces, written by the editorial board of the paper. They reflect the stance of the paper and do not have bylines.
* The opinions expressed on Op-Ed pages reflect those of the individual authors, not the paper. The articles have bylines and are usually written by editorial staff members or syndicated columnists.

Most Op-Ed pieces take the form of an essay or thesis, using arguments to promote a point of view. Newspapers often run Op-Ed pieces that are in line with their editorial slants, though dissenting opinions are often given space to promote balance and discussion.

"Op-Ed" has become a general category to identify opinion from fact, regardless of the medium. For example, Web pages containing opinion articles are labeled "Op-Ed," even though the original meaning is not relevant."


Technically, I think the second article isn't strictly an op-ed. It does contain opinions from the two sides however, so, 勉强 probably is still an opinion driven piece. But I've already written the title and couldn't think of a better one, so I just let it be lol

Anonymous said...

fyi: A 'real-life group discussion' would not require a permit if it is held behind closed doors, and not in open public space.

Anonymous said...

There are alot of defaming materials in this post and comment box. According to "Popagandhi", I think if her accusation that both of the said authors are one and the same, but yet does not have the verifiable evidence to prove that, she could be sued for defamation and slander, not forgeting she could also be jailed if she really is homosexual as the anonymous person said. Also I believe the author of this blog is seriously flawed in this post.

jeffyen said...

anon, I think she has mentioned that she's already been in jail, but was later kicked out...

Popagandhi said...

Verifiable evidence? Do you really want me to dredge that out for you? I could if it was absolutely important to you. But I don't need to to do that because I don't have anything to prove.

Going to jail> Exactly which law are you talking about? 377? It refers to fellatio - male oral sex. =) I don't qualify.

lady queer said...

wa siao liao, someone HELP ME OUT HERE. I AM GOING NUTS! The Tim dude is SPAMMING by blog like MAJORLY! it's insane man I tell you!

jeffyen said...

Just ignore him, lady queer... not worth your time. :)