28 June 2006

The Students' Notebook

"We refer to the letter 'Bloggers should have the conviction to stand behind any statements they make and not hide under the cloak of anonymity' by Lionel de Souza (ST, June 22). We believe that Mr de Souza's claim that bloggers usually hide under the cloak to rant against the government and others is seriously misguided.

Most bloggers reveal their real identities, as we can see from people such as Mr Lee Kin Mun (mrbrown) and Mr Benjamin Lee (Mr Mayagi).

Bloggers' critical commentaries that are logical and backed by facts play a part to better shape our country politically, as we can see from Gayle Goh's (i-speak) recent postings that prompted Mr Bilahari Kausikan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to respond.

Despite the use of pseudonyms by some bloggers, views that are coherent and sound have been considered by the media, as The Straits Times did for Mr Wang's views in the original report 'Divided views over police checks on blogger' (The Sunday Times, June 18) ....."

Click here to read more about the views of En & Hou, two student bloggers who also run a cartoon blog called the Students' Sketchpad.

This Lionel de Souza person, by the way, is the same Lionel de Souza that I had previously mentioned here in my post about the gay doctor entrapped by the police.

See also Mr Wang's old post on the topic of the supposed anonymity of prominent bloggers in Singapore.

The world's most famous secret identity.


Anonymous said...

This man Lionel De Souza must be mad or uneducated.

Singapore is a democratic and free country.

What we have here are choices.

So people are free to be identified or remain anonymous.
It is their personal choice, nothing wrong with that.

Can we say those that identify themselves as stupid and is wrong from anonymity point of view?

Some would argue Singapore is not matured and not ready for identification of bloggers and forummers.

Given the present situation, there is some truth in that and it will be wise to remain anonymous.

Plus there are so many grey areas in the laws especially for bloggers/forummers who just wants to let loose,have fun and talk crap. This group would be better off remain anonymous or else their creativity will be curbed.

When I mean the environment is not matured yet for identification, I mean the ruling government has not yet mature, not the people.

Singaporeans have mature considerably but not PAP as they still cling on to certain traits of the past.

Until PAP or any ruling party mature about the need to let go and let loose on the environment, it is correct to remain anonymous.

Environment means overall climate in Singapore on freedom.

Public figures are after all public figures. If you want to be a public figure, then be ready for all kinds of views and comments or else remain a private citizen.

Is Lionel De Souza a PAP supporter?

I bet he is cause he makes ranting against government looks like a crime which we all know is not as Singapore have elections and elections of course must have more than one party and take sides.

This ex policeman must have a gratuity of a million dollars to speak so crazily.

He still do not grasp the essence of free and democratic nation. He thinks everything must be controlled and registered. He is mad but will not "conveniently die off"

Bernard Leong said...

Dear all,

I refer you to this new article which I write in Singapore Angle. Opinions, comments and criticisms are equally welcome.

Anonymous said...

Lionel's piece reminded me of the government's stand that one must join a political party to have a right to comment on Singapore's politics.

The same trend of thought emerges and it is not difficult to see who is not ready for free speech and beliefs.

This game will never end. Even if they can control via IC registration for bloggers, the unhappy will resort to newer technology for a chance to speak. Soon, we will have all kinds of registration.

The best is to "monitor" every Singaporean brain at birth!

Instead of the cyber-monitoring centre, we have the cerebral-monitoring centre. A definite move to make Singapore a safe place for investors.

We can even do away with the NTUC, just wire each brain to take voluntary pay-cut and CPF cut every month and conveniently die off at 64 before withdrawing CPF.

Anonymous said...

I have no inkling who is Mr Wang. For all I care, he could be a "she".

I respect his opinions and read his views judiciously. Why? Because he made sense!

An opionion/view is such no matter how we may find it uncomforting. I have no right to stop him stating thus. I could only try to present him my views, if changing his views is really that important to me!

Is a name that important? Without really knowing who he is does not destroy my respect for his views as long as it's an opinion he put across.

It is really up to me to accept or reject his views. A freedom I exercise as a thinking human being. I do not need someone to tell me that because he does not show his picture, he is not to be listened to!


Anonymous said...

Mr Wang does not reveal his identity? What rock have you been hiding under?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


Oh, lots of bloggers, including:

1. Mr Brown
2. Yawning Bread (Alex Au)
3. all the contributors at Singabloodypore
4. almost all the contributors at the new Singapore Angle
5. Cherian George

as well as many people working at:

1. the Straits Times
2. Today
3. the Institute of Policy Studies
4. the STOMP editors
5. The New Paper

all already know who I am. I have no issue revealing my real name to people who have a genuine reason to want to know, or who I'm fairly confident are not the psychotic, cyberstalking, vengeful kind.

I was a former DPP; I have put many people in jail; I can't even keep track of when they will get out.

Anyway, I always feel that the anonymity issue tends to be grossly overstated;

if for example Lionel de Souza wrote a stupid letter, the letter would still be stupid whether Lionel de Souza called himself Lionel de Souza or Mickey Mouse. And the same goes for Mr Wang Says So, or anyone else, really.

Anonymous said...

"..But by remaining anonymous, you have lessened your moral authority"...
Oh yeah? Do you suppose Lee Hsien Loong's "moral authority" hit an all time high, when he stood publicly at Empress Place and told the world how he tries to "fix the opposition" and "buy supporters votes"?

Anonymous said...

In a realistic world, nobody is ever 100% right or wrong. Not even MM, SM , PM or PAP.

It is up to the masses to judge whether anybody is right or wrong.

Anybody can say whatever he wants. But it is up to the listeners to make a choice and decide to accept and decide what he/she says.

This logic is universal and can never be change, unless you live in North Korea or Iran.

This is why I am against defamation suits as it might paint an incorrect picture of the person's character and honesty even if he wins.

Clear example is TT Durai. He sued the two former colleagues until they go bankrupt.The court awarded him and his character to be clean and honest and his two colleagues' reputation went down the drain

But we all know now TT Durai is the complete opposite of what the court and laws rule him to be.

Thus the same can be said of the loser in the defamation suit. The courts are never 100% right in judgement.

Thus even if Lee Kuan Yew wins defamation suits all the time, it may not mean the courts and laws are correct in judging his character.

By Shakespeare:

"A rose by any other name would have smell as sweet"

Credibility and validity of any statement does not depend on names and the nameless.

It depends on individual judgement.

Anonymous said...

I like to see this loser lionel take on the likes of mr. wang, brown and yawning bread.

While he preaches how free we are, he's asking everyone else to shut the hell up. Can you get more intolerant, right winged than this hick? Just becasue he was a former cop and he thinks he know 110% of what's right and wrong?

Anonymous said...

To Mr Wang - I can confirm that I am not the psychotic, cyberstalking and vengeful kind. I want to know your real identity so that I can ascertain if the blogger Mr Wang is consistent with the real Mr Wang the legal practitioner/ former DPP. I believe that that is genuine enough a reason. Thank you.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Heheh. Why should you care?

Even if I claim to be a lawyer, you should not blindly accept anything I may say about the law.

Even if I had never claimed to be a lawyer, you should not automatically dismiss anything I say about the law.

For all you know, I am a precocious 13-year-old blogging actively and pretending to be a lawyer. But if my views are sound and sensible, why should you dismiss them just because I am 13 years old?

Anonymous said...

Why get into an altercation for no goodness sake?. Lionel De Souza is one of the many PAP supporters who is trying to attract the PAP for some personal gain: Maybe a high post being offered to him.

singaporean said...

There is no shame in being an anonymous blogger, because Singapore offers zero protection for free speech. The Singapore government's tolerance for criticism is notoriously variable; even PAP MPs can step on landmines and get chided.

The worst example of the government's intolerance was shown in the Marxist Conspiracy. 22 Catholics, mostly social workers and lawyers, were arrested under the Internal Security Act. What crime did they commit? From what is known, it seems that their heinous crimes include fighting for rights for Filipino domestic workers, which the government feared would give Singapore a bad name internationally, especially to the angmos, and for one, supporting the Worker's Party.

They were arrested without trial for years, and were coerced to testify that they had marxist aspirations and intended to overthrow the government. Even Tharman Shanmuganratnam said it out loud in parliament that he knew some of the victims personally and the marxist charges were totally bogus, and requested the government offer restitution to the victims. Nothing happened of course.

If you think a brilliant lawyer and former DPP could be immune, consider this: when Francis Seow, a former Solicitor General no less, tried to help the victims of the Marxist Conspiracy, he too was arrested under ISA.

OTOH, those who want to suck up to the men in white wouldnt hesitate to use their real name. In fact, the whole point is to be noticed, to be rewarded.

Even Mr Brown was totally anonymous for many years. IIRC, the first pictures that could uniquely identify him, were that of the then newborn Faith, and then a little later, his wife. Now that his identity is no secret, most oldtimers will notice that he doesnt criticise the government much nowadays as compared to the past. The Singapore National Education Series has stopped altogether.

If you dont fear the Singapore government, it can only be because

1) You are still young and/or ignorant

2) You are not a Singaporean.

Anonymous said...

Why did Emily Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre published under the pseudonym Currer Bell? Why did Sylvia Path choose to publish The Bell Jar as Victoria Lucas? We know George Eliot, Mark Twain but they are Mary Ann Evans and Samuel Clemens. C.D Lewis is a poet but Nicholas Blake is a mystery writer. They are the same person. You know Lewis Carroll but who is Charles Dodgson?

All are one and the same.

People use pen names even for the admirable task of writing novels. I could speculate why. Sylvia Path the poet probably did not want her novel to ride on her success as a person who also writes poetry. Jane Eyre chose a masculine name because it was generally believed then that it was not a women’s job to write books. There are many other personal reasons.

Does that make George Eliot or Mark Twain a worse writer?

In other words, people do not write under their legal names because they have different lives and a life as a blogger might be unduly influenced by their other lives and vice-versa. A doctor might feel that his activities as a political blogger might be difficult to manage if his patients start debating politics with him instead of taking their medication. A playwright might feel his blogging activities should not ride on her success as a playwright.

"They should listen to me because the facts are important not because of who I am."

There are clearly many other reasons.

Hence, Lionel De Souza, because he radically brandes "all" anon bloggers as those who should not be be taken seriously, is wrong.

There are clearly many other reasons. It is obvious to anyone.

Hence, Lionel De Souza in his letter reveals most about himself: he is willing to sacrifice good sense and logic in order to poke at others, and to insult them.

He hopes to gain the distrust of others of anon bloggers, and bloggers writing under pen names.

His opinion is clearly wrong, so why did the Straits Times published it?

- Singaporeclassics

Heavenly Sword said...

"...so why did the Straits Times published it?"

I have no idea, really...Maybe they want to 'stimulate debates'? :)

I just wrote an essay challenging this 'AIA' (Anonymity-Is-Atrocious) school of thought at Singapore Angle...

Anonymous said...

"If you think a brilliant lawyer and former DPP could be immune, consider this ..."

Were you referring to Mr Wang? I can think of someone else who fits that description. JB Jeyaretnam, ex-Opposition Member of Parliament. Well, we know what happened to him. Bankrupt and penniless today, thanks to the PAP's defamation suits.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "... I want to know your real identity so..."
Wouldn't this be more credible if the request be rephrased thus:
"I, Mr Tan Ah Kow, NRIC XX1234, want to know your real identity so...."

Anonymous said...

Akaiden, one should focus more on the message instead of the messenger. Educated and thinking folks do not fall easily under PAP and their running dogs' ill logic that anonymity and hence credibility of the messenger diminishes the message.

Anonymous said...

To preserve racial harmony and the vulnerable social fabric of nation, I advise that all anonymity be outlawed.

Henceforth, we must all wear shirts printed with our full names, ic numbers and home addresses. Only then can we stop people from speaking evil slander and lies in coffeeshops.

Anonymous said...

To preserve racial harmony and the vulnerable social fabric of nation, don't just stop at wearing T-shirts!

Everyone should have an extreme makeover to have one uniform skin colour, one standard design for places of worship, one standard image to respresent all gods(maybe like Lee Kuan Yin)and one standard brain, issued by KK hospital, trademark registered.

Merge all holy literature into one thick encyclopaedia, depicting Jesus,Mohamad,Buddha etc as childhood friends and life-time NS buddies. They are willing to die for each other, not kill each other.

Anonymous said...

i'm just wondering... how much less 'hiding under the cloak of anonymity' is this De Souza fellow? it seems like no one here knows who he actually is in the first place...

le radical galoisien said...

just curious, how many readers know the Student's Sketchpad already? Was just wondering whether this would increase its readership, because it's such a great project. :D

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I always try to highlight great projects ....