03 July 2006

Bhavani & Brown

First, the background. Last week, Mr Brown wrote this article for his regular TODAY column, in his usual funny style (it is a comedy column, remember?). Excerpt:
S'poreans are fed, up with progress!
Moving ahead is great but it would be even greater to be able to make ends meet
Friday • June 30, 2006

THINGS are certainly looking up for Singapore again. Up, up, and away.

Household incomes are up, I read. Sure, the bottom third of our country is actually seeing their incomes (or as one newspaper called it, "wages") shrink, but the rest of us purportedly are making more money.

Okay, if you say so.

As sure as Superman Returns, our cost of living is also on the up. Except we are not able to leap over high costs in a single bound.

Cost of watching World Cup is up. Price of electricity is up. Comfort's taxi fares are going up. Oh, sorry, it was called "being revised". Even the prata man at my coffeeshop just raised the price of his prata by 10 cents. He was also revising his prata prices.
Well, the Ministry of Communications, Information & The Arts evidently didn't find Mr Brown's article very funny. Here's the response from the press secretary, K Bhavani:
Distorting the truth, mr brown?
When a columnist becomes a 'partisan player' in politics
Monday • July 3, 2006

Letter from K BHAVANI
Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts

Your mr brown column, "S'poreans are fed, up with progress!" (June 30) poured sarcasm on many issues, including the recent General Household Survey, price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares, our IT plans, the Progress Package and means testing for special school fees.

The results of the General Household Survey were only available after the General Election. But similar data from the Household Expenditure Survey had been published last year before the election.

There was no reason to suppress the information. It confirmed what we had told Singaporeans all along, that globalisation would stretch out incomes.

mr brown must also know that price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares are the inevitable result of higher oil prices.

These were precisely the reasons for the Progress Package — to help lower income Singaporeans cope with higher costs of living.

Our IT plans are critical to Singapore's competitive position and will improve the job chances of individual Singaporeans. It is wrong of mr brown to make light of them.

As for means testing for special school fees, we understand mr brown's disappointment as the father of an autistic child. However, with means testing, we can devote more resources to families who need more help.

mr brown's views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.

mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.
Bhavani's letter is puzzling, and therefore interesting for a couple of reasons. I could comment a lot on it, but I'm pressed for time today. I'll just limit myself to a few quick observations.

The approach taken in Bhavani's letter is quite consistent with what Minister Lee Boon Yang recently said about how the government would regard bloggers:
"...we must take care not to allow humour or satire to mask the key issues. The bottom line is that a sense of humour is necessary but, more importantly, we must remember that elections and choice of leaders for the country are serious matters. Elections are certainly not laughing matters.
Well, you know how bloggers are. They're like terrorists, appearing and disappearing, running loose everywhere. Worse, they even tell jokes. Humour is not allowed, especially at the ruling party's expense.

There's just one thing. Mr Brown's article was published in TODAY, which is a newspaper not a blog. Mr Brown's practice is also to cross-post his TODAY articles on his blog, but Bhavani's reply focused entirely on Mr Brown's article as a newspaper article, not as a blog post.

So it seems to me that Bhavani is also implicitly stating (or reiterating) some rules for our local mainstream media journalists. Take a look at these paragraphs again:
"mr brown's views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.

mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics."

... and let me break it down for you. Here are the Bhavani Commandments:
1. Journalists shall not blame the government for any unhappy things. (The government is never to blame for any unhappy things).

2. If you mention problems, you MUST offer solutions. (Otherwise just pretend the problem doesn't exist.).

3. YOUR opinions shall not be published unless they meet OUR standards. (And we're not humorous).

4. You cannot champion issues. (Next time, check with us before you expose any cheating scams like the NKF.)

5. You cannot campaign for or against the Government. (Just be a nation-building press exactly the way we like it.)

6. Constructive critics would not undermine the Government's standing with the electorate. (Nothing that makes us look bad could possibly be constructive.)

Interesting country we live in, huh.

Please note that the Bhavani Commandments represent Mr Wang's subjective personal opinions and interpretations of MICA's response to Mr Brown's article, and are neither intended to be, nor should be construed as assertions of fact. As such, the Bhavani Commandments constitute Mr Wang's fair comment on a matter of public interest and Mr Wang fully agrees that others are entitled to and may have different opinions or interpretations. Mr Wang acknowledges that Bhavani is an employee of the Singapore Government, that her response is made in her capacity as Press Secretary for the Minister, and that her response may or may not be consistent with her views in her own personal capacity.

Bhavani

+++++++++
Technorati: ; ; .

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check this one out too:

htp://waterchild.blogdrive.com


The government is so educational. We learn so much from them. No wonder we have a world-class education system.

En & Hou said...

I laughed really hard when I saw point (2). I remember that's MOE exam style - provide problems in an arguement, must provide solution. Otherwise you fail your Chinese Paper 1.

Cheers,
Hou.

Anonymous said...

hehe, it is interesting to see that when we voice problems, we should also have a solution in mind.

I am more than glad to come up with a solution for the government. But can I also get a minister's pay? (just 1 mth's pay also can, I dun mind. hahaha) So nice to be a minister, what they earn in a month, many others would need YEARS to achieve. And yet, they don't have to think of solutions because those who raise problems should already have the answers.

Just imagine this scenario

Patient: Doc, I have a headache and it has been going on for days. I have tried aspirins but my head still hurts.

Doc: Hhhhm, so how do you think you can cure your headache?

Patient: I have no idea. That's why I came for your advice.

Doc: tsk tsk tsk, don't you know how this works?
Go back home and find out how to solve your own problems ok?
Consult me only after you have a solution. I will then tell you whether you are right or wrong, then you just proceed to the counter to pay for consultation fees. Have a nice day.
Oh, by the way, do remember to pay for today's consultation as well.

Will that doctor get away with something like that?

*SIGH*
Please remind me again the reason why a minister earn more in a month than I do in 4 years?

Anonymous said...

In Singapore hor, we are very world-class.

We must have a solution, then can have a problem.

Most Singaporeans still think our Ministers are higly paid to solve problems. Wrong!!

PM already said they are to spend their time fixing and buying themselves out of their problem - which is the 2 opposition. See, they got solution for their problem.

Singaporeans must find their own solutions. Then, you can tell them about your problems.

No wonder we always do well in Maths contests overseas. We have solutions before problems.

simplesandra said...

Bhavani wrote: "He offers no alternatives or solutions."

Some PAP MPs have made similar remarks at the Opposition. No alternatives or solutions? Then shut up. I believe that's the official stance.

Ironically, when it comes to rising costs, our well-paid ministers can't seem to offer "alternatives and solutions" either other than hiking up prices--this despite the GLCs (supposedly) posting healthy profit margins.

Bhavani wrote: "His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with."

If pieces like Mr Brown's article--which do reflect revailing public sentiment--encourage cynicism and despondency, then are letters like Bhavani's likely to do better?

What's next? Rose-tinted spectacles to be handed out on National Day? :)

Kelly said...

Actually there is a solution to all Singaporeans' problems, be it price increases, means testing or unemployment: GET RID OF THE PAP. But Mr Lee knows about it already, that's why he said that you cannot use elections to change out the government. It's all fixed, and supporters votes are already bought. I fear for Singapore the alternatives; and I don't think we want to wake up to NKF type graffiti all over the walls.

Anonymous said...

As usual, the whiter than white could never understand what is sense of humor and take everything too seriously.

Beside, I believe what Mr Brown wrote in that articles actually echo the thinking of average Singaporeans out there who have to battle with the ever increasing cost of living. Perhaps this is what making the authority uneasy, it actually does tell the true of people feeling on the ground, rather than distort the true.

But silly me, how would million dollar only 'peanut' earner on the top would understand what those struggling in the bottom would felt anyway.

Anonymous said...

Solution: change the government!

Alternative : Mr Brown for Minister!

If Mr Brown earns millions, he won't feel the pain from high costs of living ...

Only problem, Mr Brown is brown, not white!

Singaporeans don't like white. We like brown, grey, black ....

Anonymous said...

Check out the individual comments are http://www.mrbrown.com/ !

Most of the blogosphere are supportive of mrbrown for daring to voice out what most Singaporeans feel.

If having an opinion is DISTORTING the truth, then the entire PAP Government are full of people who do not speak the truth since they all have opinions on all sorts of Government policies?

What makes their opinion better than yours? Their sound arguments, their intellect or because they are the Men-in-white-who-do-no-wrong-and-you-ungrateful-peasants better-appreciate-that-you-are-getting-ministars-for-a-bargain? Or, their mini-stellar salaries and because they wear white during National Day Parades and during election time?

The credibility of the PAP Government slowly disintegrates day by day when they put a Remington shotgun and pepper their toes in front of the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to
champion
issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist
presents
himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the
mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate,
then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in
politics.
===========================

Yep, it is not the role of journalist to be involve in politics. Tell that to Straits Times for next 5 years until GE 2011. Hypocrite !!!

Disagreeing with PAP means partisan? She stupid or what?

Then I might as well disagree with Worker's Party as well. Then will I be partisan?

People got no room to disagree with PAP?

What about letter writers slamming Goh Chok Tong GRC theory, complaining about Town Council waste etc?

All Partisan, hang them and shoot them?


Strange, how the hell she became a high ranking civil servant?

Anonymous said...

PAP is getting dumber and dumber each day!

I hope those 82 highly paid monkeys are not thinking that this strategy of 杀一警百 (kill one to warn a hundred) is really working in this internet age!

One would have thought that they should learn from the Gomez issue. Old dogs definitely cannot learn new tricks. More sad, if they don't even try.

Shame on you, MICA. If Singapore cannot conduct its relations with its citizens without threats, no wonder our foreign relations "have never been any stronger".

Tsk tsk ...

Anonymous said...

contact details of MISS KRISHNASAMY BHAVANI, that civil servant who wrote that letter to Today, she deserves a earful from Brown's supporters on how dense she is up in her head:

Job Title : PRESS SECRETARY TO MINISTER
DID : 1800-8379655
Email: BHAVANI_K@MICA.GOV.SG
Unit: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS (MICA)
Organisation: MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS (MICA)
Description: To Develop Singapore as a Global City for Information, Communications and the Arts, so as to Build a Creative Economy and a Connected Society with a Singaporean Identity rooted in our Multicultural Heritage.

Anonymous said...

Haha ...

I think for today, she'll wish she is "autistic"!

Hitting below the belt deserves some consequences too.

Really, a press secretary to add further insult. We definitely have a dearth of talents in the civil service.

boon said...

Why is everyone slamming Bhavani? You got the wrong target. She is just a scapegoat for Lee Boon Yang. Don't you know that all important official communication are vetted by the Minister?

Lee Boon Yang certainly gave the go-ahead for this one, but lacked the guts to put his name on it (unlike another Minister who responded in a letter to the newspaper, just a few days ago. Who was it, please remind me?)

No point putting LBY's direct contact info here anyway, all his emails and phone calls are vetted by his PA.

soulburnz said...

Sorry to sidetrack a little, but seeing the second point on that poster worries me a little.

"Empower community bodies and broaden their roles, for example, to oversee social assistance schemes"

I find this statement rather vague. Does this empowerment include funding from the Government or that these community bodies have to source their own sponsors and donors? Or is it purely that these 'community bodies' become the authority? Does this mean less work for the Government in the social services/assistance?

Just some queries.

alex said...

Journalists shall not blame the government for any unhappy things

Exactly. We shouldn't blame the government. We only have ourselves to blame for for having voted for them.

Goddaughter said...

Aiyoh this is terrible, why can't they even pretend to entertain criticism. Very bad very bad...sometimes Kim Jong II also pretend...how come our dictators (oh sorry sorry, leaders)cannot?

hugewhaleshark said...

This is a job for the mee pok man!

Customer: Eh, your mee pok not nice!
Mee Pok Man: What you mean my mee pok not nice?!
Customer: I mean, your mee pok is not nice.
Mee Pok Man: So, what's your solution?
Customer: How I know? You are the mee pok man what. If I know, I will be selling meepok also!
Mee Pok Man: How I know your see lang tau lah! Comprain also must have solution, feedback also must exprain, OK!

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone slamming Bhavani? You got the wrong target. She is just a scapegoat for Lee Boon Yang. Don't you know that all important official communication are vetted by the Minister?

----------------------

She has a mind of her own. No one forced her to be where she is now. She will rise and fall with the fortune of her patron. Penning and signing off on the letter is not to be taken lightly. She deserves to be slammed.

boon said...

"She has a mind of her own. No one forced her to be where she is now. She will rise and fall with the fortune of her patron. Penning and signing off on the letter is not to be taken lightly. She deserves to be slammed."


eh, will you be so noble as to sacrifice your career just to make a point to your boss? I don't think so.

cp said...

I doubt LBY personally penned the words, though he may have vetted them. In all likelihood, Bhavani could have originated it, but perhaps under higher directions. The higher-ups probably liked what they read.

Anonymous said...

Some points of note:

Oil prices have gone down, I read in the newspapers. So no justification for fare hikes

A non-citizen like Neil Humpreys wrote " The Pap will win....." in a Weekend humour column during the elections. Did he get shit? Maybe he wrote the correct shit.I don't remember anyone from the Govt rebutting him.

Instead of raising prices, they should cut out frills like TV Mobile and TVson platform to cut down their bills and pass the savings to consumers. But then mine will also not be a solution but just a comment to them.

Alvin said...

Welcome to the offline flame war. You can't even have an opinion now?

Hasn't anyone had enough yet of the PAP slamming people for not giving them love?

Please, PAP, don't do a Creative vs. Apple. If you're doing a good job, people will love you. People will set up a PAP fan club to sing your praises and adore you. And if someone makes fun of you, your legions of supporters will rise up in your defense, instead of supporting it.

So please, do your job, which is to run a good government. I'd love to have our government succeed too, because that's a win-win situation.

amatu said...

"There was no reason to suppress the information. It confirmed what we had told Singaporeans all along, that globalisation would stretch out incomes.

mr brown must also know that price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares are the inevitable result of higher oil prices.

These were precisely the reasons for the Progress Package — to help lower income Singaporeans cope with higher costs of living."

Arent those who voted for PAP being duped by the purpose of progress package? The govt fooling it's citizens, and you voted for them. I wonder how long more are singaporean s going to be silly.

veii said...

"We are not amused. Of course we are not amused. And we cannot be amused, because we are the last of the Victorians"

simplesandra said...

anon wrote: "Instead of raising prices, they should cut out frills like TV Mobile and TVson platform to cut down their bills and pass the savings to consumers."

I could be wrong, but I believe TV Mobile was introduced to help SBS make even more money from advertising. Kind of like we're paying for them to earn more. And this is public transport.

Nice country we live in. :)

Anonymous said...

By LAW civil servants serve the public(oftimes called party that forms the govt), not the PAP. Hence civil servants must resign their position if they wish to join politics. In our little guided democracy UP IS GOOD I guess. Very soon we COULD EVOLVE from GUIDED to AFRICAN democracy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not AFRICAN but BANANA democracy.......like the Jap banana $$$ when they occupied SG.

Anonymous said...

Check out this role-playing game from the 1980s -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoia_(game)

"The Computer wants u to be happy. Failure to be happy is treason."

Think mica will ban this game soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow! 300 replies, mostly supporting Mr Brown's article!!!

MICA's letter is a very bad show of PM's inclusive society pledge.

Instead of engaging, they chose to antagonise.

Their message is - if you don't sing my song, sorry, not included.

Hipocrisy at its best!

To PM, keep up the good work of fixing and buying ... you'll need more in future to maintain 66.6%.

Despondent citizen

Anonymous said...

Got video to watch liao ...

http://willythecop.blogspot.com/2006/07/silent-nation-mr-brown-vs-authority.html

Anonymous said...

I agree that TODAY should be shut down to prevent the corruption of the republic of Singapore. But this will increase the retrenchment rate. No, Today should toe MICA line to maintain the Newspaper licence. Mr Brown should be removed as a contributor. This would be the best thing for Singapore. I love PAP. No?
To take the issues one at a time -
I feel really sad that for people with the money, they can send their autistic kid to American School for their 'special programme'. (MM Lee mentioned this)
Means testing is for everyone ?(But then again, I understand the top 5% cohort in RI are given scholarship in this expensive Independant School without means-testing, so where is the beef?). In my mind, ALL SINGAPORE children are 'special' - whether you are in RI or has learning difficulties - and I am really sad for Singapore as not all Singapore children are given the best resources given our billions of dollars in reserves. This is something the Govt should take note of to increase our procreation.
If Today retrench Mr Brown due to MICA, maybe he will pass the 'means-testing' with flying colour. Thanks to Ms Bhavani/MICA.

Anonymous said...

I like the comment about reserves ...

Remember the NKF incident ? The main story behind that is RESERVE NOT ENOUGH !

So more is done to accumulate the reserve ... do we have a limit on our reserve ? Maybe we are far away from this limit ... but at least we know we are targeting at some figure which can be audited ... say like 1 trillion ?

We keep accumulating reserves ... keep saying cant subsidise this and that ... if people need to die .. then let them die ... is there an enough ?

We have a population of 4 million ++ maybe some percentage poor, I dont advocate welfare state ... I have seen how this is killing some countries ... but if we just given like $500 to the lowest income families in Singapore ... say 10,000 (assume they are real poor and earn less than $800) ... that will only cost $5m a month, $60m a year to solve the poverty problem ... something like that la ... wont cost us a lot ... but at least we dont have people without electricity, starving, etc ... I cant imagine people starving in Singapore ... we are so rich (per capita) from the world perspective ...

Just my teeny idea ...

Anonymous said...

eh, will you be so noble as to sacrifice your career just to make a point to your boss? I don't think so.


-----------------------------

And therefore (i repeat again) she deserves to be slammed.

Anonymous said...

Check out MB's latest podcast, I am Singaporean.

In this little episode on a tiny dot of an island, we are shown who are the real Singaporeans and those who are hiding behind a cloak of patriotism, asking us to move ahead while denying us the very right to be a Singaporean, to have a say.

Shame on you, the Government. You don't deserve to rule, not even a tiny red dot.

Heavenly Sword said...

Hi Mr Wang, your point #6 is interesting... :)

I think MICA has misinterpreted Mr Brown's original article...

moomooman said...

I have been out of action for a while only to come back to read such a interesting post from Wang.

Anonymous said...

Xenoboy does it again!

http://xenoboysg.blogspot.com/2006/07/polemical-partisan-post.html#comments

nofearSingapore said...

Let us Heed the message, Not shoot the messenger

Dear friends,

I read with interest Ms Bhavani’s retort to mrbrown’s column (Distorting the truth, mr brown ? 3 Jul 06).

What is particularly informative was her assertion that journalists (especially in Singapore), should not “champion issues, or campaign FOR or AGAINST the Government”.

Is this is a new dictum, I wonder, as there were many articles by our journalists in the past which appeared an “awful lot” like campaigning for the Government, but I do not recall anyone getting their knuckles rapped for that.

Seriously, is a journalist expected to be just a “human” tape-recorder recording verbatim the minutes of a board meeting like a company secretary? Anything more could be misconstrued as campaigning for or against an issue.

Let us be reasonable. People (journalist included) will have opinions and these are the sum-aggregates of different sub-cultures that make up Singapore. No one person or organization knows all the answers and feedback of all forms (especially those that seem unpalatable) help us, as a nation, to steer the right course, away from potential calamities.

Let us heed the message, NOT shoot the messenger!


Dr. Huang Shoou Chyuan
The above letter sent to TODAY forum page

Anonymous said...

Shocking that TODAY is not publishing any letter supporting Brownie because of this!

It's time for Singaporeans to take action. Let's start
(1) Online petition
(2) Email the MICA to complain, CC it to the Prime Minister and to Amnesty International
(3) Do SOMETHING!
(4) Make sure the Alternative Media keeps talking about this so that the mainstream media cannot ignore us!

Dear [ ]

Thank you for your feedback. We will not be publishing any correspondence on this issue. Shoud you feel strongly, you may want to wish to redirect your views to the source of the letter.

With regards.


[ ]
editorial assistant
did: [ ]
fax: 6534 4217
news desk: 6236 4888
email: [ ]@newstoday.com.sg

gold said...

Hi,

just read that Mr Brown is

suspended
from Today newspaper.

Anonymous said...

No use blaming others.

We, the citizens of Singapore (at least for about 50-60% who voted for PAP) should blame OURSELVES.
We put upgrading and such self-serving 'carrots' as our priority but EXPECT the loyal people of Potong Pasir and Hougang to continue supporting the opposition to achieve the national aspirations and bigger issues ON BEHALF of the REST OF US(congrats and compliments to most of the people in Potong Pasir and Hougang and the 30-45 % of the other constituencies - as they are not hypocrites).Even SM Goh had good words to say about them for their loyalty and conviction in these two constituencies.

GE is a NATIONAL Election. By allowing ourselves to be influenced by upgrading, etc, we lowered the GE to a 'Municipal Election' as municipal issues became the priority. The govt knew that and that is why these fears were exploited in the other constituencies (but backfired in the two constituencies).

Are our blaming the Spokeswoman a sign of our own GUILT that we (at least for some of us) did not vote for the opposition with our conscience, though a number of them deserved being in Parliament to voice what all of us are voicing only in the Internet.

If we had them, our voices will be heard in PARLIAMENT, RIGHTFULLY and even 'LEGALLY' (in order to play with the PAP 'rules').

But we did NOT give them a CHANCE, did we ?

We fail them and we also at the same time fail OURSELVES miserably, didn't we ?

The Minister Lee Boon Yang then should be removed as he had gone against the promises made by PM Lee, too. The ball is in the PM and the Lee Boon Yang's feet BUT most importantly, on OUR OWN FEET, as we had allowed this to happen in the first place.

We perhaps, must 'APOLOGISE' to people like Mr. Brown and many others (who tried to aspire for all Singaporeans) as we do not deserve their good work and effort and sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

If you were a top researcher in say, nanotechnology, or a top sportsperson, or a multi-billionaire, or a top musician and Singapore and Malaysia were trying to lure you to set up base there. I guess after this MrBrown fiasco, nobody is going to choose Singapore. Top talents of any kind do not put up with this kind of highhandedness no matter what they are being paid. If somebody actually comes here he's probably just a wannabe or a hasbeen. Budding talents here also get the message loud and clear. Guess they're getting ready their PR applications to Australia or US as we speak.

Anonymous said...

Good thing Warwick chose not to set up a campus in Singapore due to freedom of speech (or rather a lack of it).

Anonymous said...

I find the journalist views on this issue distort the truth. His view is polemic dressed up as analysis, blaming the NSF for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to agree with.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the establishment. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the SAF's standing with the society, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in journalism.

Anyway, having experienced NS myself, I know that for many life would be extremely boring and very very difficult in there if you want to take everything so serious and no fun throughout the already very dull and stern military training. I have my own fair share of doing silly things during operation with my buddies back in those days. After all most of us were just tennagers at that time and were there not by choice but the law.

George said...

Hmm. I think its more worrying that Bhavani here is a Civil Servant, he is the one who should not be a partisan player. His role is to put forth the views of the government but at the same time not venture into directing the views of citizens. I'm not sure if I've expressed myself clearly, just that I think his views are less digestible because he is a Civil Servant, not a politician.