10 July 2006

Tan Tarn How

Meet the new kid on the blog (haha, pardon the pun). Tarn How is one of those IPS guys who's always wanting to interview bloggers about this or that. Now he's blogging himself and he has some thoughts on Mr Brown's case. Pop over and say hi, yah.

Here's part of Tarn How's description of the PAP government manages dissent:
1) Concentrate the attack on centres of power and influence. While there are plenty of dissenters, a few of them matter more than others. From these few, pick a very small number which can be used as OB markers for the limits of allowed dissent. Note that they don’t target every dissenter, or every person associated with the dissenter. They just pick out the key figure – those around him need not have to face the same fates, though they often suffer collateral damage. mr brown, especially post-Bak Chor Mee election podcast, can be considered a centre of influence measured by his very big fan base.
I agree with Tarn How's take on this point. I've always known it. Acclaimed poet Alfian Saat, who writes fiercely political poetry, has also previously said that the only reason why the government permits him to do so is that they know that few Singaporeans will actually read poetry.

In fact, if or when my blog starts hitting 30,000 unique visitors per month on a consistent basis, I think it will probably be time for Mr Wang to think about stopping blogging here and about moving on. Oh, this blog will stay up, and old posts will remain available for reference. But no more new posts here.

Mr Wang would have to die and reincarnate and appear elsewhere on the Internet with a new name that has nothing to do with baking karmic biscuits. That's the only safe way for Mr Wang to continue to be able to express his honest views.

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

21 comments:

John Riemann Soong said...

It's always rather exciting to test the waters...

Cobalt Paladin said...

Or when the role and importance of the opinions in the web has surpassed main stream media, not necessarily 30,000 unique visitors a month.

I feel Mr. Brown received attention from MICA due to his crossing from online to the offline media and his potential growing popularity offline.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of Tarn How saying that he's against censorship and all the jazz, considering that when he was a journalist in ST in the past, he did nothing of consequence in that regard.

It's like an ex hangman going against execution after retirement.

Yes, its admirable. But ultimately, he should have done something worthwhile when he's still in the system.

Kelvin Tan said...

Mr Wang would have to die and reincarnate and appear elsewhere on the Internet with a new name that has nothing to do with baking karmic biscuits.
=====

Just like the Matrix Reloaded?

wert said...

Blogs have a teeny tiny influence and spread compared to the mainstream media. 30,000 uniques is a drop in the ocean. Mr Wong should be worried when he hits fame in the mainstream media like Mr Brown did in the aftermath of bak chor mee.

Even if you changed identify, it's kinda of tough not to fall back to some old habits or quips which might "betray" you.

AA said...

Acclaimed poet Alfian Saat, who writes fiercely political poetry, has also previously said that the only reason why the government permits him to do so is that they know that few Singaporeans will actually read poetry.

And that, IMHO, is something very, very sad, in a certain way.

Mr Wang would have to die and reincarnate and appear elsewhere on the Internet with a new name that has nothing to do with baking karmic biscuits. That's the only safe way for Mr Wang to continue to be able to express his honest views.

Oh Mr Wang, if that ever happens, you must let us know, somehow, where to go to continue reading your insightful posts...!

Anonymous said...

going back to what the other anonymous guy (no, that's not me) said - it's not fair to say that when TTH was in ST he did nothing of consequence as regards censorship. Look at the example ST made of Cherian George. Reviewing television for 3 years. If you make a decision to work at ST then you have to accept what your employer stands for. Otherwise don't work there. The same could be said for Bhavani - some of the criticism levelled at her was not fair. It's just her job.

Anonymous said...

"If you make a decision to work at ST then you have to accept what your employer stands for."

In other words, they're called sell-outs.

Anonymous said...

And if one is a sell-out, his/her credibility is in doubt. Hence the criticisms levelled at the likes of Bhavani, TTH and those oh-i'm-just-doing-my-job reporters and civil servants are justified.

Mr Wang Says So said...

In all fairness, we all work within one system or another, but do not necessarily agree with all aspects of it, and may be working towards or trying to work towards changing those aspects of it with which we do not agree.

Anonymous said...

Come on. If they're not blue collar workers with little alternative of places to work in.

They are highly educated.If they choose to , they can leave if they do not agree with the organisation.

Thats why no matter what Tarn How says now, its inconsequential. When he could have done much much more than being a 'commentator'

Anonymous said...

Extend that argument to Singapore then. You're a Singaporean - you can leave if you do not like this place.

Yes, that is true, but some people may prefer to stick around and try to change it.

porcorosso said...

When TTH was working there, ST was the only game in town - if you are in your early 20's, fresh out of school and what you want to do is to write and be published every day, there aren't many alternatives. I've grown up with a generation of journalists, some are still my friends - a few of these friends are still at ST. While I don't have to agree with everything they write, I respect their choice of career and the fact that they have remained.

Anonymous said...

"Extend that argument to Singapore then. You're a Singaporean - you can leave if you do not like this place."

If you extent an argument enough,it becomes meaningless.

If you don't like your time on earth, do you decide to die?

Anonymous said...

"When TTH was working there, ST was the only game in town "

Waaaa....I have a degree in Journalism and I have to compromise my principles by working in ST becos its the only game in town.. Waaaaa..(Que the sound of baby crying)

Come on. The worst a person can do, is to write for a pro-censorship paper then, then after leaving the job, make $ again by doing research on 'censorship' and media.

Anonymous said...

If you were in your early 20s in those days, you may not even understand the Name of the Censorship Game in Singapore.

Come to think of it, even today, many Singaporeans in their 20s, or 30s, or 40s, or 50s do not understand the kind of society they live.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"If you don't like your time on earth, do you decide to die?"

---

Exactly. You don't. You try to make your life better.

Similarly if you are a journalist and you don't like certain things about the media in Singapore, it does not necessarily follow that you must quit your job. You could try to work within the system, and at the same time, nudge the limits, push the parameters, bend the rules etc.

Cobalt Paladin said...

It does not help by simply quitting or giving up. The true warrior stays behind to change. It may be in small ways but at least must try.

chrischoo said...

Don't discount the choices people make. "Staying behind" could mean staying on in the organization, or even leaving it and joining a research institute based in Singapore to push for change. Some take it one step further by leaving Singapore to try to push for change from the outside. All of these have some usefulness, even in the case where people leave for greener pastures and still comment on Singapore from abroad. Do you think the government would care about what you think if people outside the country didn't bother about what went on inside? No effort is too small or meaningless regardless of where it is directed from.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like your time on earth, do you decide to die?"

Actually I do, I try to die trying.

Makes sense wat: It's those people who do not like their time on earth badly enough, that don't try.

kh

Fine, Fix Me! I am Singaporean!!!! said...

It's already been said so many times. I am amazed that anyone could have forgotten it:

"YOU DO NOT SET THE AGENDA!"

"ONLY THE TOP-TALENT, MULTI-MILLIONAIRE, DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED ELITE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO SO!"

Thus, anyone who threatens this simple right of the elite will be beaten down with their elite sledgehammer.

You all forget those famous words liao meh?

"YOU DON'T SET THE AGENDA!"