31 May 2006

Mr Wang Is Being Researched

Just received an interesting little email from the Institute of Policy Studies. They are a think tank that specializes in Singapore policy issues. Right now they are doing a project to study the impact of the Internet on the recent elections, and they would like to interview me:
"The questions we are interested in include the kinds of space that the Internet helps create as an alternative to the mainstream media, and whether and how the Internet contributes to democratic processes. We have been archiving several dozen blogs during the election period, including yours, with a view to analyzing their content and features. But we would also like to have a quantitative sense of how big the impact of blogs like yours is - and would be grateful if you could grant us an interview either face to face or by email ...
Sounds like they'll probably want to interview quite a number of other bloggers too.


lbandit said...

I wonder what their next step would be if all the bloggers refused to be interviewed.

Sunflower said...

If they seriously want to engage not fix the bloggers, this will be a good chance! otherwise...... ?????

PanzerGrenadier said...

To all conspiracy theorists:

(Satirical Lenses *ON*)

Who funds IPS?

Why do they (REALLY) want to speak with Mr Wang?

Are there any cars following Mr Wang on his trip to IPS?

Will the conversation be recorded?

Stay tuned for the next episode of...

Badaboom, badabang... Gahmen gonna "fix" you! The Sinpranos.

Anonymous said...

They obviously dont read the blogs they archive if they need to 'interview' you.
Or this might be another instance of the iron fist under the velvet glove.

Anonymous said...

Think Tanks like IPS are supposedly "neutral", but are they?

Look what happen to Open S'pore Centre and the Think Centre

Anonymous said...

I'm more concerned about the archiving that they have already done.

Mezzo said...

I wonder if it'll be mentioned at the forum this Friday.

akikonomu said...

Here are the questions Mr Tan Tarn How will be asking:

1. What is the average number of page views/unique visitors for your blog in the past 6 months? (From Jan to June)

2. What is the average number of i) unique visitors and ii) page views for your blog in the period of April 20 – May 6?

3. What is the average number of comments you received on i) posts before and ii) during the period of April 20 – May 6?

4. What are your most popular post / podcast before and during the elections period (April 20 – May 6)?

simplesandra said...

Does that mean they're taking down particulars as well, like who you are and where you live? :)

Anonymous said...

Please don't lower yourself to be a lab rat unless there is $$$ then you would uprank yourself to be their "client".

Wayne said...

To clarify,

Instiute of Policy Studies is mostly funded from external business sources, NOT from the government. They ARE NOT a government think tank and many of their research are privately based.
I believe Yawning Bread has clarified this earlier in the year.

Has anyone read:
"State-Society Relations in Singapore"
Gillian Koh & Ooi Giok Ling, eds. Singapore: IPS & Oxford University Press, 2000

Also, Tan Tarn How is probably the most respected ex ST journalist. His articles when he was in ST are certainly not the usual you read in ST nowadays. He was one of the few people in ST who pushed the boundaries of speech in ST.

I think IPS is really meaning to do good research. I do not see why Mr Wang should not offer to help, if he wants to.

Anonymous said...

Can we even be certain of WSS is not a double agent?

Remember that this is a regime that even get overseas students to spy & tell on each other - that's how deep their paranoia is.

akikonomu said...

And who is yawning bread exactly? Does he run IPS?

Now, when I asked if this IPS study had anything to do with the ministry study on the internet's effect on the elections, Tan Tarn How replied thus:

"No, we are not doing this for the ministry. We thought of this project in January, and wanted to do a more academic paper on the subject. The ministry would want a more policy-oriented paper. But if they ask us, we will probably agree because IPS' depends partly on commissions from the Government."

Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

If the questions are so quantitative and numerical in nature, I shan't bother to respond. They can always click on the "Extreme Tracker" icon at the bottom of the sidebar and collect their own stats.

May was indeed a bumper month, no doubt because of the elections. March was 13,000+ and April was also 13,000+, but in May, the readership jumped to 25,000+.

No doubt next month it will fall sharply unless I blog about World Cup ... which I won't, because I'm not much of a soccer fan.

moomooman said...

I feel there is no way to "measure" impact. If Wang has a 20k readership per month assuming all unique visitors, how many of them are voting? On what basis did they place their decisions on? They may leave a comment condemning PAP but they may also vote for them. There is just no way to know.

Think it's a waste of time.

moomooman said...

Hi wang, just realised we are both in your blog at the same time. Just to say hi.

Anonymous said...

Wang, you betta be careful.

First of all your identity is not widely known, and I guess you already have taken measures so that it remains as confidential as possible.

This is the first line of defence against any nonsense that comes your way.

I'm not saying that any will, but why take the risk? It is your life at stake, not anyone else's.

Secondly, if you go for interview, not only will your identity be known, but every word you say MAY be recorded, or at least transcripted and you may even be on CCTV like James Gomez.

You say anything wrong, later on it can be used against you. You never said NO LIVER in your Bak Chor mee. Please explain why. Are you a liar???????

Of course the interview will be used by govt in assessing the impact of internet on political process. Just like they keep redrawing the wards, you can imagine what plans they have for the internet also.

I suggest you think very carefully before you do anything.

Don't let them tickle your vanity(which is there, believe me, heheh) by begging you to be interviewed. It's quite possible you are being given the rope to hang yourself.

So pls think carefully whatever you do. I would suggest that you refuse politely, but say that you will answer any questions via internet written response.


Anonymous said...

Whether it's the IPS or the media (gaylegoh was featured recently, wasn't she), I suspect they are doing it so that they or the public can put a face to the blogger, so that eventually the blogger will quieten down because she can no longer blog the way she likes.

I would be very suspicious if I were you - I mean I haven't forgotten this is Singapore!

Anonymous said...

pls lah ... nailing yr id is no 海底捞针 problem. Locking on to yr IP address is just 易如反掌, dude.

juz coz u can't find out who WSS really is doesn't mean the regime can't. Even a PI can do so wif the tons of careless clues he leaves in his blogs, wat more the resources of ISD?

charge u wif sedition & slap u wif detention without trial for 25 yrs den u know!

balls shrink now, rite ... scared orredi, rite?Wahahahaha!!!

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

IPS already knows me. They had previously invited me to attend a closed-door meeting with them. Other folks who were invited included Mr Brown, Mr Miyagi and Yawning Bread.

Anonymous said...

dazzit man, why so silly & show your face???

Die lah ... waaaaahhhhhhh ... all my all-time favourite sg bloggers gonna kenna detention, liao.

how to readjust my lifestyle without independent opinion and comment on the net.

how to survive, now, u tell me: i is allergic to all regime-controlled mouthpieces orredi. dammit ...

or wait ... maybe all them in conspiracy to elicit seditious comments to track our IP addresses, then how?

so is either they DEAD MEAT, i DEAD MEAT or all oso DEAD MEAD!!!

seow liao lor X( ...

Anonymous said...

er.. so is mr wang going to accept the interview?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Probably not, if all they want to talk about is numbers and reader stats ...

feeblechicken said...

Interesting.. all the comments reflect the fear of government that people say we so inherently have. But to be truthful, I got the same mentality, thinking that there may be some conspiracy when I read this entry, but Mr Wang is probably more knowledgeable and less paranoid at this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

Does refusing to be interviewed amount to some form of civil disobedience? :p

If so, refuse them!!!! hehe

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...if they offer you $$$ for your time, would you budge?

Anonymous said...

Oh, the paranoia!

I got the same email from someone in IPS and I was amused that he didn't seem to know the meeting had already taken place. In fact, it was proposed by me. It was a very useful meeting between me, the head and senior researcher of IPS, where we *shared*, *exchanged* views about the elections.

In my opinion, the IPS considers itself independent and tries to do worthwhile academic research. This being Singapore, however, there are probably some limits to its independence, but this doesn't mean that it's some arm of the Internal Security Department out to entrap bloggers!

dfgd said...

Even I will be attending a little meeting this month with the IPS. There is nothing to fear.

Anonymous said...

Don't think is fear. Just cynicism, and justifiably so.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

I don't think they can offer enough $$$ to make me budge. Not that they are no poor or I am so rich, but really $$$ has nothing to do with my blogging motivations.

Soci, are you in town ... You want to meet up?

Anonymous said...

A word of caution, Mr Wang: to quote the bard, where we live "there's daggers in men's smiles." Maybe you haven't met the Minister of Home Affairs personally, but this is definitely the time to start your alternate, and anonymous, blog site.
As far as your respected Tan Tarn How goes, listen to what the man said, "But if they ask us, we will probably agree because IPS' depends partly on commissions from the Government." The number who have switched to the dark side for the recession proof $1 million a year is long, and increasing.

Anonymous said...

Not everything the government does is bad and not everything the opposition does it good.

How do we know there are no liberals in the system?

Are bloggers really the only people with conscience?

Let's not divide dissent but unite it.

Anonymous said...

"How do we know there are no liberals in the system?"

You make me think of those whining junior reporters in the 140th looking for sympathy. Action speaks louder than words. Until the day the public can see concrete actions, otherwise THERE ARE NO LIBERALS IN THE SYSTEM, period.

Anonymous said...

Remember what Inderjit Singh did to Gomez, a supposedly old time friend? It would be wise to pay attention to Sylvia Lim's words on the episode: "We are surprised that Inderjit came out to say these things, lah. It just shows that whatever transpires, you can't really have casual conversations with the PAP."

Anonymous said...

Alex, you are not being careful, no doubt because you are already in the open.

But the risks you take should not be passed on in a cavalier fashion to others who may have a different risk profile to you.

Right now the PAP has not made up its mind as to whether you are a threat or not. Why not push them a bit, join the WP and stand for next election?

Then see whether your Bak Chor Mee has liver in it or not?

How to defeat your enemy? Pretend to be his friend first. Find out all about him and then, when you are ready, strike.

Maybe you can predict what will happen if the "LOTR six" stand in Mordor GRC again. This time, there will be whole files on each of them.

Right now a file is being compiled of you, of Wang and Brown.

Sure maybe we can trust to the good graces of the PAP and assume that nothing will happen to you.

It depends alot on who is going to be the PAP's point man on the internet. If it is Balaji or George Yeo, you will be treated fairly, but if it is LBY.....well, I have my reservations.

I think Wang is being more careful than either you or Brown and I respect his caution.


dfgd said...

"Soci, are you in town ... You want to meet up?"

I will be in town from the 15th to the 17th June. If you are free we can try to arrange a coffee or something. I would rather arrange via email though.