And for the last time, can somebody please explain why is Horatio Caine going to wear two pairs of sunglasses in the meme???
Cherian George haters be damned.
By Belmont Lay
In the past few days, a lot of haters have come out to lay the smack down on NTU’s Cherian George.
Why? Because they are unhappy with what they deemed to be Cherian’s unwarranted criticism of The Online Citizen’s lax reporting standards.
Cherian, you see, pointed out that one of TOC’s blogivists applied quotation marks rather luxuriously on Seng Han Thong’s mis-speech on BlogTV, fudging the meaning of what the beleaguered MP actually said and meant.
I don’t know about you, but let me insist on this: Haters, be damned.
Look, Cherian plies his trade as a media academic. It is his right to speak authoritatively, especially about media-related issues, without fear or favour.
If TOC cannot use quotation marks properly, he can tell them to get their shit together and learn how to better punctuate.
No big deal.
Moreover, I am certain that long after this debacle featuring Seng Han Thong is over, I, for one, can still count on Cherian to continue his scholarship in media research and related topics in Singapore.
What can the haters contribute?
It doesn’t take a savant to understand this: Most of Cherian’s scholarship will continue to go towards informing our understanding of policies and politics in Singapore from the media’s perspective.
Plenty of his past work have helped countless students, academics and lay observers appreciate and manoeuvre the profundities of the Singapore system in the media domain and beyond.
Obviously, Cherian’s sagely advice will be dependable in the future when it comes to the media because he has been where almost no one else in this country has been: From going up the ranks in the SPH news room to the hallways of NTU where he lectures and researches from.
His experience is vital. And his comradeship even more so.
Basically, he’s been at it ever since “The Internet” was known as “Cyberspace”.
Last but not least, I definitely can trust Cherian to sustain a logical, principled argument.
It is pretty evident that after three blog posts into discussing his perspective in this messy Seng Han Thong debacle (check out blog posts number 1, 2 & 3), the only things still left standing and intact are Cherian’s principled approach and logical stance.
You will unwittingly notice how the dissenters and haters conspicuously decline in volume in the comments section with each passing post.
To sustain an argument is not so much for Cherian to have the last word.
Rather, it is for him to hone his rationale and methods to ensure they become unimpeachable – long after the haters have dissolved in their own bile.
Because he is, after all, a man with a reputation. A reputation which is a by-product of the good work he has done so far.
You can go take a look for yourselves. The books and articles he has edited and published under his name are for everyone’s scrutiny.
For further proof, observe his blog posts in addressing the haters, public-at-large and even himself.
In his introspective and almost-apologetic-bending-over-backwards concession that he might be “selfish” when dealing with this present issue, he explains thoroughly why he is not siding with TOC or going after the PAP.
And you know why? It is because he steadfastly refuses to turn the tables on whichever of his critics at the moment by employing PAP’s or haters’ tactics of arm-twisting and name-calling.
He simply does not want to mimic the ways of such hardliners that he cannot respect in the first place.
Cherian even writes charitably: “So I treasure truthfulness in politics, and – since I am not seeking votes or eyeballs – would rather lose a battle of words than push an untruth”.
How fucking cool is that?
In comparison, three days in, just where have all his haters gone? (As of now, Dec. 26, 2011, 4 a.m., there are no comments on his third post.) They have neither the intellectual stamina nor fortitude to see through a proper argument.
And I’ve yet to hear a squeak from Sonia Suka, the original blogivist who is credited for breaking the SHT story on TOC.
If you, dear reader, had to take sides in this issue, I have only this advice to offer: Place your bets on whoever is in this for the long term, or even for good.
You should know who to choose by now.
And with regards to TOC? What can be said about them choosing to go head-to-head against Cherian George?
It shows two things:
Their resolve to prove that they are right at the expense of conceding a point is laudable, but their display of pig-headedness is unfortunate.
Because to insist there is outright racism on Seng Han Thong’s part by jumping up and down and crying out loud that there is, the case, nevertheless, is still insurmountably difficult to prove.
Even Alex Au of Yawning Bread pretty much calls it much ado about nothing. (In fact, Au’s exact words are: “…it is difficult to make too much of those words (by Seng Han Thong)”.)
And for TOC to insist on being right on this issue, regardless of what naysayers think, would only solidify the consensus that they have an agenda in going after the PAP.
Whatever political capital they might have accumulated in the days leading up to last week, some of it is inevitably lost in the past few days.
Simply put, for those of us who are not thoroughly convinced of TOC’s point-of-view on this particular matter, their phoniness has been exacerbated.
As with Cherian haters and dissenters, it shall be the same for TOC once this moment has passed.
They’ll be off banging on about some other topic in time to come.
For Cherian, it is back to doing the grunt work. Whatever reputation he has attained inside and outside of academia, will always be a by-product of the consistency of his thinking, research and his even-handedness.
In other words: Cherian will still be around doing what he does best.
And here’s the point of today’s missive: For that reason, I’m counting on him.
With TOC, unfortunately, all bets are off for now.
A reader voices his displeasure with Singapore’s most infamous political blog.
I’m writing to express my displeasure with TR Emeritus (TRE), a website which prides itself as “the voice of Singaporeans”. Let me say that a more suitable tagline for them would be “the voice of bigots.” Let me explain why.
On December 22, the TRE released a story titled “The Online Citizen taken to task for reporting on Seng Han Thong.” In the article, TRE criticised Cherian George, author of journalism.sg, for defending Mr Seng who, in a recent media appearance, quoted an SMRT public relations personnel on the poor English proficiency of Malay and Indian staff of SMRT.
Cherian criticised The Online Citizen (TOC) for quoting Mr Seng out of context because TOC attributed the PR’s quote to Mr Seng himself, making him the target of furious netizens. In response, Mr Seng released the full transcript of what he said. However, Mr Seng was forced to apologise when SMRT denied that these remarks were made by their PR (duh, even if the SMRT PR’s quote was real, why would SMRT admit it? They would have ‘taichi-ed’ the blame away!) Read the full story
It is scary to think that no one who considers Seng Han Thong a friend has come out publicly to put in a good word for him.
By Belmont Lay
I’m not here to ask those big philosophical questions.
I don’t have a proper answer as to whether Seng Han Thong is a bit thick or just unable to express himself properly in English.
I’m not here to act pious. Neither am I here to toss in the righteous card.
All I want to ask is this: Why hasn’t anybody – especially a friend or even an acquaintance or an ex-colleague or a fellow card-carrying cadre from the PAP or grassroots organisations – come out to personally put in a good word for SHT or at least defend him publicly on Facebook?
If you go take a look at his Facebook wall, every single user in there has been tearing him a new one for two consecutive days. (Even as I’m completing this article at 3 a.m., the page is refreshing every three minutes with threats and violence! Holy cow!)
Look. Seng has been a seat-warming back bencher since 1996. So altogether, he has been a member of parliament for 15 years.
That’s one-and-a-half decades of his life spent in the midst of Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio constituents signing letters, shooting the breeze, doing karaoke sessions, attending kindergarten show-and-tells, carrying babies, walking the wet market, bird-watching, chasing horses, gallivanting or whatever.
In those 15 years, he must have made a few personal friends here, a few drinking buddies there, worked well with some people or exerted his influence enough to help several residents who might consider repaying him a favour in the future.
But look. What have we got?
Nought. None. Zero.
The thing that disturbs me the most as a casual observer of everything that has unfolded in the past two days since Seng got lynched, is the absence of people who might think it necessary to put in a good word or two for him.
He can’t be that bad ass, is he? I mean, he got punched on one occasion and set on fire on another, but other than that, he must still be quite alright to warrant some respectability as a public servant who is duty-oriented enough to have some friends, no?
It seems that none of the people he knows on a personal basis deem it necessary to defend another fellow human being from character assassination.
Even me being a complete asshole some times, I can think of at least five people who will step up to the plate to protect my name from being sullied when the time comes. Terence, you in, right?
So here’s the upsetting thing about the PAP: You can boast about having thousands of members in your party who are Singapore-centric, peace-loving, status quo-maintaining, law-abiding, qualified achievers and having the most organised bunch of senior citizens and retirees in any modern society, but yet, when the time comes and the shit has splattered from the fan, no one even wants to volunteer to come out to defend your own kind.
And I’m not even saying the people who want to come out and defend Seng must write a robust, thesis-like argument.
I’m not asking K Shanmugam and his ilk to come out guns blazing with a 400-page legal argument formulated overnight.
All anyone can do – anyone who feels an ounce of sincerity as a friend can, should and have to do – is to simply say on Seng’s behalf, using a proper Facebook account with a face and name that is legit:
“I know Han Thong. He is not a racist fucktard that everyone here on his Facebook wall is saying he is. He can be a sweet man if he wants to be, but he is somewhat thick and hollow at times, and rather unfortunately, just cannot express himself properly in English. But other than that, he’s fine.”
How tough is that?
And this is the same kind of absence that was pretty evident when the whole Internet was tearing Tin Pei Ling a new one during the May election.
Where are her friends from university? Where are the colleagues and grassroots volunteers who know her better than everyone else on the web? Where are her sisters? (Not the biological ones, but the hang-out-go-shopping-sip-tea kind.) Where are the people who might feel some responsibility towards her?
So the next time you hear the PAP bitch and whine about how hard it is to get qualified people to join them, you know why.
If you’re ever stuck in the lurch, forget it. You die alone. And in this age of social media, you die by mob lynching and Seng won’t be the last.
You can have all the money, but no one gives two shits about you.
No one wants to defend you on a personal capacity. No one would protect you from the mob. No one wants to be a friend during your times of need.
(Even with a fatwa to his name demanding he dies since 1989, Salman Rushdie has his defenders.)
But in the PAP, sorry, you’re on your own, buddy.
Which brings me to my point of today’s missive: I have new found respect for Halimah Yacob.
She took the initiative to speak out against Seng, on Facebook, nonetheless.
If you recall, two months ago, I wrote a piece about the 9 ways the PAP can engage people online.
And one of the points involves repudiating a fellow PAP all-white, especially on issues you cannot agree with.
Halimah, you go girl.