Gazetting is not that serious, is it?

Posted on 13 January 2011

The Prime Minister’s Office’s intention of gazetting TOC is to… well, er, depending on who you ask.

By Belmont Lay

The Online Citizen celebrated its fourth anniversary last year. Recently, they got a belated birthday gift from the government.

NO, IT’S not like they were made to watch as their own scrota were set on fire.

And no, no one was forced to commit incest against their will.

And no again, I do not remember anyone being coerced to do line dancing in public.

Which is why I’m particularly puzzled as to why everyone in the cyber world is up in arms about The Online Citizen (TOC) being gazetted.

Is it that serious, really?

Yes, I agree, being gazetted actually means a few things on this island. You’ve done something noteworthy enough in this country to be noticed. You’ve got clout. You’re an opinion leader. And maybe, you might even be right sometimes.

And also, the elections are coming.

Plus, in the rare event Barack Obama decides to pop by for one of TOC events, I’m sorry, but he might no longer be able to add glamour with his attendance because he’s a foreigner.

True, the Gerald Giam advertisement on the website to purchase his book might have to go.

Reluctantly, the wealthy Hungarian-Jewish financier George Soros can never give TOC a million dollars of his spare change in donation through one of his tentacled institutes to promote media freedom and political openness in Singapore.

However, have no fear. As always, I’ve worked out the perfect solution: Put up a notice on TOC saying that it is indeed the end. Thank all the fans and contributors who have made this all worked out so well.

Because at the end of the day, TOC is finished. It is time to abandon it.

Then proceed to transfer all the old articles to another website called The Citizen Online (or Citizen Online The, if you are into that kind of humour) and stick up a URL and direct everyone there towards the new content and platform.

And you can still keep the gaudy colour scheme.

The Prime Minister’s Office would be exasperated at the sleight of hand, and it will take them another four years to have their successor gazetted.

With TOC no more and TCO or COT or whatever it’s called, free to do whatever it wants just like before, everyone inside the Internet will cheer and it’s a victory for the plebians.

But let’s say for the sake of argument, TOC registers as a political association. Then what?

We have for ourselves a Catch-22 situation: If TOC is no longer business-as-usual after the limitations are imposed as a result of the gazetting, the current incessant moaning, decrying and hullabaloo by netizens that the government is trying to quash dissent is justified.

If TOC does employ some wit and cunning and not be made worse off by the gazetting, they have withstood an attempt to squash it.

And if TOC can still maintain its regular reporting and analysis as before, being gazetted wasn’t such a big deal to begin with, was it?

So what is all the moaning, decrying and hullabaloo by netizens supposed to be about again?

As always, there is a point to all these rambling and here it is: In the parlance of the PMO, TOC is “gazetted”. In the lexicon of the virtual crowd, TOC are “victimised”. In TOC speak, they have been “martyred”.

My vocabulary suggests that they were merely “inconvenienced”.

Shrug. It. Off.

This post was written by:

- who has written 230 posts on New Nation.

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  • Nemesis

    Belmont, you are sick and filthy-minded.

    Do you often do all of the above things that you mentioned in the first three paragraphs?

    Please wash your keyboard in bleach before typing anything further!

  • Legion

    I really hope you are not PRC writing this article …I don’t know whether to laugh or to take out my red booklet.

  • cheekbeek

    haha this article is so funny and so true!

  • Sita Saniva

    Lol some people just cannot take it when their cover’s been blown and yes, you were right all along – they’re all up in arms and getting their knickers in a twist (with scrota on fire, no less) at something that isn’t as big a deal as they make it out to be.


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  • sh

    Can’t we all take a chill pill? :)

  • Shigeru

    A piece of terrible writing with zero substance and worse taste. The writer seems to be trying too hard to be witty, but his brand of humour is related to body parts, vulgarities and/or crude practices. Looking at his response to negative feedback in other articles, this writer also seems to be incapable of coming up with logical counter-arguments and resorts to personal attacks. He is very frankly a liability to this budding website. If NewNation truly aspires to be a credible online magazine, I suggest that it really looks into getting quality writers on board. Having such a bad writer in the team puts off potential good writers because it undermines the perceived quality of the website as a whole. You can take my advice or leave it, it doesn’t affect me one bit.

    • Defennder

      Yes I agree. I’ve noticed a trend. It looks like all those TOC spin-offs such as New Nation and New Asia Republic, whose editorial teams usually comprise of at least one former TOC editor has made at least one bad judgement in deciding which writers to accept into their team. New Asia Republic has Christoper Pang, someone whom espouses out-of-mainstream whack Austrian economics and who does’t appear to have an adequate grasp of the traditional foundations of macroeconomics.

      New Nation has Belmont Lay, who frequently pens articles for the sole purpose of provoking angry or critical responses (in Singlish parlance, deliberately “acting cute to attract attention”) from readers, whereupon he then proceeds to mock them in the comments as he did so here: