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Gazetting is not that serious, is it?

Gazetting is not that serious, is it?

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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.