Organising for future politics in Singapore

What does it tell us about the state of world affairs when politicians need to appeal to Facebook and other social media giants, to censor contents which are deemed problematic?

It means that In this digital age, dictators can no longer enjoy the monopoly of the tools of information dissemination, or rely on their controlled media to mould peoples’ thoughts. Hence the frenzy to brand alternative news as ‘fakes’.

This is the new battle front. Although Singapore prides itself as at the frontline of cutting-edge technology, its ruling party, the PAP (People’s Action Party) is still deep in the politics of social control designed for the analogue age.

Hence the biggest show in Singapore town in 2019 will be the libel case of Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister, against Leong Sze Hian, a prolific social critic and blogger. Long term observers of Singapore politics will know that libel courts have become the political execution grounds of the island state. For a politician to be bankrupted following a libel suit is the modern day equivalent of having one’s head lobbed off.

Unlike the past when citizens merely sighed in resignation, fearful that critical comments could lead to criminal prosecution under the archaic Scandalising the Court Act, something unprecedented happened on this occasion.

Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of the Prime Minister not merely donated to Leong’s fighting’s fund, he is the first to do so, according to reports on social media.

This makes what was, until now, merely a sibling feud within Singapore’s first family, openly political. Already Lee Hsien Yang’s son, Li Sheng Wu, a Harvard don, is forced to self-exile, following a contempt of court charge, that case has yet to be heard.

It may be too premature to regard Lee Hsien Yang’s intervention as the harbinger of new politics in Singapore, but such open defiance against the established order can only encourage others who are too timid to break ranks to do likewise. Already Singaporeans who have erstwhile sat on the fence are feeling uneasy with the gratuitous persecutions of various social activists in the past 12 months.

Given that the General Elections have to be held latest by 2021 and rumored to be end of this year, Lee Hsien Yang’s move cannot come at a worst time for Lee Hsien Loong. The more politically sophisticated electorate would be expecting a government capable of managing politics in the digital era, which the current elites are not.

Digital technology is a double edge sword. The PAP would no doubt deploy all resources, to further curb the growth of dissent. To combat them, we have to go beyond our keyboards, and the opposition forces also need to think beyond the traditional tribal boundaries to bring about change fit for the digital era.

Our numbers, at least digitally, have never been bigger, yet our rights have shrunk. If we do not win the next round, with the exponential growth of artificial intelligence, the control of the state over us will be beyond imagination.

 

Tan Wah Piow

 

 

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9 Responses to “Organising for future politics in Singapore”

  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Yang is the opposite to the extreme of his elder brother…married to a brilliant lawyer daughter of a man known for his compassion on min wage take-home pay for workers and a cap in the million dollar idiots which was shot down by the evil regime…Prof Lim Chong Yah

    Bless with two sons one a Don @Harvard and the other an open Gay with NO Pretensions.

    His recent spat with the lame dragon and eventual support of the lesser fortunate a rub off from wife & F-I-L is in my view a counter to Bad Karma befalling his family…

    I wish him and his family well and hope he will RECEIVE the Blessings he deserves

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  • Bapak:

    2019, Year of the Pig, will see two zodiac signs change places.

    Dragon will fall.
    Goat will rise.

    SG will live happily ever after.
    (Dragon my run road too. Self- exile.)

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  • PacMan:

    Hi5s @ patriot

    Prof Lim Chong Yah, whose authoritative publication was our bible in economics back in JC days, is a father-in-law even the Crown Prince couldn’t have; who knows if he (the clown) secretly also had the hots for Fern but got spurned by her, we shall never know.

    Who is his father-in-law/HoLee Chinggis’ father anyway (compared to Prof Lim)?

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  • Backside book:

    Facebook is Opposition? And Democratic? They should not use it!

    China does not use it! They should create their own backside book?

    Shame on them they should not even be reading such pages!

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    PacMan:
    Hi5s @ patriot

    Prof Lim Chong Yah, whose authoritative publication was our bible in economics back in JC days, is a father-in-law even the Crown Prince couldn’t have; who knows if he (the clown) secretly also had the hots for Fern but got spurned by her, we shall never know.

    Who is his father-in-law/HoLee Chinggis’ father anyway (compared to Prof Lim)?

    Good for you bro, a mind that “THINK”s and NOT CONditioned…take care and stay well TUMASIK needs you until the dynasty fall and we revert to The Republic of Singapore though I would prefer Republic TUMASIK

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  • NotMyProblem:

    “Public complaints against those who abuse the rule of law are legitimate and do not breach any law, and neither should they be construed as sedition in any way. They will be regarded as free speech,…Citizens can make reports on these matters or openly speak about them.” said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

    Does this apply in Singapore too? Can any of Singapore PAP’s Ministers or MPs repeat this?

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  • Al Manac, Luna(tic)Reader:

    No, Piow, your source/s is/are wrong:
    those amateurs advising LHL can’t wait till end-2019, by whence a full-blown global recession would already be well and truly upon the people who will swing mightily against him and his son (and the HoLee Dow-ager, of course) and drive their reign to the edge to close to tatters.

    GE2019 will be called as soon as the semi-paralyzed, quart-crippled Ah Keat-ah has announced more-delicious-than-expected goodies on February 18. Latest date? March 23, the HoLee anniversary of MATI-suda-LAH Bapak STINKYPOORA.

    Which happens to be a Saturday as well, most ideal day of the week to conduct such trivial & mundane yet troublesome affairs, ya?

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  • Al Manac, Luna(tic)Reader:

    No, Piow, your source/s is/are wrong:
    those amateurs advising LHL can’t wait till end-2019, by whence a full-blown global recession would already be well and truly upon the people who will swing mightily against him and his son (and the HoLee Dow-ager, of course) and drive their reign to the edge to close to tatters.

    GE2019 will be called as soon as the semi-paralyzed, quart-crippled Ah Keat-ar•阿吉仔 has announced more-delicious-than-expected goodies on February 18. Latest date? March 23, the HoLee anniversary of MATI-suda-LAH Bapak STINKYPOORA.

    Which happens to be a Saturday as well, most ideal day of the week to conduct such trivial & mundane but troublesome affairs, ya?

    Special performance by
    Ah Keat-ar•阿吉仔:
    【愛著打死唔退】(or【愛著打死斷腿】???)
    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNFbEwr65PpkX4jefYPQS5g
    - duet with Ah Goh•吳儀君

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  • Discrimination:

    If ex lawyer Ravi is to become a MP, kicked out all former CC members on the rationale that CC is run on state fund n should be ready to help mp to run the constituent with loyalty to the nation n not to the ruling political party . Like his predecessor in Punggol, pasir Ris n Ajunied GRC, the CC is controlled n used as the agents of PAP. If Ravi is to bring the case of abuse of power n abuse of state fund for party propaganda, Singaporeans wonder whether the case will be taken by the AGC against PAP on the charge of abuse of power or abuse of power is depending on who n not on what just like a pap sub now no more sub minister conflict of interest is not depending on relationship between the appointed n the appointer but on how successful the appointed is.

    Many weird concepts r coming into pap govt operation. Abuse of Power depends on who abuses. Conflict of interest depends on how successful the man is.. Many very successful mem have been charged in the world of criminal acts in acquiring wealth. The more one hears n the more the biws rationalize, the more one is reminded of the words of Lee Hsien Yang n Lee Wei Ling of compliancy n dynasty agenda which as LKY/GCT/LHL vow to the citizenry if accusation is not dealt in a Court of Law then accusation sticks n the accused should resigned. But how a compliant public institution can deliver justice especially when it involves BLP children? Delimma n Embarrassment would not it be? Guilty eat wind n more millions not guilty sinkies oh really ah.

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