Friday, March 23, 2007

Qotw8: Theonlinecitizen


The title of this blog is theonlinecitizen, link is

Writer is Andrew who is from the Worker’s Party. The first postings began in December 2006. Technorati ranking is 59, 044.

The topics range from social matters, like how to help the elderly to what the Members of Parliament are doing. Sometimes there are posts on world matters, like the March 21, 2007 entry which discussed the ten polluted rivers and why the Pakistani coach was murdered.

The tone is objective for advertisements (like the Asean meeting on Youth) and what people in other countries are doing. But for today’s post, of untrue material, politicians lying and blogs which tell the truth, Andrew comments about Dr Balakrishnan’s remarks that the bloggers can publish freely about the government on the Net. “Blogs can prevent politicians from lying” (, 2007). He does not feel happy that our government says neutral things.

A second keypost is that he feels job discrimination is not helped. No one can sue employers who are biased against race and disabled people.Andrew sounds critical of the PAP. Readers who dropped comments on this post said they hoped laws would be imposed like in the UK against race and age factors.

Do blogs allow for greater democracy in Singapore?

Blogs are the new media now. Already in traditional media like radio and tv, it seems that whoever cannot win the public’s eye will become out of favor ( Thornton, 2002 ). There is great democracy in other countries. As long as people keep away from Nazism or very inflammatory remarks, most things are all right.

For Singapore, let me examine democracy in various contexts.

Democracy means content is negotiable, people can take part in equal amounts of discussion, even those who are affected (Thornton, 2002).

For the blog I have adopted, he can discuss about the policies of the government. But there will definitely be media watchdogs who keep a tab. It is impossible not to be detected. Racist bloggers were sued some time ago.

What if you kept away from racist content? Basically there are some blogs out there with poorly written English and comments about the government, which still remain. In my search, I came across one called the loud voice. The blogger was using a lot of swear words. But the entries are still up. There is relative freedom for vulgarities. Thornton ( 2002 ) states that if people were to be literate, then there can be equal basis for discussion. Those whose first language is not English sound awkward and are discriminated against. Singaporeans can all speak fluently, so this means there is equal opportunity to post something.

I am appalled at the singlish used. Frustrations and sadness can all be vented locally. It shows that there is no language ban. Teenagers can talk about their personal problems and matters online.

Although has a policy that they will remove material that is copyright or offensive, I have seen people post music and other people’s works on the blogs. But for the SDP’s podcasting, Dr Balakrishnan announced a ban against them. Netizens had also filmed and put up videos but they were all right (Giam, 2006). People used their mobile phones to snap videos. So there is democracy because you can film things without any bans or laws against you. But the boundary is, not to comment about polls and elections, especially if you are a politician.

I think that democracy is quite free in Singapore, because vulgarities and politics can be mentioned by most people. Unless you are a government official, you do not have to worry. Singapore will not press charges against your comments on blogs. But the worst case would be Dr Chee Soon Juan who is always on the headlines. He was jailed for talking about the headscarf issue that malay girls can be allowed to wear them and he asked for “the Chinese to speak up”. He admits to being a self-promoter.


Andrew (2007). Blog Retrieved from

Giam (2006) The Politics of Singapore’s new media. Retrieved march 23,2007 from

Hahn, Lorriane( 2002). CNN Talkasia. Retrieved March 23, 2007 from

Thornton,A (2002) Does the Internet create democracy? Retrieved march 23,2007 from

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