18 June 2006

Stomping its way to.... where?

The Straits Times, like traditional print media in many countries, is losing readership. To "stay relevant" to younger readers, it has just launched a web portal called Stomp. But since there is no synergy between the Straits Times and Stomp, it's baffling how the portal can help reverse the newspaper's fortunes. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

I think you mixed up three separate issues: the loss of readership to electronic media, the lack of critical evaluation of local political issues, and the particular mode of operation of stomp itself as a commercial venture; stomp obviously is not meant to address the second, and is only marginally adressing the first - the stomp users could develop a bit of psychological comfort with ST as well as invoke the various reference links that stomp would no doubt have, but I doubt ST guys have the idea of stomp "saving" ST; their hope still lies in getting online subscribers, and we have no idea how that is going

the 2M startup cost is a small one, and the running cost, including all those celebrity blogs and chats, wouldnt be very high; it is a small operation for a small market

your real beef is about press freedom, but I dont think that's responsible for the loss of readership

about MM and SM, I think the present arrangement is negative for LHL because of the perception that he is not in full control; it is in his own interest to make some changes; arguing along this line would get a better hearing

email: singaporeshares@yahoo.com

teck soon said...

Thank you for using the word "pidgin" to describe Singlish, because that's exactly what it is.

Anonymous said...

I think it's just plain stupid to get celebrity bloggers to blog. Because, they wouldn't be themselves and they wouldn't have the same motivations when they blog on Stomp.

Thrust me, it just wouldn't work.

Anonymous said...

I have viewed the site.I must say it is very boring.

Anonymous said...

To singaporeshares:

While it may be in LHL's own interest to change the current situation, it may not be that he will want to change the current situation.

Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to say that LHL actually does see things from different points of view than from his seniors.

Anonymous said...


Everybody knows SPH has just launched this STOMP website for youths.

Actually, it is a scam to distract youths from private blogs and forums that is Pro- Alternative Parties and centralised all the "Youth Issues" into one website controlled by the authorities.

Even Video is allowed to be uploaded. They hire all the Pro PAP bloggers like Xiaxue and Dawn Yang to spread the gospel.

Whill this STOMP website worked for PAP ?

This STOMP website is PAP's first trial run to manage,deal and fix the internet.

Will Youtubes and Blogspots truimph over STOMP?

In long run, Singaporeans might only be able to identify with STOMP and everyone MUST go that website to upload videos and speak your mind.

Like how NS men can only go NS Portal to do NS stuff.

This STOMP website might be a competitor against blogs like Yawning Bread, Gayle Goh etc

Youths today and voters of tomorrow might in the end get distorted information about Singapore politics again.

Until STOMP allows us to upload videos like WP crowds,AP Speeches and Chiam See Tong's Long March to Town Council clips, this STOMP website is considered PAP website.

STOMP is to reinforce people already inside the matrix so that they will never get out.

Maybe someone can try uploading Chiam's clips into STOMP and see what happen ?

The internet war has just begun and it is still early days.

STOMP was not really mean for us seasoned internet pros.

It was meant for those youths who are about to become seasoned internet pros.

The catch here is that these youths will read Pro PAP news instead of listening to us critisizing PAP.

Then PAP will have a internet following in 10 years time .

Whatever motive PAP have behind in creating STOMP should be self-defeated and make redundant.

STOMP advertisements are relentless and everywhere.

If PAP succeeds, the consequences are unthinkable.

Imagine an entire generation has already passed by for 40 years, hoodwinked into the matrix by SPH and Straits Times without bothering to think of the credibility of the news they read.

I do not wish to see the new generation with internet, sms, mms, 3G etc be also hoodwinked for another 40 years into matrix by the very same media, medium and tools they use to access information.

Anonymous said...


Can you share more insights as to how Christian fundamentalist thinking has influenced state policies?

From what I know, Confucianisnm is the favoured belief, though now PAP's version is a gravely distorted one.


recruit ong said...

Knowing it is from SPH, I am not even bothered to surf into it.

Anyone remembers Project Eyeball? the idea of stomp seems to be a rehashed copy of it.

Anonymous said...

2 million? urgh.. and i sold them the test-ink section for 500bucks.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To Jim -

3 examples of policy implementation in Singapore that appears to be consistent with beliefs espoused by fundamentalist (US) churches, and not espoused by any other major group:

1. In the battle against HIV/AIDS, the Sg govt has clearly said (the junior minister said to me directly across a table) that condoms are not part of the campaign except in niche areas. For the general public, the stress is abstinence, not safe sex. No condoms to be displayed or promoted. This position is heavily identified with the Religious Rightwing of America. HK, Taiwan and China have no problems promoting condoms.

2. In schools, students themselves have reported how Christian extremists are promoting religion under the guise of sexuality education. In January this year, it was headline news in the press. These givers of talks were approved by the school administration. How did they approve something that was so blatantly religious unless their own sympathies were with them?

3. Separately, in January this year too, the government approved a grant of S$100,000 of taxpayer money to an extremist Christian group whose mission was "conversion therapy" to change gay people into straight, through brainwashing. This pseudo-science is the speciality of US fundamentalist churches and no one else in the entire world. Global professional associations of psychologists and psychiatrists condemn such unethical practices. Yet senior civil servants in the Sg government were prepared to give money to this "cause", until People Like Us blew the whistle.

As for Confucianism, as you said, it's a gravely distorted version here. To see how far Singapore has deviated from it, just consider how China, Taiwan, etc deal with the gay issue. HK, Taiwan and China have all produced gay-based movies without much censorship problems. The Taipeh city govt funded a gay community radio station.

State-owned TV stations in mainland China feature gay issues in their programs. See Kelvin's blog for the links to the videos fo some recent programs. Contrast this with the total ban on discussing gay issues in Sg media.

Much of our government actions and policy on matters sexual aren't drawn from Confucianist ideas, they are drawn from fundamentalist Christian ideas.

Anonymous said...

>Anyone remembers Project Eyeball

that had a hardcopy free paper so was much more expensive

I believe the cost of publishing Mypaper is much more than stomp

boon said...

To YB:

All the examples quoted on Christian fundamentalism are on sexual health and education. Not quite convincing evidence of "influence of Christian fundamentalism on state policy". It's obviously a matter close to your heart, but probably not reflective of the general population.

When I first read your article, I thought you were pointing out that Christians are overly represented in our Parliament and Cabinet.

You also mentioned that foreign media companies like News Corp have deeper pockets than ST. Why would they even wish to set up an online portal in Singapore in the first place? As you had pointed out earlier, Singapore is too small a market. So what exactly is your point?

As the first Anon pointed out, you are mixing up too many issues in this article.


Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To Boon -

Christian funndamentalism is obsessed with matters sexual and that is why it manifests itself in policies sexual.

Anecdotally, Christians are over-represented in Parliament and the cabinet, but it is interesting that many do not declare their religion in their published CVs. When we monitor press reports about such and such a minister attening church... that's when we discover he is Christian.

Having said that, I must stress that I have no problem with Christians being over-represented in Parliament or the cabinet. I have no problem with Christians generally. My beef is with fundamentalism, and the way the more fundamentalist Christians in government (including civil servants)bring their religious ideas into state policy and administrative decisions.

I am always careful to make a distinction between Christianity as a whole and extremist versions of it, and a distinction between a person living a faith and imposing it on others.

Straight people often think that gays and lesbians are obsessed about the sexual aspects of policy and attitudes. But the reason is obvious, we are discriminated against on the basis of sexuality. It's like meeting people who are discriminated against on account of their skin colour, and to them we say, "Oh come on, why are you so obsessed about race?"

BL said...

Hi Yawning Bread,

Nice piece. Actually, I am also criticized for writing too long commentaries as well. So, I now know that I am not alone. :)

In any case, for web 2.0, I don't think that you need to pour $2M. We did SG Entrepreneurs for zero cash and made positive profit now such that we pay our contributors.

The STOMP people needs to learn something about business models and that's what we are good at. :)

Best regards,

17 teenager said...

ok. when i first read about stomp on The Straits Times, it practically drew no interest to me, i just flipped onto the next page. And as mentioned, the only attraction was the celebrity bloggers. In fact, i only visited the site upon reading this article. I personally find the layout absurd, totally of no appeal to me. AND yes, i am a SEVENTEEN year old teenager.

oh ya. reading the article got more confusing by the minute. so many issues discussed. need to think a while to link everything.

a little more random (but since the article mentioned about politics):
hmmm? i kind of find Straits Times a little "pro-PAP" maybe i'm just sensitive but just a thought. Like how our textbooks go on and on about PAP since 1965. Gets boring by the minute. But, i have to admit, they have done a rather good job till date (compared to what opposition seems capable of).

StealthEagle said...

As a blogger and a forummer at STOMP, it is like two distant worlds.

STOMP is like a central where Singaporeans can talk, although there are many other forums we can go to. If you want a little fame, go ahead, post your thoughts and see whether your's chosen for print.

Of course, your thinking must switch, know your OB markers, we know SPH is pro-PAP so we don't want our backsides to be fried. That is why it is hard when I'm making replies, consider the 'real' facts in my hands.

I still read the papers, but only for a few minutes unless something catches my eye. I have The Economist, and it is packed with lots of news, much better than the bulky bias.

Looks like ST is losing its taste, and STOMP seems to be the place SPH can dig for tasty bits, hence for the space 'reserved' for STOMP.

Celebrity bloggers? What's so special about them? Darn, I don't know them, is that bad? Who cares, I have many other blogs to visit, like YB and Singabloodypore.

Losing readership is because of internet. Ever since search engines exist, I think we don't even need ST anymore, unless there is total blackout.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,
It's interesting how you assume Stomp is a venture aimed at boosting ST's (already-not-unsubstantial) bottomline. Frankly, I'll be surprised if they can even get extra subscribers for The New Paper based on the site's content, much less any other news/entertainment outlet in any medium.

TheWrathOfGrapes said...

/// It has 7 celebrity bloggers who are given a topic a week to write on, and who also host online chats once a week.///

/// Noting that print media worldwide are losing readers to new, upstart media like the Internet, he says 'We realised that we needed to go beyond print and embrace new media to be relevant to younger readers.'///

I think this has got nothing to do with making money, or making the print media more viable. The hardcopy newspapers will continue to do well in Singapore because of the monopoly and the ad revenues.

It is about "if you can't beat them join them". Many readers, young and old, are turning to the internet for news, alternate or "real" news, rather than the censored and sanitized news, propaganda and spins praising the power that be. The blogs, youtube, chat-rooms, podcasts, are just the means. What people are going for are really the contents.

And this is where STOMP is going to fail. They are copying the delivery mechanisms - thinking that this is what the readers want. But it is the news, the contents, the insights that people want. By getting to the celebrity bloggers to write what the ST wants, they are effectively trying to set the agenda again.

I say, good try - but it won't work. Managing news on the internet will NOT work.

Anonymous said...

I think you are viewing it from the point the commercial stand-point. However what SPH does is perhaps non-business related. I don't think it sincerely wants or need to make a return on this venture. Our doubts are that it is an attempt to 'softly control' the internet discussions. Stomp is the only way in which it can create some control and regulate it's traffic and contents.

So one can almost conclude that Stomp is a political exercise and a failed business venture from the start. It will probably be written off as an experiment, like most other failed attempts or costly experiments.

If it cannot justify it's business model in this case, it can only be said to have failed in it's business judgement, but do you believe it is a purely business decision?

ClementS said...

Stomp is clearly the thin end of the PAP wedge, to "manage" opinion in the blogs (which the MIW already said they would do). It is not a business venture. 2M is peanuts to SPH.I suppose they will use their deep pockets to attract eyeballs with prizes, inane pop stuff, sexy bloggers, etc, then lace it with the usual pro-PAP feelgood propaganda. Anything to keep them off the likes of Gayle Goh or Yawning Bread. They can't stop you guys talking so they put up another attraction as a distraction.

The litmus test would be for you to upload a critical piece about the PAP & see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I can bet on STOMP being a useful tool and gathering point for Pro PAP videos, pictures and stories for GE 2010/2011.

PAP is starting to manage the internet.

malau said...

I agree that this is a rather long post, and that there are a number of issues that have been mentioned here. The one I feel most strongly about is the kind of comments and posts that STOMP gets. The quality of the language and the contents of the posts the STOMP forums get is simply terrible.

I think this is partly because of the diverse educational standards that contribute to the forums. The problem is that if the quality remains as such, then those capable of better quality posts will not want to post there anymore and you end up with a bunch of poorly educated, shallow thinking people populating your forum. And then it slowly degenerates into the 'regulars' who only want to hear people agreeing with them.

But then again it depends on what the whole purpose of STOMP is. If it's to give it's readers / people an avenue to speak up and express themselves then it may be serving it's purpose, but any such system will be limited by the lowest IQ/EQ/whatever-Q of the population of users; which unfortunately, in the local context, is not very high.