Abstracts of essays; news; announcements; short takes.
as a foreigner who regularly commented on singapore politics (see for examples my personal website sinazen.com), I have noted the following:1. if you are a "somebody", e.g., William Safire, who was a NYTimes columnist and former speechwriter of Nixon, or a Harvard/MIT/Stanford Professor, or at least, a well known regional writer like Long Yingtai, you are given a respectful hearing even if you are highly critical - your comments at least shows Singapore is worthy of international notice and publishing in the local papers provide evidence of tolerance, as long as you do not actually involve yourself in singapore politics, e.g., a US Embassy official was expelled for such involvement during the 80s.2. Critical comments from ordinary nobodies are best ignored, as replying to them only provides publicity and makes them look important. However, certain topics are important enough for immediate action, e.g., Lingle was prosecuted for contempt of court, and suggestions (including just snide hints like the recent Financial Times case) of nepotism are taken seriously
I recalled a certain woman MP who married a twice-divorced Scotsman last year. Yes, twice divorced as reported in a Scottish newspaper & not on our dear Straits Times. Her church wedding in Spore was a big event where all the political bigwigs of her party were invited. Guess what, as reported in the Straits Times, her Scotsman husband was praised sky high as someone who would be very useful for her RC & CCC work at consultative level. This coming from a very big political bigwig at the wedding! Granted Scotsman could only be a Spore PR & not a Spore citizen as he only arrived permanently in Spore. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
Maybe the reason why we have double standards as to what foreigners can and cannot say is partly because there is no clarity on the matter. It could be the NLB syndrome at work i.e only subject matter experts, famous ppl etc will be considered.
"Critical comments from ordinary nobodies are best ignored" - sounds to me strangely like an NLB directive.No wonder no one takes their historical archive seriously.And not to long ago we even had someone from PAP saying "whoever making the posting is not important, what is important is the message."So what we have here is a CONTRADICTION. Now I understand why google spat into our mouth by going to our northern neighbors.
>"whoever making the posting is not important, what is important is the message."actually this is accurate; William Safire, Harvard professors, Long Yingtai, and other luminaries are given "respectful hearing", as a form of courtesy (including their courtesy to pay attention to Singapore), but there need not be any action; for example, after the following article by william saffire in NYTimes:http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE0DC1239F933A15754C0A963958260he was invited to come to Singapore (presumably expense paid) to debate the issue though he specifically said he would not come to Singapore; the government was not afraid of giving him publicity; on the other hand, his suggestion that GCT should meet and debate Francis Seow was not followed; a couple of years later LKY met Safire during an overseas trip and had a polite dialog with him; as I said it is basically a matter of courtesy
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