I read, with a ‘tch!’, that a local writer, and determined campaigner against the death penalty, had written a report on the background and campaign against the state-sanctioned strangulation of Yong Vui Kong for The Online Citizen, but which could not be found at her site. In this, may be detected the message, ‘you are nothing without the Organisation, and the Organisation is nothing without mass attention.’
Now isn't this formula one of the significant contributors to that which the 'opposition' constantly battles against? And in this case, why Yong Vui Kong faces the death penalty, and why it might very well go ahead because in the war for prominence between organisations, it is the party in power that is miles ahead? But if we were to take this prominence and give it to the humble individual, would the Yong Vui Kong tragedy be an issue today? In this, Rachel Zeng, Yong Vui Kong, the TOC, and the masses lying prostrate at the feet of prominence, are all a symbiotic part of The Problem. (this article is not meant to disparage Rachel's efforts, which are certainly laudable, but is meant to highlight an issue that, if it had been resolved a long while ago, might see Vui Kong serving a '5 to 10' instead of facing the death penalty)
I often wondered why Singaporean writers/bloggers don’t appreciate the essential fact that the generic idea of a phenomenon is either strengthened or compromised by specific instances. So the ‘significance of the individual’, for instance, is the ‘generic idea’ in this context. The degree to which we fill this generic reservoir will determine the degree to which it is able to irrigate subsidiary experiences. If we devalue the individual, by writing for TOC and not having a copy of it on our own site for instance, or if we rely on TOC’s monopolisation of the attention of a fascistically-produced mass to get the word out, we are simultaneously devaluing the significance of the individual as opposed to the Organisation at a generic level. The continuation of the death penalty, homophobia, racism, the stuttered and skewed progress of democracy, amongst a multitude of others, are some of the consequences as these rely on the generic devaluation of the individual for its strength.
So long as organisations such as the TOC can hold sway over the masses, democracy will never be fully realised. It is a paradoxical situation actually. Whilst the TOC, amongst others, may serve as a rallying point for the meeting of minds, it can serve to engender a celebrity-worshipping mentality that leads to the people gathered at its feet for insight, to simultaneously discount the potential of others gathered there to be its source. And given that people have been reared within a status quo that promotes the worship of the few, this tendency will certainly be amplified even amongst the 'opposition'. Not only does this amount to a huge loss of insight, it also stifles its production amongst the masses. When they do finally get democracy, it will be a severely diminished one that will be confused for much as people would have been simultaneously underdeveloped to confuse their knees for their feet. It is in this that the legacy of the relatively anti-democratic parties they believe they are opposing is continued. Let’s not forget that the one of the significant reasons why singapore’s democratic status is severely compromised is that it thrives on the devaluation of the significance of the individual and the complementary collective mutual empathy. People rally around organisations and are mindlessly mindful of their pronouncements. In that, the ability to individually appreciate reason in itself is compromised. How does the oppositional sector differ, pray tell?
Rachel Zeng is a writer who cannot be accused of trivialising or focusing on the trivial. But when one looks at the number of comments she receives, even when her article of the day might be more insightful than something published by the TOC, the comments section still provides much space for the free flight of tumbleweed. What ought to have transpired is that given TOC's already undue prominence, an excerpt of Rachel Zeng's article could have been provided and a link to her site. In this, the TOC's monopolisation of the idea of 'insight' is undone and it becomes not only a purveyor of insight, but a validator of it when it exists without. As this is not the case, for people to seriously consider her viewpoint, she has to have it transfigured in the supposedly hallowed glow of the prominence of TOC, lest it is left to languish in the oblivion of the twilight of her perceived insignificance. All these fascist democrats really ought to sit down and think seriously about how such a state of affairs is contributing to the problems they are encumbered with.
This article will not provide a link to Rachel Zeng’s article on the TOC. Not because it is not insightful or worthy of more than a cursory perusal – which it certainly is – but because in doing so, a2ed will be guilty of reinforcing the flawed notion that insight is determined by prominence and not deserving of prominence in itself wherever it is to be found. And most importantly, I find it extremely discomforting that that might comprise one of the sinews threading the noose that Yong Vui Kong faces. It is easier to suggest a solution than to not be a part of the problem.