We have ‘The Online Citizen’, ‘Temasek Review’, amongst others. They present themselves as ‘a community of singaporeans’, or news from ‘a fresh and independent perspective’. Of course, with professionals working on the alternative side of the media, we might be able to get in-depth interviews, reports and so on. But then again, it’s not that we didn’t have a ‘singaporekini’ in the past. They came under various names but were shut down by the government in the interest of garnering more support for views for want of others.
So we might have a ‘singaporekini’ in the wings in the future, but this is no different from the alternative sources of news in the past. Let’s say that the government does indeed countenance such an endeavour and even condescends to include them and their questions in press conferences, interviews, etc. What then? Would we truly have an independent press then? The answer is no. And the reason is because the views of anyone would still be subject to the editorial board of these groups. In this, the truly Singaporean and ‘fresh and independent perspective’ would always be from the humble ‘blogger’ or writer working apart from these organisations as they would be subject to the censorship of nothing other than their conscience or perspectival arsenal.
We must not underestimate the impact of being socialised within a milieu wherein everyone has been accustomed to look upwards for wisdom and directions. That removes from the social milieu many subtle and blatant vestiges of people power and a respect for the intelligence of the common individual. Hence, whilst we might throw in our chips with the proposition or the opposition, the tendency would be to play rat behind their respective pied pipers. The victory of fascist milieux lies, amongst others, in shredding the belief of the common wo/man in the common wo/man to the point that they wouldn’t feel that they are being well-directed unless decrees and pronouncements spew from on high. Singapore has indeed reached this point and this is certainly overwhelmingly evidenced in how bloggers and activists react to each other and how said reaction is determined by the prominence of the other as opposed to insight. Once insight is associated with prominence, and once the oppositional forces in any undemocratic milieu are similarly enchanted, that is when we can plausibly state that fascism is in the process of mutating into more acceptable forms by its including more as opposed to being eradicated in itself. Hence, for instance, one mightst find hundreds of ‘comments’ on the sites of the prominent whilst insight is left to languish, at best, in the oblivion of ‘hits’, not thoughts. It seems that thought is only spared at the feet of those transfigured in the hallowed glow of prominence. In that, the masses as the source of ideas is severely compromised, if not culled. And in that, the fascist ethos is birthed in mutant forms.
Personally, in the face of local activists’ hollering, ‘where is singaporekini?!’, I would say, why seek without that which is within? Thou art ‘singaporekini’ mate. You are the final source of unedited views, but only if you learn to value your fellow blogger along with yourself even more than all the TOCs, Temasek Reviews, and STs put together. Remember, when you get behind a leader, it is s/he who sees what’s ahead whilst you would be preoccupied with keeping in step with her/im. When you put together the minds behind a handful of dust, such as the aforementioned groups, that is nothing compared to the towering dunes of the potentials of the masses. Numerically, you form a greater number of brain cells, eyes, ears, and other senses. It is in the masses that may be found the ‘all-seeing eye’. Perhaps that is what is meant by the biblical phrase, ‘God made man in his image’. But to be God, you’ll first have to join hands and afford each other your senses as opposed to allowing its monopolisation by the prominent few, whatever side of the political divide they fall on. But if you do not do so, the masses intellectual potential would decline and they would be left with little alternative but to play ‘follow the leader’. I am not against organisations such as TOC or Temasek Review, as they certainly do fulfill essential functions of in-depth investigations. However, they, and other such organisations in the future will also have to acutely cognizant of the masses perspectives and directives as well. But, most importantly, for this, there must be mass self-respect for their own potentials as the source of most ideas as opposed to placing this source in the hands of the few. It takes a true democrat, aka, socialist, to realise this.
The future of Singaporekini
I picture a union of bloggers whom elect representatives to forward questions and inquiries in the face of the government of the day, amongst other social experiences. These findings are relayed back to bloggers whom perform the task of writing out their own reports and analysis. Perhaps, some would say, well, we can do it with an organisation such as TOC or Temasek Review or any future paid Singaporekini. But, one mustn’t forget, that it is they whom will be determining the agenda, perspective, and produce, not you. And given the already amplified tendency amongst the masses to, like the supporters of the party in power, to sit mesmerised at the feet of the aforementioned organisations, or party chiefs and big wigs, a singaporekini that is not controlled by the blogger confederation, or which is not, at least, answerable to it, is the last thing we need to relieve them of the condition that is causing many to holler, ‘where is singaporekini?’.