Singazine - Statement of Intent

[statement approved by the Singazine team]

The time has come to wrap up the site. The reasons are as stated in the 'notice' by MM, and we have not been directed to shut it down by 'higher beings';)

However, the additional reason which is not stated, but which we have discussed from the start, is that our sole purpose was to stimulate mutual consideration amongst bloggers of each other's viewpoints. That was not encouraged by SGdaily's approach. That is also one of the reasons we started the 'singazine feature' section at the top so that people can consider opposing views by bloggers instead of just TOC or TR. You can call it the 'madison square garden tag team championship' if you like, except that everyone can be part of either team. The whole structure of the site, such as the said 'singazine feature', 'blogger spotlight', and giving prominence to the daily blog lists above news articles, was for the purpose of elevating the value of the singaporean blogger as opposed to the TOC or TR. We recognise that TOC or TR are just a small part of the aggregate of the value of all bloggers. Hence, our elevation of the status of the humble blogger in our structure.

It is a fundamental democratic precept that we are not only made stronger in the consideration of the views of others, but in that act itself, we practice the valuation of the significance of each other whatever their status. That is why we frequently put opposing views on singazine feature, not because we support either viewpoint, but because we support the value of debate and mutual consideration amongst bloggers. We view bloggers as the real TOC and TR, amongst others, and we wanted to promote that view so as to temper the consequences of just waiting on the words of the prominent. The value of this lies in the opportunity it presents for truly discursive interaction between bloggers whatever their political inclinations. To date, unfortunately, quite a few seem to be operating as separate 'triad societies' whom are mutually antagonistic, ignore each other, whilst faithfully abiding by the dictates of their respective leaders. That's not democracy sir. That's popular fascism.

The point of the whole operation was to illustrate to local bloggers the value of being representative, encourage them to consider each other's views, and to stimulate change in existing blog aggregators - particularly Singaporedaily. We wanted to see as many 'views' of bloggers' articles and as many comments as one might see in TR on the sites of bloggers. In fact, the 'thank you' note we put out at each blogger's site before posting their article link at one time was in a way an invitation to them to come to singazine to consider the views of others and to appreciate true representation. We are not out to destroy or compete with other blog aggregators, but to illustrate the value of representation. It wasn't a 'war between blog aggregators' as it was the intention from the start to shut down Singazine once the stated message had been transmitted. If local bloggers are not going to learn from the example we put out and check on their own, then they truly deserve the government they get, and the type of 'opposition' that it produces.

As for Ng E-Jay's views on Singazine, it is ill-argued. Being pro-opposition does not have to come at the price of censoring out those who disagree with us. They really have to consider the value of constructive criticism, or are they against it just as the government has been in the past? He speaks about the need to censor opposing views so as to maintain unity in the opposition. Isn't that the same as having one race as a majority so as to bring about 'unity' amongst the people of singapore, or promoting one culture over others so as to engender cultural unity, or the PAP keeping their supporters from being too oppositional for the sake of 'unity'? It is worrying indeed that he thinks along lines that is identical with that of the party in power. if oppositional elements think along such lines when they aren't in power, what do you think we can expect when they are?

But then again, now, the PAP themselves seem to be considering oppositional opinions, such as that claimed by TR, Chua Chin Leng, amongst others, and which has seen them caving in on some issues. When are oppositional bloggers, or pro-PAP ones, going to start doing that amongst themselves? In our representation of all bloggers, and giving prominence to, amongst others, Not My SDP and Where Bears Roam Free, we took the first step. They are valuable in their proffering another take on things. And we appreciate that even though we might not agree with some of their views.

Secondly, singaporedaily, by purporting to be representative of singapore bloggers, is duty bound to represent all relevant articles. They may be 'privately-run', but they present themselves as a pro-democracy, anti-censorship, political site, and as implied in their name, representative of singapore socio-political bloggers - which they verifiably aren't. Being 'privately-run' is no defence for not being representative when you present yourself as a vehicle of change in the political milieu. For instance, some of the team has noted that they do not often, if at all, link the likes of Gopalan Nair, Solo Bear, Not My SDP, amongst others. If they believe that they are aggregating blogs with discerning taste, that cannot be assumed, it has to be proven. To date, they've done a regrettable job.

Singazine's purpose from the start was to represent all bloggers and illustrate the value of representation even if it doesn't agree with our personal views. For myself, I had initially refused to have my name associated with singazine as i was aware of much bias against myself amongst some bloggers and oppositional elements, and didn't want this to affect bloggers' objective appreciation of the representative nature of the site. If anyone was to ask who MM Sz is, tell them, s/he is the totality of all democratically-inclined bloggers and thus is not inclined to go against her/himself by censoring any part of her viewpoints, and considers all. There will be some whom might speculate whom MM might be, or what the agenda is and so on. But what is most important here is the points raised in this closing summation. We, as part of the Singazine team, are of no consequence. All that matters are the points discussed.

a2ed, for Singazine