21 Apr 2005

The Infantile Blogosphere

After reading the comments left over the last few days I have re-read the article and it appears to me that Singapore hasn't changed.

Yes I am aware of some very mature blogs written by anonymous bloggers, to name just two, the likes of Wannabe Lawyer, Singapore Commentator stand out but go read the likes of MrBrown, Xiaxue and other certain blogs that shall not be named, and it is full of infantile sub intelligentia nonesense. I am very sorry for leaving Mr Miyagi out of the list.

My god have I touched a very raw nerve or what?

I am planning on doing research into Singaporean attitudes on certain contemporary issues and I am starting to think that because of the high readership of the two blogs mentioned above, and the very small number of 'mature' blogs that my source of data is definitely skewed towards 'infantilism'. So there is the possibilty that the 'infantile' label is simply my bias. I am aware of this 'bias', but currently have little empirical data to refute it.

Please point me towards blogs that are not infantile and currently do not appear on my Singapore Blog list.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

'Infantilism as Defence Mechanism', now that's a snappy research paper title for you.

The Legal Janitor said...

Many people think I'm too serious and don't have a sense of humour... if only they knew the non-political me!

Steve, please don't have one-track mind. Blogs perform a multitude of functions, and entertainment, humour, satire and parody are no less valuable than direct social and political commentary.

More mr browns and Mr Miyagis please. We need them to balance out the boring people like Wannabe Lawyer. lol ;)

soci said...

yes blogs represent many different spheres. I am trying to find out if a particular sphere dominates.

Anonymous said...

while i wouldn't label your attitude 'infantile', 'mature' wouldn't be the best word to describe it either. but yeah, name-calling of popular blogs is a good way to counter your waning readership, at least for the short term.

Agagooga said...

There is a time and place for everything.

soci said...

and on that note from Anon the blog just passed 40,000 hits.

I also note few are prepared to tell me the address of serious, unfunny and mature blogs, that I have not listed already.

soci said...

I have been blogging now for a few years now and I am aware of the variable nature of blogs in the global blogosphere. Look at the Links to other blogs at the side of the site. What I am also aware of is that in Singapore the 'infantile' blogs dominate and are read by the majority of blog readers.

My question is, does this truely reflect the mindset of Sg blog readers?

Yes MrBrown is funny and sometimes a little controversial. He also works for the TODAY Newspaper. And still mamnges to work there. Is it a sign that the TODAY newspaper is OK with the controversial aspect of the blog, or the blog isn't controversial?

Xiaxue is clearly aimed at an audience that enjoys a little titilation and there are often pictures of 'fashion events'. The blog fills a very large niche and I am surprised that she hasn't been snapped up by a magazine or advertising company by now.

The question remains. The word 'infantile' maybe a little harsh. But it managed to get your attention.

Has Singapore changed since the article , Happy-Faced Fascism, was written in the mid 1990's?

WE need to look at Singapore from various angles. At the macro level all is as it has ever been, the Lee's in power, lack of freedom in the press, PAP dominates, homo economicus, in its truest sense.

At the micro level, of the Singaporean mindset, what do Singaporeans think about, desire, want, need? If the majority of blogs, and blogs with the biggest readership are indicative of a trend...

Its all good homespun, Happy-Faced Facsism.

One way the Singapore Government has tried to address its people's unhappiness has been, in the best fascist tradition, to impose happiness on them. A shiny Disneyland atmosphere abounds spotless fast-food and entertainment franchises (McDonalds, KFC, Hard Rock Café); theme parks (one of which is in a building that until recently housed a political prisoner for 26 years surely one of the most creative 'cruel and unusual punishments' ever devised); mini-rainforest eco-parks (next to weapons-testing ranges); controlled areas for stalls of traditional Chinese, Malay and Indian food; and shops, boutiques and shopping malls galore. Happiness is making money, spending it and helping Singapore flourish.


Now go look at the Sg Blogoshere, see any resemblance to the above article.

Anthony said...

Mc Dermott, my opinion is that you've reversed cause and effect. Wrote a post about it.

http://almostinfamous.blogspot.com/2005/04/me-pick-me.html

If you find the article offensive, please let me know and I'll take it down along with this comment.

Shelly said...

The infantile blogosphere phenomenon is a rare heritage of the local internet scene... If you view any blogs that are from outside Asia, there is a very high possibility that it would actually spout witty humour.

Well, even if it doesn't, it will definitely not spell government as "gahmen". =)

This Singlish and talk-cock approach in local blogs make me both cringe and tickled. The uniqueness of such language is truly purely Singapore. Yet sometimes it gets so out of hand that even I have to stop reading.

Look at it this way: A blog is a personal space for the owner to rant, rave and relate anything to their hearts' content. Few actually intend for their writing to get them anywhere (eg: Xiaxue's T-shirt endorsement & column in the Newpaper) except to inform their friends of their current state.

I foresee that you might upset quite a few people by calling their literary (and pictorial) works "infantile". I would say that the word is kind of harsh. Ever considered using the words "entertaining" or "easy-to-read"??

Cheers!

Canopy said...

If you think some blogs are infantile, have a look at the forums...

Anonymous said...

Do you equate something humourous to 'infantile'? I don't think so. By linking the definition, you clearly meant it as an insult and a cheap shot.

I think like me, others visited you because your comments on these popular blogs were highlighted on their sites. So dont pat yourself on the shoulder too quickly.

And also, dont you consider humour to be one of the freedoms we enjoy despite the many political limitations which I will agree exist.

Are there "very mature" blogs out there? I suppose there are, but they arent as popular so I never bothered to seek them out either. Would you consider your own blog as a good example? I am curious to know how you label your own blog? Mature? Insightful? Pretentious?

Now consider this- are the majority of popular blogs out there entertaining rather than "very mature?" and for that matter, for other vernacular media too?

Hecate said...

Perhaps it all boils down to expectation. By using labelling the local Blog scene as being "infantile" based on a few blogs which are more entertaining than others, you could be imposing some form of expectation of how a blog should/ought to be.

But is that the case? Like what Shelly said, blogs are a form of personal emotion outlet for many (look at the rants on Xiaxue's page and you'll know what I'm talking about), and also a way of talking about their personal lives and reflections.

Perhaps the only reason why these blogs are so entertaining are because people tend to be voyueristic? We tend to read blogs by Xiaxue/Brown/Miyagi etc because it gives us a glimpse into the life of someone else.

Or maybe it's just the culture over here? Perhaps we're just too used to political satire, in contrast to proper political/current affairs discussion.

whatever said...

I am amused by your polarization of Singapore blogs and your insistence on dismissing such influential and well-written blogs as mrbrown (i personally don't like xiaxue myself) as merely "infantile". Surely the inclusion of one's personal life in one's blog is no reason to doubt his or her maturity.

Whatever your research topic, I think you need to adopt a more professional attitude towards your subjects. Blogs by nature are often personal rather than academic. You don't seem to know many Singaporeans outside the blogosphere; I suggest taking the quotes off your 'bias' and doing more to find the kind of Singaporeans you're looking for. Lots of people have much to say about 'contemporary issues', especially those on the Young Republic mailing list (I see you already have the link). Why don't you start there?

Vox Leo said...

As someone who maintains two blogs I truly sympathise with what Mr McDermott is saying. One blog is extremely serious and the other is sort of whimsical. Sort of a division of self. We really do care about our homeland, but we're also human enough to be multi-faceted. I cannot imagine any of the world-famous revolutionaries having only a one-sided personality. That would make them boring.

Anonymous said...

Can't be arsed. Really. But I'd say there are good ones around. - D W

Mr Moron said...

Mr Mc Demott, you have definitely provoked the plethora of inane bloggers in Singapore. Unfortunately for me, I find myself gravitating towards your viewpoint too.

I don't think you should mince your words or justify your reasons in calling those blogs 'infantile' just because of the backlash. Indeed most of them are a tribute to frivolity, and I certainly do feel that their high readership is definitely rather unwarranted.

As you yourself realized, blogs serve a multitude of functions. Some aim to amuse, some to entertain, some simply to provoke and titillate. Like you, my paramount concern is that the seductive ( yes, I used that word) allure of those blogs have captured the fancy of blog readers in Singapore so much they ignore the more serious, and less reader-friendly ones.

Which isn't exactly a revelation, considering most Singaporean bloggers are indeed frivolous and superficial.

The only thing I wish bloggers can do more is to marry humour and discussion of serious issues on their blog. Pretty much like art, where you should try your utmost to marry artistic integrity and commercial appeal, in order to gain the most credibility possible.

Many bloggers out there (inclusive of myself) have very sketchy knowledge of politics, of which most is gleaned from browsing through newspapers. The danger of 'mature' blogs is that their strongly formal tone tends to turn people away because many people do not have the necessary knowledge to appreciate the content on such blgos for what it is.

Which is why humour is such a powerful tool. Epitomised in the title of your blog, I have to say.

Beautifuk.blogspot.com, which is already linked on your site.

amicoolornot.blogspot.com -- my co-blogger gives a religious perspective on certain issues, while I look at things from a more secular ( albeit, cynical) viewpoint.

Mr Moron said...

Mr Mc Demott, you have definitely provoked the plethora of inane bloggers in Singapore. Unfortunately for me, I find myself gravitating towards your viewpoint too.

I don't think you should mince your words or justify your reasons in calling those blogs 'infantile' just because of the backlash. Indeed most of them are a tribute to frivolity, and I certainly do feel that their high readership is definitely rather unwarranted.

As you yourself realized, blogs serve a multitude of functions. Some aim to amuse, some to entertain, some simply to provoke and titillate. Like you, my paramount concern is that the seductive ( yes, I used that word) allure of those blogs have captured the fancy of blog readers in Singapore so much they ignore the more serious, and less reader-friendly ones.

Which isn't exactly a revelation, considering most Singaporean bloggers are indeed frivolous and superficial.

The only thing I wish bloggers can do more is to marry humour and discussion of serious issues on their blog. Pretty much like art, where you should try your utmost to marry artistic integrity and commercial appeal, in order to gain the most credibility possible.

Many bloggers out there (inclusive of myself) have very sketchy knowledge of politics, of which most is gleaned from browsing through newspapers. The danger of 'mature' blogs is that their strongly formal tone tends to turn people away because many people do not have the necessary knowledge to appreciate the content on such blgos for what it is.

Which is why humour is such a powerful tool. Epitomised in the title of your blog, I have to say.

Beautifuk.blogspot.com, which is already linked on your site.

amicoolornot.blogspot.com -- my co-blogger gives a religious perspective on certain issues, while I look at things from a more secular ( albeit, cynical) viewpoint.

redrown said...

Full marks to Steven for pinpointing MrBrown and Xiaxue, the 2 flagships of the Singapore blogosphere, to ensure maximal provocative effect to get his point across.

My views are here, along with a 'review' of MrBrown and Xiaxue:
The Singabloodypore Blogosphere

jeffyen said...

Steve, I believe you've just been Browned!!

It takes more effort of discover the mrbrown and xiaxue. Most of their pieces are fluffball pieces, that's true. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) But when they get serious, they do not shy away from churning out incisive social commentary. You might like to check out brown's ongoing national education series...

Anonymous said...

Mate, you have a serious case of 'delusions of grandeur' !

Readymade said...

To add to what's already been said, the majority of blogs in any country will be "infantile" as you put it. Human nature is such.

But go ahead and try to draw a link between what you see as a "fascist" state of affairs here, and some statistic about subjective online content.

yi fan said...

Stevie M, no shock-and-awe tactics, pls. they don't work here. in your context, blogs like these are infantile to you, but i'm surprised that an arts honours student like you cannot understand the satirical atmosphere that is being portrayed in their commentaries and the powerful effect they result in. in fact, you don't seem to appreciate the versatile nature of blogs. anyway, i would appreciate that you go sit in a corner. you certainly don't belong to part of this unique s'pore blogosphere.

p.s. do you have a life? if you don't, hurry up and get one, you boring and immature expat.if you need to be more mature, pls, if necessary, go back to sch and get a masters in arts if that shld help you understand what's the meaning of 'satire' and 'parody'. and publish a thesis abt it on your blog as well. many thanks.

J Schnorng said...

Dear Mr.McDermott. I'm slightly offended, for reasons I won't go into here (mainly because they're long, and numerous. I have, however, written an entry on my blog about it.

In essence, I think that you can't really tell a community from its most popular blogs, and that, even if you could, xiaxue and Mr. Brown are by no means a discredit to Singaporeans in general.

Oh yes, I don't mean to nitpick, but it's been bugging me for a while, since I've been referring to your entry as I write my response - aren't you missing a 'p' in 'blogosphere'?

Regards,
J

calm one said...

Dear Mr McDermott,
I see you haven't linked to my blog.
Mine is more mature than those infantile ones you've mentioned, although not quite as mature as yours. Here it is:

Life At Ngee Ann

It's not infantile, just juvenile.

The Facetious Cap'n Intrepid said...

Rich. We have to defend ourselves AND provide your research sources for you?

Is this how academic papers are researched? By offensive prescriptivism and exploitation?

By labelling local blogs as infantile, you are presumably using western blogs as a basis of comparison. Please, if this so-called infantilism bothers you so much, shift your attention towards those western blogs instead and save us from your lofty standards.

I'm sure they'll need your expertise and maturity.

Anonymous said...

i don't think xiaxue's blog is a big deal either but mrbrown's blog surely cannot be in the same class. i do prefer the sne series rather than the mundane stuff though.

Gilbert Koh said...

Come visit me, Steven.

http://slmjd.blogspot.com

And I think you should attempt to elaborate on what you mean by "infantile".

Shion said...

Obviously u don't take the time to find out blogs like those written by MollyMeek, Cheeky and Xenoboy etc.

How convinience to juz go to the 2 most popular blog and draw ur conclusion ...

Which why people should not take wat u wrote seriously ...

Go write abt your own country

La Idler said...

I suspect that at the end of the day, people just want their shits and giggles instead of thinking about 'issues' (btw, don't you find that people with 'issues' are the ones that make you want to run in a cave and hide?)

Oh and good one Steve, the whole of the local blogosphere has descended on you and presented a link repository of sorts for your research. Brilliant!

The Informalist said...

Please point me towards blogs that are not infantile and currently do not appear on my Singapore Blog list.

Perhaps by a "mature blog" you mean one of those mega-blogs maintained by western bloggers like Andrew Sullivan or Rebecca Blood which provided a constant flow of updated insights on current and international affairs.

The blogsphere in Singapore may not measure up to your pre-conceived standards of what a "mature blogsphere" may be, but that doesn't make it pervasively infantile as your words imply. I've read plenty of introspective blogs with well-written analysis and articulate opinions. This includes Mr Brown who frequently makes culture-specific Singaporean references, but seldom (if ever) comes off as being frivilous.

Quite frankly, your assessment of the Singaporean blogsphere rings of an intellectual/cultural imperialism and as a blogger who belives that blogging is about being yourself and not conforming to other people's standards of orthodoxy, I find it most disagreeable.

soci said...

Those how aim to give the public what the public wants begin by under-estimating the public taste [and] end by debauching it.

Are blogs a form of representation of the way of thinking of the receivers of mass media? Do bloggers in Singapore engage in investigative journalism or merely respond to the issues raised in the Straits Jacket and Today Newspapers?

Anonymous said...

Quote:
Those how aim to give the public what the public wants begin by under-estimating the public taste [and] end by debauching it.
End Quote:

Er. How about "debauching" english?

MysteryTanLines said...

Would you call the Monty Python skits under-estimating the public taste?

Also, HOW can you give the public what it wants by NOT giving it what it wants under-estimating the public taste? You'll fail if you do, mate! Obviously you DON'T work in marketing or do any kind of business to recognize the reality.

You can ONLY succeed in being influential IF your public identifies with your product. If you under-estimate them, then chances are they will be insulted rather than happy.

I think you are imposing your own personal subjective standards on society and wanting to dictate TASTE. You are probably one of those people who make a big deal out of SINGLISH because you think ONLY the Queen's English should be spoken.

Yeah I was top in my faculty in sociology too. So don't play play. By the way, talk to your undergrads who study Language too. They'll tell you why Singlish rocks.

Anthony said...

Do bloggers in Singapore engage in investigative journalism or merely respond to the issues raised in the Straits Jacket and Today Newspapers?

Not quite - we also respond pretty quickly to people calling us "infantile". :D

I will, however, go so far as to say that primary sources of information are tightly controlled. No primary sources = no investigative reporting.

In short, we smell the bullshit too. Living in the shit, however, we have limited viable options to stir shit but not get splattered with more shit. Does that make sense? :D

So how's that traffic spike? Doing your research grant any good yet?

soci said...

anthony

isn't blogger a viable option to remain anonymous while stirring it up. Or has that opportunity been missed? There are ways around the servers.

There are numerous bloggers in China, Nepal stirring it. Whats the matter with Singapore, ccared is it? Is laughter the defence mechanism? And I like your article by the way.

soci said...

scared not ccared?

masochist said...

Just because we read the blogs doesn't mean we like them, much less them reflect our attitudes. Surely as a Senior Lecturer of Sociology with your expertise in Research Methods and Methodology, you of all people sir should be most aware of the pitfalls of loosely translating relationships to causation. We support the blogs, we like them, does it mean we think the same? And even if we do, can you really derive our true attitudes from that alone? Social behaviour is a very odd thing, needless to say, you would be probably more familiar with that than I am now. Mob behaviour is known to distort true attitudinal display, so for starters, what methods could you possibly employ that will yield unskewed, accurate qualitative data? Will you go incognito amongst us to retrieve data as an insider amongst the angry dissenting adolescence that constantly expresses their rage against the machine? Or would you cringe and tread amongst the "infantile" to find out what they are really thinking behind those words.

Hecate said...

perhaps its not so much of infantilism, but more of a need to break away from the pressures of adulthood for that fleeting moment?

to illustrate my point, take for example the Japanese and their hobby of reading comics (otherwise known as manga), the psychological explanation for this is that reading manga helps them escape from the stress and pressures of daily life (schoo, work, etc).

i guess the same could be said of people reading books like harry potter, or watching cartoons. there are matured and rational individuals who do watch cartoons, whether on their own or because of their children. but my pt is that, you don't need to display signs of infantilism to be able to read/watch children's books/cartoons.

then again, back to my original question, perhaps you would want to define what you mean by infantilism and maturity?

Chainer said...

Well, everyone has their own style.

But, a need for matured bloggers is also required to have singapore stand out.

soci said...

The postmodern free-floating individualism is a kind of infantilism.

Blogs are very diverse and individualistic globally, is there a higher level of individually focused blogs in Singapore? More than other countries?

Edward Said would have argued that the use of the term infantilism as an image of the reified Singaporean implicitly characterised as a 'hot' yet passive female, see [picture of Xiaxue]. However the image of Xiaxue is hot-passive, but her blog and her style is contrary to this. Do other bloggers see it as so?

All cultures tend to make representations of foreign cultures in order to master them. The use of the term infantilism is one of many possible representations of Singaporean culture. But representations are also made within Singapore. Is the representation within Singapore mirroring the western assertion of 'infantilism'?

Do Singaporean bloggers get annoyed, upset or deny the 'infantile' representation?

bored yet?

Anonymous said...

Actually, yes - but probably of something very different from what you have in mind.

Mr Moron said...

Mysterytanlines.

It's a real wonder how you got top in sociology.

Yes, I agree, a blog is similar to a product, you have to cater to readers' tastes in order to get a decent readership.

Still like in art, credible artistes try to marry both commercial success and artistic integrity in order to get a wholesome product.

Unfortunately for Mr Mc Demott, the general themes he deals with on his blog are a tad too dull for the general frivolous blog reader. Not that there is anything wrong with frivolity.

Also, mysterytanlines, Mc Demott did nothing to show that he despised Singlish. Neither did he dig up any prejudices towards Singlish, even if he does have any.

Your inane criticism is just serving to prove his point about the infantile bloggers out there.

Gilbert Koh said...

Ah, I see you've blogrolled me. I am honoured.

Now let me exercise my psychic powers and read your mind. No worries, my psychoanalysis, while devastatingly accurate, is completely free.

1. Essentially you have a big chip on your shoulder. You see many things wrong with Singapore and you wonder why there aren't more Singaporeans who see these things as well.

2. As you yourself have previously mentioned, you are also an Enneagram Type 1. Your psychological type is such that you are perpetually driven to reform things which you feel are not right.

3. Points 1 and 2 combined have led to Singabloodypore. Your blog is simultaneously your way of expounding your views to more Singaporeans, and your way of attempting to instigate positive change.

4. Despite the fact that your blog, by most standards, must be considered quite successful (in terms of the number of readers and comments it attracts), you are not content.

5. In particular, you are somewhat annoyed by the fact that blogs which to you are clearly inferior to your own in terms of content and substance nevertheless attract more readers and comments than yours.

6. Actually it is not Mr Brown and Xiaxue themselves who annoy you. What annoys you is the large number of people who visit them.

7. Thus you are actually crying out to Singaporean bloggers: "Why are you reading Mr Brown?! Why are you reading XiaXue?! There are so many things wrong with your country, you should be reading the SERIOUS blogs instead! Including mine! You are in desperate need of educating yourself!"

8. Of course, you cannot actually say that. Thus you cloak your message in some academic gobbledegooky form about an empirical study of infantilism among Singaporeans.

** End of Psychoanalysis **

So tell me lah, how many points do I score out of 10? :P

By the way, it hardly follows that "individually focused" blogs are necessarily "infantile". I know more than a few blogs where the blogger focuses very much on his own individual, personal life, and where the writing is quite serious, mature and intelligent.

Anonymous said...

I love gilbert koh's analysis. spot on.

soci said...

Dear Gilbert

I just spent 10 minutes coming up with a witty rejoineder and then lost it.

So to some up.

I thought you were a lawyer.

And I thought you were going well with your statements, question, assertions, until number 8 and the appearance of the word gobbledegook.

I had been hoping for an "And I put it to you ..." finish.

I do not hide my true statements in masked 'sociological lingo'. I have not yet been fully indoctrinated into the 'self-censorship' fraternity.

And I do read your blog regularly. I merely hope to see more of serious style of blogs.

And as for your psycho-analysis of my intentions. Is that a Jungian, Gestalt, or Existentialist Phenomenological interpretation?

Ray said...

Do Singaporean bloggers get annoyed, upset or deny the 'infantile' representation?

I doubt so.

As Anthony pointed out, a serious approach will just get bloggers screwed. By being funny, they get to vent their frustrations, not get sued, have people laugh with them, and still make people aware of what's going on. It's not just the darwinian thing to do, it's also the most effective.

You can be as serious and as intellectual as you want, but if nobody reads your work all of it is for nothing. I'd be happy to see a more "mature" blog, but who will read it? And with no readers, who will bother to write it?

So no, I don't think we deny the "infantile" representation. And as the Big F*ck's blog entry (on this) seems to say, we're only annoyed because the implications are that only Singaporean bloggers are infantile.

infiniteregression said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
soci said...

ray

I think its a worldwide phenomemon. but I can only attract Singporean's to this blog.

infiniteregression said...

(Typo in previous.)

Edward Said would also have argued that Singapore suffers from certain misrepresentations given the mental modelfs of the western press.

Or that certain individuals through their mass enlightenment via reason, think that they're actually saving us.

Incidentally, my parody govt speeches seems to have universal applicability:

"Come my child, I'll make cyborgs out of you. So that you'll never fear that sweet smell of death nor the Wi-Fi radiation that circles round your heads. If you want to be smart, you'll only need to tell me. I understand how the fear of falling behind feels. I'll give you everything you need. It's for your own good."

soci said...

I am no fountain of knowledge shining his light of reason from the West.

The universal speech of yours resonates strongly here in the UK to. 'Trust me' has until recently been a favourite phrase of MrWMDBlair.

The problem is finding an alternative party who you might actually be prepared to trust. An election looms here in the UK and to be brutally honest my faith in politicians is at an all time low.

So I will have to find a small obscure party that is currently willing to tell 'their truth' and vote for them. Even if it is to give MrWMDBlair a bloody nose.

I have recently been reading work like John Pilger's 'Hidden Agendas' and I am no easily misguided reader. But if even half of what he writes has any semblance of truth then journalism, politics and the mass media [in particular Murdoch's News Corp] are in a very sad state the world over.

suspiciousbastard said...

What do you want, to whine about things or change them? Personally I prefer the latter. That's why I (mostly) write about humour(I hope), and not about things that I can't change. It's not that we are apathetic(maybe I am), but what can we do? Talk about political issues til the cow comes home and nothing changes? Not much people have the courage to do what Lee Kuan Yew did in the past. Maybe that's good, since the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Yes, I know that things can be much better here. However, what good comes out of talking and writing? Better to laugh than to go crazy.

soci said...

talking about issues is only the beginning. helping others to become informed and aware of multiple perspecives on issues.

And as for laughting, it always reminds me of Monty Python and the Life of Brian...

Life's a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life's a laugh and death's a joke. It's true.
You'll see it's all a show.
Keep 'em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
And...

Always look on the bright side of life.

infiniteregression said...

Did I say you were a fount of knowledge?

I just didn't know why you borrowed Said's authority.

Nor if you had any good intentions, you wouldn't exactly talk about last laughs.

No wonder I keep hearing why UK edu is a ripoff

Anonymous said...

A blog is supposed to be personal. It doesn't matter where the person works. We don't need to be serious 24 hours a day. It's it not our social responsibility to be serious and report things as it is. They had their views on things, and you had yours. Well.. the Freedom Blog Awards logo says it all.

We can't joke in the court, we can't really be serious at the fair. Let our hairs down, we don't need another big brother telling us what to do.

Simply put, if you are happy, stay.
Not happy, #%$% go away. And I will not return.

Anonymous said...

hmm.. when did anyone actually make u mr dermott to be the official authority of the singapore blogging scene?

Like what u said the political environment is already bad enough already. So do you have any intention of being the PAP of singapore's blogosphere?

BTW popular blogs appeal to the masses because of their ability to communicate ideas using the most simple and direct form of language/ presentation that the masses can relate to. It really defeats the purpose if you ve a fantastic idea or views on certain matters to tell pple BUT the masses are simply turned off by the presentation of these ideas?

i bet u mark ur students' assignments n projects based purely on content n a combination of content and presentation. i sympathtise ur students.

Anonymous said...

i mean not a combination of content and presentation

Anthony said...

isn't blogger a viable option to remain anonymous while stirring it up. Or has that opportunity been missed? There are ways around the servers.

If you've been to my website, you'll note my stand on the "privacy" of a blog. It doesn't exist. By extension, -if- accept my assertion, then it will deny yours. For your convenience about getting smacked silly from blogging, I cite you the recent CZ + Convexset example.

And while I like socratic method, I certainly hope that you're actually going somewhere with.

Anonymous said...

um, here's a blog that's peripherally about singapore, but mainly about writing:

http://somethingstickythiswaycomes.blogspot.com

Lindon said...

I would like to direct you to www.cunninglingust.blogspot.com. There seems to be a good mix of humour and purposeful insight in different posts. At the very least its an interesting read.

audaciousjoy said...

So along came a man, with his head in a small box.

He brought with him, a box labelled "Infantilism." It was a very small box...smaller than the box around his head.

There are bigger, more beautiful boxes here on this beautiful island! But I guess when your head is locked inside a small box, you hold the tail of an elephant, and say, "SNAKE!!" Infantile? How about looking at Xiaxue's blog through the prisms and precepts of Third Wave Feminism before sticking on that label?

The man with his head in a small box, was clearly lost. I wasn't sure where he was going, but I knew of a place where he could find many boxes ---- "Box Republic."

http://meekia.blogspot.com/2005/02/welcome-to-box-republic.html

Anonymous said...

Wait.

We might have all been cheated.

He's writing a paper on how to attract heaps of flamers to his blog.

Man from Japan said...

I too have been tracking Singaporean blogs for work for the past few weeks. They provide a different and fresh perspective, but to call them 'infantile' is tantamount to racism. There is no reason at all why blogs written by Asians should be the same or take the same style or content as that in the West. I was shocked by this post and quite upset. I should point out to other readers that people normally do not put "(Hons)" after their degrees as if this is in some way unusual nor to they boast of working at less than top rate universities.
Your comments are unethical and incorrect. As you list 'Methods and Methodology' as one of your research topics, I believe the universities mentioned in your profile should be made aware of your unethical comments.

Gloria said...

I'm sure you know that the readership spike is due to indignant bloggers who have heard about what you wrote coming to read your entry and post comments, not because they like your blog and read it usually.

soci said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
soci said...

and yet week after week I write about the death penalty, oppostion party, nepotism, lack of freedom of press, and receive so few comments. Should I infer that Singaporeans only care when i 'appear' to imply that their own ego's are in doubt?

It is individualism written in large letters.

Anonymous said...

Mr Mc Dermott,
Judging from the majority of responses to your blog, I guess it's really futile to try to change things no matter how good your intentions are because an 'infantile' mindset evokes blind defense, not open reception and self-reflection :).
Save your energy for something more worthwhile.

malaysian in singapore said...

The only reason why this post received so many comments is that many singaporeans are moulded by government propaganda to rely on it to "take care of them & make sure nothing goes wrong". Therefore when it comes to politics and freedom of press, sg'reans are not bothered because they truly believe (or can't be bothered to question) what the government does is for the best. however when it comes to the accusation of them being infantile, their egotism cannot come to terms with the very notion that they're living and educated in one of the world's most developed countries, yet lack the intellectual maturity to blog or express their views in a universal fashion that can be understood and empathised by foreign readers.

Moof said...

Here you go.

My 2cent worth of comment.

hey you just got ur 15min of frame with all the remarks and the attention u ask for.

And if ur doing a research on ur paper i think u start of with the wrong direction.

mo.Of If ya know wat it mean

jer said...

was close to tears when i read this article. finally someone with some sense and not of the join-the-crowd phenomenon.

i've been blogging since 2001 and its rather disheartening to see the local scene not grow up at all. in fact, it was way mature back then.

great rant. loved it.

Man from Japan said...

Singapore is hardly the only government that seeks to create a certain mindset in its people. Look at the current dispute between Japan and China or at the British election campaign and you'll find lots of examples. The point here is that, once again, a Westerner is choosing to live in Asia, profit through his 'research' about Asia and feels he has the right to write things that are, at least marginally, insulting about Asians. I am not Singaporean myself, although I have lived there briefly. I have lived in many countries, and it took me a long time to realize that if I wanted to be comfortable and live without feeling I was being let down by a country, I should live (most of the time) in my own. And, if it's about Japan or the Japanese race, I have every right to comment and criticize. About other countries, I have opinions, but who am I to say what is 'infantile'. But there again, I neither do I pretend to be academic. I live quite happily in the real world.

Congratulations on your fame. Mr. McD. You deserve anything you can get.

Anonymous said...

Steve, for a non-Singaporean criticising us for writing "subintelligentsia nonesense",and intending to write an authoritative paper on Singapore's blogosphere, you have worrying command of the English language.

Were/Are you aware that it's spelt "nonsense"? And your punctuation leaves much to be desired.

A lot of us infantiles do not possess great writing skills, but it seems that for many professionally written sociology papers, good writing skills are a basic prerequisite.

Ray said...

Let's stay on topic here, shall we?

I believe the topic is "quare: infantile blogosphere?" or "do Singaporeans speak out seriously?", not "Steve you suck" or "Singapore you suck".

Hurling insults just makes you sound... well, infantile. As a comment on mr brown's blog reads:

Will you pause and reflect for a moment? Aren't your responses confirming that 'infantile' mindset? Please, you are writing for the world to read, I am truly embarrassed by such emotionally-charged reactions to a matter-of-fact post. They do not do justice to the rest of us Singaporeans. - embarrassed

Come now. I've faith we're better than this!

Ray said...

I mean the guy asked for counter-arguments, not validation!

Mystiq said...

Steve, haven't you seen those that ~*^[tYpE tHiS wAy]^*~, with winks like this (-_-'''). what's their classification?

granted that blogging is much more prevalent among teenagers, it's hard to find convincingly 'mature' blogs.

mr brown may not write much 'serious issues', but his play and puns of words has illuminated the psyche of the average Singaporean.

kelvin said...

I think you have a very static conception of maturity and infantilism. =) And it is my opinion that the use of humour, pun and satire to question/parody the actions and policies of the state is by far a more subtle and intellectual discourse than the somewhat pretentious form you seem to advocate. Now that that is out of the way.....ehh, mai ah nei kuan lah...you have your way we have ours mah. you no like singapore and you liberal not mean everyone like you leh. don't like that say people mah...'infantile' not very nice sounding lah.

kelvin said...

wah. and i have issues with the malaysian in singapore. oei. you smart to cross borders and make better money and then go home and live like king ah? but say we lack intellectual maturity..awesome lehhhh....look at home leh, what talking you?

Gilbert Koh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gilbert Koh said...

I wrote a fairly long post further analysing your personality but then I've just deleted it.

Not very nice of me to "expose" you any further in front of your audience. :)

I'll just say this:

Steven, you're not just a Enneagram Type 1. You're also a Myer-Briggs INFJ. Expect your good intentions to be misconstrued; because INFJs are complex and you WILL be regularly misconstrued. But at the same time, watch your own vindictive streak - now, now, don't deny it, all INFJs have a vindictive streak - it's a pointless waste of your own energy and time.

malaysian in singapore said...

Kelvin: Many expats & foreign workers are working in singapore because of the perks your government offers us - a PR status right after graduation from certain polytechnics and local universities. Given such an opportunity to earn the singapore dollar and spend it back home in ringgit at more than twice the numerical salary earned, everyone would jump on the bandwagon, esp after their singaporean education, no?
It's only human nature to tap into the currency advantage. If not, why do singaporeans flock to JB for cheap food & household shopping (think rows and rows of toilet paper squeezed into the family 7-seater) every weekend and public holiday? Think abt that. It's only human nature.
As for the lack in intellectual maturity, i've studied & lived in singapore for many years, and i do have many sg'rean friends who score rather high on their IQ. But being intelligent doesn't equate to having a voice to speak up. Most are just contented with what the government is doing, even when the GST and income tax was escalated. Any sign of protest? NO. "Because the government said it's good for the economy".
But let's not digress. Note that we're talking about bloggers in particular here. I'm not so confident of the population behind The Singapore Blogsphere Infantilism. There are only a handful of s'pore bloggers manage to get readership not because of their singlish or poppycock, such as Wannabe Lawyer. While it may be unfair to generalize due to a younger age group being majority of sg'rean bloggers, i'm appalled at bloggers like Dick who posted his sexual fantasies online. They're leaning very close to being perverse. Others just seem to wallow in self pity or blog about mundane things because "there's nothing they can do about govenment policies". Really? Maybe they're just too comfortable with their boring but safe way of life.
Probably the ‘infantilism’ that persist in the majority of Singaporeans is because the education system is designed in such a way to mould the Singaporean to not think beyond their basic needs.

This is exactly what i was driving at.

VIV said...

From one academic wannabe to another academic wannabe:

For someone who purports to have lectured Research Methodology at the undergraduate level, your thesis truly astonishes me. SURELY after that vaunted career of yours u could come up with a more original theory? Funny how in academia, nobody will take u seriously unless you've got a 50,000 word dissertation backing your sweeping statements up, and here you are making a sweeping statement while conveniently posing as an academic. Are your explicitly- flaunted & lengthy credentials supposed to lend credibility to your constipated social observations?

Tsk Tsk. You're gonna have to do better than inflict vocabulary on unsuspecting readers.

Sincerely yours
Vivien Won
BA(Merit)
B.SSci Sociology (Hons)
M.SSci Sociology
Shall i go on....? I fear I'll start boring you =)

Paul said...

(McDermott)Singabloodypore's observation hit a raw nerve within the Singapore blogosphere primarily for two reasons: first is that the observation came from an Ang Moh, and secondly, there is the harsh connotation that the word "infantile" evokes.

The fact is that Steve has identified a significant segment of the blogging community possessing certain unflattering characteristics which merit further exploration within the blogosphere itself, yet the diatribe is destined to be buried in an avalanche of defense mechanism postings precisely because of the above two reasons cited.

Stripped of the emotionalism inherent in bruised ego knee-jerk reactions, let us suppose the remarks were made by a Singaporean and in lieu of the "infantile" label, let us say that the commentator had used "generation-xx" or whatever label is acceptable for the singled-out segment. Would that still have invalidated the observations made regarding the existence of such a significant segment exhibiting certainly verifiable properties?

The Jester hold's the magic mirror in front of the Queen who asks "Who's the fairest one of all?" If the Queen can't accept the mirror's answer, does it mean, that the court Jester forfeits his head? Looks more like the Queen prefers to bury her head in the sand instead!

Anonymous said...

Wait till you see Singapore/ Taiwan/ HK/ Korean/ Japanese variety show... then you will truly know the meaning of Asian 'Infantilism'. Maybe Singapore blogs is very easy to pick because most of it are in English.

I do not care if we are infantile ...bleh bleh bleh, I pride in being in such a society. It beats being in a boring ivory tower society with stoic people boring the hell out of me.

J

Anonymous said...

MalaysianinSingapore, how about being appreciative that you're being offered perks and such by our govt instead of coming here, earning your fill, and acting disdainful? Surely there is some merit about a small dot being able to treat you better than your own country in terms of a good SOL?

And it's not so much that Steve is a foreigner, it's his derisive tone, and his need to inflict a ridiculous hypothesis on us, which is generating this spike in his readership and commenting.

D T said...

Hi Steven. Here are my comments on this issue. All the best.

dks said...

a couple of points;

the appeal of the personal log (the online journal, otherwise wrongly called a blog), is that joe nobody can write whatever is it he feels like writing, "publish" is on the internet, and pretend like anyone actually cares.

sure. every once in a while, you might stumble upon someone who writes something worth reading; an intellectual, faux or otherwise.

sure. there might be a lot more "serious" blogs out there, compared to here in singapore. then again, singapore's online population is barely a drop in the sea that is the world wide web.

if you're looking for some serious socio-political commentary, i'd suggest you look to the pages of the IHT or the AWSJ; both reputable and reasonably white publications, quite seperate from the infantile, fascists you might read online.

your post on infantilism is in itself, sheer infantilism. you wouldn't look for foie gras at mcdonalds would you?

and if you did, it wouldn't be terribly mature of you to demand that which is obviously unattainable.

i think the true child in this situation is the expat outcast, thrown into an asian backwater, and who then bemoans the lack of intelligentsia.

perhaps if you had shown a little more promise, you'd be in that corner office , safely tucked away in the northern hemisphere.

but since you aren't, permit me my own few childish cents.

cry. more. n00b.

Anonymous said...

steve, ignore this bunch of egoistic and close-minded "infantile" singaporeans who can't see the white side but only see the black side. I welcome your comments on singapore to help us see things in a wider perspectives. Not too worry, there're many other singaporeans who are more open-minded and more tolerable than this bunch of disgusted singaporeans. you have my support.

Honest singaporean

malaysian in singapore said...

"Acting disdainful" i am not.
With this island, i have a love-hate relationship, just like everyone else who lives here. I love it for the administrative efficiency (albeit not all the time) & social security, but i hate it for it's sterile environment that suffocates me. And excuse me, but i'm not being unappreciative of the perks of being educated & working in Singapore; i'm merely commenting on the general attitude of the majority of singaporeans that i've come across as acquaintances or read abt from the media so far.

Anonymous said...

well. too much professional whinging and whining out there.

BlueGene said...

Hi Steve! Looks like you hit some raw nerves out there. It is quite typical for most Singaporeans to be egoistic and not willing to acknowledge their mistakes and weaknesses. Just like the goverment. 'Like father, like son'.
I understand the feelings behind your comment and I salute you to provide alternative views on this little paranoid tropical island.

LeFire said...

Sorry for getting into this late... But as a Singaporean, I simply must add my own opinion to the pile, screw the consequences (oh crap, I hear some stereotypes cracking in the audience).

First, a minor technical issue. Your question "Do Singaporean bloggers get annoyed, upset or deny the 'infantile' representation?" is a cheap low blow.

It is basically just another form of the old "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" classic. Whatever answer we give (yes/no/huh?) earns us a shafting and you a smug look. Hell, if we respond, we appear annoyed or upset. If we deny, we appear PAP'ish. If we ignore, we are good little Singaporean sheep who don't know how to speak up for ourselves.

No-win situation. Or what we Singaporeans define in Singlish as a "Lan-lan" situation.

Get what I'm driving at yet? A proper non-biased question should be something like "Do Singaporean bloggers deserve the infantile representation?" Despite being an stereotypical Singaporean, Science-background male - with frameless spectacles no less - I know a biased question when I see one.

So ease up and take it easy on the insulting holier-than-thou words. We're fellow bloggers being asked for our feelings and opinions, not accused victims being questioned by a self-appointed prosecutor.

Next: My opinion on the young singaporean blogsphere.

Our country is relatively young, and it is only in recent years that certain tight-arsed restrictions have begun to be lifted. We grew up in a climate where words like "bitch" got censored from songs, and "A Spy who shioked me" was actually considered as a viable 'Asian-values' friendly alternative.

So we should be glad already that the major blogs you accuse of 'infantilism' actually do go into harder-hitting topics. Opinionated singaporeans do choose to express themselves despite the protests of a few 'lets keep silent' people.

IMHO, one doesn't need to fill an entire blog with political entries so as to appear serious and intellectual. One can be perfectly capable of thinking, having opinions and writing occasional posts about the "Big Stuff" while still cheerfully blogging about shoes, coffee, toilet paper, catching mosquitoes, or whatever.

xenoboysg said...

This post and comments are truly humourous. The man has his point. Stevie if perhaps you had used "embryonic" the entire texture of the issue would have changed. Now you're charged with reverse essentialist arguments and faced with the White Caucasian colonist siege mentality.

If Mr Brown had written a piece on the infantile blogosphere, all would smile and laugh at ourselves.

I am reminded of a scene from Coach Carter, the coach tells his team, if you call yourself a nigger, its hip and cool but if someone of another race calls the same to you, you take up arms.

XenoBoy

Jaschocolate said...

Hmm.. maybe we are infantile but at least that's our true souls.. just like you being so damn sarcastic.. If you had a problem with it, go sue the government.. for protecting us too well.. I am such a baby, blaming it on the govt again.. but then again, you did said we are infantile.. :p

7-8 said...

Isn't this some kind of a baiting self-fulfilling prophecy thing? Just point to people, call the whole lot "infantile", and when they get upset, just pat yourself on the back and say, "qed".

I mean if I were to say that all you Irish are a bunch of twats I wouldn't really expect you to like it that much either would you?

You can go have a look at my xanga blog (at www.xanga.com/sieteocho) if you like. It's serious enough.

Say what you want about being infantile, it's also infantile if you go to a foreign country and you don't, so to speak, "get it". When I look at people like xiaxue I see the infantilism on the surface but I also see that it masks a certain social sophistication that I get the feeling that your mind isn't quite ready to get around yet.

It's not all about the surface, you know...

soci said...

"I mean if I were to say that all you Irish are a bunch of twats I wouldn't really expect you to like it that much either would you?"

Actually I would say 'fair enough' we are. But then again I didn't refer to every Singaporean. I refered to the Two blogs. MrB and XX.

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mary lim said...

U know I totally agree with you. Most of the blogs now are fully of useless verbal vomits. However having said that. I believe the blogosphere will evovle like it did with the other ealier web thingys.

Let's see where the journey will take us with blogs.

girlOf
girlofmay.blogspot.com

Adult Baby said...

I might be lost, are your refering to Infantilism ?