1 Aug 2005

Blogheads or What?

Why are all the other blogs mentioned while the blog that referred to the infantile nature of the Singaporean Blogosphere is ignored? First spotted the article and picture at A Moo Point, who writes a rejoinder of sorts.

While US blogs have made great strides in gaining credibility with analyses and exposes, S'pore bloggers seem stuck in a self-absorbed groove. Why?

By Skye Tan

August 01, 2005

ME. My body, my thoughts, my dog... et cetera.

If you are new to the local blogging phenomenon, you could be forgiven for thinking that our bloggers are, as one fellow blogger once observed, infantile.

Sure, blogs are by nature biased, containing opinions and reflections from their owners.

But a cursory browse of some of the more popular local blog sites seem to reveal them as vain, navel-gazing and, well, rather self-absorbed.

Not exactly similar to the blog power we have seen in the US. (See report below.)

There are exceptions, sure.

But they are rare, and not getting much attention.

Instead, the ones which make the most impact and score the most number of hits appear to be those that yak on and on about well, me, my body, my thoughts and my dog.

Not that anyone is apologetic about it.

As one of the latest additions to the ranks of local 'blogebrities', or celebrity bloggers, Ms Sandra Ng, 20, revealed: 'I blog to share with people my thoughts and feelings.'

True to form, the pretty freelance camp instructor, known to her fans as Sandralicious, writes about, well, her life.

That, and perhaps the sensual photographs she posted on her blogs, gets her about 3,000 unique hits on her site every day.

A unique hit is one recorded by a hit counter based on the user's computer. It would not be recorded if the same user visited the website again.

Not bad for someone who's only started blogging in 2003.

Our original blogebrity, Ms Wendy Cheng, 21, better known as Xiaxue, gets even more hits on her blogsite - up to 10,000 daily unique hits.

Well-known for her caustic wit and biting comments, Ms Cheng has blogged tirades against cab-snatchers and her chagrin and detailed opinions on why certain female celebrities who her male friends think are hot are not.

Flippant? Perhaps.

Sorry? No, she doesn't 'apologise for it', she says in her usual frank manner.

Popular blogger Mr Brown - who gets 5,000 to 7,000 unique hits on his site daily - was self-deprecating enough to rename his site Mr Brown: L'infantile terrible of Singapore.


Sarong Party Girl (or 'Izzy'), the 19-year-old fine arts undergraduate who found herself the subject of much discussion after she posted nude photographs of herself, admitted: 'There are many childish (Singaporean) blogs out there that do not talk about anything worthwhile.

'Mostly because I think people want others to read their blogs, and they would rather talk about things other people like their friends or family can accept.'

Besides tales of her sexual exploits, SPG frequently expounds on religion and prejudice.

Izzy, who boasts 12,000 unique daily hits on her blogsite, is another 'I-blog-what-I-am'.

''My life is full of salacious details... and I like modelling and post those photographs up because at the end of the day, the blog is about me,' she said.

But navel-gazing does not always equal fluff, insist some local bloggers.

Wannabe Lawyer or 'Shianux', 25, belongs to the small breed of 'serious' bloggers.

The law student, who's doing his degree in Melbourne, regularly expounds on his opinions on media, economics, law and political policies, and his 'two pet topics - issues about race and rights for people with alternative sexual preferences'.

'I write the way I do because it's a personal blog and I write about things I care for. I'm aware that my blog is a publishing platform and I can reach people with it but I write for myself primarily,' said the articulate young man, who called Mr Brown's writing about his family and autistic daughter a 'very powerful way of sharing about family social issues'.


Mr Miyagi - or businessman Benjamin Lee, 36, - insists he too is political.

'For me, politics is defined as whatever issues that concern ourselves and our lives. So you could say we are always political. Bus fares up? Complain. Political what,' he wrote in an e-mail reply.

A recent blog entry dwelled on his grocery shopping.

Both Mr Miyagi and Wannabe Lawyer's site are one-year-old. The former gets 3,000 unique hits daily while the latter, 400.

But do they go beyond merely complaining? Unlike some top US bloggers who indulge in their own brand of investigative journalism, Singapore bloggers are generally armchair critics.

Which begs the question: Do Singapore surfers want - or deserve - more? Judging by the popularity of the bloggers, no. A peek into someone's personal life seems enough of a thrill.

Said Wannabe Lawyer: 'It's like human interest stories in newspapers. Each blog is a walking, self-centred human interest story.'

In any case, politics isn't a big part of Singaporeans' lives, said Mr Randolph Kluver, director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre.

But Mr Brown - or Mr Lee Kin Mun, 36, an Internet consultant - also pointed out there are local blogs on topics 'which have nothing to do with what they took for breakfast or how they feel about love'.

He cited a few blogs dedicated to technology, culture and travel and language.

And he reckons that 'given time', the local blog scene will 'see more citizen journalists come out'.

US bloggers: The Fifth Estate?

DURING the Iraq War, the question on many lips was: Where is Raed?

That was the title of Salam Pax's site, a blogger posting under a pseudonym right from the heart of Bagdhad.

Every development of the ongoing war was chronicled - he got the news before the news hounds - and the rest of the world read, riveted.

His writings were duplicated in books and he was offered a regular column in The Guardian.

Someone even offered to fund him to shoot a movie titled Baghdad Bomber.

Forbes.com nominated him for their Best Blogs, in the category of Best War Blogs.

His site also won a Bloggie (the blogosphere equivalent of the Grammys) in 2004 in the category of Best African or Middle Eastern Weblog.

Talk about blog power.


Political blogs are fast gaining recognition too.

In the US, John Kerry's men issued press accreditation to political bloggers to cover the Democratic National Convention in June.

In March, the New York Times reported that US political blogger Garrett Graff, 23, whose blog www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc analyses the Washington news media, was given a daily White House pass.

NYT reported that Mr Graff 'may be the first blogger in the short history of the medium to be granted a daily White House pass for the specific purpose of writing a blog'.

This was echoed by a White House spokesman.

Also in recent events, this time in Europe, a teacher's blog expressing why he disagreed with the proposed EU Constitution garnered up to 25,000 daily hits in the days leading up to the vote in July.


In reporting on this event, which caused the teacher to be lauded as 'a folk hero', the BBC noted the 'enormous force' of 'grassroots power' that blogs can be.

Bloggers Blog, which reports on blogging happenings, estimates that the current number of blogs worldwide exceeds 60 million.

Livejournal.com, a US-based website which hosts blogs, ranks Singapore among the top 10 countries with the largest number of registered blogs.

Our little red dot has 22,000 registered accounts.

The blogging phenomenon is truly international. Time Magazine estimated in their 9 May issue this year that even in conservative Iran, there are 100,000 bloggers


Agagooga said...

Well maybe because though you do a fine job of agglomerating news articles on Singapore, you don't really blog much per se.

soci said...

"Blog per se." What are the criteria?

"as one fellow blogger once observed, infantile." Who was the "one fellow blogger"?

Agagooga said...

Well, the lion's share of the wordcount here is non-indigenous to this blog.

soci said...

Plagirism is the use of someone elses idea without acknowledging the source.

The source, is well known, 'fellow blogger'. yet not mentioned by name.

soci said...

wordcount = blogging ? is that the criteria for a post being considered a blog?

Two questions will usually in the first instance require TWO answers.

lee hsien tau said...

The Straits Times has direct feeds from reuters, ap ,afp, etc as well as direct lines from MITA, and a few other government ministries. Hey presto, with a sprinkling of direct reporting, the rest are edits mostly for space and content.

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