10 Jul 2006

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Commenting on Mr Brown Article!

From Youtube.

And it appears that MrMiyagi has quit from Today.
There is a divide between the online and the offline which we both felt my column would continue to bridge but following the events of last week and many many long discussions between brown and myself, today I told TODAY that I quit.


Anonymous said...

he should have penned a last "i quit" column in Today.

again antipathy

Anonymous said...

Yes, sg's cost of living is high.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the media asks the writer for an answer and to allow him to publish it again if this is what Dr says "We are all entitled to express our opinions. But we also have to be accountable for our opinions and be prepared from time to time to stand by them or be called to answer them and from time to time to be rebutted."

But on the contrary, "we want our newspapers to be a part of that process and also to be aware that, the mainstream media in particular" - THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Anonymous said...

At the point of time when Mr Brown radiculed Gomez, do we see the media and the garmen opposed to this reaction and told the writer not to react in this manner??? So, obviously, it shows our garmen only wants PRAISES and not CRITICISMS. It's sad to have such an IMMATURE AND CLOSE-MINDED GARMEN.

Anonymous said...

how can he be rebutted, called to answer, etc, if he is no longer there?

they dont want to rebut him and call him to answer; they just want him to shut up

Anonymous said...

they didnt even publish the readers' letters. why on earth do you think they would even allow him to do a full article on him quitting and the possible reasons for doing so? The editors obviously wouldnt publish it.

Anonymous said...

this is what i'm trying to argue - NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AN IMMATURE AND CLOSE-MINDED GARMEN!!

IN THE FIRST PLACE, why didn't the media gave the writer a chance to answer for what he had done, instead of shutting him down totally.


Anonymous said...

PAP is trying discredit blogs and fourms and wants to brainwash Singaporeans into believing so.

PAP is testing the OB markers of Singaporeans as well

Anonymous said...


Excerpts from the AFP:

Supporters of a Singaporean blogger have gathered at a busy subway station for a silent protest at the suspension of his weekly newspaper column after the government criticised his latest satirical piece about high living costs.

At least 30 supporters turned up at City Hall station at 2:00 pm dressed in brown attire in support of the blogger, who goes by the moniker Mr Brown.

Unfortunately for the news wire agency, the real news wasn't that 30 people in Singapore bothered to take part in a flash mob for a proscribed blogger-columnist. I could think of several more newsworthy stories on the top of my head, such as:

How did a secret SMS-only invite leak out to the press, which turned up in battle positions and recording equipment shoved up the noses of participants, even before the flash mob was scheduled to begin?

Or how's this for a more newsworthy story:
Plainclothes police accost flash mob participants at end of event

At least 2 participants were approached Citylink mall by 4 plainclothes police operatives after the flash mob event concluded. The operatives presented themselves to the duo, requesting a "short and private discussion at a more private place".

The operatives, marshalled in a line formation, herded the two to a remote corner of the underground mall, where they proceeded to ask the following questions:
Who organised this protest?
How did you know about this protest?
What are the names of the people who informed you of this protest? What are the names of the people you informed, in turn?

And the winner: Look, we know all about this protest. You better cooperate with us and tell us the truth.

Thankfully one of the cornered persons did read up on his rights, as well as the extent of cooperation citizens are bound to give to plainclothes operatives presenting themselves without a warrant or charges, and gave them his name, his lawyer's contacts, and told them to **** off.

Several, even more newsworthy issues present themselves in the aftermath:
1. Flash mob sparks police actions by government
2. Seeing the flash mob as a bona fide protest, Wong Kan Seng, the Minister for Home Affairs, does not send in the riot police.
3. Instead, the clown show is mobilised.

Apparently there is no formal investigation, no indication that said flash mob is an illegal and destablising event, so what the MHA and Wong can do is send in the clown squad and hope that the idea of plainclothes operatives asking questions and claiming to know everything about the event... will actually scare off the participants, make them piss in their pants, and scar them for life. Remember, kids: for real protests and destabilising events, the riot police is used. When the authorities want to stage a political comedy, they send in plainclothes operatives!

But really, this flash mob was rather lame. People showed up and stood around. No silly waving, cheers, synchronised actions or what have you. No immediate and sudden dispersal. And the best part? People who didn't get the message won't get the message at all. So much for a flash mob for Mr Brown.

Don't get me started on the organiser's horrendously unironic satorical decision wear brown shirts to support a columnist who was unfairly axed. This is what you get when Singapore's artistes pose as political activists.

Ladies and gentlemen, the continuing clown show from Wong Kan Seng. As if the dropping of the police investigation against Char isn't embarrassing enough, they send in a clown show against a not-very-successful or well-planned and conceptualised flash mob.

Matilah_Singapura said...

"The lady doth protest too much".

The more 'explanations' that are given, the more contradictions are exposed.

Humour is based on distortion— a 'warped' kinda 'world-view'.

No one is 'obliged' to defend his opinion. Nor is anyone 'obligated' in anyway to explain their opinion.

You can simply say: "That is my opinion, and that's that. I have no further comment".

The man is talking nonsense and his opinion should be peremptorily ignored.

clyde said...

You would think that people like Bhavani and Vivian were test tube babies genetically modified to tow the party line by the PAP. This is what's wrong with people like Vivian. Over-zealous use of liberal terms like "entitlement", "freedom" are always followed by a string of contradiction; "responsibility", "accountability" etc. It would serve everyone better if they quit with the childish wordplay and just published a handbook instead on how to form our opinions.

Free expression is non-negotiable. Take it or leave it. At least other oppressive countries have the decency to quickly eliminate any illusion of an open and inclusive society.

clyde said...

Also, phrases like "know your respective roles" is such blatant corporatism. Fascism, with its addiction to regulation and control, exalts the State above the individual. Please Dr Balakrishnan, do tell us what it is like to be a finger puppet.

Desmond Lim said...

what a typical gahmen response. we can't even voice our opinions w/o them thinking that we are talking bad about them. well, what they don't seem to know is that word of mouth is more powerful than newspapers. let's just talk about it with everyone we know and see what happens in the next elections.

sit down and have a dialogue, i remember how dialoges with the gahmen goes. "shut up, you don't know anything", the gist of the story.

Anonymous said...


mr brown - officially endorsed critic of singapore government
In an open and democratic society, anyone criticizing the government is considered to be merely exercising his/her rights as a participant in public affairs; it is unnecessary for any critic to get prior approval. So the title of this article might strike you as being very strange, reflecting the unique nature of this city state.

The first point to remember is the special nature of the public media here. (See: Press and Blogger Bias in Singapore

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-XIIfDzQobqO5oCYM9UTvZzgKHH4Org--?cq=1&p=132 )

Virtually all the public affairs media are under government control; government owned Mediacorp has a broadcast media monopoly, while singapore press holdings, whose principal executive officers are nominated by the government, owns all the daily papers (the free tabloid Today is a joint venture with Mediacorp). Without officially saying so, the public media are acting as the PR department of Singapore Inc, with the mission to report news and shape public opinions in a way that is positive for economic development, and it is for the foreign press and media to provde the wider diversity not available in the local media.

What amount of criticism of the government should the local media present? Everyone, the government included, knows that it is necessary to allow criticism so as to allow improvement, but this implies one need to make judgement about whether a particular piece of criticism would cause improvement and is worth reporting, and the person making the criticism has that objective in mind and a certain level of competence as a critic. In other words, to judge that he/she is suitable to be an officially endorsed critic. A critic whose objective is judged to be trying to help an opposition party or foreign government, or to arouse attention to himself/herself, or just to stir something up, would not deserve to be reported.

In this, an officially endorsed government critic has a similar press role to a domain expert, with a reputation for professionalism and competence so that he/she could be trusted to be not speaking to advance particular commercial or political interests. Tay Kheng Soon, for example, is frequently in the press criticizing architectural designs, while Ho Khai Leong is consulted on election issues. However, whereas domain expertise and professionalism are relatively easy to judge, officially endorsed critics are far harder to certify.

The press's constant, almost desperate search for the next messiah almost always goes through the same cycle of rise and fall: someone appears full of promise, writes/speaks a few times arousing much excitement and eager anticipation, says/does something that passes an OB Marker


leading to an official reprimind, and ceases to be carried in the media like before. He/she might be hauled out now and then by various reporters on some particular occasions when an alternative voice is needed, but most of the time he/she is treated more like the carrier of a highly infectious virus, not to be approached without a decontamination process. (e.g. see "Catherine Lim, Prospective Politician"

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-XIIfDzQobqO5oCYM9UTvZzgKHH4Org--?cq=1&p=139 )

This process has just claimed its latest victim, the Today columnist/blogger who goes by the pseudonym of Mr Brown. When his column was "suspended" by Today (obviously, he could be revived now and then when an occasion requires his kind of domain expertice so he has not been "dismissed"), 30 people including a number of foreigners actually turned out for a 30-minute protest at an MRT station, wearing brown shirts, but that would not alter the cycle. The system grinds on according to its unique dynamics.

Anonymous said...

"Without officially saying so, the public media are acting as the PR department of Singapore Inc, with the mission to report news and shape public opinions in a way that is positive for economic development, and it is for the foreign press and media to provde the wider diversity not available in the local media."

To be precise, the public media are really acting as the PR department of the PAP rather than Singapore Inc.

Matilah_Singapura said...

> clyde said: "Please Dr Balakrishnan, do tell us what it is like to be a finger puppet." <

A finger puppet deserves a finger salute!

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how much a person changed when he is drafted into the
different camps. Just compare him B4 he became a PAP member and now.
Dr Vivian deserves not only a finger salute, but a middle finger salute

Anonymous said...

Money and power does strange to people.

What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?

Anonymous said...

Vivian is Anakin Skywalker.H

e was once a PAP critic but once he join the Dark Side, he helped PAP persecute all the Jedis who were his former friends and mentors.

Anonymous said...

I understood where Mr Brown was heading with his article but I do not understand where Minister Vivian was heading with his comments. Minister Vivian was talking in circles until I got confused and gave me a headache

Anonymous said...

this is because he wants mr brown to give him chance to reply and justify himself, but mr brown was kicked out of Today and is no longer there

like in comedies, e.g., the guy rushes into the bedroom stripping off his cloths at the same time, then finds the bed empty

clyde said...

There is nothing for mrbrown to make rebuttal against. Vivian was sending out an instruction against political discourse. Vivian did not even bother, if you notice, to rebuttal any of mrbrown's original subject of cost of living. How typical.

Anakin Skywalker he certainly is not. At least Vader got to carry around a cool light saber and no matter how evil he was, he was still cool. Vivian would be more akin to a reprogrammed droid.

And speaking of fingers, finger puppets also constantly have a finger up their ass. I'm betting he's got dibs on Mr Lee's thumb.

sinsling said...

All i can say is great comments. Beautiful.. every one of them. Covered alomost the whole gamut of my thought processes upon listening to DR Balakrishnan.

I too was once greatly impressed with the man pre-PAP. Had great hopes of "working thru the system". But he has finally put to rest for me a debate I have been having.....

"working thru the system" vs against it. In a system allowed to entrench itself, putting into place all kinds of safeguards (see below for example), it will insidiously corrupt anyone entering the system into its modes of thought and operation.

eg of a possible safeguard: Ministerial Salaries. Twofold safeguard: 1) provide enough incentive to toe the line, disinsentive to dissent 2) in the possible event of opposition entering the playing field: corrupt them into.... see 1) above.

Viva PAP

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Vivian
The PAP finally has your soul
You will really go far
With a few more of these 3-ka
You even speak like LHL
Every mannerism and style
Maybe you are groomed to takeover
When the time comes...hah?

Desmond Lim said...

The interesting part is this "I am not at all concerned at all about what the foreign media thinks. We are not here to fulfil their agenda. Let me put it to you this way. We are all entitled to express our opinions."

It seems that the gahmen is not concerned with the foreign media, they are not concerned about what Singaporeans thinks either. So what are they concerned about?

"We are all entitled to express our opinions." He should actually continue with, "Provided most people don't know about it. In fact, express it but don't let anyone know about it."

Talk about taking a hammer to kill an ant.

Anonymous said...

free to expression opinions, yes, but the question is what opinions get propagated by the media and are paid attention to by the audience

media do not want to carry serious discussions, partly because they dont know what would upset people in power, and partly because readers are not that interested; they thought jokers like mr brown would be both safe and popular; they were wrong

Anonymous said...

Give Dr Vivian another chance. He will live up to his full potential one day.