19 Jul 2006

"Singapore and China"

I tend to squirm uncomfortably in my seat every time some mentions Singapore and China in the same sentence.

With regards to the article below I would question the assumption being made that Singapore regularly blocks URLs. As far as I am aware a recent study indicated that sites are rarely blocked and those that are tend to be pornographic like playboy.

Bloggers' fury as India blocks sites

Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi
Wednesday July 19, 2006
The Guardian

Indian censors have blocked access to a number of popular blogging sites on grounds of national security, causing outrage to thousands of bloggers.

The directive from the department of telecommunications (DoT) came days after the Mumbai blasts, and was aimed at shutting 17 blogs which carried material from religious and political extremists. But service providers were forced to cut all major sites, including the popular Geocities, Typepad and Google's Blogspot. Since then cyberspace has been filled with angry emails from bloggers in India who have attacked the government's "ham-handed, delinquent" move.

Ironically, the Mumbai blasts helped raise the profile of blog sites after many were used to update users on what was happening on the ground.
India has some 40,000 regular bloggers and their sites hum with subjects ranging from the mundane and political to matters rarely found in polite conversation in India.

"This is a clearly an infringement of fundamental right [of freedom of speech]," said Sanjukta Basu, a lawyer who blogs at meateccentricitydotcom.blogspot.com.

Ms Basu says a 300-strong Delhi blogging community is considering a petition to the high court.

"The government only ordered to block some 20 blogs and has a duty to ensure this is carried out in an orderly manner without infringing our rights. So we are looking at the courts."

Lawyers say there is a good chance the government "will be put on a tight spot" by the case. "They have a point because the inability to filter these blogs has infringed article 19 of the Indian constitution," said Pawan Duggal, a lawyer specialising in internet law.

Mr Duggal said another route for the government would be to make bloggers and blog sites liable for the content. "There are provisions under the information act. The real problem is that there is no mention of blogs and bloggers in the legislation. The technology has left the law behind."

Bloggers say they can still access their sites using a Pakistani-based service called pkblogs. "It is completely ridiculous. India is meant to be a democracy. We are not living in China here," said EM, who writes anonymously at thecompulsiveconfessor on blogspot.com. "The silly thing is I can still get to my blog by going via pkblogs."

Experts say the real problem is that Indian service providers do not have the technical expertise to block individual pages.

"Countries like Singapore and China have the ability to block specific pages and URLs. But they do it regularly. India does not and should not," said Prasanto Roy, president of the Dataquest Group, which analyses technological trends in India.

Mr Roy said the internet was designed so that if information was blocked it could be re-routed with ease. "The internet was built to resist these physical barriers. Information is mirrored and copied quickly. I think what happened here was just some idiot in some ministry decided to block these sites without thinking it through."

Government officials were scrambling to stymie the criticism of their actions. Gulshan Rai, director of the computer emergency response team, which is responsible for India's cyber-security, said: "Blogspot.com should not be blocked." He added: "What we need to do is work with service providers so that we block individual pages. Just give us some time."


Anonymous said...

the sentence was literally correct: "can, and do regularly", though for different reasons

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

Hey soci,

In an email to you some time ago, on the same day you posted on anonymity I sent you some links.

I've been using Privoxy (internet filter), Tor (anonymous router), and JAP (Java Anon Proxy) with great success. i.e. no leaks. Privoxy can be configured so that you choose what info your browser gives about you.

They are easy to set up, and are free (donationware) to use.

I don't use them in S'pore much, but in Thailand for e.g. the govt BLOCKS proxy sites (!!), and China where who knows what is illegal to read, thus I tend to use anon applications more when I travel.

There are "hidden" websites on the Tor network itself—blogs, file archives etc. There's even an experimental email service. These websites are not accesible by the "regular" internet, only by the people connected to the Tor network.

I encourage everyone to install this stuff and learn how to use it—especially if they travel with their laptops to, and use them in China. I also encourage people to sign up for a hushmail account—great for emailing posts to blogs.

If you get tired of using Tor/Privoxy combination or a JAP/Tor combi for just blogging or visiting "hidden" possibly illegal websites, you can always direct your browser to your favourite porn site, and enjoy yourself without fear. ;-)

OpenSource Rocks!

teck soon said...

China and Singapore should be mentioned in the same sentence more often. The Chinese dictators in both countries bear a striking resemblance.

Inq said...

"I tend to squirm uncomfortably in my seat every time some mentions Singapore and China in the same sentence."

You forget, or are not aware, that there is quite a case to support the assumption that that has been the Lee Imperium's intention all along - making singapore synonymous with china. To 'be chinese' is to adopt the notion that one ruler, one way, one ideal, etc, is the norm - thus ensuring the imperium's political longevity and the people's subservient docility. Why else do you think the SAP school system exists, along with the marginalisation of other 'races', the raising to prominence of chinese culture, the importation of junks-full of china citizens(including thousands of chinese prostitutes), the stated aim to keep singapore chinese in numerical terms, 'mandarin is cool' campaign, forbidding 'other' races from studying any language other than 'their own', the renaming of street signs and places with hanyupinyin-ised words, not doing anything about the gross 'racial' discrimination that takes place there, etc, etc, etc.....

A sick government breeds a sick people.

Anonymous said...

ranters have arrived again to bark up the wrong tree

PAP gets all that help from its enemies

Anonymous said...

Okay, here's the deal...It is a very common perception in India that Singapore is part of China (like Hong Kong). It looks like the Singapore Tourism Board has done a good job in presenting a dominant 'cina' factor in its marketing and publicity abroad. Ask any Indian expatriate living in Singapore and he will tell you so.

This article was written and published in India so I am not surprised that the two countries are lumped together by the writer.

Local bred said...

The above article is about India blocking some blogs in the aftermath of the Mumbai bombings.

That was the thrust of the article, I think to prevent idiots and fanatics from exploiting the situation.

I personally support this if the intent is to 'cool' the situation for the next few days or weeks; and prevent it from worsening. The people of India had held their heads high so far, I hope anyway, like the Londoners did in July last year.

The article's comparison of Singapore and China or their similarities are incidental but also commonly quoted too by most of the world's press. See the survey of the happy people of the world and the freedom of the press.
We are not far from each other (China and Sinbgapore)in rankings. So, comparisons and similarities are inevitably discussed.

Even during the Communist student and communist infested unions trouble days in Singapore in the 60s, and during the Vietnam war, China is featured prominently as they had supported the CPM (Communist Party of Malaya) and also because of our proximity to that country.

Anonymous said...

china actually has a less controlled press than singapore as there is no sph/mediacorp type monopoly; it is however more repressive because it lacks due process of law; its rather arbitrary banning of websites reflects this

Anonymous said...

don't be too hard on our leaders. we are so small, we need to kowtow to the next economic power. so if africa is the next economic power, we may have to learn to speak african, dress like them and learn to enjoy their kind of food. but being predominantly chinese, we probably blend in better in china than in africa when conducting business. but never say never because if africa ever become the next economic power, our leaders will probably tell us to stay outdoor in the noon sun more often. yes, we do anything for money!!

Anonymous said...

"As far as I am aware a recent study indicated that sites are rarely blocked and those that are tend to be pornographic like playboy."

Actually there is nothing pronogtaphic about Playboy. It showcases the nude female form which isn't pornography. Just goes to show how backward and outdated the censors are.

Anonymous said...

like Cosmo, the banning of Playboy was not really a content censorship issue; it is because a VVIP once said no, and till he says something different...

further, I guess the VVIP was not concerned about morality as such, but social decorum; they dont try to prevent people from bringing a few copies of Playboy (or a bit of chewing gum) in their luggage when returning from a trip and quietly keeping them at home, and web por is easy to access as most porn sites are not blocked; basically an issue of discipline, i.e., no open defiance.

curious said...

you think our leaders think porn in the minds since they err....feed the nation with porn?..hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

bread and circus; just a case of letting it be

observer said...

the most profound statement here: sick leadership breeds sick people. someone told me when you have such leadership in the mould of scribes and pharisees, you will find alot of blind, deaf , infirm, 'demon possessed' people. people in captivity. no wonder some people feel aliented and known to spit and spat on the streets and find living in such cities intolerable despite seemingly outward show of affluence and erm...cleanliness. well, a whole book can be written on this subject to identify this form of dissease, which is common in the west, not here though.

phew...so lucky.

Matilah_Singapura said...

>>"the most profound statement here: sick leadership breeds sick people. someone told me when you have such leadership in the mould of scribes and pharisees, you will find alot of blind, deaf , infirm, 'demon possessed' people. people in captivity."<<

That depends on whether people are capable of thinking critically on an individual basis or not, and to the extent of a "society", how many of those people they are—whehter they are able influence the rest.

IMO, I think people who need to be led are akin to sheep. Everyone has independent minds and freewill, so why don't individuals use that what nature has given them? I don't know. Probably has a lot to do with humans living in varying states of hypnotic trance...

The govt and its leaders, whther good or bad, get voted in by the people.

Therefore: The people get the govt and leaders they DESERVE.

Licker said...

Yes, we are like China in many ways.
(propaganda, cronyism, press control, press monopoly, telecoms cartel/monopoly; banks cartel, public tpt incl taxi cartel, ....)

It was mentioned in the papers today (22 July - Insight Pg 11) for the many of you out there who do not read or even see the Straits Times (at least articles from the predictable and useless reporters):
(I do not buy the papers).

Somebody questioned:
'if the Govt has the authority to lay down the law on what newspapers can and cannot do. Has the role of a journalist or the newspaper been legislated by Parliament ? If so, which law (s) supported this statement within the reply (MICA's reply regarding Mr. Brown's blog) issued ?'

By the way, this 'singabloodypore' blog was quoted in the papers, too.

My comments : that instead of blaming the Internet of 'being footlose and fancy free', the guilt also lies in the mainstream papers for 'purveying half-truths and slanted/biased stories' and its insidious reach (newspapers and TV). Equally in the mainstream papers, are the majority of the people able to discern the facts from the half-truths ?

One more thing is right about the article: the distinction between mainstream and online (internet) media is increadingly blurred.

This confirms what ppl in blogosphere all along have being saying:

Ditch the Straits Times and the other mainstream papers. Then we will not look like China as a vassal state of China.

Richard said...

You are right.
Just read the article.

And the paper's comments about the Internet are actually applicable to them (Strait Time).

Read about the late Lim Kim San an his feedback to SM Goh (when he was PM) and others.

SM Goh also apreciates the fact that being no longer an MP, the late Lim Kim San was able to gather feedback and relay them to him (PM Goh, then) and found them useful.

How ironic, when serving MPs should also be able to give valuable feedback to the govt and PM Goh, too ? Probably they fed back on what they thought PM wants to hear, not what he needs to know.

This again confirms the poor role of our local papers. Their journalism is based on what the leaders want to hear, not what they need to know (except for a few people like the late Mr. Lim Kim San who is obviously one of the first gen leaders).
Hence the ignorance by all (as they fool each other) and the drastic drop of votes for the PAP in the polls.

Anonymous said...

exactly! most of the papsmear peanuts are immature at heart though highly intellectual as these ppl only want to listen to praises and not criticisms. without criticisms, how could the party work towards progress to improve the overall system to benefit the country and its citizens. well, they thought that their past record of 40 years is excellent, then wouldn't this made them too complacent? if they always think in this way, then it truly shows how ARROGANT they are........WHAT A SAD THING.........ummmmmm......big sigh