26 Mar 2007

The Queer Sensibilities of Singapore's Wordscape

From Xenoboy in Singapore

The media is in overdrive. Spinning and spinning. Telling us the reasons why we have to pay 55% more to the Ministers and the top civil servants, of that stream known as the Administrative Service. No one expects an objection from the media. But not even a "concern" has been raised this time.

Instead, its a monopolistic narrative that calls upon the hallowed traditions of the Singapore Wordscape. The sense of crisis, of siege that will soon befall the Government if they are not paid more. That there will be a vacuum in Government. That the talent will leave or will not come. And without the talent, the Government suffers. And if the Government suffers, Singapore suffers. And if Singapore suffers, the Singaporeans suffer most of all.

This sense of impending doom, of competitiveness, that forces the Government to review salaries, forces them to accept the ignonimity of accepting 55% more money. It almost makes this salary review become noble. A form of noble-ness that is almost surreal. It is a review that becomes a ceremonial sacrifice by these talents to accept this necessary money. It is for the sake of Singapore that they make this sacrifice. Ultimately. It is for the good of Singapore. They take this 55% not because they need it, $290 is enough after all, but because the survival of Singapore needs them to accept this. So the narrative rolls across the Singapore Wordscape.

And the citizens look on, listening to and watching as this narrative embraces the Singapore Wordscape. Formulating their indignations, their counter-narratives, mostly in silence. Forming words, mostly in silence. Only in new media does dissonance surface. That this narrative, flattening the Singapore Wordscape with its moral loud-hailing, is perhaps only one side of the picture, one side of the fence, one level above in the hierarchy of political meanings in Singapore. But it is new media after all, where lies and truths are enmeshed in an adulterous embrace.

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