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redbean



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was reading in another forum and they were speculating that this information on the PAP setting up a counter insurgent group to post in cyberspace could be leaked out by some unhappy members. But I think it is a kind of intentionally telling the bloggers and forumers that they are going to contest every inch of the ground.

I welcome this action as it would mean cyberspace would be more interesting. I just hope that they don't attack bloggers and forumers blindly and mudslinging everywhere like those ill brats that I encountered in my blog. I really hope that they put in thinking people to discuss instead of unthinking people to disrupt. The former will do justice to the party while the latter will further disgrace the party more.

The worst that can happen is to learn from NKF and have ghost writers to misinform.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Yeo defending his Stars

Wei Ling made a comment about our resources being spread too thin in bio med research and science. She wanted the resources to be focussed on a narrower field and to take advantage of our comparative advantage. Philip Yeo fumed. Someone who is not in the thick of things should not dabble with things that he/she does not know.

Some jokers may be angry that Wei Ling is indulging in the art of complaining like most Singaporeans do, especially in cyberspace. The issue is that we can look at this as a typical complaint or as an intellectual discourse between high brow supertalents. The subject matter involved finance, medical science and investments and jobs. It is true that not many people will have all the knowledge and information to say he knows all and only then be qualified to comment. Everyone has his own perspective and look at things from his own window. Nothing wrong with that right?

Why can't citizens make comments on issues that concerns us? The reporters or those people who reported on NKF did not know much about the nitty gritties of the running of NKF. But if they cannot comment, we will all still be sleeping happily and feeding the scam.

Philip has his right to defend his work. And Wei Ling or anyone should also have his/her right to make comments. It is public money being used. If the comments are reasonable, think about them and maybe integrate them into the system. If the comments are errorneous, explain it away. Everyone must grow up and discuss or debate an issue intelligently instead of getting personal. This biomed debate can be very educational to the public. There are merits in the position of both sides.

It is not a matter of right or wrong but priorities, emphasis and even a judgemental decision.

Talk about it in a positive light. Don't take it as a complaint. And don't cover it up like all other matters and give excuses like national security or it will take 500 man years to get the figures out.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After so many years, this is the first time a debate of such high caliber appears in the MSM. The subject in contention is not what many people would be able to participate but not necessary that many people cannot follow. And the contestants are supertalents, all professionally qualified.

This debate will give a buzz to the exceptionally quite academic scene when compliance and not speaking out is the safest thing to do. Wei Ling is taking the lead as an individual and a professionally trained medical practitioner to engage the Govt on this issue. And the Govt is responding. If both parties can be objective and set aside the personality part, which is difficult as they are all very passionate about this subject, the public can look forward to an education.

Lets have more of such debates. Not complain or as some like to put it, whiners.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'You'd lose all credibility if you are known to censor or fabricate news. To maintain your credibility, you have to develop a reputation for reporting, not distorting, the facts. When you become a journalist in Singapore, you have one of the most difficult jobs.' Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore talking about the myth of press freedom in the US and the myth of lack of press freedom in other countries. He also commented about the Iraq world and how the press reacted to it.

'Instead, he found a culture of silence. There was little debate. Indeed, there was a tremendous amount of intimidation.'

Now that sounds very familiar.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Choktong supports the debate between Citizen Lee and Philip Yeo. It is an intellectual debate just like when Catherine Lim did once but unfortunately that was not the right time for debate. At that time she talked about the 'affective divide' between govt and the people. Maybe this time Citizen Lee could bridge this divide and bring the govt closer to the people. One thing for sure, she is not going to get a dressing down. Nor would she take is lightly should anyone tries to do so.

I am looking forward for more of such intellectual debates especially from the luminaries, the academics from the world best institutions in this island. Would we here from them about the 6.5 million population?
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redbean



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would there be a mad scramble for Cyberspace?

The owner of New York Times wondered aloud whether the paper will still be printing in the years to come. He is staring at the pace in which blogs and internet forums are gaining viewership and encroaching into the once protected territories of the Main Stream Media. And now the migration has started. Readers are getting numbed by the daily servings of tasteless news in the MSM. And for countries where the news is so controlled and managed that they sing the same song according to the conductor or theme of the day that reading one is as good as reading the rest.

The Alternative Media will only gain popularity by the days. It is only a matter of time when the Angels or Venture Capitalists or entrepreneurs will find it a good long term bet to acquire some of the blogs and forums and merge them together under a common platform, throw in some advertisements, advertise it aggressively, and lo behold, a credible challenge to MSM will appear, in Cyberspace.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loh Chee Kong coined the term virtual constituency as the challenge for political contest in the next general election. Covering the physical ground is not enough. The little wave, the casual talks and the good morning and handshakes in the market are superficial marketing moves. There is more to that as the people get to be more sophisticated.

The people wanted to hear more and know more of the politicians, their views and values. And that's where the internet comes in. Once posted, it stays there to be read. Not just a piece of information controlled by time. Once missed, it is gone.

And the people want their MPs to talk national politics, not about food and cooking or going to pubs and discos to have a good time. There is a time and place for everything. And politicians are expected to be politicians and not gymnasts or stilt walkers. Politics is a serious business of looking after the people and their well being. Politics is not a simple PR exercise to win votes. There are many core issues and matters that affect the people personally.

The internet may rise to that occasion to let the politicians get deeply involved with the people, getting personal with the people, in thoughts and issues. Not a passing remark or a wave of the hands.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Next Great Singaporean Debate

The intellectual battle between Wei Ling and Philip Yeo was touted as the debate that could have the potential of generating great discussion in the MSM. Chok Tong also encouraged it to go on. But after staring down at each other from their respective corners, the fight fizzled off. No KO in the first round as it was discontinued.

Now Stomp is heralding its greatest debate of all time in its forum, 'To fine or not to fine pedestrian using mobile phone.' It claimed that this is a hot issue. Fining is a great obsession in this island, bigger than Opt In/Opt Out. Both are our greatest problem solvers. Just fine the people and the problem will be solved, or simply opt them in. Would pedestrians be fined for using MP3, reading papers while eating as they risked being choked to death. Commuters in MRT could be fined for crossing the yellow lines or using mobile or listening to MP3 too. All acts that could endanger self or others can be fined.

What about blogging and posting in cyberspace? A dangerous activity, really.

Back to the great debate. Another one is really brewing. This time between people of the same profession. Not between a doctor and an engineer. No mismatch. The combatants are Dr Lee Wei Ling and Drs Patrick Kee Chin Wah and Wong Wee Nam. So no need to take snipe remarks about not being qualified to talk about the issue, Hota and Opt In/Opt Out.

Drs Kee/Wong made this a public issue by discussing it in the MSM. For they had hit a wall when they appeared before a Select Committee. Any discussion in such circumstances, like within an organisation, will lead to a decision by the decision maker. Period. Not an issue of bigger right or bigger wrong. The one who calls the shot makes the decision. It is therefore appropriate that an issue where right and wrong are relative and subjective be discussed in an open forum, to be fully aired.

After the first letter by the two doctors, Wei Ling replied. According to the last response by Kee/Wong, she made 3 assumptions. 1. 'given a choice, the vast majority of families would object strongly if they thought this could prevent their loved one's organs from being removed.' 2. 'the only incentive at present not to opt out is that those who opt out go to the bottom of the waiting list if they ever need an organ.' 3. there is 'a separate organ donor form where one can specify which or all organs one wishes to pledge....'

Kee/Wong pointed out that based on the recent case, the families did not object to the donation of the organs. This proved that Singaporeans have accepted the fait accompli of donating the organs. The second, they believed that many did not opt out more of ignorance and apathy rather than fear of going to the end of the list when they need organs themselves. As for the third point, 'Amendments to Hota have already been made so organs other than kidneys can be taken.

What we are seeing is the contest between being practical, pragmatic and functional as against being compassionate, feeling and emotional as human beings. We made rules for the good of the people at large. But should we make rules that are so clinical, mechanical, with no regards to feelings and emotions of the living? We are afterall humans with feelings, emotions and attachments. These are things that make us different. The ability to feel, to love and to care.

The complicated thing in this debate is that brain death is still not conclusive and not necessarily accepted as death by the general masses. The medical profession may have its definition of biological death, the law may have its legal definition of death, the people may have their own beliefs of what is death.

We are touching on a grey area that no one except God is the wiser. So, should one group of people pronounced their judgement on others? When there is room for doubts, or when there are strong emotions and pain on the living, can the law be more human, more compassionate? This is not a criminal case, or it maybe, if one day it is proven that a brain dead person could be revived and live again. In criminal cases, there is a term called 'beyond reasonable doubt.' Is brain death beyond reasonable doubt?
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redbean



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hota debate is still running

Dr Arthur Chern and Assoc Prof Thomas Lew have replied in the ST forum to Andy Ho's article on brain death. They have quoted that so far, no brain dead person has ever returned to life. Quite a conclusive case that there is no hope. But they have also said that a brain dead person can have his heart continuing to beat and even some movements of the body parts/limbs.

What is important is that the international medical community and all the authoritative medical sources have accepted brain dead as death and legally dead.

These are very informative information that can help to educate the public on this very emotional and personal issues that can affect everyone. The debate is worthy to pursue and the masses will stand to benefit from it.

My view on this is that though the medical profession and institution, including the law, have accepted that a brain dead person is legally dead, the people close to the person, or in some religious or cultural beliefs, they may not accept this truth. What is medically correct or legally right may not necessarily be acceptable to some people.

The question is whether the medical profession or the law shall impose their truth and rights on the affected people. Can there be leeways to allow the griefing parties to have a say, right or wrong is a separate issue, when their loved ones are to be cut up and parts donated to other needy people? How could one imagine a situation when the medical team is harvesting the parts and the limbs are still twitching? Any anaesthesia? Any pain?

It is like eating fish or animals alive for their freshness when they are cut up and still kicking.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Branding Singaporeans

We have heard the familiar quitters and stayers descriptions of Singaporeans. Then the local talent and foreign talent, the pro govt and anti govt, the whiners, the complainers, the insurgents, the dissidents, the anti establishment, the disloyal citizens etc etc

In cyberspace, there is one group, the pro govt, versus the rest, ie the anti govt, the whiners, the complainers, the insurgents, the dissidents, the anti establishment, and the disloyal citizens or whatever negative words that can be used to describe them.

Why can't bloggers and forumers be concerned citizens, interested citizens, politically aware citizens, political/social observers, people who just want to have a say about our national affairs, people with an alternative view, a different perspective etc?

When the govt talks about the light touch, it reflects the kind of mentality behind the statement. It is control and punishment, light or heavy as it deems fit. It is the stick that rules.

Compare this with the BBC's tie up with YouTube and you can straight away see the stark difference in the approach. I quote:

"As the BBC has acknowledged, I think it;'s better to embrace it and jump in," said analyst Chris Lake. "That way, you can monitor the quality and the content."

Mr Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of future media and technology, said the BBC would not hunt down all BBC-copyrighted clips already uploaded by YouTube members, but would reserve the right to swop poor quality clips with the real thing, or to have content removed that had been edited or altered in a way that would damage the BBC's brand.

"We don't want to be overzealous, a lot of the material on YouTube is good promotional content for us," he said.

This right to alter is similar to the govt's stand on the right of reply. The govt is free to reply in cyberspace on any misinformation put forward to clear the air. There is no need to always think of using the stick. It will also generate more healthy debates on issues and better understanding.

Did I hear a renaissance? What renaissance if the mentality is to curb and control, and to use the stick? Or anyone with a different view will be branded as anti govt, anti establishment, dissidents or insurgents?
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redbean



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reward for patient care or chalking up revenue

This is the latest debate involving Wei Ling and Dr Ranjiv Sivanandan. Ranjiv's point is that in restructured hospitals, doctors and departments are rewarded based on the number of private patients treated. This underlines the whole Singapore ethos of existence, from state, organisations and people. Money is the only reason and the only reason that can justify work and achievements.

Wei Ling came out strongly against this impression. And she quoted her department , NNI, as a living example of patient care first, quality care comes first. Bringing in money is not a criteria for performance appraisal. She knew what she was saying. That was her department and that was where she called the shot and set the ethos.

The sick are very fortunate to have some of these special individuals who are passionate in what they do, without having to bother with how much they earned or how their rice bowl will be affected.

Unfortunately, NNI is probably an isolated case. Will there be another hospital heads who will stand up to say they too are doing the same? Probably not, and Ranjiv's case still stands. We need mavericks, people who are high achievers, confident and secure, to stand up to the weight of bureaucracy to do what is right and not what the bureaucracy wants them to do, or they will have to face the stick.

I must add that Prof Tan Ser Kiat of SGH also came out to defend their position that patient care is their main objective. He also defended those doctors who remained in public service to serve rather than to enrich themselves. Good Lord, there are still good people around who are prepared to earn less and remain in public service than to fleece their patients.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wei Ling Philip debate continues

Philip Yeo is leaving A Star, the agency overseeing the biomedical industry, with his dream unrealised. He had commented that he would like to stay on for another two more years. Would it be better if he continues another two years or be moved out now?

He is leaving with a little rancour and his farewell speech said a lot about how he felt. A debate on such a major issue where policies will be affected will definitely lead to some changes, or at least some rethinking.

Are we, as a society, ready and mature enough to take on such debates in its stride and move on? It is not easy to be pushed to the fore front to take a stand and defend one's position, or to be questioned.

Both parties are digging in and not changing their positions. And no one is wiser. Who's position is better? One that is more conservative and cost conscious versus one that is more adventurous and with a bigger budget? If the result is ordinary, the former position will be more effective and less costly. The latter will be seen as a big waste of money. But when the result is impressive, the latter will be vindicated.

Unfortunately in research, the element of luck may be the determining factor to save a position. No matter how much money is pumped in, how much expertise, sometimes the result may not be rewarding or justify the cost. But more money and more expertise means higher probability.

And so we will have to wait for another 10 or 20 or 30 years to see what's next.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Role of the Internet - Balakrishnan speaks

Govt will continue to take a light touch approach to the internet as they are not really that significant. The Govt will 'continue to set the political agenda and rules of engagement.' Below are some of the notable extracts of what light touch could mean.

'the Govt would not hesitate to 'demolish' those who crossed the line...'

'Any political leader worth his salt will sooner or later be unmasked and, therefore, can be dealt with or engaged on political terms, one on one.' I am trying to figure this one out on what he meant by political terms and one on one.

'I put this not in a threatening way but (the point is) that at the end, the cyberworld cannot escape the realities of the real world.' Luckily he did not use the term brutal truth.

'But he said Singapore's leaders have nothing to hide and are not afraid of the new media.'

'If it is true, I have to reply. If it is untrue, I have to demolish it. If it is seditious or defamatory, we will go after the person.' I think I am alright. Wink

'the PAP had seen the press "cynically manipulated by politicians for short term goals."'

'I don't need The Straits Times to be the mouth piece of the Govt. We have the ministry spokespersons....'

I think bloggers and forumers will now have a better picture of he govt's stand on internet postings.
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Grunt



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friday March 23, 10:17 AM
Government sets rules of engagement in face of new media



Quote:
SINGAPORE: The government will continue to set political agendas and rules of engagement in the face of the new media, and will not be dictated by online petitions or polls.
And while it will try to balance the diverse interests of the society when it comes to issues of sex, nudity and violence online, it said it would not hesitate to prosecute those who post seditious or racially offensive content in cyberspace.

Singapore has a diverse community with different races, languages and religions living in harmony.

But it is also here where the fault lines lie.

Speaking at a Foreign Correspondents Association lunch on the government's approach to the new media, Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said with the internet, these fault lines are even more exposed to foreign influence in the form of religious extremism and terrorism.

However, there is no need to suppress the new media.

He said: "We are not going in with our eyes closed. Generally, we adopt a 'light touch approach'. Although there is much offensive and untrue material in cyberspace, there is no need, nor is it practical, to pursue each and every transgression.

"All we need is the government to selectively target those who pose a clear risk to the real world. Consequently, we have seen no need to suppress new media unless specific laws are broken by posting seditious or racially offensive content which has come to our attention and gained traction in our society.

"Race and religion are sensitive and volatile issues that tug at the visceral feelings of people. We have a few such cases in the previous year and we have not hesitated to prosecute them in court."

Similarly, when it comes to alternative lifestyle, sex, nudity, violence or coarse language in cyberspace, the government will practise what is called 'ceremonial censorship' drawing a line in cyberspace but taking into account the evolution of society.

Dr Balakrishnan feels the most potent impact the new media will have on politics is that politicians will find it hard to lie in future as there will always be citizens who will publish the truth in blogs or online.

He said: "Fortunately for us in Singapore, we run a clean system, and therefore we have nothing to hide. That is the reason why we can have our cake and eat it too, and that is why we do not fear the new media."

The government, he said, would seize the economic opportunities that the new media revolution presents by investing in infrastructure, promoting new e-services and overcoming the digital divide.

It will also use the new media to reach out to the public.

"So what really keeps me awake at night is the excitement of being able to live through a revolution. Just like you, I stay at the side and watch it all happen in our lifetime," added Dr Balakrishnan.

Despite the abundance of information in cyberspace, he said there is still a need for journalists in the mainstream media like television, print and radio, to provide the public with accurate, responsible and credible sources of information.

- CNA/so


Wow ..... what a revealation .... Politicans do lie !

On one hand he said that there are much offensive and untrue materials
in the cyberspace then with a turn of a tail, at the other spectrum he is
all praised and said it's hard for politicians to lie as there will be citizens
who will publish the truth in blogs or online.

Speaking just like the politician that he is.
Forked tongue and official with two mouths suddenly comes to mind.

Not to say that those politicians do not lie but now they have to learn to
show which lies are suppossedly truths and which truth is a matter of
fact a lie. A matter of mind over masses.
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redbean



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philip Yeo the real blogger

I was reading the exchange between Philip and Chen Jiahao in the Sunday Times today. Philip in all aspects is a suave and cool blogger, the style and words used, without mincing. That's what a real blogger is. Saying it as it is or in the way it should be said. And he did not pick a safe topic to talk about. He chose the issue of the day and smack right into it like any cool blogger will do. No hiding or shying a way.

If Philip just joined the fray because it is cool to do so, or because he wants to be seen to do it, then it will be comical. Imagine Philip posting about his favourite pie and his favourite ang tau tng.

Kudos to Philip for truly engaging the bloggers in their turf. So far he is the One senior civil servant who feels secured enough to do. Wink
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