Monday, April 6, 2009

Blogging in Singapore:

Ive received some information from a friend , who has her ...own "cyber journal" I suppose ( rather than a blog).

Shes sent me some info about bloggers in Singapore which could be a jumping off point for our research. Shes kindly allowing me to reprint it here but I'm omitting her name.

A brief outline of blogging in Singapore:

younger generation:

slightly older generation:

"they have
been in the newspapers several times in articles about famous local bloggers. there was also a youth forum and I think some of them were involved in putting up posts about random stuff /issues that they waned to talk about. I never really looked at any of that. Dawn Yang and Xiaxue recently got into a legal dispute because Xiaxue was apparently slandering dawn or something on her blog. It was all over their blogs they got their lawyers involved. and people actually care. at one point (when she was just gaining recognition), Dawn Yang was the no. 1 searched name on google singpore. she became famous because apparently
she was voted the hottest blogger in singapore or something. and then people started comparing old photos of her with current ones and then rumours of plastc surgery. it was really bitchy. lots of people (jealous of her newfound fame guess) who were her classmates in school came forward with old prom photos. people were actually dissecting her face, her features, her eyes her nose etc. all pics
and dicussions were posted online on blogs, web forums etc. some websites
even got started with the sole intension of discussing her did
she-did she not plastic surgery. after that, there were also rumours that she modelled her plastic surgery (new face) after another girl called arissa yeo(very pretty, rich singaporean studying in the US) the details about this one are abit sketchy. from what i heard, they may have crossed paths in the US and i'm not too sure abt the rest. people accused dawn of trying to copy arissa's identity, saying she was studying at USC when she was actually studying in another university (don't know how true this is). you might have a dig a bit deper but arissa also has a website, not a blog though. mostly pics. as you can see, it was like a witch trial. public fascination with this whole thing really amazed me. all the while the plastic surgery enquiry thing was happening
almost completely online, it never got to other forms of media. I think she got offered a contract with an agency, to act or become a
star or something. she even left Singapore for some time to escape the
madness. it became a nationwide obsession, at least amongst the youth. but at that time, xiaxue had already
been around for some time, she probably IS
the most famous blogger in singapore, like she claims. she's very
controversial, always about expressing her opinion. i'm pretty sure both
girls get paid tons of money to advertse products on their
blog and get given free stuff. xiaxue (not sure whether it's still on now) even had her own television show. and she did plastic surgery to correct her nose on the show. like, for real. the younger bloggers don't really talk about much stuff of substance, from what you can see on their blogs. it's usually pictures of themselves, what they bought, them wearing clothes/outfits, food they eat, alot of clubbing photos.

the older bloggers (I think they also have podcasts
now)actually discuss politics and the economy and stuff that is current and relevant to society. one of them, im not too sure if it's mr brown or miyagi had his own newspaper column. I think he mght be trained in journalism or something? not too sure. anyway, one time he wrote something that might have been about the
singapore government or about politics or something. it wasn't
criticising the government per se, i don't even know what it was about 100%. but the next thing you know, he gets fired and the column is shut down. it was HIS column, under HIS name and then it was gone. so it was back to the internet. he was prob doing both newspaper column and blog/website simultaneously anyway but now it's solely the internet and podcasts, backed up by sponsors. huge following. and then there they can openly mock the government and things that happen in the national service (army) - eg. the 'white horse' platoon is like a myth. supposedly all the minister's sons or sons of influential or rich people in singapore get put in a platoon and they don't really have to do anything, usually training in the army is v. tough. there hasn't been any CONCRETE evidence this preferential treatment exists. i mean, you hear things from your friends who have been in the army but nothing solid, you
know? and they were making fun of that, all kinds of singaporean time, they (i think mr brown and mr miyagi MIGHT
collaborate on podcasts) took something that prime minister was saying from a national speech (he said 'mai ham' instead of 'mai hiam') and remixed it to black eyed peas "my humps" it was hilarious. don't know how they got away with that. it's confusing. very
political context. look up 'james gomez' and 'cctv' on wikipedia it will explain the whole situation. it happened during
the singapore elections. something about james gomez (from the opposition party, i think?) not submitting some form and
he was caught on cctv. the ruling party (PAP has been ruling singaporen since we gained independence, and it feels threatened by any sign of opposition) used that against him. i think james gomez became a scapegoat. and so the whole thing became a huge fiasco. and mr brown and miyagi were mocking the whole 'CCTV' thing because
the ruling party kept harping on it and saying "we caught you on
cctv!". so mr brown/miyagi did a podcast pretending to be noodle seller
and customer. the customer said specifically that he didn't want 'hiam" (don't know what food that is). 'mai' just means 'no'. like me saying 'no onions'. get it? it's actually in a dialect, not mandarin. and then the noodle seller
made the food with the 'hiam'and then they start arguing and then the
customer demanded to check the CCTV. it was ridiculously funny! it was a
satire meant to laugh at the whole situation. the Prime minister addressed it during his speech. obviously he knew what was going on out there and was annoyed that
people were mocking the situation but in his speech he accidentally
said 'ham' instead of 'hiam' and mr brown/miyago cut out those 2 words and recorded him saying it over and over again throughout the song, to the beat of the black eyed peas. mocking him, yet again. singpoare is a repressed society in the sense that there is no freedom of speech. the media is governed/censored so tightly by the government, you n ever know whether to believe what you're seeing int he papers cos it's all from the government's point of view. so i guess this is one way that they can express their opinions. you should listen to some of their podcasts, see if youunderstand. there might be alot of singlish or local slang so...
some research on the 'speaker's corner' in singapore. there was an article
written about it, it might've been GQ/esquire - i came across it by accident, can't remember the title of the article but it is a very good example to use with regards to 'freedom of speech' in singapore. and it also makes one ponder the notion of a democracy. a democracy is supposed to entail freedom of speech (amongst
other factors), so can a democracy still be considered a democracy without it? there was an article written in 1993 about singapore. "disneyland with a death penalty" i think. it's available
online. the GQ/esquire article was obviously making a reference to this '93 article. if i'm not wrong, the GQ/esquire article was called "how disneyland with a death penalty came of age" or something to that extent. i tried searching for it online so i could
give you the link but i couldn't really find it (it's a gd article for your
friend, as i mentioned above, quite a big portion of it covers the speaker's
corner - v. interesting stuff, stuff even i never knew before) if you look
it up, you can probably find most of the topics mentioned below online.
except for all the hate-sites/any sites put up about dawn yang, i'm sure now that she has legal representation, they got the websites shut down "

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff! Always knew Singapore was a highly oppressed country (and this is probably the Malaysian in me speaking--we don't get along too well with S'poreans)