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Why Bother Writing About Singapore Online?

Who actually gives a damn about what ordinary people – affectionately labelled as “citizen journalists” – have to say about socio-economic issues?

Why do you spend so much time and effort writing about an assortment of Singaporean concerns online”? Well, that was a pretty good question; for a moment – after one of my friends had queried me recently – (ironically) I was at an utter loss for words.

Challenges associated with the independent management of a commentary-based, current affairs-driven website are aplenty: churning out pieces require a fair bit of research, planning and contemplation; negotiating around boundaries (especially so when I was completing my National Service); and balancing my personal engagements. Most importantly, I am barely twenty-one years of age; are my views truly representative or reflection of Singapore’s populace? Would people even bother listening to what I expound upon? Who actually gives a damn about what ordinary people – affectionately labelled as “citizen journalists” – have to say about socio-economic issues?

But Who Gives A Damn?

Citizen-based publication and pieces have gained increased traction in the past few years; with unprecedented political developments and heightened accessibility of the Internet, writers have been forthcoming with a multitude of perspectives. The audience for these websites and weblogs – correspondingly – has been growing very steadily; in fact, many have developed a predilection for these forms of news, information or discourse, to complement their traditional reliance upon newspapers, television programmes et cetera.

People are indeed reading, and writing is a great way of being involved in the (probably-grand) scheme of things.

Writing also allows for coherent expressions of ideas (of course, the common proposition on the emergence from apathy or lethargy); simultaneously, I have become more cognisant of the nuances of varying positions. Interactions with others, through dialogue and the active exchange of contentions, have genuinely empowered me to listen more intently, and work towards the constructive comprehension of considerations.

Moving Beyond The Rhetorical Dimension

One cannot holler for change and expect progress based on words alone; this is something I struggle with.

I think it makes a significant difference to have myself heard, and I suppose this desire makes me highly-receptive to suggestions or recommendations postulated by others. Increasingly, I am realising that my ability to form my thoughts cogently before presenting them holistically has benefited my projects, initiatives in civil society. Through my volunteerism and community service stints, keen awareness of our education system has allowed me to move beyond the rhetorical dimension.

One cannot holler for change and expect progress based on words alone; this is something many writers – including myself – struggle with.

The following months (and years) would grant a variety of opportunities for exploration: corresponding with representatives and politicians through electronic mail (not necessarily seeking resolution, but pursuing understanding); exploring independent studies and campaigns (on National Service, and school-based community service); and writing about matters that are closer to my heart.

So yes: I think, I care, therefore I write.

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


14 thoughts on “Why Bother Writing About Singapore Online?

  1. Go and ask the brotherhood, they have to know judging fromm the sheer amount of boycott and cold shouldering they get, but they are still red hot and going strong, whenever, i feel like chucking in the towel, I go to their site and mmy batteries are recharged again

    Posted by homemaker | January 20, 2012, 1:04 pm
  2. actually the only reason why you write is because you like it. so “Why Bother Writing About Singapore Online”? i can answer for you in your shoes in 4 words: because i like it. all that incessant exposition that follows merely explain why you like what you like.

    Anyway, although this blog is good for general knowledge and current affairs reading, it is mostly rubbish whenever you try to go into the nitty-gritty stuff of analysis. you write about almost anything under the (Singapore) sun, which like i said, is good for keeping up with stuff that happens under the (Singapore) sun, but you are no industry expert. YOU MERELY GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE AN EXPERT ON THE (SUPER WIDE-RANGING) AFFAIRS THAT YOU WRITE ABOUT. that’s why i only read your blog to keep myself updated and to understand general public opinion over current affairs.

    Oh and that’s why i only read the first and last paragraphs and skip everything in between too =)

    Posted by Nona | January 20, 2012, 4:50 pm
    • Haha you’re right to an extent; I did concede in the article that I am not Mr. Know-It-All, and that I’m giving my personal input on issues and affairs. I’d like to reckon that my best years are ahead of me (and university would probably sharpen the writing and thinking), and that commentaries would slowly gain momentum in that sense.

      No worries at all; you have your take and perceptions on the exposition, while others hold differing viewpoints. Having said that, because I have gone through the education system and comprehend it (and have my take on things), I do value my pieces discussing education policies or recommendations.

      Jin Yao

      P/S: Your argument can be extended to other instances online as well 😉 If one chose to, he or she could also read the first and last paragraphs of the narratives and get a fair idea of what is going on too.

      Posted by guanyinmiao | January 20, 2012, 6:27 pm
  3. It is ok and conducive to voice one’s opinion and the view one takes. However it is also prudent to enable and accept differing views and agree to disagree.
    The collective majority drives society and rules and laws. A few commentators online do not and should not drive the whole populace, although the word is more powerful than the sword, but when all fails, “send in the army” is the old faggot’s antidote to our ignorant and ungrateful coolies.

    Keep writing, but bear in mind, we reserve all rights to challenge and differ from your view.

    Posted by SWISSMISS | January 20, 2012, 5:30 pm
    • Exactly on the mark. In the past (back in 2009) when I started this website I was always very defensive when individuals did not see eye-to-eye with my commentaries, and reflected them in the comments section. But I suppose with a little more maturity and experience you understand the importance of listening too? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to concede your point; but it doesn’t hurt to be a little more open-minded and receptive to oppositions.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | January 20, 2012, 6:31 pm
  4. wow. you\’re seriously good at making rubbish look good. you should consider a career in politics, because you have superb spin skills (go Wiki \”spin (public relations) for those of you who wanna know more).

    in a single reply, you used several euphemisms, cherry-picked and committed what is known as non-denial denial (again, go Wiki guys). bravo.

    Posted by Nona | January 20, 2012, 8:02 pm
    • Probably because I subtly took your advice, when you said that “Oh and that’s why i only read the first and last paragraphs and skip everything in between too”.

      I don’t write to please; then again, I repeat my affirmation of your observation that I am no “industry expert”. On many occasions, I have conceded to have erred or misinterpreted opinions. If you reckon that I have not met your expectations of a writer, I don’t think I can do anything but apologise.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | January 20, 2012, 10:33 pm
  5. I feel you definitely have the potential to contribute to policy discussions, but you need to start focusing on a few topics that you are thoroughly familiar with or able to devote time to research them, so that your pieces do not merely state very broad concepts but actually have stats, trends etc to explain and support what you are trying to advocate.

    Posted by bluex | January 20, 2012, 8:30 pm
    • You’re absolutely right there. In the coming weeks I should be focusing more on National Service, education-based issues and community service concerns, so I feel my opinions / recommendations in those areas should be more constructive.

      Jin Yao

      Posted by guanyinmiao | January 20, 2012, 10:37 pm
  6. i totally agree with bluex. ’nuff said.

    Posted by Nona | January 21, 2012, 1:17 am


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