Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Foreigner’s Perspective of Singaporean Bloggers

Dr Henry Jenkins, the Director of MIT Comparative Media Studies Programme and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities, visited Singapore sometime ago and blogged about his experiences after hearing much about Singapore’s work culture and in particular, three very distinct stories of Singaporean youth "misbehavior" on the blogging platform. His full blog post titled Singaporean Girls Gone Wild contains excerpts below:

“Singapore is so known for its work ethic and sense of decorum that I have joked off and on about marketing a series of videos of Singaporean Girls Gone Wild which consisted of school girls in uniforms throwing peanut shells on the floor of the Raffles Hotel bar with wild abandon before returning to studying for their exams. After all, one of the first things that I ever learned about this country was that the law specified that one could be thrashed with a bamboo cane for chewing gum in public. My first impression then was something like that planet in Star Trek: The Next Generation where one could be put to death for stepping on the grass.”

On Wee Shu Min:

“When Wee Shu Min, the teenage daughter of a Singapore member of parliament stumbled across the blog of a Singaporean who wrote that he was worried about losing his job, she thought she'd give him a piece of her mind.

She called him "one of many wretched, undermotivated, overassuming leeches in our country" on her own blog and signed off with "please, get out of my elite uncaring face".”

On Sarong Party Girl:

“So in choosing to call her blog, Sarong Party Girl, the youth was trying to reclaim a negative term which embodies an explosive mixture of sexual and racial transgression, while no doubt thumbing her nose at traditional sexual morality in her country.”

He continued with:

“So rather than question why it is that the authorities had to act, or the merits of which is the more appropriate law to use, or whether this is a prelude to a political clampdown, the Internet's cause will be better served if active users weigh in and do their own clamping down...”

Indeed. That's what we should do. We do not require any regulations at all for the Internet is a free space for everyone.

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