Q: So let me get it right; you’re saying Cherian and the blogger 15 do not understand the relevance of the sedition act from a legal operation standpoint? How does that measure up to my first question as to what Cherian claims; ‘we don’t need the government; this can be handled by the community?’

A: Missy Dotty:  I am sorry. I am not very good at giving interviews. This is my first time, so I need to keep telling myself that I shouldn’t allow my statements to fly off the handle.

No I am not for one moment suggesting Dr George does not understand the relevance of the Sedition Act. He is an eminently qualified scholar and I am certain he appreciates the gravity of the issues along with the likes of Mr Arun Mahizhnan who also happens to be an old hand at the wheel.

On that score I am certain. As for the others, I reserve comment. Perhaps the reportage in the Strait Times was incomplete; I would prefer to give the good doctor and the rest of the bloggers the benefit of the doubt. I am certain they all know about this.

What I am sharing after all is hardly specialized knowledge.

Having disclaimed myself; what is less certain is what does Dr George mean when he says:  

‘There is merit in civil society doing it on its own…’ Is he implying there’s no need to depend on the Government to regulate social values?’

I don’t know to be perfectly honest with you. Yes, sedition as a body of law certainly has an unsavory history; that’s undeniably; but bear in mind sedition laws are also frequently called social barometers, as they are reflective of what society is prepared or not to stomach i.e they are in effect, one the clearest manifestation of what ‘civil society’ is willing to tolerate – a very accurate and reliable of public sentiment.

That leads us to the question; if sedition laws are able to produce a story that manages to articulate the ‘collective’ chorus within our society: presumably to connect all the missing linkages to effectively make up our sense of identity, roots, and founding.

Then pray tell how contextually and substantively different can Dr George’s ‘higher principled’ instrument be to the current Sedition Act?

Do consider.

Nevertheless, once again, one should always give him and his associates the benefit of the doubt; they’re terribly intelligent after all to have come up with this whole idea.

Q: So Dotty can I say you are an unabashed supporter of the sedition act? You see nothing principally wrong with it?

A:  Missy Dotty:  No I am not an unabashed supporter of the Sedition Act.

As I took the trouble to point out earlier; I do have reservations and even misgivings concerning it’s less than savory  historical lineage.

If memory serves; I even described it as a “crude instrument” of soliciting compliance. However I do recognize the practical necessity of having the requisite latitude in law and the pressing need to act speedily and accurately when it comes to online hate speech. This I have described as the good side of the sedition Act. I am merely trying to point out that other side that may have been lost to the blogger 15 and our readers.

A: [Montburan cuts in] Allow me to add on to the operational aspects of the Sedition Act that Dotty shared.

What underpins the Sedition Act? Cherian and the 15 bloggers have not asked themselves this basic fundamental question.

All they have done as Dotty rightly pointed out is omit, bend, exaggerate, invent and embellish the account by claiming the Sedition Act is evil and off they go.

Do I support the moral position of the Sedition Act? No I do not, but as Dotty rightly pointed out; the Sedition Act remains effective in hate speech and in cases of sectarian and faith incitement, but just to defer with Dotty very slightly; it’s continued usage is really a function of necessity rather than any flowery rationale one may seek out in jurisprudence or any where else in the legal compedium. 

The rationale of the Sedition Act is NOT premised on the idea of stomping on the little Joe Public and denying his elemental right to free speech.

That may very well occur but its incidental to it’s main purpose of stopping hate speech dead on its tracks like an elephant gun.

Cherian sets out to argue the fairy tale that the government is not required. He does this with admirable finesse by appealing to our sensibilities that the sedition act is morally abhorrent. That’s obvious! No one disputes for one moment, it’s abhorrent; not even me!

But the account remains incomplete; as Dotty rightly mentioned how do we solve the operational side of tacking hate speech? This Cherian doesn’t share with us; we are not even told how this may be accomplished.

What if I said to you the Sedition Act has nothing to do with jurisprudential underpinnings; nothing to do with law even; and everything to do with mashing the gears of the machinery of justice.

This becomes all to clear when we look at how the Sedition Act works; Here the misgivings of Cherian becomes all too clear.

Firstly, he does say through Yawning Bread the entire process will be open and transparent when it comes to dealing with those who have run foul of social norms; but where offers no proposal for how evidentiary material  would even be obtained; tell me under what authority will service providers such as Starhub or Singtel release privileged IP information? They cannot due the need to comply with data protection guidelines. This can only be obtained by a court order. How will the evidentiary material be classified? Again the 15 bloggers offer no solution here as to how they might actually do that highly contextual, intra-executive task, which even lawyers and judges have historically deemed to be outside their purview and expertise, as this is handled by the law enforcement agencies.

So when we talk about the innards and guts of the Sedition Act it is a process. And what is the rationale of this process? Why does Dotty keep on harping on that it’s an operational rather than a jurisprudential argument?

Because the Sedition Act belongs to a genre of enabling acts like the ISA which best translates the principle of zero-tolerance into action – though no govt in the world can actually afford to have literally no tolerance at all – the whole intellectual nub goes back to an article that George Kelling co-wrote in Atlantic Monthly in 1981. Now at Rutgers University, in his article “Broken Windows” Kelling made public detailed research in the South Bronx area of NYC. If you broke one window there in a deserted block and mended it the following morning, the building would stay intact. But if you didn’t mend it, every window would be broken within 72 hours.

And here you need to ask yourself how many windows would have been broken by then? If the blogger 15 is given the luxury of time to dilly dally their way to bring the offender to task?

I really don’t believe they (the 15 bloggers or their friends) even know how to get on top of this problem of hate speech and racial incitement sensibly.

We are not talking about a simple matter of what is right or wrong here in the moral context as it remains a question of practical necessities: how do we hunt down and bring to justice the one hooligan who threw the stone that broke the one window – the goal is to keep it to only one and no more – that’s the real challenge the 15 bloggers would do well to consider deeper before they go about saying:

“’There is merit in civil society doing it on its own…There’s no need to depend on the Government to regulate social values.’

Closing statement by Missy Dotty: Thank you very much Y2K for giving us all in the read club a real voice to participate in this deregulation debate.

Baby Darkness used to shut us down regularly as he claimed (real or imagined) no one is interested to read the ruminations of read club members.

I remember this hurt me and the others terribly, but the boy general can be cruel.

My hope is we will be given a real voice by the newly created FILB. Indeed this is a very good start.

Thank You and I would like to wish the 15 bloggers and their associates good luck.

 

[Dear Valued Readers,

 

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Yen Kiat most people call me Y2K. I am the chief curator and director-general of the newly created Free Internet Library Board based in Primus Aldentes Prime.

 

I first proposed the idea of creating the library in the virtual to Harphoon a few months ago. I told Harphoon, I wanted it to be independent from the BP. The ideal hopefully is to integrate the many different knowledge based out there in blogosphere under one roof without fear and favor.

 

Hopefully this will one day all add up to a valuable epistemological account of what was once said in our beloved internet.

 

When I met Darkness he asked me only one question; why? I replied what we say in the internet is important not only today but also tomorrow. History remains our only means of making sense of who we are? It’s worth preserving.

 

What’s been recorded is our capacity to make sense of a fast changing world.

 

My hope is this effort can somehow supplement and even extend our understanding of how best to make sense of the challenges we as netizens face today and tomorrow.

 

Darkness mooted my idea in their Great Hall quoting my words even. I think it’s their parliament and within two days, they (the brotherhood) constructed a building. I am supposed to give it a grand sounding name and design the logo, but I haven’t really decided what and how it should look like or what it should ideally even represent.

 

The building looks stern like everything in Primus with its ordered columns and classical lines; I told Darkness, it could do with a courtyard with a few trees; he saw to that. He seems to share our vision.

 

As I walked alongside Darkness in Primus surveying this new building; he told me constructing anything in the virtual is the easy part. I remembered at one point in our walk, he took out an orb and created a period fountain in front of me in this new courtyard that I had specially requested; he said it’s a replica of the one he once saw in Palermo, Italy and it was faithful right down to the last brick. I was impressed, but he went on to say, this is the easy part the hard part is breathing life into it – getting as he said people to while away the day as they mull over life here.

 

He said, this was his gift to the FILB.

 

Little did I know a few days later the man called Darkness would walk right out of the game.

 

I thought it would be good to share this all of you.

 

Thank you for reading the FILB.

 

Regards

 

Y2K

 

[This interview series has been brought to you by the FILB courtesy of the IMG and the Mercantile Interspacing Guild – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

 

 

[This is the first interview conducted by the Free Internet Library Board. In this series, the FILB will present questions to Missy Dotty and Montburan concerning the proposal by the 15 bloggers and their friends to ‘deregulate the net.’

For a 360° overview of this ongoing debate please refer to this excellent compilation

 

Click Internet Deregulation

 

Missy Dotty is an expert in IT & International law. Montburan is an expert in cross border legal risk management and mitigation; both are lawyers.

 

Missy Dotty is the owner of the site ‘JUST STUFF,’ that’s currently commandeered by the Brotherhood.

Montburan used to head the notorious Siglap read club (one of the strongest critics of Darkness and the brotherhood movement), the largest readership in the Brotherhood Press – this is my first interview series.

At the end of it, there’s a message to all readers from the FILB which I manage along with 3 assistants.

Please take five minutes to read it and please consider supporting us.

I do hope you all enjoy this interview series and apologize, if it doesn’t come across as slick as what the BP used to roll out – Happy Reading!

Best Reg

Y2K]

 

 

Question by Y2K to Missy Dotty:

 

Cherian, the ‘media expert’ has been quoted as saying, ‘There is merit in civil society doing it on its own…There’s no need to depend on the Government to regulate social values.’ Proposal for Internet freedom in Spore  

How realistic do you consider his appraisal of the strengths and weakness of our government and the new role the 15 bloggers and their friends envisage for the internet?

 

A: [Missy Dotty] How realistic is it? Well that really depends on a few issues.

 

I am not certain what he means by “no need to depend..” If he is referring to decamping from the Sedition Act, then I believe that may create rather than solve the problem of hate speech and incitement in the net.

 

In my view a large chunk of whether Dr George’s position is viable requires us to look at whether what he is proposing to offer is an improvement over what the law of sedition act currently offers to both the accused and the aggrieved parties?

 

Before we begin a critique on what Dr George said I believe we would do ourselves a favor including myself to re-look at the elements which makes up the law of sedition.

 

Where did it come from? What’s the philosophy that governs it? What are it’s strengths and weaknesses?

 

The law as I keep telling Baby Darkness is really like one of those medieval museums housing weapons of antiquity; where each enabling act is very much like a rapier, epee or halberd.

 

Some weapons are crude others refine but what undergrids them is they are all without exception double edge i.e some laws just like some weapons are designed to solicit compliance i.e the whip, it’s enough to crack it to get everyone to fall in line, but they can also be used to demand compliance directly.

 

For example; In July 1998, the Singapore government enacted the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act (CMA). The CMA prohibits the unauthorized interception of computer communications. You can say this is the perceived ‘good’ law very much like a humane weapon like pepper spray or a tasser gun; as it protects the vast majority of computer users from indiscriminate disclosure of information.

 

However CMA can also stray into the ‘bad’ domain since there are certain provision that provides the police with additional powers of investigation, and makes in an offense to refuse to assist the police in an investigation. The CMA also grants law enforcement broad power to access data and encrypted material when conducting an investigation. This power of access requires the consent of the Public Prosecutor.

 

So what we see here is every law even the seemingly ‘good’ has a reserve to produce ‘bad’ – it’s really a double edged sword – what I am trying to say here is we should not be too hasty to take the law at just face value; whether its ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is really a contextual question that depends on the broader considerations of what confronts society; for example although many western countries vilified us for having the ISA.

 

Following the Sept 11 attacks even the Bush administration reauthorization the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law, which incidentally conferred upon the law enforcement agencies certain elements which were even worse than our ISA.

My point is this; we need should never ascribe a tone of finality to what is and isn’t a good enabling act simply based on dogma and this applies to even the Sedition Act.

Now when we talk about the Sedition Act most people seem to only register the nasty and ‘bad’ things about it; that sort of first impression is perfectly understandable as sedition is really a crude instrument of terror that has historically been used to send a chill rippling through the crowd. 

However, that ‘first impression’ of the Sedition Act in my view has to be misleading and even inaccurate; we need to decamp from the blogger 15 position of associating sedition with state inspired heavy handedness per se.

I really don’t believe that’s a fair appraisal in the ‘good’ against ‘bad’ score card.

I don’t disagree much of the jurisprudence  which undergrids sedition certainly supports their (15 bloggers) position as sedition is really the worst in the rogue gallery of good, bad and ugly ; so again it’s perfectly understandable why most people view sedition as morally abhorrent and even ideologically repulsive very much like the ISA.

As sedition operates symbolically to silence and usually the beneficiary is the state, but here like the CMA, there is also a ‘good’ side, especially when it is directed to online hate speech and incitement which is usually considered as ‘time urgent’ sort of crimes i.e the gestation period of a flare up is often short; here sedition act allows the law enforcement agencies to be mobilized speedily to identify the offender; there’s no lag; secondly, it’s a very effective way of gathering evidence without too much fuss; so what one needs to understand the Sedition Act serves the operational criteria of law enforcement agencies.

Q: Y2K : You said the Sedition Act is directed towards hate speech which is a time urgent sort of crime – can you explain this “time urgent” criteria further for the benefit of our readers?

A: Missy Dotty:  Gladly. Some social challenges not necessarily hate speech and incitement, but even national emergencies do pose real challenges to the enforcement agencies and even lawyers and judges, let me give you an example of a “time urgent” scenario; in 2003, Singapore added SARS to the Quarantine Act, a law that had previously been so dormant that most lawyers including silly me didn’t even know it existed. This was because of the time urgent necessity to contact trace carriers and identify the nodes through thermal-imaging detection of body temperatures in public places. So what we have here is a conflict between the law and the right to privacy, freedom of movement etc. As containment, quarantine even forced examination featured on individuals suspected of having SARS.  The SARS episode highlighted the need for speed and accuracy and it vexed many lawyers for example what’s the implication on installing closed circuit camera’s to ensure suspected carriers remain at home and required them to appear before the camera at specific intervals? What right or authority do health officials have to spot check on the movements of suspected carriers? How can quarantine be effectively enforced without encroaching on false imprisonment? What right do health authorities have order phone operators to block any attempt to forward home phone calls to mobile phones to make sure that the individual does not leave the home? Do health officials have a right to use electronic wristbands if suspected individuals do not answer phone calls? What we see here is the clearest example of how ‘time urgent’ and ‘pressing’ scenarios place undue demands on the law requiring policy makers to often make compromises between form and function.

The question we really need to ask ourselves is whether hate speech and incitement can escalate to those levels of complexity that we as a nation were once confronted with in SARS crisis – I cannot and will not answer that question as I am not either a sociologist or a media expert, but as a someone who knows the operational side of the law, I believe it may not be very prudent to rule out the need for taking a zero tolerance stance and moving to bring those to account speedily in times of crisis; lawyers, judges and the mata-mata cannot be twiddling their fingers and wondering what to do, especially where sectarian and partisan feelings are stoked up? In my view, we need to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario and in this regard the Sedition Act has no comparative equal, not in law at least. So with due respect to Dr George, I believe the role of the government is indispensable here.

To Be Con’t

[This Interview Series has been brought to you by the FILB – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

To Read The Second Part of this Interview Series Click Here!

The Incredible Unlikeness of Being of The Sedition Act – A Critique on “Deregulating The Net.” Part 2

 

(a) Are They Screwing The Right Hole With ‘Community Moderation?’

In studying the Internet or indeed any profound technological medium where free and hate speech features. There’s always the risk of running aground, if we begin our enquiry by demanding what is genuinely new?

For almost every ‘change’ has some precedent in human history.

In my view this observation is significant from a legal planning POV as it allows stakeholders to fashion an optic to view this whole matter of hate speech and incitement in the internet in it’s proper perspective.

What we need to understand here from the onset is neither hate speech or racial incitement is a problem that is specific and unique to only the internet. Hate speech and incitement has been around since the beginning of recorded history – it’s hardly novel.

This brings into stark focus; the impetus for ‘change’ can never be based on ‘novelty’ but rather ‘salience’ when we decide on the issue of whether hate and racist speech should be subject to “community moderation” i.e what elements of social behavior does a new technology make particularly ‘salient’ that went relatively unnoticed before?

Identifying the salient allows us to focus on the relevant instead of falling into the hyperbole trap of getting distracted by the usual litany of ‘noise’ that so often features in a debate concerning hate and racist speech.

I feel it’s vitally important to re-state the need for scale and perspective here by reaffirming the ‘novelty’ and ‘salient’ bench mark.

Allow me to give you a real case study which I was directly involved in to illustrate the importance of differentiating between the ‘salient’ and the ‘novel.’

Glue sniffing was identified by criminologist in the UK during the early 80’s as a relatively new problem which posed a challenge to the British Penal Code.

There policy lawyers i.e lawyers who formulate enablong acts were confronted with a veritable hubris; do we create another law to deal with this new menace? Perhaps we should uutsource this to the social services? Ammend the law; or even create a committee run by the minors court?

When the ‘salient’ i.e causation was eventually identified by the social studies group based in Tyne i.e the predominant cause was identified as the easy supply of glue to minors; this led to a very clever way of curbing further abuse of this new hallucinogenic which posed a great social challenge to the social services.

Till this day, glue sniffing itself is NOT against the law, but it is an offence, under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 (UK) to supply a solvent to a young person under 18 if there is reasonable cause to believe that the fumes might be inhaled.

What we see here is the onus or what one calls in layman’s language the ‘gate keepers’ role shifts from consumer to the supplier; in the long run profiling such laws based on the ‘salient’ as opposed to the ‘novelty’ factor creates laws which effectively protects minors and offers ample room for rehabilitation instead of resorting to strict liability and punitive measures which would otherwise victimize them.

What we see here is not only a very effective way of resolving a social conundrum at ‘source point,’ by accurately appraising the ‘novelty’ and ‘salient’ drivers; but also a very clever usage of the law that proposes to set punitive measures directly on those who are most responsible for this menace.

Now if we juxtapose this case study on what the blogger 15 are trying to accomplish by attempting to set up a ‘consultative committee.’

We may need to examine whether the substantive reasons behind their motivations to do so is based on either the ‘salient’ or ‘novelty?’ – what disturbs me is hardly any effort is made to draw the nexus between causation and solution forming / this in my view is a serious lapse – if it’s the latter i.e hate and racist speech is novel, then we may rightly draw the logical conclusion, this committee will have absolutely no bearing on alleviating the problem associated with hate speech and incitement in the net.

Central to the whole debate is does the advent of the internet emphasise and problematise a new or a old problem? i.e is hate speech and incitement a new phenomenon?

I don’t wish to embellish the outcome; so I will reserve final comment for the time being and leave this to the reader to decide.

(b) Is Hate and Racist Speech an Old Problem Dressed Up As New?

My second point is paraphrased as a caveat and it’s a corollary of the whole ‘salient’ and ‘novelty’ formulation that I have just elucidated; in this area, the thematic questions would take the shape of: Q: Are these negative aspects we are increasingly registering in the internet more pervasive, or more central than it was before? Or is there another reason accounting for these spikes? Can perhaps the visibility, trackability and traceability of the internet medium account for these sudden increases in what we term as racist and hate speech? 

This prompts us to consider the asymmetrical question: whether those less desirable features of internet culture such as hate speech and incitement may well have always been present? Is it conceivable only now they appear to us with a special sense of importance or urgency?

This caveat needs to be underscored as the phenomenon of all technological change modifies and disrupts social relations. It foregrounds certain elements and aspects of social life, making them more central, more salient, more important than they were before.

That caveat also helps us critique the emerging direction of what this committee proposed by these 15 bloggers are trying to accomplish.

I see two disturbing trends in the ongoing debate concerning the issue of “community moderation.”

The first is the increasing assumption that reliance on law is somehow equatable to some thing less desirable or perhaps a manifestation of state inspired heavy handedness – I don’t agree with this simplistic assumption.

As Missy Dotty mentioned in the first segment of this series; far from regressing sedition laws are increasingly being used to tension the ties within society. Her illustration points to the recent anti holocaust legislation which makes denial a criminal offence in the EU – I would go further and cite an Australian precedent where in 2005 the Federal Government argued that the reasons for revitalising the sedition offences were to: (a) prevent terrorism; (b) protect the integrity of the electoral process; (c) protect public order from threats posed by inter-group violence; and (d) prevent seditious or treasonous speech in the classic sense. Now what’s worth emphasizing here these new reforms replace the old sedition laws with five new offences!

Why is this observation worth underscoring? It harks back to my second point concerning the caveat, I presented earlier : “whether those less desirable features of internet culture such as hate speech and incitement may well have always been present, but now they appear to us with a special sense of importance or urgency?”

My view is it’s important to ascribe a sense of scale to this whole issue of using laws to manage speech not only in the net but also out of it. I am not forwarding for one moment the notion if 27 countries in the EU and the Australians are extending their sedition laws; then we should follow suit; but what I am saying is Singapore is certainly not North Korea! And no where near the level of unreasonableness that would confront the typical challenge of any society in this age!

If you examine the text, tone and measured discourses of the blogger 15, you will find that at no time to the even attempt to scale our sedition and even section 33 Films Act with this glaring reality – the reality is simply this; we are living in complex times which exerts tremendous pressures on society and the law; the law simply needs to reinvent itself to accommodate these changes; this is very far from the dystopian landscape which they have painted; its inaccurate and a misrepresentation of fact to say that our reliance on laws to manage hate and racist speech is inconsistent with the reality that’s often played out in the international scene.

(c) Will This Committee Proposed By The 15 Bloggers Prove Relevant And Effective?

My third and final point relates to the efficacy of this committee which has been proposed by the blogger 15.

It would appear based on a cursory examination, the only reason why they (the blogger 15) have proposed the formation of such a committee is the wide held belief digital technologies foster a type of interactivity that’s all together unique and cannot be effectively regulated by the law.

How robust is that assumption?

Granted, the internet certainly allows ordinary people to route around traditional media gatekeepers and offer new ways of appropriating and transforming what people usually find in newspapers and magazines.

But here is the catch. These same features of the new technologies that empower ordinary individuals also creates a very old problem dressed up as new; social conflict.

That should not be surprising. We often think of new technology as something that liberates us, if we are optimists, or threatens us, if we are pessimists. Technology produces either utopia or dystopia. But what technology more often does is create social conflicts which are no different from those that once took place in the age of sail or when people had to manage with candlelight.

Conflict be in the internet or even the jungle is one of the same and this is where one needs to ask which instrument serves the imperative of freedom of speech better; is it the ruminations of a committee that can only seem to agree to disagree on so many key points? Or is it the crystal clear ark light of the unambiguous law with its historical precedence, text, history and reason?

Which one would you rather trust if you’re standing in the dock facing a sedition charge?

At the end of the day that’s what it really boils down too; the smallest common denominator; the small man; in my view, if what’s on the table can’t even give him a level running fieldt; then you don’t even have such a thing as a right, as no comparative system even exist – it’s time to stop and think.

[This is article has been brought to you courtesy of the newly created Free Internet Library Board – 2008 / The participants are Catherine The Great, the site owner of “JUST STUFF” Missy Dotty, Montburan and Prima Delli .This message from Darkness: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=G1xiFRccd88  this article was generated by a N-95 program courtesy of the Mercantile Guild – FILB 2008]

Are You Getting Only One Version From The Online Citizen? Never Fear, The Free Internet Library Service Is Always Glad To Be of Service – Read & Learn Abt “Community Regulation”

http://magnezium.blogspot.com/2008/06/internet-deregulation.html

 

 

How do we actually go about the whole business of crafting a “freer” net? Does it entail dismantling the law regulating censorship? Do we really need such a thing as a grand all seeing pineappled eye committee that goes about awarding good conduct points for what is regularly published online? Coming to think of it; what actually is freedom of the internet along with the whole notion of free speech? Does a “free for all” really translate into a feral and dystopian net as it’s so often depicted? How accurate is that assessment?

 

You know what? I don’t know about you, but all this can get terribly confusing even for someone as dumb as me. For instance, we’ve all seen the “deregulate the net” flag with its half opened padlock and key symbol? Presumably, that’s supposed to convey the gist of what these 15 bloggers along with 30 supporters are trying to accomplish; freeing the net (they claim) from government regulation is going to revivify it with a higher degree of freedom and somehow seed the greater good and drive out evil – but what if I said to you, what’s been mooted will narrow rather than expand? Corrode rather than fortify the idea of free speech?

 

You see these past few weeks I have been spending time mostly in the baby chair with the likes of legal eagles like Missy Dotty, Montburan, Prima Delli and at least five other legal experts in this area; I’ve got to level with you, the brotherhood lacks experts in this area and these ladies from the various read clubs have been kind enough to take the time to explain to me using over sized crayons some of the misgivings of the blogger 15.

 

I am going to share with all of you the gist what I have been able to glean from this encounter – hopefully, it will assist you in making an informed decision concerning this whole business of “deregulating the net.”

 

(1) What’s the Litmus Test To a Freer Net?

 

According to Prima Delli:

 

“If you really want to understand this whole business of freedom of speech, the law and the proposal to set up this internet committee – you need to reverse the question and ask what exactly isn’t good for free speech in the net? If you don’t do that, you’ve just confuse yourself and the readers even further.”

 

As I discovered, this approach manages to winnow the hype from the salient. So let’s dive into it!

 

What do we see here? OK, for one free speech has absolutely nothing to do with concentrating power in the hands of a committee; it doesn’t matter whether they are bloggers or even a bunch of cookie cutters; the very essence of “free” in the “speech,” requires the whole idea of astudiously breaking up hierarchies, oligarchies and monopolies of power into ever smaller pieces instead of concerntrating them in the hands of only a few.

 

Here you need to consider whether the creation of a bloggers committee serves that end of breaking the monopoly of power?

 

Personally, I consider this the litmus or acid test whether something is really “free” or simply marketed as “free” or “new improved” and let me share with you why –  As every social organism and it doesn’t matter whether it’s social; political; economical or technologically driven has a natural tendency to move from chaotic to hierarchical. That’s to say, given enough time and motivation; they will ALL without exception begin the task of dedicating themselves to empire or temple building.

 

If you peruse through human history, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the oligarchy of pencil sharpeners or a bunch of online gamers, all of them eventually aspire to the power quadrant where the goal is to corner the market and establish command & control; every oligarchy true to the Darwinian lexicon eventually migrates to assume some semblance of order, shape or form to fulfill this one organization; where eventually, not only does it monopolize the information flow by attempting to insert themselves strategically somewhere in the supply chain, but it also allows them to color and mythologize their keep and eventually what we are really left with is a very “processed” version of the truth; that’s really good for nothing except passive consumption which usually only creates docile audiences that manages to keep the elites in power. There in a nutshell is a brief lifecycle of how the whole idea of the “free internet” degenerates into mud when people start proposing the idea of the temple building which they try to pass off as the necessary goodness that we cannot do without.

 

As I said in the very beginning of this write up; one really needs to go beyond the marketing tag line and the symbolism of the half open lock and floating key and this is where I will share with you what I believe to be a free internet.

 

(2) Free Speech Should Never Be Confused With Sedition & Hate Speech

 

As Missy Dotty, the owner of the site “Just Stuff” that we are currently raiding mentioned:

 

“It’s a common lay mistake to muddy the whole idea of freedom of speech with the whole idea of online hate or even racist speech.

This problem is especially aggravated in the case of the bloggers 15.

 

As from what little I have been able to make out so far; what they have effectively done is lump; the internet; film and publications into basically one general heading.

In short, that’s bound to create problems. Let me share with you why?

 

What we need to understand here is although most lay people consider these information delivery mediums as just genres, each medium is legally very specific and carries with it – a very distinctive methodology which is often used to resolve disputes according to their respective text, tradition, precedent, and reason.

Many of these have developed independently and literally gone off in different legal trajectories – so when one lumps it all together, the danger presents it’self; they will tug and pull in different directions amplifying the errors further.

If you ask most observers who have some experience in international law & policy formulation, I believe they are almost unanimous regarding this issue; it’s almost impossible to talk about the internet, film and publication censorship under one breathe.

You are not going to get very far with that sort of flawed model, not when it comes to something as complex as regulating the internet using a non elected committee.

 

Here we need to be mindful, what they say is really not as important as how it manages to scale out against the legal framework.

That’s to say, it may sound good natured and even reasonable and possibly even intelligent, but if it fails to effectively harmonize with the existing legal framework; then in the long run what it will happen is it will cause more problems than resolve them.

 

That creates not only unnecessary confusion but produces “double speak” and we need to be especially mindful of this theoretical possibility. As what the blogger 15 may be proposing may very possibly even undermine the integrity of the current penal system relating to regulating hate speech.

 

This is evident when we look very closely at how the 15 bloggers justify the whole idea of community regulation and how they seem to equate the whole issue of freedom of speech with over bearing state inspired interference.

The general formulation which they seem to advance is as follows; the higher reliance of state laws such as the sedition act = heavy handed use of the law = draconian use of the law presumably at the expense of freedom of speech.

 

This is patently not true Baby Darkness – are you listening to me? Stop playing with your peas!

Now bear this in mind Darkness* – freedom of speech as a legal school of thought has very little to do with hate speech. This may sound odd to the lay man, but in law they are treated as separate entities for very good and practical reasons.

Neither is increased emphasis on the sedition act necessarily translatable into a greater erosion of elemental rights in freedom of speech i.e conclusive evidentiary indication that a regime is draconian or even over bearing in possibly denying it’s citizenry an elemental right to free speech.

I wish to make this clear by way of a recent illustration; recently the Justice Ministers of the European Union agreed to make “incitement to racism and xenophobia” a criminal offence in all 27 member states.That means it’s a criminal offence to deny the occurrence of the Nazi holocaust. What we see here is the clearest example of what I mean when I say hate speech has absolutely nothing to do with the whole idea of elemental rights concerning the right to free speech. As what is actually being addressed in Brussels is the issue that pertains solely to the incitement to violence i.e the sedition act.

However, if one peruses through the discourse of the blogger 15 and their associates very carefully; this is often lumped together and treated as “one reality.”  No where Baby Darkness do we even see an attempt to categorise, differentiate and delienate what is meant between valid free speech which deserves protection and hate speech which doesn’t deserve it!

IMO, this has to be an oversight that can only confuse the entire discussion further and this throws a long shadow on the whole idea of  “community moderation.”

I think readers would do well to acquaint themselves with the finer issues relating to free speech and salient components of the sedition act as from what I am able to make out from the very limited discourse that’s floating around the internet – This is jugular Baby Darkness! The issue of free speech, sedition and incitement needs to be detangled and treated as separated discussion issues – this omission is not only an over simplification of how the law works but it also paints a lopsided picture of how freedom of speech as a school of thought is supposed to apply sensibly.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6573005.stm

Here hate speech is treated as sedition and legally at least it is quarantined from all the protection that one usually associates with the first amendment right of the freedom of speech and expression.”

 

(3) How Will Community Regulation Harmonize With The Penal Code?

 

 

Another flaw in the blogger 15 submission was highlighted by Montburan of the Siglap read club.

“I think we need to go further into the whole idea of ‘free speech’ as an epsitomology rather than just throwing this term around and equating it with the loose idea of free speech = the right to say anything under the sun.

The term, “free speech” in the legal sense is scapel specific and was defined by Meiklejohn, who argued that it’s NOT important that everyone gets to speak, but that everything WORTH saying was said.

Implicit within this definition is the need to reject and even exclude “by force” [legal force] everything that is considered antithetical to free speech and this obviously includes hate speech and racial incitement – so what we can see here is free speech first demands the precondition of perceived “quality,” which in the Meiklejohn sense hinges on whether it is “worthy.”

Now it would seem this term “worhty” is equatable to the whole idea of “social norms” which is so often vaunted by the 15 bloggers – but bear in mind, this is not a consensual or even social definition as it remains one that is strictly defined by the “norms” one usually associates with either criminal or civil law i.e the definition of the reasonable man standard / Oliver Wendell Holmes - so this really begs the question; what are these 15 bloggers talking about when they propose to oversee the affairs of the net using the social metrics of “social norms?”

We know what they are referring too is not even a creature of law; so what is it really? Who decides on the whole issue of what is and isn’t a “social norm?” Are they referring to some timeless definition that has a universal appeal? I hope not as there is really no such creature in existence that’s why laws exist in codified form and even that’s not enough. We need the doctrine of precedent along with judges and lawyers to produce the answers. And even then we get it terribly wrong sometimes! 

What I need to emphasize here is this; this is a terribly complex legal issue that should only be handled by professionals such as the law enforcement agencies, DPP and perhaps their legal peers and let me share with you why as I don’t want to come across as a territorial snob?

There is a very sensible reason why this should be the case; as I can very well argue if it were coursed through this so called committee which these 15 bloggers propose to form; then this may have the effect of prejudicing the criminal proceedings and may even deny the accused a fair trail in court?

What I want to underscore here is we are talking about the fundamental right to a fair trial here i.e preserving the integrity of the legal process; and we really need to ask ourselves whether the formation of this committee adds or subtracts value in that regard?

I don’t see how it adds even a modicum of value as the issue of legitimacy is still very much up in the air. Be that as it may, I really don’t want to go down that road.

 I want to emphasize here when I use the term “legitimacy,” here it’s surgically precise in so far as I am not referring to something as a fuzzy moral or inalienable social right, but rather one that derives it legitimacy from the constitution i.e the right of every accused to be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise and this burden of proof is extendable to even someone who is allegedly commits an offence under the sedition act – what we really need to consider is the legal justifications which makes possible the formation of this committee in the first place; by what constitutional authority do they derive they mandate to even pass judgment on others. I want to emphasize this is very different from an association or a professional body; as here there is a fatal gap in their logic; associations can discipline their members; but if you examine how they work; they have a right to do so as most of their members are subscribers. However, in this particular case the committee which the blogger 15 are attempting to set do not even possess that basic justificatory basis to exercise their power over the rest of netizens in blogosphere – for one they did not even seek the referendum – neither were they given a mandate and its arguable they do not even have the legal basis to impose their definition of netiquette on the rest of us.

I need to emphasize here this is only the tip of the iceberg as we can we go much further to take issue with whether this committee as I said earlier has even the locus standi i.e legal right to adjudicate over hate speech in the net without at least undermining the authority of the entire criminal law system in Singapore!

From my assessment, they are in effect proposing setting up of a kangaroo court and that of course raises the specter of whether they even have the constitutional right to do so? I think what I need to emphasize here again is this; you do not need to have real power to prejudice the rights of an accused to a fair trail; and this really reduces the entire argument of the blogger 15 to something slightly higher than the “very dubious.”

Especially, when they claim time and again quite misleadingly; they do not have any “real power.” What I need to impress under the strongest possible terms is the very semblance of power is usually enough to prejudice a fair trail. That’s one of the reasons why in contentious legal cases a news black out is usually de riguer as that’s usually the only way to ensure the accused has the benefit of good legal light – I therefore have firm reservations whether the setting up of this committee is even possible legally – I think what we need to understand here is the right of the accused i.e the person who allegedly made those seditious remarks deserves to be protected – and this naturally leads us to consider very seriously what is the best means to guarantee this?

Are you writing this all down Darkness*?????????????”

[This is article has been brought to you courtesy of the newly created Free Internet Library Board – 2008 / The participants are Missy Dotty, the site owner of “JUST STUFF.” Montburan and Prima Delli who used to head the Siglap Read Club / Catherine the Great, Holland V Read Club / – The brotherhood is appealing for lawyers with International Law training to step forward! This message from Darkness: http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=G1xiFRccd88 [ Please note *’ The brotherhood press has not record of “Bambi” – “Bad Boy” – “Baby Bambi Boy” –  in its record. We assume these references are directed to the personage of one “Darkness” and the FILB has made the necessary changes – this article was generated by a N-95 program courtesy of the Mercantile Guild – FILB 2008]

[Pls note this is a EP version, the EV of this article runs for 30 pages and is available upon request from the FILB]

Bibliography

(1) University of Sydney, The Julius Stone Address 2003.

 

(2) Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, and Director, The Information Society Project, Yale Law School.

 

(3) Meiklejohn et al, Political Freedom: The Constitutional Powers of the People (1960)

 

(4) Prof David Cole; “Not a suicide pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency – Nov 16. 2006 issue The New York Review.

 

Read The Part II Here!

 

THE SHATTERED DREAMS OF THE BLOGGER 15 / PART 2

 

Do Want To Get A Full Sweep of Community Moderation?

 

It’s Only A Click Away [Brought To You By The FILB]

 

http://magnezium.blogspot.com/2008/06/internet-deregulation.html

“Why do I call them urination experts?…..very simple, if you listen to them long enough. Don’t be surprise, if you even end up putting your hands up for toilet breaks….there is a very good and simple reason why this will come to past….what they are suggesting disables, rather than enables, it exacerbates rather than relieves, it is in short the root of the problem rather than a viable solution.

If you don’t believe me go and ask anyone who has a firm grasp of constitutional law.  I can guarantee you a few things here. Firstly, you will NOT even find  a single constitutional law expert, NOT even one, who would give their proposal for ‘community regulation’ the green light – why? I am openly challenging them to find me just one. I am not asking for 10 here, not even 5, just one will do very nicely and I will gladly eat my shoe with ketchup!

They Cannot! You know why? Here we need to appreciate a few things; firstly, it is conceivable, they (the 15 bloggers and their associates) have run afoul of every single fundamental rule  and convention concerning what it takes to even create a quorum that proposes to have such a wide bearing over the affairs of our internet.

Here, there’s a critical distinction between the need to abide by the “due process” i.e the social convention of fundamental human rights and mere trade off analysis. Both cannot be lumped together into one convenient hubris just to fashion a justification for change – not if, the imperative is to remain legitimate in the eyes of all.

We would like to believe this whole debate centers on only the issue of how best to crave out a solution to get on top of racist and hate speech in our net. However, one needs to be mindful, there’s more here that meets the eye, just because certain unfavorable conditions exist does not in any way justify ANY approach, not if it runs counter to every tenet that demands power should be exercised judicially, wisely and with regard to certain “due process” which are deemed fundamental to the rights of man; look here! I do not like this criteria any more than the man next to me, as I happen to be an engineer and I don’t care much for it, but even I cannot elide it, not to my greater detriment at least. Not if I am to appeal to the sense and sensibilities of the thinking crowd. That’s the obligation the mandate of “change” imposes upon ALL of us who seek the aqua vitae of legitimacy – for instance – Why do you think we have elections? Why do we even impute innocence upon even an accused man? Tell me isn’t that inconvenient? How pragmatic is it? Why do you think we hire judges to preside over murder cases and not out source it to robots?

Here we need to be mindful of “due process” and what it entails when it is coupled with the whole idea of change management.  

Why do you think not a single country in the Western hemisphere has ever proposed or even suggested “community regulation” in the manner which they have proposed?

I want us all to understand this from the onset; what they (the 15 bloggers) are suggesting has no historical, moral or even operational precedence, not even one molecule of it. Firstly, it’s an insult to one’s intelligence to assume the so called “higher principles” of these 15 people have a better pedigree to what is currently offered by our govt in the form of text, tradition, precedent, and reason derived from black letter law. Secondly, it’s down right demeaning on what it means to be a thinking human being to assume in the absence of such “higher principles” they would be able to deliver a higher quality of good… and let me share with you why?

This has nothing to do with pragmatism, effectiveness or even what is the gold standard by which we should go about resolving the issue of racist and hate speech. One cannot put the cart before the horse and claim that trust would and could be earned from the public through trial and error, not if from it’s inception, the entire premise of the “idea” is not even firmly premised on a solid justifactory foundation that legitimizes the formation of such a committee.

You cannot build on sand. This I assure you, no one will listen to you! Not the thinking people, at least.

That I believe is one reason, why, the framers of the American constitution did not simply say, “the best means must always be allowed to justify the pursuit of the end at every turn and opportunity” or “…one may engage in any practice whose benefits outweigh it’s cost,” as the members of the G-15 and their cronies  would have it, but instead, they, the founding fathers of the America wrestled, vexxed and struggled to articulate a limited number of fundamental principles and enshrine them above the every day pragmatic judgment of pragmatist.

As netizens, we need to ask ourselves why did they take the high road instead of opting for the short cut? As netizens, we need to take an interest that if the imperative is to carve a better tommorrow, then we can never hope to build on the empire of the bones – we have to humble ourselves to the “due process” which history lays out before us. If we hope to make a better world here, we cannot do it by repeating the mistakes of the world that we hope to change, not even under the greater name of the noble “good” or the “practical.” That’s simply untenable. We have got it all wrong from the word, “go!”

I believe there is a very important lesson here that all of us may do well to pause and ponder over. They (the founding fathers) foresaw what modern history has shown to be all too true – that while solutions to solve the ills of our society may from time to time present themselves in every age under the guise of pragmatism to offer the promise of an antidote to hatred, racism and even fashioning a better world, it can also facilitate a particular form of tyranny – the same type of tyranny that justifies the means which runs counter to the tenets of mankind. By this I mean there are certain fundamental tenets of humanity such as the principle of  natural justice which should never be allowed to take precedence over the pragmatic calculations of the day, not  even if they hols out the allure of a silver bullet to solve the ills in our time. These constitutional principles serve to protect all, not only minorities, but also those who may be targets of such over zealousness to rid our world of evil.

The internet should be left alone!

If govt’s want to mess around with it – I say go ahead, be my guest. If you fuck up, it will be on your head and the record will be clear for all to see!

If govt’s want to resort to the sledge hammer black law, then I say go ahead, be my guest – go show the whole wide world, the only tool you’ve mastered in the tool box is the hammer – but don’t be surprise if on record, you’re labelled as only someone who only sees the world as all nails and nothing more!

But as netizens, we should have the wisdom to say, we want no art or part in this,

“the internet should be left alone!”

In my humble opinion, there is no better way of rejecting the whole idea of heavy handedness, no plainer declaration of independence, than to simply say,

“the internet should be left alone.”

As netizens, we would do our cause justice by enshrining this as a fundamental tenet in our heads, instead of  attempting to dabble with something which we don’t really claim to understand fully – to do otherwise would be to display our arrogance and even highlight our shallowness.

I wonder my friends – is this why? – the founding fathers saw fit to even enshrine certain fundamental rights, such as the freedom of speech away from the grubby hands of the legislature, judiciary and executive?

Why I wonder would they go through all the trouble of doing that?  What were they trying to articulate?

This is something; you need to consider my friends. 

If you really want to get a handle to this whole debate….You do not need to be super intelligent….You don’t even need 10 bullet points….all you just need to do is ask one question that is rightfully yours…..and that entails, ‘by what authority do they have to even ’condemn’ – ’advise’  – or to ‘counsel?’ Tell me, who gave them that sort of  authority? From where did they even derive that sort of legitimacy?…..You know what? Before we can even move intelligently to the next stage. This question first needs to be answered. As it is……their proposal cannot be even considered on a serious basis, not by the thinking people at least. They will just laugh at them….. I want this to stand for the record….many years from now when children ask why our net looks more like Pyongyang instead of Paris, New York or Hong Kong….at least, I can say; ‘I told those monkeys not to fuck around with something as mysterious as the internet .’  I wonder my friends, what could you possibly say?” 

Darkness 2008

This is an EV excerpt from the Interview Series with Sharon (PBK) – This segment of the interview series has been reconstituted (with full spelling and grammatical mistakes) courtesy of the Free Internet Library Board – The Brotherhood Press 2008

To Read Further on Why The Internet Should Be Left Alone.

 

Part A : The Nonsense Packaged as the “Truth.” http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

 

Part B : Is the Net really “Evil?’

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1851

 

Part C / Chapter 1 : “We should be bee keepers instead of zoo keepers.” Darkness 2008

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 2 ‘ When the Community Good is No Bloody Good!’

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 3 “Bloggers Eating Bloggers”

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1919

 

Part D / Chapter 4 “When You Love Something…” – Why We Need To Leave The Net Alone

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1921

 

[This compilation has been reconstituted by the Free Internet Library Board [FILB] 2008]

 

 

 

 

I am sure we’ve all been there. That all too familiar sinking sensation when we follow in the wake of the guy who walks up to the podium to receive the gold medal. While we do our best not to make teeth sucking sounds when we’re handed a book voucher.

You know who I am talking about don’t you? Nope, not our elite homegrown Singaporean Scholars – I am referring to another bunch of elites! The real Mc Coy’s. You know like the Einstein’s, Spielberg’s, Marx’s and Freud’s. Who are they?

The Jews of course! Have you ever wondered why those Jews are so darn smart? They even make our scholars look like a bunch of intellectual midgets? What do those Jews really have? What’s really behind their mojo? Where do they get their edge from?

I don’t know about you, but I really wanna know!

Cut to the chase: Why are the Jews smarter than even our homegrown scholars? Mmmmh, that’s a tough nut to crack isn’t it? After all don’t we have a highly evolved scholarship program? Doesn’t our government regularly cull the crème de la crème and put them through the paces to produce “winners?” Don’t we even have a “nurture nature” program where we use the metaphor of “guppies” and “whales” to hopefully produce really smart people?

Pray tell then, why aren’t our scholars smarter than the Jews?

Now you may think this is some flippant weekend muse, but think again. I am asking a perfectly valid question. After all millions are spent every year on sustaining the scholarship program – many of these scholars after finishing their academic tenure are integrated into the various institutions with the hope of ensuring peak individual and organizational performance. So the scholarship program even affects those who aren’t directly scholars. How do these scholars really measure up when compared to the Jews?

Do the Jews have a comparative advantage because they’re simply more of them and less of us? After all, we all know our paltry population is hardly the stuff of critical mass. There’s only 3 point so-so million of us hardly even a drop in the sea of humans so hey what do you expect? It’s a numbers game you don’t really expect us to win. Right? Nope, in fact, I did some research and came up with some startling figures which suggest, the cerebral fitness of Jews has absolutely nothing to do with numerical superiority. Consider this: out of 25.2% of Nobel Prize Winners in the last 25 years have been Jews. Even though they comprise less then a quarter of one percent of the world’s population!

OK maybe they have some sort of natural advantage that our scholars don’t have – maybe, it’s in their water supply? We all know you’re after all what you eat. The Romans used to drink from lead goblets (that could account for why they’re not a super power these days) Mmmmh.

One clue lies in the old country where those Jews originate from. When God was still prancing around earth turning wine to water, parting oceans, wasting whole communities with lighting rods and mega floods? Maybe the Jews have a “divine advantage.” I mean how the hell, do you expect our scholars to compete against God! (no wonder people keep on saying the brotherhood is unreasonable!) Don’t believe me? Even the Bible affirms this:

“Surely this is a wise an understanding race of people…” (Deu 4.6).

There you go directly from the big man upstairs. So it’s a done deal, let’s all pack our bags and go back home –we just got the shorter end of the stick and you know the rest of the story.

Hold on a second. I hear someone hollering, “The Jews are smarter than our scholars because of their glorious heritage?” Mmmmh sounds credible, especially when you consider in down town Jerusalem, anything less than 2,000 years is still considered modern.

I mean you can’t even sit, stand or lean on anything in the state of Israel without some pesky Rabbi poking you with his walking stick and reminding you, “hey, hey, careful that’s where Jesus sat! Hey, careful with that! That’s where John the Baptist lost his head etc.” No doubt about it those Jews definitely have a long and rich heritage that harks all the way back to a glorious past, maybe there’s some truth to it all. There must be something in their heritage that gives them all a competitive advantage. You can hardly blame our scholars. What do we really have to compare with the glorious Jewish heritage? OK, we have one bulimic Merlion who regularly vomits water along with a few trinkets of the past, hardly the stuff that makes the hair at the back of ones head stand up when we summons the word – heritage.

But hold on a second that’s the distant history of the Jews – it doesn’t really count does it? I mean if we really look at the recent history of Jews, weren’t everyone either trying to kill, drown or maim them in the dark ages? Weren’t they like dying off so fast, even Henry IV was forced to pass a charter, circa 1090, which banned Jew bashing: “If anyone shall wound a Jew, he shall pay one pound of gold ….his eyes will be put out and his right hand cut off.” I mean if people are trying to set you on fire or strangle you to death half the time what kind of competitive advantage can it really produce? And in the 20th century, didn’t this chap who threw a party in Munich, circa 1933 called the Nazi Party even pass the Nuremberg Act to discriminate against them? – didn’t he pack 6 million Jews off? So what kind of heritage are we talking here unless you believe regularly breathing in poison gas or surviving on a diet of twigs and insects is some secret diet that produces really smart people!

What’s happening here! Can someone please tell me: why our scholars aren’t as smart as those darn Jews?

Did someone say social conditioning? Oh you mean evolution? That makes sense, for instance, we all know in Singapore. The Hainanese community excels in the culinary field. They make the best chicken rice and kaya spread in the whole island only because most of them came here during the age of empire tagging along as house servants on the tail coats of their colonial masters – social evolution…there could be something to this….mmmh.

According to M. Arkin’s “Aspects of Jewish Economic History” -one possible reason why the Jews are so smart is because they used to monopolize, the money lending trade which not only required a higher degree of skill once associates with farming or any of the traditional trades. So naturally, as time passed, those Jews started developing and honing their killer instincts, like business acumen, social skills: cultivating connections, winning over trust (or maybe bullying the competition, remember Shylock’s “pound of flesh”). So it’s fair to say, they may even have developed aggression, street wiseness and a competitive spirit that adds up to what we all term – smartness.

Hey but hold on a second, something doesn’t add up here! There’s a big deficit! If those Jews were so smart and developed razor sharp killer instincts how did they fail to see the likes of Adolf Hitler and his storm troopers marching with gongs and drums towards them? How did the Nazi’s manage to kill over 6 million Jews without even so much as a fight? If they’ve really so full of testosterone and street smart to suggest they could sniff out trouble like a blood hound, why did so many Jews step into those gas chambers masquerading as communal showers? Hey I mean, if it was me or you, we would probably ask – where’s the good morning towel? Where’s the mini sized Lux soap? Where’s the 200 thread count Robinson bath robe? Where is my bunny anti slip shower slippers? Nope it just doesn’t add up.

So the social evolution theory goes straight out of the window – what about genetics? Are the Jews genetically superior? Maybe our scholars can’t compete because our genetic pool just isn’t big enough? Do the Jews have a smart helix that allows them to carve a competitive advantage? There’s even a recent controversial paper published by the Journal of Ashkenazi Intelligence stating that genetic selection is the main reason why the Ashkenazi Jews typically produce a disproportionably large number of doctors, lawyers, professors, and Nobel Prize winners. But let’s put a scale on it, Ashkenazi Jews are minorities within minorities even within the broader Jewish population – less than even 2.7%! That’s like saying everyone that lives along a street in Singapore is super smart, hardly a statistical obelisk, that points to anything except a big fat nothing! Nope, again we can safely chuck out that theory. The Jews aren’t any smarter because of their genetic aristocracy anymore than kangaroo’s jump around because have pockets instead of breast.

However I need to be careful here, I don’t doubt for one moment there are plenty of refereed and even academic journals which seem to suggest otherwise, though I hasten to add, none of them goes beyond the polemics of even providing footnotes, let alone anything resembling an axiomatic ‘truth.’ Prove me wrong if you believe otherwise. I darkness challenge you! There’s absolutely no empirical proof suggesting Jews are genetically smarter!

To say that the Jews have a history of emphasizing scholarship is indeed true to even suggest that’s the reason why they are so smart is like saying the Sistine chapel is a Bible comic. I don’t doubt for one moment most children in Jewish households are comparatively more conscious of the importance of education but it still doesn’t go very far to answer why Jews are smarter than our scholars.

One reason according to S. Nuland, author of “How We Die” lies in the values and world view of Jews. For one unlike our scholars Jews don’t even expect to be treated fairly, let alone to be given such a thing as a level playing field to even suggest they have a privilege to state sponsored scholarship programs – it just doesn’t exist, not even in the state of Israel!

This “consciousness of disadvantage”, Nuland suggest promotes the whole idea of ‘portability” that’s why education is seen to be so important in the Jewish community (if you need to hightail what’s really important is in your head!) and probably evolved into the province of what we call today the Jewish academic aristocracy – it stands to reason, unlike our homegrown scholars who are often sold the idea of “stability and permanence.” The Jewish worldview is nothing short of a reversal of the whole notion of ‘permanence’ and instead reinforces how ‘instability’ and ‘chaos’ will always feature as an indelible feature of work, life and play – so according to anthropologist. Jews develop nomadic survival traits – they stay in ghettos in the same way dessert folk walk in single file to hide their numbers – they travel light, make do with the barest of necessities and develop skills like how to shift their weight and walk slightly off centre when carrying heavy loads, that way, they can walk longer without suffering any kinetic loss. Even more efficient that modern military backpacks! You learn these things when people regularly hunt you down for no other reason because you are a Jew! People get smart when you marginalize them – they get real smart when you start to erase their history – they put it all in their heads! So they develop photographic memories – unlike our scholars who expect to return to a cushy job along with all the predictability associated with promotion. Jews are often schooled in the “impermanence” of life. In the most authoritative book of Jewish law, the Shulchan Arukh, Jewish children are told the only thing that remains true is the covenant between them and God, the rest is pretty much the stuff of shifting sands and roller coasters. As a reminding that life offers nothing except the guarantee of impermanence during the first meal of the Sabbath, bread is dipped in salt, the Jewish symbol of the great preserver – Jews know they can be expelled at the slightest provocation, hence they develop techniques, skills and tricks which our scholars never ever need to develop, because they are feted and chaperone around the system like crippled mandarins – stuff like how to cut 400 crystal designs which they keep in their head, never ever once having to write them down even today! Stuff like how to table a diamond with the cool headedness that comes from putting the cutting tool it and with a pray hit it with one stroke to either increase its value a thousand fold or reduce to nothingness – they learn to take risk, manage it even to even feel perfectly comfortable in an environment of constant change and uncertainty, unlike our scholars, who plan as if the world revolves only around them! Owing them all a living – is it such a wonder, there’s no fight!

(This has been brought to you by Aurora your friendly brotherhood controller – By Darkness, Cerebus, Scholarboy: Can someone tell me why our scholars aren’t as smart as Jews/ Socio –Political  – 2007 / Extended Piece (EP 400394B – The Brotherhood Press 2007 – this essay was first posted on July 29, 2007 in the Intelligent Singaporean, Phi Beta Kapa & ASICS / it contains previously unreleased and edited material which has been reconstituted by volunteers in the FILB – This article has been brought to you by the Free Internet Library Board courtesy of the Brotherhood – 2008]

Do You Really Want To Know More About “Community Moderation?”

Brief Excerpt From Interview Series With Sharon

“Why do I call them urination experts?…..very simple, if you listen to them long enough. Don’t be surprise, if you end up putting your hands up for toilet breaks….there is a very good reason….what they suggest disables, rather than enables, it does zero for a better net…. why do you think not a single country in the Western hemisphere has ever proposed or even suggested “community regulation” in the manner which they have proposed it?…Firstly, it’s an insult to one’s intelligence. Secondly, it’s down right demeaning on what it means to be a thinking human being…if you really want to get a handle to this whole debate….You do not need to be super intelligent….You don’t even need 10 bullet points….all you just need to do is ask one question that is rightfully yours…..and that entails, ‘by what authority do they have to even ‘condemn’ – ‘advise’  – or to ‘counsel?’ Tell me, who gave them that sort of  authority? From where did they even derive that sort of legitimacy?…..You know what? Before we can even move intelligently to the next stage. This question first needs to be answered. As it is……their proposal cannot be even considered on a serious basis, not by the thinking people at least. They will just laugh at them….. I want this to stand for the record.”  Darkness 2008

http://dotseng.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/sat-21-june-2008-1400-hr/

 

TRANSALPS TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT  – IMPORTANT!

 Please be informed on Saturday 21, June 2008, at 2 p.m. We will be conducting our first stage pre-selection of the team who will hopefully qualify for the Transalps Challenge

 

 http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=7iY4UYVPn8g.

 

This training session is compulsory no exceptions will be made. Those of you who have injuries will report to the mechanics or medics to assist them. There will always be room to accommodate one more person. Our meet point will be the “Big Tree” along East Coast Rd. Please be punctual and don’t loiter and talk loudly as I have received a lot of complaints from the resident committee that some of you have been a public nuisance. Please do not invite your girl friends, family members etc. This is not a recreational ride, this is a pre qualifier. Please do not bring along unnecessary barang e.g binoculars, playstation etc. Do conduct a thorough check of your bicycle, gear and check your heart for any defects the night before.Anyone requiring the tool box? It’s underneath Astro boys bed, so please feel free to call at his house. If he is not home, his mother knows where it is. The torque wrench has gone missing again! I hope the last person who loaned it will return it back as we cannot be spending money indiscriminately. Mechanics, I expect you all to conduct a full checklist on toolsets / prepare for a long and hard ride. Medics to prepare for medipack, it will be hot. Marshalls will be Team A, Nacramanga – JDAM – Pumpman.

 

I have received very disturbing reports from the safety officer some of you have been cycling and listening to music – I do not want to see this. Lets make it happen.

 

Harphoon

 

Why Deregulation Has Nothing To Do With Deregulation?

 

Part A : The Nonsense Packaged as the “Truth.” http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

 

Part B : Is the Net really “Evil?’

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1851

 

Part C / Chapter 1 : “We should be bee keepers instead of zoo keepers.” Darkness 2008

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 2 ‘ When the Community Good is No Bloody Good!’

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 3 “Bloggers Eating Bloggers”

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1919

 

Part D / Chapter 4 “When You Love Something…” – Why We Need To Leave The Net Alone

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1921

 

[This compilation has been reconstituted by the Free Internet Library Board [FILB] 2008]

 

[This is an EAM – To all gamers pls refer to Harphoon’s message concerning the Transalps Training at the end of this interview series – FILB]

 

Kompf Q: Why do you think the West can regularly find leaders when the East i

s reduced to just producing more of the same? Allow me to paraphrase what’s really working behind the scenes in the selection process of elites in Asia?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darkness A: Kompf. Inconsistencies just appear to surface more here that’s all. Only because democracy has always been regarded as suspect and two dimensional in Asia by the Western optic.

I know this may infuriate many of the PBK readers as once again they will label me as recalcitrant, but I firmly believe this to be true. There is hypocrisy here and even racism in large doses. This I feel is a condition that afflicts many Western intellectuals although they may choose to deny it vehemently. Subconsciously, they have a tendency of imposing their values and definition of ‘reality’ on all of us. That’s fine, if they take the trouble to first come to grips with our history and the salient in this part of the world. The problem is only a few really have any appreciation; the vast majority who claim to speak authoritatively are just no better than urination technicians. (cut off by Kompf / deleted vulgarity by Darkness)

Q: I am sorry to take exception to your generalization Darkness, but can you cite a specific incident. It’s very easy for you to go off on one of your famous rants (cut off).

A: Mind your tone with me (deleted) Exhibit A: Look at the fantasy of the so called war against terror – tell me Kompf how did the neocons manage to impose their version of ‘reality’ so surreptitiously on the rest of us? Please take sometime and think about that. Bear in mind not only did they manage to fashion a golden calf with the complicity of the so called “free” Western press corps, “enlightened” academia and “pineappled eyed” intelligentsia; why didn’t anyone put up their hand and said, “hey, wait a moment!” in the Security Council? How do you account for the widespread acquiescence to these delusional designs?

Yes, I know it’s easy to pick at the bones with the benefit of hindsight, but my feel is it pays dividends for us to revisit this fracas only because it illustrates my point only too clearly; what we may be seeing here is a classical case of what Austrian diplomats once termed ‘Schlimmbesserung.’  

Tell me Kompf, do ordinary Iraqi’s aspire to freedom as G.Bush proclaims? Yes, but what he and his Coney Island planners didn’t realize was they may not want the American variant of democracy – now you know why Cheney mistook his lawyer friend as a moose and pumped him with lead! (LOL) [interview is suspended / vulgarities by Darkness deleted] their definition of freedom is closer to an Iranian theoracy as sort of post modernist Nasserism cum Jaafari movement which incidentally just happens to the sum of all our fears!

Now how did that Byzantine fuck up happen? (Vulgarity deleted again) I am asking you a question Kompf! What if I said to you this is what usually happens when all people can do is transplant ideology without first taking the trouble to understand the social political complexity of what they are actually dealing with – it would appear this is altogether new, but it isn’t. I can really go on for ten pages here alone to describe the hypocrisy of the West when it comes to human rights, the environment and even good governance.

Now here for the benefit of the benefit of PBK readers, I wish to state that I am not anti Western anything per se, but where I do take extreme exception too is when derelicts go about trying to impose their values on us without even bothering to do their homework. At best I term this intellectual negligence the equivalent of masturbation and at worst I say, you have no locus standi to even impose your values on us.

Beside who in his right mind even takes advice form a Bush? I rather have a conversation with my vacuum cleaner! The last time I checked my Bible when someone did that, they spent nearly 40 years mumbling half confused in the desert.

Q: OK, I get what you are trying to say; let me just get it straight for the benefit of our readers. What you’re saying is the Western ideal is very different from the Asian ideal and there may not be any commonality. I believe Lee Kuan Yew once said you people are defined by “Asian values,” an ideal that is diametrically opposed to Western liberalism. Tell me Darkness is there a middle ground even that allows us to stand and see the world in a common perspective?

A: Differences do certainly exist, but I don’t believe they cannot be effectively reconciled and harmonized through scholarship. As for LKY’s historical take on Asian values, he’s dead wrong. Tell me where did you ever get the idea Asian values connote the direct opposite of Western liberalism? I don’t think so, when you people were busy burning heretics during the dark ages. Emperor Akbar Khan had already passed a series of liberal laws which allowed for freedom of worship and the unfettered pursuit of the sciences. So perhaps someone can tell me how robust is this whole idea of Asian values?

What I feel needs to be underscored here is there’s something called the politics of selection along with power and politics that regularly features in talent management. How elites perpetuate themselves is hardly a matter that requires lengthy elaboration, but one thing remains very certain in the last 3,000 years of mankind.

Every oligarchy needs to mythologize their importance to come across as relevant, valuable and credible to the plebes. In certain respects this play for the spot light is the main reason why we usually associate leaders with having the right stuff.

By and large that’s understandable. However, where it takes a wrong turn is when the myth making machine is taken too far; our if those people who make up the ruling elite start to get high on their own products i.e they start believing their own myth. Under those delusion conditions, the selection of elites can even assume grotesque shapes and forms like the Samurai’s who once instituted a ban on firearms to perpetuate the cult of the sword as a highly stylized means defining their class politics. Or in the case of the French aristocracy where élan, panache and aplomb replaced the skill of arms so totally that it even corroded métier and hard nosed expertise – One thing must be made very clear here, whenever a selection occurs, it’s nothing more than power play and this has long been noted by even anthropologist; this is kicker: perpetuation is never a rational process.

IMO it’s more profitable to see the process of selection under this stark and cold cut light; perpetuation is not rational. Just keep that in mind through out this entire read, otherwise you will just end up confusing yourself, me and everyone who reads this; perpetuation is not rational. As every oligarchy has to take a certain shape and form, and this suggest preservation must feature to some extent and indeed this is very reflected in the intimate relationship between what the form (the elite oligarchy) takes and even the social and political order to which it finally has to assume. Now where it gets really complicated is when we consider; how much influence that social and political order i.e the elites who are already in the inner circle influence the selection process? And more importantly why they need to take equity in the selection process, instead of just leaving it to a mechanical process; as we shall see what determines the relationship between those who are already in the system and those who aspire to be part of it may actually hold the key to how leaders are actually selected. Now to the perceptive reader, this is the point you will notice where meritocracy peels off and what we see instead is nothing more than simply the old boys network in operation. Let me give you an example of how certain pre-qualifications regularly militate against the whole idea of meritocratic based selection; tradition, for example, plays a preponderant role in influencing the choice of candidates; the Ottomans for example saw no problem in inuring their ranks with elite Janissary troops, yet they were strictly not given specific rights which made it possible for them to be integrated seamlessly into the local populace; why? We may even juxtapose this discussion on a wider canvas to ask ourselves whether Barack Obama will make a first class president despite his ethnicity? Or whether a foreign talent should one day be nominated as the PM of Singapore?

Do you see the divide? Do you see the lines? Do you see the schism even?

This goes back to what I mentioned earlier; perpetuation is not rational and if I had to pin it down it has to be because there will always be competing interest even within the fraternity of elites who will ensure their rights and privileges will be protected and perpetuated at all cost – what one really needs to understand is even within the cloistered fraternity of elites there is a pecking order or hierarchy, its not a monolithic oligarchy as it remains one which is very loosely bound, so there is a lot of improvisation for power politics, albeit this time on miniature scale – in this push and pull melee of factional interest lies the real keys of power of the selection process – its naïve to assume the selection of candidates can operate without interference from the patriarchs of power – as the motivation to take equity is so strong that it cannot be intellectually denied even for one moment; there is simply too much at stake and whenever such conditions feature in the decision nexus – its only fair to assume whoever gets selected will be the one who represents the least threat to these super duper elites within the ranks of the egalitarian elites. This in my view is the only way for the oligarchy of elites to perpetuate themselves.

Q: So let me get it straight, what you are saying in effect is this; even within the oligarchy of elites there are factions and the most influential ones will always try to jockey to put across their own horse ahead so as to perpetuate their hold on power?

A: Precisely. I don’t think one can sensibly deny this reality especially when so much is at stake – we don’t have to look very far to tease out the outline of these shadows; one just needs to peruse through the competitive environment to seek out the various flash points in our society; it really doesn’t matter whether it’s the sand box politics of establishing a community regulator in our internet or even how it’s done by way of excluding everyone except a few urination experts. Or how the MSM continually exerts its hold on the collective consciousness by regularly attempting to stamp out the counter narrative. You can even juxtapose these questions on a broader canvas like who regularly contributes to the Democratic and Republican political campaign? And what do they expect to get out of it? See what I mean. In every case what clearly surfaces is the keys to power. I think knowing this means one knows how to fight it effectively, not knowing simply means you will be outflanked at every turn and opportunity.

This could range from the Jewish lobby who have always perceived the strategic value of political parlance in Capitol hill as a reliable means of shaping the political landscape in the middle east. Or even Christian fundamentalist who see – but please have no illusions, what you are in effect witnessing is a highly ritualized and stylized dance by elites to influence other elites so that they continue to stay in power.

Q: Could you elaborate further on the Jewish lobby and what do you think about Obama with regard to his policy towards Jerusalem?

A: (LOL) There is a real danger a few Mossad agents are probably reading this and the last thing I want to do is get myself red flagged. Because I could just as well be drugged and bundled off into an El Al cargo flight and find myself snuggling up to Mat Selamat having to share body heat only to spend the rest of my days clearing landmines in the Gaza with a pair of Bata slippers – so I really cannot elaborate further. I am so sorry Kompf. I am just joking Kompf.

I think the question isn’t about the Jewish lobby as much as how they have managed to successfully insert themselves strategically into the power quadrant very much like a rook, that has a very long reach of influence; in a sense, the Jews are very much like the Florentine Medici’s or even the Guilds our game; they are essentially power brokers who wield tremendous influence.

That’s why if you look very closely at every presidential candidate going all the way back to Nixon and that even includes Obama; all of them without exception have had to pay homage to Jerusalem in one way or another.

This entails treating Israel as a “special case.” Along with trying to accommodate a hundred over inconsistencies that do not sit very well with the Arab league.

What I think most people keep forgetting about Obama especially those who have been hypnotized by his marketing manifesto is while he’s a human being. He’s first and foremost a politician and that means he will always say things he doesn’t mean or believe in order to drum up more support. There’s nothing overly unusual about this, but let us not suddenly become befuddled and pretend it isn’t happening just because he is not middle class white. If there is one thing above all which all of us should be mindful about history, it’s that shamans, false prophets and politicians should always be judged guilty until proven innocent. I think it pays to be a bit skeptical.

Q: Let me go back to one point you mention, you said earlier, “perpetuation is not necessarily logical.” Tell me Darkness how do you reconcile oppositional figures like Dr Chee into this framework? Do you consider his methods effective?

A: You know Kompf, perpetuation may not be rational or even logical, but that doesn’t mean you can elide it wholesale ; you still need to come across as rational.

As for Chee most of us here call him crash dummy No. 1, his sister is No.2 and so on and so forth – you know why because that is all they seem to be dedicating themselves too these days.

The mindless pursuit of banging into walls which they try to sell as oppositional politics. He should go and get a job with General Motors to help them design safer cars. He’s no politician and let me tell you why? Politics is first and foremost a game. He doesn’t even have the rule book. He’s no good at the game. Never even once have we seen any evidence of tactics or strategy at work in his on going campaign. All too often it’s reactive instead of proactive; irrational instead of clever; superficial instead of deep, fractious instead of unifying. Unless Chee learns to hit the bulls eye such as how do we profile better schools? How should we increase the aperture of business opportunities for the ordinary Joe? How can we make this place a better place to live?

That’s Chee’s main problem, he and his gang haven’t learn how to parlay with the thinking crowd beyond peddling snake oil sound bites like human rights etc; which IMO fails to cut the pie in the mind; that’s why all he has managed to do is recruit a zombie army like very same one Mr Brown once mobilised; they’re no good; they’re a liability to his cause.

Let me put it simply this way Kompf; if you give me command of 10 of our finest trained Sardo-Khan elite legions, I could take over Primus and by the end of business day martial law will be declared, but guess what? I will not be able to consolidate my hold on power! I know, I’ve staged a coup 3 times and every single time, I get repelled, not by the army, but by those pesky intellectuals. They will sabo me i.e undermine my cause.

This is how politics is conducted in the virtual, it’s not so different from the real world and it’s proven surprising robust for the last five thousand years – I think these are the corner stones that will always feature in any discussion concerning talent management and power & politics. The bent folk in the ASDF know this trick; that’s why they hold tremendous influence in the brotherhood. Although the intellectuals only occupy less than 5% of the seats in Primus; they can move mountains; because each of them leads in the field of the mind; so when you multiply than across the field; they’re a super power; in short, it pays dividends to get the thinking people on your side.

If I don’t have those intellectuals in the second row in my back pocket, it doesn’t matter how many senators I have on my side. I can even have the full backing of the Guild. It goes no where, I will be harried, hobbled and vetoed – it will not even see the light of day. No chance. Again those pesky intellectuals will back stab me like Caesar in the steps of the Senate.

So I’ve learnt a few things in my 500 year career in Primus – never ever piss off the intellectuals. You’re just buying into a black hole of perpetual grief. Always get them on your side before you do anything. If you don’t have them eating out of your hands, it’s no good. You will get absolutely no where. Nothing will ever happen. That regrettably is easier said than done; as I said, they’re a pesky lot. Here, we would do well to remember the Roman dictum,

“Those who cannot be conquered, must be embraced.”

 

[This interview with J.Kompf ended prematurely as Darkness rode off on his bicycle very suddenly – we are very sorry for any inconvenienced caused – the brotherhood press]

[Interview Series J.Kompf / Darkness – The Brotherhood Press 2008 / This article was first posted on Phi Beta Kappa / The Singapore Daily / The Intelligent Singaporean / The Strangelands and ASICS – This interview series has been reconstituted courtesy of the Free Internet Library Board based in Primus Aldentes Prime / this edition contains previously unpublished material which has been uncovered by the FILB – The Brotherhood Press / Retrieval Code for this EV 983929201]

Are You Having Difficulty Finding Materials on the proposal to “Deregulate our net?”

 

Part A : The Nonsense Packaged as the “Truth.” http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1836

 

Part B : Is the Net really “Evil?’

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/daily-sg-23-apr-2008/#comment-1851

 

Part C / Chapter 1 : “We should be bee keepers instead of zoo keepers.” Darkness 2008

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 2 ‘ When the Community Good is No Bloody Good!’

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901

 

Part C / Chapter 3 “Bloggers Eating Bloggers”

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1919

 

Part D / Chapter 4 “When You Love Something…” – Why We Need To Leave The Net Alone

 

http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1921

 

[This compilation has been reconstituted by the Free Internet Library Board [FILB] 2008]

TRANSALPS TRAINING ANNOUNCEMENT  – IMPORTANT!

 

 

Please be informed on Saturday 21, June 2008, at 2 p.m. We will be conducting our first stage pre-selection of the team who will hopefully qualify for the Transalps Challenge

 

 http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=7iY4UYVPn8g.

 

This training session is compulsory no exceptions will be made. Those of you who have injuries will report to the mechanics or medics to assist them. There will always be room to accommodate one more person. Our meet point will be the “Big Tree” along East Coast Rd. Please be punctual and don’t loiter and talk loudly as I have received a lot of complaints from the resident committee that some of you have been a public nuisance. Please do not invite your girl friends, family members etc. This is not a recreational ride, this is a pre qualifier. Please do not bring along unnecessary barang e.g binoculars, playstation etc. Do conduct a thorough check of your bicycle, gear and check your heart for any defects the night before.Anyone requiring the tool box? It’s underneath Astro boys bed, so please feel free to call at his house. If he is not home, his mother knows where it is. The torque wrench has gone missing again! I hope the last person who loaned it will return it back as we cannot be spending money indiscriminately. Mechanics, I expect you all to conduct a full checklist on toolsets / prepare for a long and hard ride. Medics to prepare for medipack, it will be hot. Marshalls will be Team A, Nacramanga – JDAM – Pumpman.

 

I have received very disturbing reports from the safety officer some of you have been cycling and listening to music – I do not want to see this. Lets make it happen.

 

Harphoon

 

 

 

 

 

[This is a continuation from our interview series with J.Kompf. On this occasion Kompf directs a series of pointed questions to Darkness about talent management and the selection of future leaders]

Kompf Q: Your PM recently has voiced his reservations concerning the low return rate of top scholars. This along with many officials who frequently cite a lack of talent to fill key governmental positions in the future – he has even described this as a brain drain – what’s your take Darkness?

Darkness A: I believe we need to buy into a long term view on this subject only because what seems to be regularly dished out on the table these days seems to be the card board flavored short term stayer vs quitter calculus. That IMO is just an unimaginative dead ender that will yield zero – let me share with you the elements which makes up the components of this long term strategy.

Firstly, we need to move away from the whole notion of finality. There’s no evidence to suggest the trend of intellectual migration is any where near final. I happen to know this area on an authoritative level of detail as I often study manufacturing and technology trends. When we speak about talent management, it’s important to unlearn many of our home grown assumptions; we are not dealing with terminal cancer here as much as a very dynamic learning cycle. That’s to say I don’t buy into the idea people decide to let’s say work in New York or Hong Kong and that necessarily translates into an actual loss. If you think real hard about it, it’s only perceived and treated as a loss because the rules of accounting for intellectual capital are designed that way. To me that’s a very serious omission that needs to be corrected.

By that I mean, If one looks at economies like Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and even Malaysia, there’s actually a wealth of incontrovertible evidence suggesting graduates do frequently return home after working abroad providing the right social and economic incentives exert a strong enough gravity to attract them back home. This also applies to those who decide to choose to migrate overseas for whatever reason.

My feel is policy makers need to move away from this simplistic way of accounting for loss and deficit.

Q: Let me get it right Darkness. You are actually believe your government should proactively woo these intellectuals back – what about trans-migration wouldn’t that be effective to augment the deficits? Why go the high road when there’s a short cut?

A: Yes, I can see why you see trans-migration as a short cut, but I don’t believe that truly captures the whole idea of managing talent on a long term basis. When I say policy makers need to move away from the standard of accounting to make sense of intellectual capital. I simply mean, they need to understand the learning curve doesn’t just end once someone completes their tertiary education. If you look very carefully at talent management in Singapore; you will notice a few glaring anomalies; 99.9% of it is for example focused on the least productive stage of the knowledge curve i.e during the tertiary education stage, when students are just focusing on knowledge acquisition.

What happens after the graduation? Nothing. Here if you notice the squandered opportunity cost is hardly any attention is given to the most productive stage of the knowledge cycle; when those same students begin putting into practice what they have learnt in university; here what’s important to understand is people regularly past from the realm of theory to practice; they are synthesizing new knowledge.

So what you really need to ask yourself is an economic question; does it make more sense for those students to test out their theories in Singapore or abroad?

I will of course argue for the case of the latter, but if you notice because of the myopia which standard accounting imposes on the bureaucrats; they don’t consider it worthwhile to pursue those opportunities; because in their definition of ‘value’ anyone who chooses to cut their teeth abroad is defined as a ‘quitter’ i.e a loss.

How far are you going to go when the ruler you are using doesn’t even produce an accurate measurement?

Q: Darkness. Allow me to reiterate the second part of my question; what about trans-migration wouldn’t that be effective to augment the deficits? Why go the high road when there’s a short cut?

A: (LOL). Kompf, I didn’t avoid the question. I am merely trying to illustrate here that we may not be even talking about the same thing here i.e intellectual value. You can only believe encouraging trans-migration of professionals will be able to augment the intellectual deficit, if you believe for one moment, this is an apple to apple comparison. My point is there is no comparison.

As a Singaporean who has worked abroad in my view is significantly better prepared and equipped to contribute to the local economy than lets say a Malaysian who has only worked in Kuala Lumpur; of course when I say this some people out there will accuse me of elitism or snobbery; but this bears out only too clearly when one looks very carefully at the chronological drivers which sparked off the industrialization of Taiwan during the 80’s it wasn’t powered by the local Taiwanese as much as their compatriots who had mastered core competencies in Silicon valley only to transplant it back home – the same pattern of explosive growth bears out in India, where the Indian diaspora was cleverly reversed and this created a cadre of savvy intellectuals who once again returned home and spurred the programming and code boom in Mumbai and Bangalore – what we see very clearly in every case is the enrichment of the value chain or what I just call brain juice factor from people who once worked on an idea in New York, Paris or Tokyo and said, “Hey, I think, I can take this idea back home and make something out of it!”

Here you can say there is an effective strategy to reverse the brain drain, it can have a very positive effect on the local economy as it regularly inures businesses with a higher level of innovation and creativity – this observation I feel should be treated as an opportunity and I for one consider it a travesty of logic that no government agency to date has even seriously addressed this matter head on with concrete steps – instead they seem to be resigned to this reality of playing zoo keepers instead of bee keepers. My feel is this generates absolutely nothing for the intellectual capital value chain – and instead sabotages the imperative of competitive advantage.

Q: Darkness you really believe working abroad makes such a difference?

A: Yes, yes and yes! I really don’t think there is any comparison between a fresh graduate who returns home after his study tour, doesn’t matter how revered his Alta Mater is. You’re not going to fool anyone. Not even if you give yourself a pay rise and put on a Superman jump suits. All you’re going to do is confuse a whole lot of folk; who will wonder no end as you can never stop them from picking at your lack of exceptionality. In short, you’re got no kill flags on your fuselage that proves that you’re better. That’s iron truth. And it cuts right to the marrow. It’s really like comparing a local league kampong hero with a footballer who has been rotated in the English, Spanish and French league, there’s no fight – 10 out of 10 if you put him up to the quick draw with the Kampung hero, he will bag him.

Q: Tell me Darkness, you seem to advocating a broader mindset, but if you really take the trouble and look closer there remains certain uncomfortable realities such as the policy of foreigners not interfering with politics etc. How do you reconcile such a divide?

A: Kompf again you seem to speak as if this is a condition that only afflicts my country – I hope, I am not coming across as overtly defensive. But let me just say this; we just like the Americans and even to Europeans are basically inheritors by which one is defined by the nation, which in turn derives it’s authority from a supposedly unbroken tradition. That’s hogwash, if you look for example at the notes and minutes of even the founding fathers who drafted the Bill of Rights, it was originally written not in English, but in French, so that pretty much makes a nonsense of purity and if you go back further Greek permeated Roman law etc. What we are seeing here is in effect leeching, but I feel it’s simply technology transfer. People will always import and export schools of thoughts and states of mind, so when one speaks in the context of excluding others by virtue of race, creed or even nationality. Then it’s a bit like saying Chinese only read Chinese books, use Chinese methods to make sense of the world and the like. I think if you really want to see things in this context then, you can even take it ten steps further and ask yourself whether Yo-Yo Mah has a right to stage a recital of Vivaldi in Carnegie hall. Hey shouldn’t he be playing the er-hu instead of a Strad Cello? See how ridiculous the whole idea is? The way I see it’s plain and simple economics, Vivaldi or for that matter Beethoven belongs as much to the West as let’s Africans as they do to the Italians and Germans, since his music is part of the human heritage.

My point is simply this; you have to be very careful of relying solely on a dogmatic approach; that’s fine if it makes sense, but when the logic starts to be get edged out; then I feel, one needs to earnest detangle oneself from the various interest, agenda and impulses accounting for mindless xenophobia.

Q: What are you saying then, you people should actively encourage our scholars to go abroad and work?

A: There you go again Kompf. Let’s just press the pause button and step back for a moment to examine the premise of your question; “scholars?” Why do you even consider them to be the most productive and reliable class? You see what we have here is precisely the sort of thinking that hobbles the management of intellectual capital at every turn and opportunity. Even before you have started, you’ve narrowed the field of possibilities, put yourself even in a straight jacket with a ball gag.

If we are really serious about leadership, not only in politics but in the businesses and even academia – we will make good straw if only we can consider putting an end to the cult of veneration and infallibility we often ascribe to scholars. This sort of corrosive mentality if you notice does not exist in either the West or even in broader Asia, for a very good reason. It’s a lousy way of soliciting peak performance. If you go to Hong Kong for example and ask any man on the street who his role model is, you will probably get Li Ka Shing. Do the same in the Boston and probably a host of names like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs will crop up. But come back to Singapore and everyone wants to be a mini me version of Lee Kuan Yew.

Here you really need to ask yourself what value that sort of role modeling brings to the table?

I cannot answer that question, as it will influence the readers. Now follow this loose thread and don’t be surprise if it accounts for why we have one of the most abysmal entrepreneurial class out there – I can say a lot about this topic, but let me just say this; when goals are structured, defined and positioned to hold out one version of reality that manages to encapsulate the whole idea of personal and organization success, then don’t be surprise, if society follows; every German for example in the 1900’s aspired to be join the armed services; because the heroes of that period were soldiers; they were usually accorded the highest respect and one could even say in pre Weimar Germany, no politician could even aspire to a respectable office in the Reichstag without at least having distinguished himself in the name of the Kaiser. What we are seeing here Kompf is nothing more than a process how every oligarchy ritualizes and even mythologizes the whole idea of its societal ideal.

The same came be said about the British; who once ruled one third of the world and that promoted the cult of the bureaucrat, where political life assumed an allure. Result: institutions were geared to produce perfect politicians. If you go to middle schools in Eton and Harrow, don’t be surprise to see young men dressed up in coat tails and bow ties as if they are preparing for a session in Westminster.

Q: Let me get it right. What you are saying is. When society sets an ideal; everything in that society is geared towards it? It becomes something like a self fulfilling prophecy?

A: Yes Kompf.

Q: Let me put it this way, don’t you think all these limiters that you have mentioned can be redressed with a dose of critical thinking?

A: Understand this Kompf. Critical thinking isn’t an activity like bending spoons. I can really speak on this topic for ten pages, but in one breath, it’s really just a function of exposure; in math terms you can express it as the more exposure you have to diversity, the greater your valence or capacity to understand this or that; so what we have here is a state of mind that is inextricably fused to the environment where you will find thematic words like “import” – “transplant” and even “transfer.”

In essence “critical thinking,” is really the quintessential bag word which implies an assortment of terms coloring our sense of scale, perspective and even spatial awareness. So what it really imposes is the discipline of multitudes; here you need to understand the word functions very closely with how we define our environment; so when one says; one should think critically and yet on the other hand gag foreigners from commenting; how far do you think you’re going to get in the critical thinking progress curve?

Here we really need to be brutally honest with the politics of lack. As a country and people, we certainly lack not only the obvious economies of scale in the physical, but it’s conceivable we may not even possess the requisite diversity or even intellectual landscape needed to revivify a class of intellectuals who may be highly adept at thinking critically, its simply not possible given Singapore’s present social constrains – you can even juxtapose these constrain on the social political canvas to account for why there no verve and elan in these spheres.

That’s why I have very little patience with people who go around banding the idea this is and that should only be for Singaporeans and off they go excluding everyone else. What these urination technicians fail to understand is there are turning away from the intellectual breadth, inputs, feedback etc all the stuff which we usually associate with the term diversity. In the long term, that just not intellectually sustainable, not in business, academia or even in politics.

My feel is local institutions disregard this new competitive calculus at their own peril and its not unusual because most of them do so for precisely for vest interest; job security features very prominently along with dead wood mentality, not knowing how to handle a maverick and labeling him a misfit is another, but if one peruse very carefully how firms and institutions in the West they have really identified these drivers of change. You will see that not only have they provisioned opportunities for these unconventional movers and shakers, but they have also raced ahead industries provisioning even havens for these mavericks to define their own metrics of individual and organizational success and this is very much reflected not only in the products and services they regularly produce, but also in their corporate culture. For instance, it not all together unusual to seek out CEO’s, Presidents and even Prime Ministers in the West who don’t even have the basic prerequisites to qualify if they were based Singapore! However despite their apparent limitations, the selection process has still managed to successfully separate the chaff from the wheat to regularly produce world class leaders who continually deliver not only a higher standard of living for their citizens, but they are also enjoy a higher quality of life and their industries lead the world – now if you say these things mean nothing, then you really don’t know what you are really talking about when we talk about talent management and leadership selection – its really as simple as that, unless you can tell me we managed to send a man up to the moon last week or something.

To be con’t

[Interview Series J.Kompf / Darkness – Please note: Most of the answers given by Darkness was provided by the ASDF – The Strategic Think Tank Unit of the Brotherhood / This interview series is funded by the Interstellar Federation of Free Guildsmen / The Brotherhood Press 2008 / This article was first posted on Phi Beta Kappa / The Singapore Daily / The Intelligent Singaporean / The Strangelands and ASICS – This interview series has been reconstituted courtesy of the Free Internet Library Board based in Primus Aldentes Prime – The Brotherhood Press / Retrieval Code for this EV 983929200]

“The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open” – Gunter Grass

Are Singaporeans satisfied with the state of Internet regulation as existing?

If not, what changes do we wish to see and how can a bottom-up desire for reform translate into policy review?

Can Singapore afford the political and social costs of free speech? Is there a contradiction between wanting freedom for political speech and controls over social speech? Is technology really in the driver’s seat? Are governments powerless in the face of a global Internet?

Guest speaker:

Mr Arun Mahizhnan, Deputy Director, Institute of Policy Studies

Presentations by members of the Bloggers’ Group for Internet Deregulation

Chaired by Asst Prof Cherian George, Wee Kim Wee School, NTU

—————

Date: Sat, 21 June 2008

Time: 2.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue: URA Centre, Maxwell Road, Function Hall, Level 5

Admission: Free, RSVP required

Media: Open to reporting

To register (RSVP), please send an empty email to :

irr-singapore-subscribe@googlegroups.com

You will get an email response asking you to confirm your request.

Late notices, if any, will come from the Googlegroup.

“The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open. Agreed. But we have already asked the questions…..and till todate there is NOT even so much as a whimper of a reply….very strange when you really think about it….when you consider, this is a proposal that relates directly to the on going’s in the internet and to netizens.

Yet for some strange and inexplicable reason every attempt is made to ensure the discussion is taken out of the internet so that it may be probed, discussed and even debated by those who have the least qualification to contribute to it’s well being…why?…since when was real gold so afraid of fire?….Excuse me as I may not be as brainy as some of you rocket scientist who may be reading this…but where is the Lan Chaiu discussion here? Can some please tell me?….anyone?….Tolong lah!….as a netizen you really need to consider what these urination experts are really trying to accomplish? Incidentally 9 out of 10 netizens have read this: http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/sgdaily-roundup-what%e2%80%99s-hot-in-week-17/#comment-1901 and http://singaporedaily.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/daily-sg-29-apr-2008/#comment-1919 These are the questions. These are the Fact. They will not go away. On record, the citizens have spoken, true to the spirit of Mr Gunter: on record, no attempt has been made to even address them in the internet.

You have to ask yourself why? 

My view is simply this. This is an old fashion power grab that is mounted by ONLY a handful of people who have no real stake holding the internet. The net belongs to producers like you and me, not to a bunch of people who have an output of 2 articles per month. Do you know what? I really don’t believe it is even worth engaging them seriously. It’s best, if we all Ignore every single post. Ignore every single statement and Ignore every conclusive decision they may derive at. As a netizen. I and you have a right to say in clear and unequivocal terms; “I HAVE A RIGHT TO IGNORE YOU. DO NOT RECOGNIZE YOUR AUTHORITY OVER ME! I NEVER ONCE GAVE YOU THE MANDATE BY ELECTION OR BY DEFAULT! YOU HAVE NO DOMINION OVER ME!”.

Their action speaks a thousand words my friends. My Bahasa is not very good, but even the Malaysians are calling this the GREAT ‘tak bagi lah’ movement – you really have to ask yourself as netizens whether they are so wrong to do so.”

Make certain this is broadcasted to four corners of the Strangelands – prepare for war!

Darkness 2008

 

I have been following very closely the developments concerning the meditations of a certain gay teacher by the name of Otto Fong who has decided to step out into the full glory of the arklight. Recently, I read the following from last Thursday’s edition of Today (13th Sept 2007): Where a spokesperson from the school the gay teacher was employed summed up the situation as follows;

 

The school was “mindful of the views of stakeholders, especially parents who would not be placing their children under the charge of a teacher who advocates homosexuality.” That’s OK, reading further leads one to the kicker when the same spokesperson goes on to add

 

“he (the gay teacher) has clarified that he had no intention of advocating homosexuality to students“.

 

Hold on a second, isn’t that a contradiction?

 

At the risk of disappointing, I must insert a caveat here – this is not going to be disquisition about what should and shouldn’t be. Or even whether it’s right or wrong – there are host of compelling reasons why I don’t feel the need to impose my thoughts on this area. One is because there’s already an excellent write up’s such as this:

 

http://ybsampler1.blogspot.com/2007/09/on-otto-part-1.html

 

Which seem to be doing quiet a good job or separating the chaff from the wheat – I am not saying, I agree with Yawning Bread. To be really honest with you, the entire issue is a side dish only because my primary field of interest centers on one question somewhere in this merry go round medley:

 

Why do people contradict themselves? Do they really believe we are stupid? And despite their fall in logic they still expect to come across as rational and persuasive? I don’t know about you, but you see it all over the place these days. From politicians who take credit when things go right to washing their hands clean when things don’t seem to go so well; from even decrepit academics who go around shoring up their cheesy theories by way to exclusion, selective hearing along with lashings of convenient spells of dyslexia. It seems this condition, lapse or momentarily spell of inadvertence seems to afflict the MSM most; for example have you ever leafed through our favorite rag only to wonder where’s that story? Where’s the beef?

 

Tell me, is this some black arts that I am not aware of? Is this even a ‘science’ like perhaps NLP? Or is it closer to ‘art?’ The Tao of contradicting oneself that is?

 

Let me begin by asking you a very simple question? Have you ever contradicted yourself? That’s to say, have you ever felt the urge to misrepresent or color the ‘truth’? If you’re white as spring snow then please stop here and move on to the next excellent article. This unfortunately, is reserved for those of us who have too regularly lie just to keep our insurance premiums in check.

 

I am reminded even the very best of us are all sinners in this regard – contradicting oneself you might even say is part and parcel of the human condition. I for one frequently surprise myself by regularly telling others self-enfacing lies all the time.

 

The right answer too “is my bum sticking out from this dress?” Or, “I am sure another cheese cake will hardly do my waistline any harm?” – isn’t “yes,” as much as a resolute straight in the eye “no.”

 

“Yes” just buys you an instant clobbering with the hand bag. “Yes” simply means you’re a spoiler. A social retard that has as much EQ as an micro wave oven. Seriously I wonder. I really do, can one these days even go through life and die and natural dead without having to learn the art of contradiction?

 

For example: when a climbing expedition finds itself stranded in the upper reaches at 16,000 ft with the prospects of a cold front moving in; would it benefit the rest of team members if the leader said, “Well I think, the dying time is closing in so get ready for the grim reaper?” Not least because such a response no matter how accurate an assessment of reality would simply translate into a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s to say instead of empowering the team, that leader has in effect disable every single man the moment he speaks the truth and in so doing condemned them all to the certainty of death.

 

You see the line isn’t so clear all the time – there are ‘practical necessities’ to consider when answering such questions, that’s why even great statesmen have always been a bit fuzzy about the whole business of the truth and nothing but the truth.

 

Not only do they frequently contradict themselves. They even do so in ways and means which baffles the imagination; remember Clinton’s, “I did not inhale” – “I did not have sex with that woman.”

 

Why? The reason why the art of contradiction remains compelling is because there’s a good return on investment for actively pursuing a strategy of contradictions.

 

For one most people usually suffer from short term memory loss; they tend to forget the past and only remember the present. The second reason it’s a very effective way to win an argument; how do you bulldoze through a plan? Simple, go around it or tunnel beneath it, but never lock horns with it head on; that’s just a very inefficient use of energy; never mind that the clash will yield valuable sparks and embers; that’s not the point; the third reason why the art of the contradiction remains the preferred tool of the lackey it’s virtually impossible to refute, not logically at least. Here in contradiction land everything can be made to appear larger than life; it fulfills the necessary human condition of belief; and all too often it takes it’s cue from religion; there must always be miracles; to exalt, edify and glorify; otherwise is one supposed to even believe in it?

Finally here comes the clincher. As I mentioned earlier there’s a cost associated with telling the truth and what if the price is simply too high? What if most people realized that all the levers of power are connected to nothing? What if  the truth may not even be allowed to see the day of light. I am aware this whole notion may sit very well with our idealistic and altruistic nature, but the realities suggest this is a very real fact of life.

 

Telling the ‘truth’ can be tricky, it isn’t always clear cut not only do statesmen, businesses leaders regularly elide the truth, but the dilemma even invades the domain of the lone professional – should a physician be so candid and honest about his patients condition that he even tells him the ‘truth’ knowing full well that it will serve no purpose other than to exacerbate his mental, spiritual and physical condition? Or does he smile wryly and put on a song and dance and intone cheerfully,

 

“Hold on there, I have seen worst and this is as bad as it gets. It can only get better from here on! Trust me, I am a professional.”

 

it’s hardly a simple calculation.

 

It’s only ‘simple’ if we believe in the homily sugary fairy tale. There is such as thing as a ‘general audience’ who is sufficiently well read and truly appreciates the ‘truth.’ Truth remains no such eclectic readership exist, not in significant numbers, at least to save planet and people.

 

In reality most people remain woefully apathetic about the whole business of ferreting out the ‘truth.’ Including moir – we choose to believe that which ONLY validates our condition rather than allowing the ‘truth’ to mould and shape us, as it should.

 

How does one account for why moisturizers promising the elixir of youth sell when the only active ingredient appears to be water? How does one account for the paradox, where gym memberships can continue to be sold without any apparent saturation point? Or why do automobile manufacturers pay more attention to the vanity mirrors and cup holders rather than the serious business of steering safely under wet driving conditions? Why do churches feel the need to venture into real estate business in the name of sweet Jesus?

 

Truth of the matter remains, the ‘truth’ is often unpalatable, stark and darn right painful – unspeakable even! Ultimately all of us need our little bag of lies like Reiki crystals, it’s comfort food that regularly enables us to massage away our limitations, mediocrity and self effacing short cake self that we seek to hide from the rest of the world, life would simply be unbearable without it.

 

 (This has been brought to you by Aurora by the kind patronage of the Lady of the Lake / written by Darkness & Harphoon / This article has been written with support from Dr Chandra and Imperial College Mafia Troupe  / Socio-political / History / Personal Development / Ethics / Morality / Religion / Civil Rights – The Brotherhood Press 2007/ 90883953 ES The Brotherhood Press 2007 – This article was first published in WOS, a site which has since closed down managed by the webmaster, “Sitis.” It has been reconstituted from the remnants of the cache file and the internet wave back machine archives by the newly created Free Internet Library Board with help from the Interspacing Guild – the Brotherhood Press 2008 ) – Retrieval Codex; 9989-0040-EP BP 2008 / This has been brought to you courtesy of the Free Internet Library Board

 

 

The Barisan Nasional (BN) performed disastrously in the recently concluded general elections. The coalition comprising of 14 parties lost its two third majority with the dominant leader in the pack, UMNO winning only 78 of the 117 parliamentary seats contested.

 

The question remains: what accounts for this dismal showing? What lies at the root of the anatomy of failure?

 

The objective of this paper is NOT to highlight the “direct causes” such as lack of transparency, poor governance lack of accountability and corruption. This has already been discussed exhaustively in the MSM.

 

The goal here is to investigate further into the systematic fissures which gave rise to the perfect conditions for these “direct causes” to take hold, fester, culminating in the anatomy of BN’s failure.   

 

 

1. THE ANATOMY OF FAILURE

 

To understand the root cause of the anatomy of failure, we need to examine specifically the historical elements which makes up the party political juggernaut of BN, specifically UMNO. This we will do by tracing out in broad strokes 4 main motifs (1) The Malaysian credo – the struggle for Malaysian identity – Merdeka (2) hegemony – the struggle for Malay supremacy –Perjuagan (3) command and control – in the form and shape of money politics. Finally, (4) linking religion and politics

 

Four elements have been identified by our team as the primary causal factors accounting for BN’s anatomy of failure.

 

1.1 THE STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL INDENTITY – “PERJUANGAN”

 

Unlike the Palestinian “intifada,” one of the great anti-colonial uprisings of our times, where struggle over the historical theme of Palestine forms the main montage which defines much of Arab awakening.

 

In the history of the Malay archipelago since Merdeka i.e independence, as Alatas mentions in his seminal work, “The Myth of the Lazy Native.” There was never any real awakening in either culture or identity which allowed Malaysians to break free of the affiliations that dominated ‘colonial capitalist thought.’ Thus he concludes. Much of the remnants we associate with the past and even current Malay idea of “perjuangan” i.e the struggle for identity, is in effect a “false consciousness,” brought forth by a lack of intellectual break with British ideological thinking at “the deeper level of thought.”

 

According to Alatas, the leadership of UMNO suffered in varying degrees from these residues of colonial thinking which resulted in a distorted reality as to how best to accomplish their political architecture.

 

Unlike the Arabs and long before them, the colonist in America, who had ample opportunities to hammer out all the attributes of identity and culture which allowed them to successfully break away cleanly from the stranglehold of British imperialism. The Malay ruling party inherited the rule from the British without so much as a struggle. Unlike the tenacious struggle which once occurred in Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Consequently there was no real intellectual renaissance which made possible the whole idea of cultural identity. To substantiate his damning stricture, Alatas cites the total absence of a core intellectual class of Malays who could have been decisively in dismantling the oligarchies of empire. Most of the Malay leaders he notes without a single exception including Tunku Abdul Rahman  were recruited predominantly from the top hierarchy of the civil service trained by the British, and middle class Malay school teachers and civil servants. What this class of elites did was instead throwing out the old and starting from a clean slate – they merely perpetuated the British model of governance. In short, according to Alatas, “they failed to set the pattern,” to paraphrase, it was this missing link which gave rise to the first head of the anatomy of failure. As all they did was merely perpetuate the set pieces of the oligarchies of imperial power, albeit with slight cosmetic changes.

 

As a consequence, even today, when we survey carefully, the political landscape of the Malaysian scene there remains residues of colonial command and control structures and much of them were built directly into the present day structure of BN.

 

Even today in Malaysia, politics is divided strictly along racial, sectarian and religious lines (a legacy of imperial divide and conquer) – UMNO which stands for United Malays National Organisation represents the Malay majority. The rest of the component parties which make up the Barisan Nasional coalition are similarly organized; the Malaysia Indian Congress, which has been in existence since 1946. The MCA, the Malaysian Chinese Association. What we see here is no attempt was ever made to hammer down these racial lines to forge one supra national party that was able to successfully encompass these sectarian interest.

 

As we will see later, the failure on the part of the Malay elite to hammer out one common all encompassing political identity was one of the reasons that contributed to the anatomy of failure.

 

To be continued.

 

[This is an executive summary compiled by the Interspacing Guild; Lead Writer: Scholar Boy / Astro Boy – support from Vollariane, Memphisto, Cerebus and kadjal / ASDF strategic think tank of the Mercantile Space Guilds / Interstellar Federation of Planners  / alongside our newly formed Malaysian read clubs / PJ group and Damansara Permai read club – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

 

STRATEGIC ANALYSIS OF THE MALAYSIAN ELECTIONS 2008 – THE ANATOMY OF FAILURE / PART 2

 

1.2 THE MYTH OF THE ENEMY WITHIN

 

Even at it’s inception after “merdeka” i.e independence, the idea of “perjuangan” i.e struggle for Malay supremacy, was directed towards preserving Malay hegemony at the apex of the political structure – “perjuangan” contrary to popular myth did not refer to the ongoing process of dismantling the elements of imperialism by continuously rooting out the old elements of colonial power.

 

Rather “perjuangan,” in the strict Malay sense referred specifically to disarming the “enemy within,” who were considered the Chinese minority. As not only were they comparatively economically better off than the Malays, but since they were centered predominantly in urban nodes. They were often regarded as having a tactical superiority, despite their numerical limitations.

 

These fears became only too real when the Alliance, the forerunner of the BN, performed disastrously in the May 1969 general elections. In the peninsula, the Alliance won only 66 of the 103 parliamentary seats in the general elections – history it seems repeats itself again, in 1969, Penang was lost, Terengganu was barely holding on. Kelantan fell to pass, and both Perak and Selangor hung precariously.

 

This was followed by the racial riots of May 13.

 

To consolidate their fledging political power, in 1972, the Malay elite coined the idea of “ketuanan Melayu” an ideology which states that the Malay people, who are all regarded as “Muslim” under Malaysia’s Kafkaesque legal system, are the original and defining populace of Malaya, and thus should have special status and privileges. This as Darkness and the ASDF noted based on their gaming constructs; set into motion the second head of the anatomy of failure.

 

As Darkness observed based on a Mordecai 51 Game simulation,

 

“by pursuing an economic order strictly along racial lines, they (the Malay elite) committed themselves not only on an intellectually unsustainable path, as the long term of effect this policy can only polarize the races and sharpen the sense of estrangement.

 

Worst still. It was a false economy that reminiscent of Sovietization, as not only was it socially unsustainable but it also meant dismantling the whole idea of meritocracy – even the British did not consider this a sustainable strategy. This was their first big mistake. You can more or less say 99.9% of the problems Malaysia faces today emanated directly from this one policy of promoting the Malays at the expense of the other races.”

 

The coinage of the bumiputra status along with the NEP (New Economic Policy – which favored bumiputra’s) formed the second head of the anatomy of failure.

 

THE AGE OF MONEY POLITICS

 

The NEP (New Economic Policy) was based loosely on a pseudo socialist system of wealth redistribution in order to redress the economic gap between the Bumiputra’s and the Chinese. The consequence of this strategy led to a plethora of state inspired rights to promote Malays in trade, commerce, education and even politics. It could be said, much of the systematic problems i.e corruption / lack of accountability that mires BN today stems directly from this one corrosive policy.

 

One theory forwarded by Vollariane head of our strategic think tank is as follows:

 

“…..wealth distribution, if done correctly works – the communist and socialist proved that conclusively. There is no doubt there. However in the case of the Malaysian experience it failed because the elements of control and regulating this process of wealth distribution remained solely within the cloistered apex of the political elite and the parvenu bumiputra business class – these politicians I am sure started with noble intentions, but as time went by, the whole idea got so layered, contorted and misaligned that not only did it fail to re-distribute wealth. It eventually became a syndicate or old boys club whereby concessions, licenses and favors were regularly given out the to same political elites to support and maintain the very political structure that made possible this corrosive practice. We are not sure what is the primary drivers accounting for this shift, but it is fair to assume, we cannot rule out the nexus between politics and money to preserve the Malay elite hegemony. We are still sieving through the data. What’s important for our learning outcome is to register the system (wealth distribution) has managed to close itself and distanced itself from the rakyat, that’s to say not only has it managed to transfuse into an ivory tower, but it has become self sustaining very much like an ecology – that I am afraid is what usually happens when you couple money with politics. Both eventually merge into one reality. They become so inextricably linked, they are almost inseparable – to cut to the chase; in effect what we have here is simply institutional corruption very efficient that benefits only a few! You look at the NEP, its being around for nearly 50 years and it’s still a dismal failure…why hasn’t it managed to eradicate porverty? What accounts for the endemic corruption that scissors through the public sector? Why is there still a significant lag between bumiputra earning power and the rest of the races, most notably the Chinese Malaysians? These are hard hitting questions, which are sensitive, but we cannot hope to make significant progress unless we are prepared to look them straight in the eye. If you want to know; the answer is really simple. Wealth did not percolate downwards as it should have…go one or two steps further and ask who stepped on the hose line – the Barisan National!”

 

One big clue is what happened in the 80’s and 90’s when the Mahatir administration launched one of the worlds biggest get rich quick schemes by privatizing everything from roads to tap water. The problem was the money circulated amongst only in a roomful of Malay elites – the vast majority of Malays, did not benefit from this.

 

Remember Astroboy, there are two components which make up this corrosive equation; to make money, one needs to have political clout, so politics decouples completely from being the platform of service instead it transformed into the basis for wealth creation – how then can wealth distribution feature alongside this equation? That is why the NEP failed then, now and in the future. It’s a lousy system! …..Where I wonder does serving the people even feature? It cannot!”

 

“Perjuangan” these days has taken on a whole new meaning, where the party slogan of the early days has bowed out and given way to an elaborate and grotesque system where loyalty is secured directly by monetary rewards. Even at the divisional level of UMNO “habuan” (pay out) culture dominates the social and political landscape. Thus the by words among many party members these days are contracts, concessions and commission – the three C’s which has become the very means of ensuring continued loyalty and support.

 

This explains why even for the humble post of branch leader, there is often an intense fight for it – it’s an opportunity to get onboard the gravy train. This in turn, spawns another layer of economically inspired corruption that is based on having to continually solicit political loyalty and support through money politics. Hence even at the broad base of the pyramid corruption has successfully percolated right through the entire system. Thus not only do those contesting at party supreme council need to buy whole sale into money politics as the condition precedent for craving out alliances if they want to succeed. They also need to continually replenish their war chest to ward off incumbents and this means elevating corruption as part of the party political process. At the mid band of UMNO the same ritualized process of maintaining power filters through, only this time the war chest is smaller, but the corrosive practice of maintaining command and control remains essentially the same. Even those at the base of the pyramid, at divisional level have to do the same, if they want to remain effectively in power, albeit of a smaller scale and finally at the broad band at the base of the pyramid, at branch level, the same corrosive equation is replicated.

 

The whole system is rotten right down to the core.

 

[This is an executive summary compiled by the Interspacing Guild; Lead Writer: Scholar Boy / Astro Boy – support from Vollariane, Memphisto, Cerebus and kadjal / ASDF strategic think tank of the Mercantile Space Guilds / Interstellar Federation of Planners  / alongside our newly formed Malaysian read clubs / PJ group and Damansara Permai read club – The Brotherhood Press 2008]

 

STRATEGIC ANALYSIS OF THE MALAYSIAN ELECTIONS 2008 – THE ANATOMY OF FAILURE / PART 3

 

1.4 THE BANE OF POLITICS AND RELIGION.

 

The third factor which led to the anatomy of failure in the Malaysian political system, resides in the mechanism for perpetuating Malay supremacy via “ketuanan Melayu.” In mark contrast to the framers of the Pancasila (Indonesian constitution); who insisted on every cost on a culturally neutral identity, compatible with democratic or Marxist ideologies, and overarching the vast cultural differences of the heterogeneous population. The Pancasila was meant to be all embracing to all races and did specifically promote any particular ethnic group based specifically on religion.

 

In the Malaysian experience since the defeat of the Alliance (the forerunner of BN) in 1969 by the PAS faction, the Malay elites embarked on a master plan to consolidate their power by specifically weaving religion into politics to woe back the voters in the Northern rice belts. At first coupling politics with religion proved successful and BN was able to stave off the islamisation of Malaysia – as evidenced by the period of stability which characterized much of the the 70’s till the mid 90’s, but once again the formulaic approach ran directly into a dead end – the critical flaw in UMNO’s strategy suggest even within Islam there exist varying schools of thoughts as to what constitutes the gold standard.

 

The philosophical divide centers on UMNO’s blend of Islam, “Hadhari”- which PAS and many ulamahs (religious teachers) consider as a compromised and water down understanding of Islam. PAS like Coca-Cola sells itself as “the real thing” – the quintessential Islamic party that aims to establish Malaysia as a country based on Islamic legal theory derived from the primary sources of Islam, the Quran and Sunnah.

 

At a time when the air rents out with allegations of corruption, nepotism and money politics, it seems even UMNO has all but lost it’s capacity to successfully play the religious card to good effect – she’s adrift.

 

SUMMARY:

 

This analysis provides a discursive account of BN’s anatomy of failure in the recent Malaysian general elections. We would like to suggest that what happened in the election is not merely a knee-jerk reaction to mundane issues, but a real fundamental shift possibly even the beginning of a new age of reformation for the Malaysian electorate.

 

[Lead Writer: Scholar Boy / Astro Boy – support from Vollariane, Memphisto, Cerebus and kadjal / ASDF strategic think tank of the Mercantile Space Guilds / Interstellar Federation of Planners  / alongside our newly formed Malaysian read clubs / PJ group and Damansara Permai read club / Gaming logic was kindly provided by our European channel partners the Totenkopf and Germania units / information sieving was managed by Urbana, Illinois gaming channel partners / a full bibliography and reading list accompanies this article, please request it from your cell leader – The Brotherhood Press 2008 / This article was first posted in the Singapore Daily, Phi Beta Kappa and ASICS on the 17th March 2008]

 

END. 9989-0038-EP BP 2008 / This has been brought to you courtesy of the Free Internet Library Board

 

 

 

 

Recently, I came across this post

 

 

http://ramblinglibrarian.blogspot.com/2007/09/i-have-never-nor-will-i-ever-read-blogs.html

 

 

What’s Ong Sor Fern’s problem?

 

 

To be really honest with you I do agree somewhat with what she’s said, there is after a lot of shit out there in greater blogoland. But again its one those, I do and I don’t cases.

 

 

Why am I so indecisive? Simple – this clash of heads isn’t about Newspapers vs Blogosphere as much as it is a battle royale between Quality vs Quantity.

 

 

It would seem the issue is quite straight forward; quality should win the day, but where it really gets complicated is when one considers the merit of quantity and how that in itself is a form of quality. Consider this: would you rather have one good manager or three lousy administrators? One well disciplined regiment or 5 lousy regiments? The question even applies to relationships; would you rather commit to one super duper girl who will follow you like a trusted Alsatian like Rin-Tin-Tin who is as game as the hardiest Casio G-Shock? Or would you rather have a black book full “Si Wen” dowanlah’s types who wouldn’t even go anywhere if isn’t air-conditioned?

 

 

Most of us would probably say plumbing to choose for quality against quantity pays dividends – right?

 

 

Wrong, like I said that’s only true if you believe quantity doesn’t offer anything close to quality and the latter doesn’t come with loads of penalties.

 

 

There are times when even Bata squares off quite evenly with Bally and this occurred when the rambling librarian took issue with what the reporter wrote, that’s to say if we put the issues on the scales of common sense, both more of less evens out i.e Quality is not always the winner and there is an undeniable Quality to the Quantity factor.

 

Now you don’t have to read the book that Miss Ong reviewed basically its one of those doomsday genres like its going to rain aeroplanes at the turn of 2000. Or we are all going to be consumed by rivers of fire sometime in the future, if we don’t learn to ride a bike. The author disparages the whole idea of the internet equating it to even perdition ending with bang; if the lies and half truths in the net are left unchecked we may all even end up studying shadows in some primordial cave – in fortune cookie lingo; blogging or reading anything in the internet just dumbs all of us down.

 

 

As I mentioned earlier, if you strip the debate right down to it’s chassis, its another: Quality vs Quantity square off – only in this case, the context refers to dubious material published in the internet versus kosher material generated by ‘professionals’ like reporters in the MSM – so the equation that best expresses the divide, clash or war is as follows:

 

 

(A) Would you rather read one good article and pay X for it –

 

 

(B) Peruse through 10 free dubious article and one more that even tells you Pavarotti is still singing somewhere in Mars because he has been abducted by aliens?

 

 

Most people will say (A) and they wouldn’t even think twice about it within a span of perhaps 2 seconds max. Well they’re wrong. That can only be true if we assume (B) has a comparative lower value than (A).

 

 

Contrary to popular belief Quantity does have a value even if it short on the Quality quotient – as the Nazi’s found out to their detriment when they invaded Russia in 1941, they had the best tanks in the world while the Russians were still struggling to keep their steering wheels from regularly coming loose. But the equation between Quality VS Quantity panned out quite well in this clash and they pretty much myth bust some of the bullshit concerning Quality is King: fact – for every German Tiger tank built, with the same given resources, the Russians could produce 12.4 lousy tanks.

 

 

The decider which is better? Then turns on the outcome when one excellent tank faces off against twelve lousy tanks – who wins this gunfight?

 

 

In this war of attrition that once transpired. The actual figures are as follows: 7.52 lousy Soviet tanks takes out one well engineered German tank. Let’s just skip the whole science of attrition here because that’s not important. Besides that’s a mother of a subject that will just take this discussion to cheemland. The gist is this, at the end of the day: Quantity with even significantly Quality deficits / penalties can deliver a competitive advantage that even overrides the Quality factor to emerge as the decisive winner.

 

 

Besides quality is hardly a settled matter. Who is the recipient of that ‘quality?’ Is it designed to appeal to a select few to mythologize the up keep of their hegemony? See what I mean? Let’s leave that aside for the time being. So with this new knowledge, formulation, equation or whatever you want to call it: it’s a veritable fact – designing with the principle of Quality in mind doesn’t necessarily produce reliable and repeatable results to create competitive advantage.

 

 

There is a missing link in this equation and its best expressed in the following lay terms: it really depends what you are applying it too.

 

 

That simply means we need to re-phrase the question: and ask ourselves what value (B) brings to the table in comparative terms to (A) under a given set of conditions. Well firstly, I can say (B) was written by ten separate individuals each of which granted has X experiential knowledge which is pretty lousy (I will just give you discount there la, don’t mind the odd P hd rocket scientist who blogs), but if you combine it all together, they pack a pretty respectable wallop even if we take in the odd compulsive liar, psycho and serial killer. (A) given is a professional reporter, but she (it’s always a she in Singapore if you notice) can’t possibly have such a wide field of knowledge unless she has as many eyes as a pineapple or happens to be 300 years old. Besides A’s field of knowledge is hardly unique, saying reporters see the world clearer than anyone else is like proclaiming you are an archeologist just because you happen to live in a cave.

 

 

Having said that Quantity certainly packs a punch, the same applies to Quality. There is certainly a role reversal in this equation. Quality can just as well run circles around Quantity as the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC demonstrated – how the Greeks were able to stave off the Persians for three days in one of history’s most famous last stands despite being astronomically outnumbered.  

 

 

So we are back to square one again?

 

 

Not really because what both the author of the book and the reporter failed to mention was most important decider that determines the outcome between the Quantity vs Quality debate – it isn’t even the Quality vs Quantity debate about information, that can only be true if you believe Pravda prints the truth and nothing but the truth and North Korean is Disneyland.

 

Truth of the matter is simply this. If we are going to sharpen the equation in the Quality vs Quantity debate to really get a handle on whether the information age is perdition or salvation. We need to appreciate one reality, the information age did not spawn the age of mass disinformation; it was already there all along when the first ape learnt the trick of hiding his bone femur behind his back when he first dueled with another ape.

 

 

I don’t doubt the rate of disinformation has been accelerated by the advent of the digital age, but speed, variety and accessibility cannot be the sole decider of whether the internet is perdition or salvation. For one it’s hardly even a new concept, when you consider each successive generation has had to balance the progress against the old stretching all the way back to the age of coal, diesel, petrol, electric, nuclear powered and currently magnetic levitated trains that can run in excess of 450 kmh!

 

 

Besides the debate of Quality vs Quantity fails big time because, it doesn’t factor in stoc the collective wisdom of readers such as you and me or the guy in the next cubicle reading this – this is a very difficult term to define in words but in math it’s simple – it just means, if there are 50 people in a crowd trying to guess the hidden price of TV, if you take the median price, they would probably be spot on!

 

 

In simple math, it means, when the shit content gets higher and it doesn’t really whether it is churned out by a 14th wood cut press or something as space age and high tech as the internet so does our capacity to filter the bull shit factor. In economic terms, it’s called the law of equilibrium and this applies to everything including how you and I typically process information – if the bullshit content goes up, the shit snooper just gets more sensitive and the process of winnowing the truth from lies becomes more efficient.

 

 

How the HEPA filter in our brain kicks in isn’t important, that’s the mechanics – we could for example cross reference the information with primary data or conduct a protocol of verification but what’s important here in this discussion is this: do it we will! And it doesn’t matter it’s something that’s read here or in the even the Holy Bible – readers will always find that happy balance between truth and medium irrespective of factors such as speed, variety and accessibility.

 

The converse of relying on just one avenue of information just spells trouble and it doesn’t really matter how “reliable,” the source appears to be – it could even be an official report compiled by the UN security council that once fingered Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction when it didn’t. Or a committee of experts who set about the whole idea of proposing change in the name of a better tomorrow.

 

The dangers of relying on ONLY one information assembly line brings with it the possibility of marginalizing the crowd, blotting out the counter narrative and what are we really left with?

 

A blinkered view instead of being all encompassing sweep – hierarchical instead holistic – divided instead of being representative – imitative instead of unique.

 

That’s certainly something to consider very seriously in this brave new age of ours where the internet can so easily slip and fall into either the perdition or salvation bracket – or maybe that’s just another one of my insane statements like “I have never, nor will I ever, read blogs.”

 

Darkness 2007

 

 

[This has been brought to you by Aurora by the kind patronage of the Lady of the Lake / written by Darkness, Harphoon & Aurora / Socio-political / Economics / History / Mathematics / The Brotherhood Press 2007/ 9836636371 ES The Brotherhood Press 2007] – This article was posted in WOS (What Others Said) A site which has since closed down managed by ‘Sitis.’ On 8-9-07 @ 3.00 (Local) / materials used for writing this article were researched by the ASDF, the Strategic Think Tank of the Brotherhood. This is an auto-crawler powered by a N-95 program specifically developed by the Interspacing Federation for the newly created Free Internet Library Board based in Primus Aldentes Prime – serialization: 9936734-00327-882/JOACHIM – Retrieval Date: 2032]

 

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