Why cant PAP communicate without putting a shoe in their gob?

December 24, 2011

Have you all noticed lately there’s been a strange communication sinkhole forming between us and officialdom – and its getting bigger, wider and deeper!

This may require a bit of history. Until now. We (netizens) have, understandably, been really only focused on our private bug bears and armchair battles for dignity in the digital realm: freedom of speech, and not getting bankrupted for blogging etc. All which we seem to write with varying degrees of commitment and just bung out like a man stuffing a message into a bottle into the greater wonderment of the digital ocean. And it seems we may all be starting to communicate much better. Believe it or not, I actually feel most bloggers these days seem to be writing better essays. This may have something to do with common sense – eventually, we all learn to discard what’s useless and hone those things that we instinctive realize will come in useful in life. The same happy tale cannot be recounted with same self confidence when it comes to our politicians and leaders – they all seem to be suffering from chronic shoe in the gob syndrome cum verbal diarrhea – when you consider how these days, politicians can’t even seem to make a statement without having to issue out a stream of mel culpa’s …my words were taken out of context…I meant to say this, but it came out as that…hiam and hum…etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if a visiting alien linguistic expert landed in the Istana Singapore. He might surmise, our leaders are probably a bunch of shambolic ‘that other’ species mumblers.

And this should lead us to ask the question: Why can’t our leaders communicate effectively in the age of the internet?

Now at this juncture I don’t really wish to go into the rigmarole of whose right and wrong, or whether Cherian George was right or TOC simply being sensational. My point is simply this, when it comes to public speaking in the digital realm, you can even say the rule of thumb is axiomatic:

“It matters little what was said as much as how it came across.”

One clue that may provide us with a believable account of why the PAP cannot seem to communicate very well in the age of the internet – may have something to do with the PAP’s real world culture of monoculturalism: where they have never really perceived the wisdom of dealing with diversity and difference of opinions in an intelligent way. Hence their revulsion of the Westminster model which they’ve seen fit to mothball and replace with a perfidious faced politburo. A corollary of that also means, most PAP MP’s are so desensitized to prevailing sentiments, they don’t even bother to filter what regularly comes out from their trap to ensure they’re politically correct to their audience – and why should they? When even LKY himself regularly doesn’t bother two hoots about inflaming the sense and sensibilities of citizens and residents with his crackbrained worldview of why Malays should never be allowed to fly fighter jets and man machine gun post – wonder no more who these MP’s take their cues from – to exacerbate their already marooned state in the digital sea, since they have really only mastered one tool to resolve conflict – the hammer. Is it such a surprise: most PAP MP’s are simply ill equipped to deal with the plethora of point of views churned up by the internet. As since, the PAP’s attitude towards the whole idea of anyone holding a contrarian view is best summed up in the couplet: “the nail that sticks out will be hammered down!” – there is really no incentive to seek buy in or for that matter cajole those who may harbor differences to their side or even master the language of diplomacy and congeniality – to exacerbate the task of effective communication in the digital age – conventional understanding and parlance may not even apply in the digital realm – for starters, words aren’t mere words in the normative sense in the internet as they can even carry with them entire statements about ones deeper psyche and in such certain cases preferences and prejudices – all this is made possible with hyperlinks that allows readers to scroll through the statements made previously to glean some fragment of the world view of the commentator. That just goes to show you how judgmental the internet is – in most cases, netizens literally take and run with what’s said, at times even glossing over the statements and encrusting them with hidden meanings. But don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an indictment of the internet, it’s simply a statement of fact regarding how what’s said in the internet can and will morph in the way a car transforms into jetfighter a la transformer style – you could even say, the predilection of netizens to read between the lines these days is such a highly evolved skill set that its ingrained.

In summary, if one wants to communicate effectively in the internet – it’s never about negotiating the seven habits of highly effective people as it remains dealing with seven habits of highly strung mind readers who are only too ready to impute all sorts of things which one never meant to say – it comes with the territory.

The case in point is best summed up in the fabled traveler’s advice.

“In Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Try not to fuck it up next time. Welcome to our brave new world.

Darkness 2011

“In the age of steel when the game was still a child, the French in one stroke of the pen declared Francaise the official language of the Imperium – so they were all marooned in Babel using sign language. But those carpetbaggers learnt their language and even assimilated their ways. From the French, they learnt 3 things: diplomacy, statecraft and civil administration. Those trinket peddlers even sent spies into the French Royal court to learn the gentle art of persuasion, wit and repartees. In the age of the typewriter, the Germans did the same and again they were casted into the no man’s land of silence – again they learnt their language and adopted their customs. From the Germans they learnt how to organize and optimize: mass produce spaceships, logistics, accounting and how to monopolize technology. Then in the age of reason, English suddenly became the lingua franca. We brought in mercenaries this time to speak on our behalf to consolidate our interest in the Imperium, assured in our security they could never learn the art of speaking in one breathe in seven paces as the rules of our house dictates – so many of them began to tune into the BBC, and in no time, they all learnt how to debate without prepared notes along with throwing insults at us in a humorous way. By then to our eternal horror, we all realized there was really only one tribe in the whole universe that could speak all three languages fluently and so they became the natural intermediaries to unite the four houses and the Laanstrad. We, the legation made them vicious, lean and mean! And today in the Imperium, the sit there – the flint, powder and the ball awaiting the terrible explosion! The Brotherhood! And to think when the started off, no one even took them seriously…how were we supposed to know, they were just like the roma (gypsies) with their trinkets, nick nacks and stealing ways…how could this have happened overnight? How in the name of the Emperor could the impossible have happened?”

The Aryanian ambassador to the Strangelands – Senator Charrisamatic – recorded by the Chronicler in the Book of Ages under the chapter, “The Awakening” – Page 19,003 – The Brotherhood Press 2011


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