Monday, July 03, 2006

Bhavani vs Brown | no such non-partisan

There's something that bugs me about Bhavani vs Brown. Mainly, it's a rather stupid letter, as many bloggers in the sturm en drang of the blogosphere have pointed out, and Mr Wang has done a great breakdown of the points as usual, with thankfully a little less sturm en drang than the rest of the world.

But it just doesn't make sense. There are parts of it that are just incorrect, which makes you wonder exactly how efficient/intelligent MICA has become under the helm of Lee Boon Yang. Of course, as they say, the leaders set the tone for the rest of the organisation, and if Lee Boon Yang thinks blogs are annoying, then ergo, the rest of the organisation has to, regardless of the actual facts involved.

But overall, it's just a very clumsy letter. Why was it sent out at all? It seems part of a general trend to discredit the non-mainstream media, or indeed, opposition at all. Seems like someone's been to the Karl Rove school of Public Relations and Media.

Couple of things that I found interesting, but I haven't completely worked them out yet. Stream of conciousness about to flow now:

The letter stated that journalists should not take part in partisan politics, which many bloggers rightly interpreted as saying that partisan politics meant disagreeing with the government. They also felt that Mr Brown was a neutral commentator. However, I'm not entirely sure that in the Singaporean context, there is such an animal. Partisan politics, as I understand it, is applicable in a situation in which there are at least two parties in power. So if you're taking up the cause/helping the cause/giving comfort to the enemy (oops!) of one party over the other, you're taking part in partisan politics.

However, in Singapore, there is only one effective party in power - and it's in control, complete control of the government. (or at least it thinks it is, what the heck is SM Goh up to?) Therefore, from their point of view, everyone else is the Other Party. In this totalitarian state of affairs, there is no room for the middle ground anymore.

Think of it this way: let's say there's Party A and there's Party B. There's also 3rd Party. 3rd Party was recently seen in Joo Chiat breaking up Singaporean marriages.. sorry, I'll be serious now. Anyway. 3rd Party. Party A doesn't agree with Party B. 3rd Party doesn't disagree with either, as 3rd Party wants to save the trees and get girls. But Party A has to deal with Party B, because both of them are in Parliament. Party A and B therefore use 3rd Party as occasional ally against the other party. 3rd Party therefore still gets invited to the cool parties, and gets to sleep with all the bored neglected spouses of Party A and B.

If Party A is completely, dominantly in power, this whole dynamic gets tossed out the window. Party A doesn't need 3rd Party, and therefore lumps in 3rd Party with Party B, and accusing innocent 3rd Party of partisan politics. 3rd Party actually just wants to save the trees, but that occasionally runs contrary to Party A's interests, so they get tossed out, can't go to the cool parties, and no one wants to sleep with them because the bored neglected spouses of Party A are now running GLCs.

Actually, the whole thing is starting to remind me of something Jon Stewart said. Jon Stewart is the host of the Daily Show, on Comedy Central in America. It is a parody of a newshow, and it often satirises politics in America. Jon Stewart's show has been extremely well-received, and many people reported that during the 2004 elections, they found that they received a better analysis of the news and election events from his comedy show than from standard news channels.

Jon Stewart is non-partisan, and I believe him. Although comedians tend towards the Democrats anyway, Stewart has an established track report in skewering both sides. In recent years, he has been accused of being partisan, because he now frequently criticises the Republicans. His answer? He couldn't help but criticise the Republicans more, because they were so completely in power. They controlled both houses, they controlled the executive - in short, they controlled completely two out of three branches of the US government (legislative, and executive, and judicial looks rather iffy too). He was quite prepared to criticise the Democrats - but guess who was in power? In the current political situation of the US, that has come dangerously close to a one-party system, there simply has been no middle ground anymore.

Same here.

Feh. Writing all this is very disturbing, and I feel just plain uneasy about this. It's too political science for me.


At 10:03 am, Anonymous purperger said...

yup..too ps. but makes for an interesting read tho :)

At 2:26 pm, Blogger Mezzo said...

Hee, thanks! I try! My nightmare is that one day, a prof is going to look at this, and proceed to have all kinds of academic issues about, before calling my moron and cancelling grad funding.


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