Sunday, July 09, 2006

Vivian and Mr Brown | two stories

Just posting two articles in relation(the second tangentially so) on the Mr Brown affair, aka Lee Mun Kin.

CNA, July 8, 2006 Saturday 3:01 PM GMT
Mainstream media has role in ensuring quality of debate: Dr Balakrishnan

Singapore's mainstream media has a crucial role in ensuring the quality and standard of discourse and national debate, says Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

And he says as long as everybody understood their respective roles and respected each other, Singaporeans can have a useful dialogue going forward.

Dr Balakrishnan made these remarks when asked to comment on reactions by the foreign media to a recent decision by MediaCorp's TODAY newspaper to stop publishing a column by "Mr Brown" who was one of its regular columnists.

A recent article by the columnist about the cost of living in Singapore had drawn a sharp rebuttal from a government spokesperson.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "I am not at all concerned at all about what the foreign media thinks. We are not here to fulfil their agenda. Let me put it to you this way. We are all entitled to express our opinions.

"But we also have to be accountable for our opinions and to be prepared from time to time to stand by them or be called to answer them and from time to time to be rebutted. So I see this as part and parcel of the consistent position which the government and people of Singapore have taken."

He added that what is important for Singaporeans, particularly on serious issues, is to have an honest constructive debate with no extraneous agendas involved.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "If you feel there is a problem with cost of living, say so, let's collectively explore solutions. But don't in the name of humour distort or aggravate on an emotional level. That sort of discourse does not generate solutions. It generates more heat than light.

"So we should put this in its proper context. If someone says something which we disagree with, we will say so. If someone says something which is unhelpful we have a right to say it is unhelpful. We have a right to remind everyone that at the end of the day, this is not a fight.

"We are in search of solutions and by working together and by engaging in an honest constructive dialogue we can do so and we want our newspapers to be a part of that process and also to be aware that, the mainstream media in particular. You are not an internet chat room."

I just wanted to compare the two articles.

CNA, July 8, 2006
Flying the Flag an ongoing commitment by all Singaporeans: Dr Balakrishnan

Getting Singaporeans to fly the National Flag collectively during important celebrations like National Day is not a tired formula, says Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

Instead, it is an ongoing commitment by all Singaporeans to celebrate the nation's birthday jointly.

Dr Balakrishnan launched the "Join the Celebrations, Fly our Flag" programme at the Bukit Panjang division on Saturday.

For the first time the Singapore Scout Association will also join hands with grassroots bodies to rally more Singaporeans to display the National Flag.

From now leading up to National Day the scouts will also play their part and go on house to house visits in both HDB and private estates to enhance this effort.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "For young people it is especially significant. For them to get a sense that they are participating in something at a national level. The young boys will also understand the significance behind the flag and why there's a need for us in some occasion in the year to fly it collectively. It's an opportunity for us to remind every one young and old, whatever religious or political background, that you have that this is an occasion for joint celebration and commitment and a commitment to the future.

"We want to make sure that whatever we do, we do it respectfully and in a way which accords the respect the Flag deserves. At the end of the day the Flag reflects us as a people. It's not a piece of cloth. I am hoping to see more people on their own and more groups come up on their own with new ideas on how to celebrate National Day in their own way, how to use the flag and make it a common exercise on the part of all Singaporeans."

Emphasis in the second article is my own. Incidentally, Vivian Balakrishnan was once lauded for his critical views of the government, and was a President scholar. He was heavily involved in the cat-culling issue, and was responsible for educating Parliament on cat copulation metholodogy, using that as a reason for banning cats from HDB. Frequently praised for his youth engagement in his ministerial capacity and I've heard, well-liked for his dynamism by the youth.

Want to comment, but it'll have to wait. Offline life calls, and it's simply yummy.


At 12:17 am, Blogger Medusa aka expiringpoet said...

Enlightening read. Thanks for sharing :)

At 3:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe that the good doctor v's heart is in the right place. do the right thing, doctor v, don't let us down.


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