Transcript of New Paper Interview

The New Paper (TNP) contacted me two days ago to conduct an interview regarding an article on the Malaysian elections and their effects on our country. In particular, the reporter was hoping to examine whether local bloggers would be able to use this online platform to enter politics, just as political bloggers like Jeff Ooi have in Malaysia. I was asked to comment in my capacity as a blogger who frequently comments on political issues.

The article came out today (12 March). I haven’t read it yet but here is the transcript:

TNP: Because of their highly-regulated media, many Malaysians have turned to political blogs such as Jeff Ooi’s as credible alternatives to mainstream media. Do you feel the same thing could happen with Singapore?

Gerald: The migration from TV and newspapers to the Internet is already happening in Singapore. I believe this is because there are so many ‘information and opinion gaps’ left by the mainstream media on local issues. Local media often fail to provide balanced reporting and commentary on events and issues that put the Government or the ruling party in a bad light.

Singapore’s media is as regulated, if not more so, than the Malaysian media. Is it any wonder that many Singaporeans are increasingly turning to socio-political blogs for news, commentary and analysis? And it’s not just young Singaporeans. I know of a number of older Singaporeans who are also regular readers of socio-political blogs.

TNP: M’sian bloggers like Jeff Ooi have managed to enter the realm of politics and even raise funds through their blogs. Do you see this happening in Singapore?

Gerald: If you survey the socio-political blogs in Singapore, you will find many bloggers who love Singapore and want to change Singapore for the better. I’m sure at least a few of them will be willing to take the next step to enter politics. That could only be good for Singapore.

As for raising funds, I’m not sure if Singapore’s electoral laws allow online fundraising. But I definitely think online fundraising should be allowed. Even Barack Obama, the US Presidential candidate, raised a large amount from grassroots supporters through the Internet, instead of relying on big businesses for his campaign donations.

TNP: How far would you go with controversial and possibly politically-sensitive comments on your blog? Where do you draw the line?

Gerald: I would draw the line on any comment that is illegal, which is not in Singapore’s national interests, or which could get me terminated from my job. This, of course, does not mean that I will refrain from from expressing my opinions on policies that I feel are wrong for Singapore. I think so far I have been extremely cautious in what I write.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

15 thoughts on “Transcript of New Paper Interview”

  1. Seriously, I don’t see what you can offer besides the stuff that has already been there since 1965, aka the Pay-and-Pay version of Singapore politics.

    1. “The migration from TV and newspapers to the Internet is already happening in Singapore. I believe this is because there are so many ‘information and opinion gaps’ left by the mainstream media on local issues. Local media often fail to provide balanced reporting and commentary on events and issues that put the Government or the ruling party in a bad light.”

    Frankly, as a conservative yourself, I doubt you can hardly be depended upon to “put the government or ruling party in a bad light.”

    2. “If you survey the socio-political blogs in Singapore, you will find many bloggers who love Singapore and want to change Singapore for the better. I’m sure at least a few of them will be willing to take the next step to enter politics. That could only be good for Singapore.”

    People like you entering politics: The last thing we need is more conservatives the likes of you.

    3. “As for raising funds, I’m not sure if Singapore’s electoral laws allow online fundraising. But I definitely think online fundraising should be allowed. Even Barack Obama, the US Presidential candidate, raised a large amount from grassroots supporters through the Internet, instead of relying on big businesses for his campaign donations.”

    Obama is a liberal…….how dare you compare yourself to him!

    4. “I would draw the line on any comment that is illegal, which is not in Singapore’s national interests, or which could get me terminated from my job. This, of course, does not mean that I will refrain from from expressing my opinions on policies that I feel are wrong for Singapore. I think so far I have been extremely cautious in what I write.”

    Ah, censoring free speech. You are no better than a lackey of the ruling incumbent.

    Curbing free speech is a recurring theme amongst despotic regimes, like the North Korean regime and the late Qing dynasty.

    If there is anything I can conclude, I can only say that people like you should be kept in countries with despotic rulers…..oh yes, like Singapore!

    Beast

  2. Or, should I add, that we can’t expect conservatives like you to repeal against:

    1. The Internal Security Act

    2. The Sedition Act

    3. Section 377A (Action against unnatural sex)

    4. Death Penalty

    Beast

  3. “Seriously, I don’t see what you can offer…”

    You talk as if I’ve already entered politics! I’ll take it as an unintended compliment.

    It seems your main issue with me is that you perceive me to be a “conservative”. May I ask why you are so intolerant of conservatives?

  4. Not exactly intolerant of them individually, just sick of their despotic and tyrannic rule.

    Look how the Pay and pay ministers do to people like Chee Soon Juan and other protesters: Yes, they send out riot police in full force….kind of an overkill for a couple of silent protesters. Or, for the matter, the teenagers who had the temerity to make fun of religion. Yes, the govt slapped them with the sedition act. Conservatives……they like to curb our freedoms, don’t they?

    Oh, didn’t we heard that some stupid crippled “terrorist” walked out of jail free, kind of like monopoly?

    If you think I am complimenting you, you are not as intelligent as you make yourself out to be.

    Frankly, your post smells of obnoxious narcissism, and if you think you are what we Singaporeans are looking for, then I think Singapore is in for more trouble ahead.

  5. “I would draw the line on any comment that is illegal, which is not in Singapore’s national interests, or which could get me terminated from my job…….”

    It is not me who are assuming that you are already a politician…..I merely comment on the fact that you have already thought of yourself as a politician.

    Guess you can’t read much either.

    Beast

  6. The reason why I posted my transcript is because the last time the New Paper interviewed me, my comments were carried in a way that I did not intend. I have learned my lesson since.

    I don’t agree with many of the heavy-handed tactics of the Govt either. If you’ve been following my posts, you’d see.

    Conservatism is not about curbing freedoms. Neither is liberalism about freeing us from these curbs.

    You seem to think that Singaporeans are looking for left wing liberals to lead the govt. Why then did voters utterly reject them at polls, while endorsing the more left of centre parties like the WP and SDA?

    I think there should be space for left wing liberals to express themselves, but please don’t kid yourself and think that they represent the views of the majority of Singaporeans.

  7. That is because most Singaporeans are ignorant of the loss of freedom they have incurred: In traditionally Asian countries, you will see that religion plays a big role colluding with despotic govts to delude and con the masses.

    The issue with SDA is not a case of anti-liberalism: It is more of a heinous government propaganda to vilify and demean those who stand in their way.

    If liberalism doesn’t work, you might as well check out which are the most progressive industrialized nations: Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, France and Holland are considered the most liberal nations, and they have very liberal systems of government. Even the old man conceded to their liberalism, although he thinks it doesn’t work in Singapore.

    Like I said, conservatives like yourself will never understand the meaning of universal suffrage.

    Beast

  8. Let me see what you agree with the neo cons so far:

    1. Curbing of free speech.

    2. Stopping people from criticizing religions.

    3. Assuming you are Christian and definitely a fundie, you are anti homo as well.

    4. You love to pander to Singapore journalists who don’t respect good journalism.

    5. You want people to stop eating pork in halal foodcourts. As a matter of fact, you want people to stop eating pork.

    Ok. That’s what I get from you so far. There should be more. I don’t know your views regarding the death penalty, torture and the internal security act, but I have a pretty good hunch that you support these laws.

    As you keep writing, I will keep criticizing.

    Beast

  9. Well you’re right that I’m a Christian, and wrong about everything else.

    I’m guessing the reason why you are so intent on criticizing my person instead of my views is because I wrote ONE critical comment on your blog. (And that because you wrote something very offensive to Muslims.) So now you’re trying to hit back at me for the offense you took to my comment. How noble of you, you self-proclaimed champion of free speech and liberalism.

  10. “And that because you wrote something very offensive to Muslims.”

    Yes….Criticizing Islam is equivalent to criticizing Muslims….if I criticize Microsoft, and I criticizing every staff in Microsoft?

    Again, you don’t get it do you? My point was to offend the establishment,and to a certain extent, the religion, because they are attempting to deny our kids the right to eat pork! Isn’t that offensive as well?

    Oh, so you think I am hitting at you because of one pathetic comment? You are more small minded than I think.

    Free speech and liberalism doesn’t mean I cannot criticize. Its the exact polemic of that. If you don’t know kindly watch the Penn and Teller show, Bullshit. Oh, I forgot. You don’t watch profanity. You prefer baby talk and infantile speech.

    My advice to you: If you cannot handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

  11. “How noble of you, you self-proclaimed champion of free speech and liberalism.”

    Wrong: I consider George Carlin, Lenny Bruce and Howard Stern as champions of free speech.

    As for liberalism, Thomas Paine is someone I think fits the bill.

    Unlike you, I am not big headed enough to assume the roles of giants. We have greatly profited from them in a sense, and I shall not debauch their memory in a bid to boost my ego.

    Beast

  12. My comment on your blog was nothing to do with your criticism of Islam. You jolly well know that, so don’t pretend and accuse me of censoring your criticism of religion. It was only because you wrote this: “Remove those stickers from the halal food shelves that sell halal food, and stick them to their pork-filled food packages.”

    I’ll leave it to readers to judge for themselves whether that is within the bounds of acceptable free speech in Singapore.

    “Oh, so you think I am hitting at you because of one pathetic comment?”

    So please can you explain why it was only after I posted that one comment on your blog, that you have inundated my blog with personal insults. Don’t tell me you never knew I existed before that. I have posted many conservative viewpoints in the 1.5 years I’ve been blogging. Never once did you criticize me. Get off your high horse and admit your own small mindedness and hypocrisy. Grow up, young man.

  13. “I’ll leave it to readers to judge for themselves whether that is within the bounds of acceptable free speech in Singapore.”

    So, who’s doing the judging? The Pope? Lau Lee? Or your favorite pay and pay ministers?

    “So please can you explain why it was only after I posted that one comment on your blog, that you have inundated my blog with personal insults. Don’t tell me you never knew I existed before that.”

    I don’t remember insulting you personally. Neither have I insulted your friends,relatives or stuff like that. If you think healthy criticism is insulting, then perhaps your OB marker is too pervasive.

    So I should get off my high horse? Hmm…..last I heard you are the one with the high horse….not me….you want to be a Pay and pay minister, not me.

    As for being a young man, being young does not mean I cannot give concise criticisms. Perhaps you might want to find something better to illustrate your criticisms.

    Beast

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