Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thoughts on Singapore Members of Parliament (MPs) blogging

Well, not all of them are. The "Post-Sixty-Fivers" (p65) Members of Parliament (www.p65.sg), to be exact.

The launch of the blog follows news like MPs performing Hip Hop dance moves. Which made me curious how the Singapore blogosphere would react.

While waiting for the Technorati page to load for my search for "p65 MPs", I half expected the results to show the Singapore blogosphere erupt in a frenzy of bash-the-politicians/ government tirade. I mean, Hip-hopping MPs? That's just asking for it, isn't it?

Surprisingly, the results were pretty tame. I've found only four references to the p65 blog: this blogger feels it's "an interesting experiment"; this one didn't comment much but the title (probably pun-intended) hinted at some skepticism; this was a comparatively muted post by Singabloodypore (when compared to previous posts on the Singapore political scene).

I thought maybe those were the early posts and the cynical ones have yet to come. However, I began to question myself, particularly the assumptions I seem to have made. Without saying as much, my initial reaction was, "Aren't they (the p65 MPs) trying a little too hard?". I'd expected others to be skeptical. Turned out I was the one with preconceived notions of how others would react, based on my unconscious gut reaction.

I've softened my stand now. In fact, I should say I was wrong in my initial view.

Let them (the p65 MPs) try. It's really their perogative to try. Is there such thing as trying too hard? Even if they are "trying too hard", that is also a sign.

Whether these MPs will be successful in connecting with their constituents -- their voters -- is entirely a separate issue. Do I think they are credible politicians because they are now Hip-hoppin' and bloggin'? No. My assessment of the MP comes from what they've done with, and for, the constituent.

But for now, I would simply credit them for trying. At least they recognise they have to do something to connect with post-65s like myself (and those even younger).

Maybe my empathy comes from having experienced the horrors of learning and performing Hip-hop dance moves when I cannot dance to save myself (a story for another time). I take my hat off to those who feel they don't have a dancing bone in them but they do it anyway. That takes some gumption, if nothing else.

Also, as a public service librarian, I should know about trying. Just ask any public librarian who've tried getting teens to participate in a reading programme; or who've gone on stage to conduct booktalks in a bid to convince adults why that book is worth reading. Many times, we don't even know if we've succeeded in connecting with the customer -- let's just say if you were a pessimist, you probably won't survive very long as a public librarian.

I'm a post-65 Singaporean, i.e. born after 1965 . I am of the generation who've only known Singapore after Independence. I do not know, first hand, what life was like during the Japanese Occupation, the Racial Riots, Merger and Separation.

What I do know is that each generation have their particular challenges. I know as post-65 MPs serving post-65 voters, they don't have an easy task. The post-65 voters will be increasingly an opinionated lot.

So let these post-65 MPs try. I wish them luck, in all sincerity. Especially those without a dancing bone in their post-65 body.


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3 comments:

  1. it is good that you are not taking a skeptical stand,unlike the rest of us. But that's what makes the world interesting-a myraid of views and debates.

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  2. Anonymous8:51 am

    There's very little to comment upon, and well, contrary to popular notion, sometimes it is a bit hard to confront the individuals directly even in the internet.

    I would remark on "street soccer is fun!" (it is) but I hardly think that is a pertinent way to head the blog.

    Their lack of confidence in blogging should at least be stated in the introduction post as a caveat, and after that, they should not be constantly reminding readers of their inexperience, but rather be gung-ho about it. I nearly thought it was satire.

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  3. No, its good to take a non-skeptical stand, and it would be good to let them try and understand what exactly does their post 65 constituents think of their own country, political, social, economic and security issues.

    I'll love to see them engage the rest of us and I'll like to see them taking their stand as ruling party politicians if their views do truly hold water in formulating policies with us (their constituents) in context.

    It is one way to realised that open and inclusive society which our PM had been talking about since he took over the reins; for us whom are still waiting for that 100 flowers to bloom.

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