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Archive for the ‘Benjamin Cheah’ Category

Reviewing Mas Selamat’s escape

Posted by theonlinecitizen on March 11, 2008

By Benjamin Cheah

Mas Selamat has been on the run for twelve days and counting, as of the time of writing.

The initial outrage that greeted his escape has simmered, cooling into opinions cast in concrete. The media has moved on, covering other events.

But, if we as a nation are to move on, we must first re-examine past events and perspectives, and correct our mistakes.

In this post, I would examine three of the most contentious questions raised in the aftermath of the escape.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs, TOC's Writers | 34 Comments »

A government-controlled media is superior to a free media?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on December 16, 2007

By Benjamin Cheah

On the 11th of December, the TODAY newspaper published an article titled “Social stability is key: Poll”.

On first glance, it seems to support the view that a government-controlled media is superior to a free media.

Indeed, its main message seems to be that public media organisations are more accurate than private media companies; most Singaporeans do not think that it is important for ordinary people to have a say in issues reported in the media; and social stability is more important than media freedom.

This article does not show popular perception; rather, it simply reflects the media, political, and legal environment of Singapore.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs | 3 Comments »

Deconstructing the Majority

Posted by theonlinecitizen on October 24, 2007

By Benjamin Cheah

The ‘silent majority’ has finally spoken. Its representative is ‘The Majority’, a group that intends to prevent the repeal of Section 377A.

The Majority argues that the retention of Section 377A is necessary, to preserve moral values.

It is a reaction to the ongoing efforts to abolish Section 377A; therefore, the burden of proof is on the Majority to show why Section 377A must be retained, and its arguments must prove superior to the ones cited by the abolishment movement.

Yet, when held up to the light of critical analysis, the Majority’s case falls apart. It is a meshwork of logical fallacies, underpinned by a single nonexistent argument: repealing S377A is somehow in the interests of the majority.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs | 53 Comments »

Something is Rotten in the State of Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on October 10, 2007

Breaking News: Myanmar dissident dies under questioning

By Benjamin Cheah

On the 8th of October, five members of the Singapore Democratic Party, Mr. Gandhi Ambalan, Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Ms. Chee Siok Chin, Mr. Jeffrey George, and Mr. John Tan were arrested outside the Istana.

Four of the five SDP members were carrying placards reading ‘No Arms’, ‘No Deals’, and ‘With the Junta’, and a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy.

Officially, they have been charged under Section 5 (2), Chapter 184 of the law, which means that they have held an assembly despite the relevant minister having ordered the restriction or prohibition of such assemblies at a designated location, in this case, the Istana.

More specifically, the law used was cited as the “Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) (Prohibition of Assemblies and Processions – Istana) Order”, according to this channelnewsasia report. However, I can’t find any reference under that chapter to the Istana on Singapore Statutes Online.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs | 10 Comments »

Debt of Honour: Singapore’s Ties to Burma’s Junta

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 29, 2007

This is an updated article of the one published on TOC earlier, titled “Singapore’s debt of honour”.

By Benjamin Cheah

The crisis in Burma is escalating. For the first time in two decades, the people are taking to the streets. It started with protests against the doubling of fuel prices, and the sharp increase in prices of essential goods and services. 1

It has now become a call for democracy, and freedom.

The military has seen fit to respond with tear gas, arrests, beatings, and live rounds. State television claims that there are nine dead. Witnesses believe that the true toll lies in the hundreds. 2

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs | Tagged: , , , | 49 Comments »

A City Of Lions

Posted by theonlinecitizen on August 3, 2007

In the lead-up to National Day, TOC’s writers share their personal views on what it means to be a Singaporean and what Singapore means to them. We begin with Benjamin’s piece.

By Benjamin Cheah

I readily adopt the mantle of the quiet patriot.

However, I find no reason, at first, to reinforce my convictions. A country is little more than a construct: a flag, a national anthem, a pledge, painted symbols given power over a people and a region.

Certainly our red and white banner, and the writ of the State, applies only to this tiny island, off the southern coast of Malaysia. Everything else, from national infrastructure to national defence, flows from there.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Current Affairs | 34 Comments »

The next step – “proactive blogging”?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 16, 2007

By Benjamin

Blogging is a medium of communication. Web logs were once little more than online diaries, for people to write about their daily lives. Now, even these personal blogs can gain international attention and recognition. Xiaxue is one. Other, more prolific, Internet readers and bloggers would be able to name more.

Ultimately, a blog is a tool for expression; through expression, one communicates ideas; through ideas, one influences actions.

Blogs, therefore, can be powerful tools for change.

There are currently quite a number of blogs out there that recognize this. They write on politics, social problems, current events, issues which capture the writer’s attention so intensely that he wants to tell the world what he or she thinks of the issue at hand.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Community, Internet/Blogging | 23 Comments »

Entrepreneurship And the Future State of Affairs – Part 3

Posted by theonlinecitizen on February 13, 2007

By leounheort

People find thinking and examining things critically inordinately difficult, and yet it is these things that give rise to the ideas that drive culture. History has shown that the culture of a nation reflects the current philosophies of the times: Beethoven lived in the Romantic era, where emotions, feeling and senses took centre stage; consequently, his works are all expressions of his personal feelings and beliefs, and one cannot deny the contributions of his works to German culture.

Culture arises only when there is a significant Zeitgeist within a nation that propels its geniuses to express it with their creative works. So long as current Orders hinder significantly these geniuses and/or the formulation of certain ideas and philosophies, there will be no culture, and then there will be no nation. This further disadvantages a country, whose peoples are not naturally predisposed towards critical thinking and original thought. I’ve already shown that the materialist and rigid conservative mindsets hinder the creative process significantly; our artistic entrepreneurs are therefore the worst off.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah | 2 Comments »

Entrepreneurship And the Future State of Affairs – Part 2

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 26, 2007

This is part 2 of the article on entrepreneurship by Leounheort. Part 1 can be accessed here.

In a conservative society, anything new is automatically treated with fear and suspicion if it contradicts current social norms. Homosexuality, for example, is still an issue the State beats about, even until today. It is still socially unacceptable to be a homosexual, just because one does not have the same sexual preferences as most other people, for some strange reason.

Conservatism is backed by one thing, and one thing only: everything that has worked in the past has worked and made things safe; there is therefore no need to change. This inductive logic works all the way until the moment it does not. It assumes a kind of permanence in the world, but in reality, the world is in a constant state of flux. The advent of globalisation has merely made this more apparent: behold the fall of once-mighty superpowers and the rise of formerly-thought hopeless cases, meaning, of course, the former USSR and Singapore post-secession from Malaysia.

The conservative mindset would, therefore, in the long run, be ineffective, for it does not allow one to adapt to changing times. Despite this, Singaporean society is still reportedly conservative, and so it shall stay until this mindset is abandoned for a more dynamic one.

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Entrepreneurship And the Future State of Affairs

Posted by theonlinecitizen on January 15, 2007

This is part one of a 3-part essay on entrepreneurship by leounheort.

Singapore needs creativity. That much is clear: we as a nation must ride along the wave of globalisation out of necessity, for we are too small, geographically and demographically, to ever specialise in a particular good or labour-intensive skill. In this globalised world, he who can see a potentially successful venture, ride it to its peak, then develop another idea with potential for success, is king.

This means that there’s an ever-increasing need for entrepreneurs: brave, bold, determined, multitalented, creative risk-taking people who are unafraid of failure, and unafraid to go forth into the darkness of uncharted waters, knowing full well that they may not come back, or at least do so intact. If we were to survive, we would need the creation of niche areas, and the expansion of existing fields of expertise. All this, at its heart, needs creativity; the willingness to seek out and embrace risky, yet possibly successful, ventures; the knowledge to successfully perform these actions; and the will to fight for what one believes in.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah | 9 Comments »

The Rise Of The Political Internet

Posted by theonlinecitizen on December 11, 2006

chain_and_computer_1.jpgBy leounheort


Friday, 24 November, 2006The internet is one of the last bastions of true freedom: despite any country’s best efforts to censor or “regulate” it, no one governmentindeed, a multitude of governments with corporate supportcan attempt to bend the internet to its will.

All it can hope for is subversion of local service providers, and perhaps censorship of key issues within the country, but never complete control of the Internet. Nothing can stop the free flow of information on the Internet: for every firewall and censorship method that appears, a human mind inevitably finds a way to circumvent these barriers, and the Internet respects no national borders.

This characteristic of the Internet has given rise to a new phenomenon, what I term the ‘Political Internet’ in this article (and perhaps, in the future). This is characterised by the exchange, discussion, addition, deletion, or analysis of; and action upon, political information uploaded on the Internet, on websites, blogs, forums, and so on. The Political Internet probablybut I cannot confirm thiswas born by a collective awareness that the Internet’s freedom of information can never be completely taken. After political observers realised this, they wasted no time uploading their thoughts and analyses on the Internet, knowingconsciously or notthat they cannot be censured.

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Posted in Benjamin Cheah, Internet/Blogging | 2 Comments »