Monday, February 20, 2006

Contradictions and Faceless Coins

I am Xenoboy. I am the Political Savant.
The fact that the Government is reviewing the PEA and factoring how to cope with political blogs is anticipated. In the last GE, it was the issue of political websites. The last review of the PEA caused the demise of Sintercom and severely circumscribed Think Centre. It is politically necessary and comes not as a surprise. It is a challenge and it must be faced.
The Channel News Asia article on the implications of political blogs in the coming GE is an exercise in poor journalism and perspectival contradiction. It spends half the time articulating that political blogs in Singapore are worthless and the other half talking about how the Government is figuring to restrict worthless political blogs.
Even more ironically, PM Lee in his Budget speech talks about empowering Singaporeans with a state-of-the-art broadband network with high connection speeds to keep abreast of world developments while simultaneously enacting regimes to restrict "local" content. What is the use of high speed broadband? Play WoW? Watch pornography?
Catherine Lim is clearly the most intuitive local political watcher. In a recent article, she commented that Government and people are engaged in a stylised dance. The affective gap between government and people is widening into a state of resigned despair. Both sides go through their motions. Just like how NUSSU negotiated with NUS administration in a rational way and results in an empty failure. And the disaffection widens.
A more consultative and open Government is equated as spending more time justifying policies. Whereas in the past, policies are jammed straight down people's throats, nowadays, it is rhetorically lubricated by the new and dynamic young Ministers. Think Casino.
The world has moved. The Government sees it. The people know it. My first experience reading a foreign newspaper coincided with my first trip abroad. Today, its no longer like that. The Government sees it. The people know it. But still the policy of depoliticisation is enforced as strongly as before.
Why fake it rather than face it? The average Singaporean today is much more politically aware than during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Singaporeans who leave are not quitters just as Singaporeans who stay are not fighters. More often than not, Singaporeans who leave are those who realised that there is nothing to fight for here and more importantly, they do not see the need to fight because there is no SIEGE. Why fake it rather than face it? Those who left are the paradoxically, the most politically aware, because they exercised the only political right remaining to them : leave.
The lost leafs.
I had mentioned previously, during an election period, there is an intensification of politics, creating a environment of unpredictability. Creating a chance for change. In Walter Benjamin's words, it is a monad, a moment pregnant with potentialities to rub history/reality against its grain.

But at the same time, it is during this period that we perceive the stark reality of the political system we are enmeshed in. For at a time when politics and change potential is at its zenith, our efficient system enacts regulatory measures of massive de-politicisation, de-political morphine hand-delivered by the mass media into our minds, into our hearts. And it hurts. This is a forgetting that hurts. An episteme of amnesia.

And we go through another four years of existence before the next period of potentiality arrives. A stylised tragic dance of a pantomime artist and his invisible audience, his invisible world.
To my readers. This political blog will not close. Just as my literary blog will not close. Because I see no reason why I as a Singaporean should close it. No reason why I should be de-politicised. No reason why I should forget.

Quotes of the Day --
"What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms -- in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Truth And Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense"
"Truth.-- No one now dies of fatal truths: there are too many antidotes to them." -- Friedrich Nietzsche, "Human, all too Human"


Anonymous parkaboy said...

Thanks. For this one - really, thanks.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous parkaboy said...

But can I ask you what you meant about the siege?

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People do not leave just for political reasons. They also leave for economic reasons and other personal reasons (e.g. persecution of minority race or sexual preferences).

Depoliticalisation is not sufficient reason to leave. But a combination of reason beyond a certain threshold may trigger some to leave.

The scary thing is that those who can leave (of which some, not all choose to) are from the same group of creative, independent-thinking individuals that Singapore so desperately needs more of to survive into the future.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous ted said...

I am confused by the last comment. Are not personal reasons you stated like discrimination of race or sexual preferences a side to this thing call politics or a manifestation of politics?

To me, politics is not just about freedom of speech and voting every 5 other years. It is about being able to have the sense, of control and participation in this society, to be able to say what I think and feel without having others to hush me down just because I am not one of the elite.

8:15 PM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

hi parkaboy -- the siege I was referring to is the "siege mentality" which the State imposes on citizens, hence the need to fight. This fear of the Other and the constant allusion that we are at the edge of a precipitous fall. I reject that today. Some who leave realise that all they needed to do was to walk away from the edge.

Anon -- as Ted mentioned the reasons you cite are all politicised reasons too which was my general idea. Its my fault, I may have come across as suggesting that only reason to leave is the depoliticisation strategy. Your last points are spot on.

Ted -- Your words are only too true. Politics is more, it is a way of life.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous parkaboy said...

Ahhhhh. OK. I misread! I thought you meant no siege by the powers-that-be. (I rather instinctively conceive of the 'fight' as being against them! And my feeling that it's hard to find even enough to fight against -them- for is, well, part of the reason why I'm - at least temporarily - a 'quitter' too.)

1:35 AM  
Anonymous ted said...

Just a rant here cos I know that irritating Wolong that have been haunting wont be lurking here...

I can see now why Molly Meek constantly dies and goes on hiatus. I am beginning to be disaffected again...sheesh.

One fine day, I will leave this stupid island full of stupid people and no matter how many number ones Singapore will ever go on to achieve . I hope I can just smile and shrug it off. Because I prize my sanity more.

End of Rant...apologies Xenoboy

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Libertas said...

Again you managed to hit right to the core of the issue - the paradox of intensive depoliticisation during a period seemingly massive policisation (during the elections).

I simply love contradictions, especially when they reveal truly what the situation really is. Its like saying Malays are part of the mainstream but suddenly adding the fact that we are plagued by socio-economic problems like dysfunctional families and teen pregnancies (So are dysfunctional families the mainstream of Singaporean society?)

Its revelations like these which make the people truly see what the government really is.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous ted said...

I guess you might be interested in the latest forum letter sent in by the Ministry of Home Affairs titled "Ex-Detainees took part in communist subversion". Essentially the spokeswomen was defending the right of the victors to dictate the way history is written (my opinion). Cheers!

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Those who left are paradoxically, the most politically aware, because they exercised the only political right remaining to them : leave."

Bravo. This is indeed our only remaining right. I have thought this many times myself, but could not bring myself to say it. Thank you.


3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that the final reason that meakes people leave is waht you said:

"One fine day, I will leave this stupid island full of stupid people..."

The Cultural factor. I get this impression that it is the *real* reason people leave the region when they can see no matter what happens nothing really will change, no matter what regime it will be.

Also the Stupid work/office political environment that obstructs creative and appreciated work.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you chaps & chapesses!

something to make you amused on the current state of things.

1:33 AM  

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