Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Inflections, Concatenations and Thinking Alone

Something curious happened last week. A little article slipped through all of us. The article in question can be retrieved here.
In Singapore's political lexical landscape, this is an issue which spawned a lot of little lexemes, the chief being OB markers, the affective divide and the Catherine Lim affair.
This article and supposedly others dealing with the same question, the same query, reflects the constant tension involved in articulations on this issue. More than any, this article is an act of inflection. A turning away. Inflection is a common practice in the local mainstream media when reporting on political matters or issues with potential political significance. It gets inflected. The focus is re-moved to another adjacent spectrum, another adjoining dimension, another additional meaning.
You see. The dynamics of this inflection is summarised thus :
I ask you : "How much you are paid sir?"
You reply : "I am not paid enough. My pay is lagging behind the benchmark."
I ask you : "How much are you paid exactly sir?"
You reply : " The formula calculating how much I am supposed to be paid was discussed a few years ago and agreed upon."
I ask you : "How much are you paid sir?"
You reply : "I decline to tell you."
Its a million dollar question and it is doubly inflected. By the person who answers it and by the media reporting it.
Why? The trick is to inflect this word "why". To layer the meanings into this "why". Why do I have the right to know. Why do you answer in this manner.
In a period of intensified political sensitivity, certain questions carry an aura or constellation of ramifications or more accuratley significations that cannot be concatenated.
In Singapore, political concatenation is a risky affair. The risk escalates when elections are near. When elections are near, the Singapore political lexiconography undergoes a process of silent ambiguation and open inflection.
This then is the morphology of the Singapore General Elections narrative. It is more than de-politicisation. It is the processes of ambiguation and inflection which are operative during this period of potential constellations and concatenations.
You can only think alone. Not with anybody else. Think alone.
Quote of the Day --
" Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow ... Total power can be achieved and safeguarded only in a world of conditioned reflexes, of marionettes without the slightest trace of spontaneity ..." -- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant, simply brilliant!

11:33 PM  
Anonymous oppenheimer said...

We are told that our ministers are paid high salaries to guard against corruption. However a quick comparison suggests our ministers' pay is totally out of proportion with any other "non corrupt" government system.


Sweden:
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index - 9.2,

Goverment Minister's Salary - SEK 116,000 (S$ 19,200)

Singapore:
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index - 9.4,

Goverment Minister's Salary - S$ 97,237


Sources: http://ww1.transparency.org/cpi/2005/cpi2005.sources.en.html
http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/3145
Asian Wall Street Journal July 10 2000.

3:06 AM  
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8:46 AM  

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