Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Liar and The Blogger

"The vision of Christ that thou does see, is my vision's greatest enemy." -- Nobody, in the movie Dead Man

The line above is taken from a little known Jarmusch film starring Johnny Depp. Its a quirky, funny and at times quite sad Western. Many of my friends think it belongs to the crap genre of movies.

Since there seems to be some discussion on anonymous in blogos, I thought I'll write something. Since I am anonymous. And as I am anonymous, so the dominant discourse says, what I write is irresponsible and criminal. So unread what you read. Because what I write are lies. They are symbols on a black page designed to trick your eyes, play your feelings, deceive you. Because I am a deceitful anonymous blogger.

Lets study the word anonymous. It comes from the Greek word, anonumos, which simply means nameless or more exactly without name. That is the root of the word. The dictionary meaning of anonymous has three different meaning : having an unknown or unacknowledged name. Having an unknown or withheld authorship or agency. Last, having no distinctive or recognisable character.

From its history of meanings, the word "anonymous" has had no ethical or moral value attached to it. From Roman law to its modern tomes, being anonymous is not a crime. To sign off as John Doe or Jane Doe is legally acceptable, at least in some countries. Perhaps if you sign off as X or more recently, V, it is a more sinister form of anonymity. There seems to be a swirling mass of malevolent agendas behind those two anonymous symbols.

But being anonymous has no moral or ethical value attached to it.

No, I am lying because I am anonymous. There has to be a moral and ethical value involved. Being anonymous means you are irresponsible. You are unwilling to stand up for what you assert. You are not honourable. You cannot see the light of day. You belong to the dark side. You are the shadow in the shadows.

But who imputes this moral and ethical value into the meaning of "anonymous"? Is it History? Is it Precedent? Is it Politics? Is it ideology? Is it culture? No. I am spouting more lies. Spinning greater webs of conniving.

Lets have a thought experiment. By putting randomly putting a name "Lionel De Souza" onto an essay means that it is good. It is responsible. It is honorable? Sometimes, a name may have too much power, too much honor, so much so that good judgement is impaired. Remember how MM Lee and PM Lee had to explain in Parliament the problems of property kickbacks because the developer associated the brand name Lee and gave discounts when he should not have done so. Sometimes, having a name brings about irresponsible behaviour too. But that is Lee. How about "Lionel De Souza"? It may be a name but it could be anonymous too because it has no distinctive or recognisable character from whatever it is being spouted by the dominant discourse.

But I am twisting the facts again. Making unsound associations. Because I am anonymous. Because I have withheld authorship and agency in this blog. And this withholding in Singapore is a bad bad thing. Its bad morally because it means I have something to hide. Its bad legally because it means I cannot be held accountable for what I write. Its simply bad that I am withholding my name from you. Bad.

In Singapore, the meaning of "anonymous" is like the meaning of "gay". There are ethical and moral associations which are imposed into the originary meanings of the words. From these associations, a certain degree of criminality is deduced. Unfairly, of course. Its like this : if you spoke to a communist once, you are by default a sympathiser. Because the word "communist" had its associations too. Its like Islam now. Its a slippery slope when we make build bridges across bridges of associations into the originary meanings of words. Good can become bad. Justice can become evil.

But I am of course lying. Because I am an anonymous blogger. Black background. Evil transfigured in my words. When actually I want to be a nobody. No name. Just the words because we remember the words but hardly the Names.

Its not. I am lying again. Being irresponsible.

The associations to "anonymous" in the Singapore context is simple. Strip away the moral and ethical values. Face it in its stark reality. The real association. If you are anonymous, you cannot be held accountable. Accountability. You must pay the price with your Name. Capital politics. To be heard. You must pay the price with you Name. To take political action, you must pay the price to join a political party. So simple. So clear.

but then I am lying of course. Because I am an anonymous blogger.

Quote of the Day --

"Writing is pre-eminently the technology of cyborgs, etched surfaces of the late twentieth century. Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism. That is why cyborg politics insist on noise and advocate pollution, rejoicing in the illegitimate fusions of animal and machine. " -- Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto


Anonymous Anonymous said...

lies lies and more lies! when you will you ever tell the truth?

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dead Man is a cool movie. you sometimes amaze me xb

12:57 AM  
Blogger expat@large said...

Dead Men Don't Lie! You have been warned...

The Nobody quote is Nobody quoting from William Blake to William Blake.

p.s. just joking about the "threat"

p.p.s. You know, I've had it up to here with this Xenoboy malarkey. I haven't understood a single word you've said since I read you,





1:54 AM  
Blogger ringisei said...

I thought you were pseudonymous rather than anonymous? *continues banging my drum of pendantry*

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who expect accountability from anonymity should offer transparency in exchage?

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This man Lionel De Souza must be mad or uneducated.

Singapore is a democratic and free country.

What we have here are choices.

So people are free to be identified or remain anonymous.
It is their personal choice, nothing wrong with that.

Can we say those that identify themselves as stupid and is wrong from anonymity point of view?

Some would argue Singapore is not matured and not ready for identification of bloggers and forummers.

Given the present situation, there is some truth in that and it will be wise to remain anonymous.

Plus there are so many grey areas in the laws especially for bloggers/forummers who just wants to let loose,have fun and talk crap. This group would be better off remain anonymous or else their creativity will be curbed.

When I mean the environment is not matured yet for identification, I mean the ruling government has not yet mature, not the people.

Singaporeans have mature considerably but not PAP as they still cling on to certain traits of the past.

Until PAP or any ruling party mature about the need to let go and let loose on the environment, it is correct to remain anonymous.

Environment means overall climate in Singapore on freedom.

Public figures are after all public figures. If you want to be a public figure, then be ready for all kinds of views and comments or else remain a private citizen.

Is Lionel De Souza a PAP supporter?

I bet he is cause he makes ranting against government looks like a crime which we all know is not as Singapore have elections and elections of course must have more than one party and take sides.

This ex policeman must have a gratuity of a million dollars to speak so crazily.

He still do not grasp the essence of free and democratic nation. He thinks everything must be controlled and registered. He is mad but will not "conveniently die off"

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a realistic world, nobody is ever 100% right or wrong. Not even MM, SM , PM or PAP.

It is up to the masses to judge whether anybody is right or wrong.

Anybody can say whatever he wants. But it is up to the listeners to make a choice and decide to accept and decide what he/she says.

This logic is universal and can never be change, unless you live in North Korea or Iran.

This is why I am against defamation suits as it might paint an incorrect picture of the person's character and honesty even if he wins.

Clear example is TT Durai. He sued the two former colleagues until they go bankrupt.The court awarded him and his character to be clean and honest and his two colleagues' reputation went down the drain

But we all know now TT Durai is the complete opposite of what the court and laws rule him to be.

Thus the same can be said of the loser in the defamation suit. The courts are never 100% right in judgement.

Thus even if Lee Kuan Yew wins defamation suits all the time, it may not mean the courts and laws are correct in judging his character.

By Shakespeare:

"A rose by any other name would have smell as sweet"

Credibility and validity of any statement does not depend on names and the nameless.

It depends on individual judgement.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:52 AM  
Blogger nofearSingapore said...

Hi ,
You almost make a compelling case of why one should be solely judged by the contents of what one's written and not by who one is. Of course a nice poem is a nice poem no matter what one's nom de plume is.
Ya sure Xeno boy or anon or whoever, I can't fault your logic etc.

BUT in certain instances when we are trying to project a sense of credibilty to the general public ( the unsophisticated masses if you must), then these people want to know that , hey, if these people ( including that attention-seeking Dr) dare to say such and such knowing that their reputation ( and more) is at stake, then maybe the official view about such and such is not as air-tight as it seems.
Another aim ( don't laugh), is that if academics, professionals, solid middle class types speak up, the PAP may shake in their pants, and say hold on, let's think this through carefully ....before we pull the wool over their heads.
Also, ( also don't laugh), maybe journalists also need encouragement that when they write "good" stuff, real people with real names pick up on it and try to follow the argument through to the logical conclusion.
The above few paragraphs somehow won't work if the author is ANONYMOUS or someone called PAP EAT SHIT or something worse right?
( sorry I had to cut and paste from my comments to another blog on a similar topic)
Dr. Huang Shoou Chyuan

8:12 AM  
Blogger Elia Diodati said...

ringisei: In that case, I should be pseudopseudonymous, in the sense that my identity is pretty much an open secret? :D

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah all bloggers should include their ICs at the end of evey post otherwise they're irresponsible liars! Oh and their photos too! And evict foreigners who blog on topics about Singapore!

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this Lionel De Souza is a paid agent of the PAP Government.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my goodness, the audacity n brilliance of this post! The clue is the dead man movie which as expat@large has quoted is a ludicrous situation wich develops when Depp whose name is William Blake meets Nobody, a native american in Western time America. William Blake, a name of power, whose words slayed the white men resurrected in the Depp charcter as a pseudonym. mind-boggling study of identity and the illusion of power.


1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, we live in an era where the most credible (supposedly) lie the most!

Even Bush lied about the weapons.

And as someone prominent said, when these people keep lying, their lies become the truth.

Increasingly, we see this happening around us. We have arrived at a new world order. The old school is just trying to maintain status quo.

I wouldn't teach the young to accept credibility just because the information came from professionals. They should be taken with a large dose of salt as well.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to nofearsingapore:

"if academics, professionals, solid middle class types speak up, the PAP may shake in their pants..."

That's whats wrong and lopsided in singapore; the PAP should take note, pay attention (shake?)whenever Singapore citizens, not just the above "categories", speak up. And whats with the the "the unsophisticated masses " talk? Actually many in power give far less credit to the value and opinions of the "the unsophisticated masses " than we should. And the majority wont speak up if we fear repercussions for our comments.

4:27 AM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

to phil aka E@L : you question my malarkey?!?!? haha, you the most sophisticated peddler of lies, lies about an extravagant expat lifestyle, lies of a philistine self, lies of sexual indulgence of the paid formats, lies of an uncouth imperialistic white man except when your lies shade into truths, when you write a beach in hua hin into life, when you write a fleeting window into the desperate lives of working girls in agogo pattaya, in wanchai HK and their search for just some happiness ... i forgive your lies white man! hahaha :D

Dr Huang aka NoFear : I too am almost convinced by your position except for my unease at your easy categorisations of people, of credibility.

There was once a psychological experiment, its pretty famous, during a time when unethical experiments, in the sense that those experimentees were not told the true purpose of the experiment, were still tolerated.

Human volunteers were administered with electric shocks in this experiment, increasingly painful dosages, right in front of the person administering the shocks. They found that when the person administering the shocks was wearing a white doctor's coat, the volunteers tolerated stronger levels of pain as compared to someone who was not wearing a coat.

There is thus, a danger of credibility.

I have a problem with easy categorisations of people, especially the group termed "unsophisticated masses", "conservative Singaporeans", "the silent majority", "the heartlanders". Their mandate in Sg is invoked often, far too often for my liking.

5:46 AM  
Blogger nofearSingapore said...

Hi anon ( & also xenoboysg),
I get your point that ideally the govt should listen to everyone equally. The fact is that they don't listen now because there is only a "seemingly vocal minority" that gets a word in at the forum pages.

If enough serious people, write in knowing that with their names printed, readers will realise that these are "real" people who are concerned about society and that they dare to be identified for their views, even if these may contradict the official line.

Once a critical mass has broken thru the "fear barrier", then perhaps there is a hope for true public discourse to start.

About "the majority wont speak up if we fear repercussions for our comments.", the pt is taken but if even the minority who are supposedly more the intellectual-type feel that it is uncomfortable to come out of anonymity or pseudonyms, what hope is there that the majority will take the lead ?
Anyway, the establishment media will not print letters from "anonymous" and pseudonyms.
Sorry about the categorisation of people, there is no intention to belittle different segments of our society. If you know me, I am actually very egalitarian.
Xenoboysg: The fact is that the less educated in Sg ( maybe not elsewhere), do look up to us to lead them (but their presumption is grossly misguided) as most of my "educated" friends have not interest in leading anyone except their own merry lives.
Dr. Huang Shoou Chyuan

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were programmed from young to think that you must be somebody to be credible.

That's why even exam results were compared in elections, all to perpetuate a wrong ie to deny that everyone has every right to make an opinion. The credibility lies in the ideas communicated.

Given in the past, most look up to PAP because they, being educated, represents knowledge and thus credibility.

I am not sure if the new Singaporeans, mostly educated (that, I don't mean holding degrees, 2 different things)still buy this fabricated logic.

why should we cow to their definition of credibility anymore? which is only a tool to use against democracy.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lionel de Souza ain't mad or uneducated; he's just a PAP running dog. I'm sure we all can remember his infamous letter describing the Incident at Pulau Tekong.

God forbid this Lionel becoming a clad-in-white political candidate in hald a decade's time.

9:59 AM  
Blogger prettyplace said...

Just watched Wag the Dog...hahaha
Now an analysis...i read....

Create a Tension in your minds people...and rise to realm of intellectualism....only then will you be free....

name or nameless....does it matter....if you can think....

11:13 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home