Monday, September 04, 2006

The Battle of Toy

Some imaginative reader over at Mr Wang imagines that Xenoboy, the Political Savant, is the alter ego of PAP youth Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. Minister Vivian is a good man. You can see it, he is a good man masquerading as a politician for a political party which is far too "pragmatic" and political for him. You can tell when he tried to reason that MM's dismissal of young Singaporeans after that torrid young Singaporean and MM interview session was not exactly correct.

But since we are diverted to Minister Vivian, I would like to talk about his recent call to the Young PAP to place recruitment on the top of the agenda. If I recall correctly, Minister Vivian himself was never part of the Young PAP. In fact, he was on the "other side", exploring alternative visions for Singapore until he was co-opted into the senior PAP and made a Minister in quick time. Now he heads the Young PAP and he wants to recruit. In his message to YP, he suggests that YP must accept those "like him", those "who had different ideas" just like how the senior PAP had accepted him despite his differing visions. This is the way to re-invent the YP. Let it stay young and hip and vibrant.

Let me offer my views. First, it is condescending to welcome those with differing visions into the YP if the intentions of YP is just to project the image that it is tolerant and willing to embrace "rebels". It is disgraceful and dishonest. While older people can use their world-weariness as justification to close half an eye to their co-optation, for any self-respecting young person, such a form of co-optation is commonly referred as selling out. Condescension to young Singaporeans is an insult. It fits exactly into MM Lee's cynical eyes that young Singaporeans will grow out of the phase. They will grow up wiser. They will end up like Vivians.

Second, for self-respecting young Singaporeans who are politically aware, who have fire and imagination, who are the creative forces which the Government desires so much, will never see the YP as an organisation that will challenge them. They would rather strike on their own, form their own young turk groups, even join the opposition parties. There will be more and more such young Singaporeans. This is happening, will happen more, given the way the world has turned today. They want their destinies in their own hands. Because they continually see that the PAP will never change its fundamentals and so they know that any attempt to cajole them into the YP ranks will lead to little if no change. These young Singaporeans have fires to burn and they will burn even if they hurt themselves, even if they end up jaded, even if they end up disillusioned. They do not want to burn in a safe and controlled environment within the confines of the YP. After this, then maybe, maybe some of these battle-hardened, grown-up Singaporeans may just throw in their lot with the senior PAP as Minister Vivian has done.

In line with XenoBoy consorting with exalted company is an entry by MercerMachine where Xenoboy shares a paragraph with Frederick the Great. (Note : Now that Neil Humphreys is gone, MercerMachine is the other ang moh dude you see hanging out in the HDB heartlands). While George Yeo is slumming it in cyberspace with tales of riding the MRT and visitng malls un-escorted, I find greater resonance reading entries/cartoons by this ang moh slumming it in the heartlands. There is a story to be made known about. Its a story of creative resistance, rhizomatic resistance. I once wrote a paper on it. I called it the Battle of Toy. When a movement was born in the Net. And the world played a game. A game with an army of toy soldiers to bring down a big bad bully who sold toys on the Internet. There are possibilities in interruptions, possibilities in counter-movements, possibilities in interstitial resistance. It requires, a belief, imagination and a fearlessness. All which the young have more than the average adult. Keywords are "etoy" "eToys".

And finally, in line with the theme of exalted company, XenoBoy finds himself with some very good blogs in some award thing. Vote for Mr Wang, Molly, Yawning Bread followed by ScrewySceptic and Popagandhi. For me, I would be most willing to give up this blog to Minister Vivian so that he can become a real alter-ego. He is a good man. He just needs to remember the fire, that fire.

Quote of the Day

"Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built
Out of longing great wonders have been willed
They're only little tears, darling, let them spill
And lay your head upon my shoulder
Outside my window the world has gone to war
Are you the one that I've been waiting for?" -- Nick Cave


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried wearing the white uniform about 8 years ago (which i chucked away six years after my O levels) as a YP member once. You know what's the feeling? you hope that people would pass you off as just another kid from a top secondary school. I never put it on again after that.

when you wear that white suit, you have to automatically feel that faceless people like Lim Boon Heng and Mah Bow Tan are Rock stars and the MM is Elvis. You have to think that the bullying tactics of the PAP during elections are alright because they have it in the US.

Xenoboy is right. No young person would join the YP and boast about it. Can you imagine a pick up line like "Hi I am an overseas PSC scholar and a YP member. Can I buy you a drink?"

I am sure that Glenda Han's daredevil venture into Mordor ahem Ang Mo Kio has not compromised her rather cool image. On the contrary, I think she looks better in blue rather than white


11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall there were 2 main categories of 'super-breeds' in the scholastic rankings of the SAF. The lesser I think was "EAGLE" and the prestigous called "WRANGLER".

A 'wrangler' is like an untamed horse. Going where it will. But I think Vivian, like so many BGs then and now, had to be saddled and muzzled in the long-run. That goes with the prestige of his scholarship.

I was shocked to read a long while back, that his wife had to be summoned for tea and biscuits with the MM. It was the only way to saddle him for his super-Minister role. Talk about a Wrangler, indeed.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Ben Ho said...

I once had an opportunity to be invited to tea with Dr Vivian with some other folks. One of his statements made at the start of the session is worth remembering- according to Dr Vivian, he mentioned that once the party felt it was time for him to go, then he would go. Assuming that such statements were honest ones, I do think that Dr Vivian remains one of the few members of the PAPacy that I would respect - if not for his ability, then at least for his honesty. He is a good man in my opinion who does not make silly comments.

Its certainly a difficult task leading a party whom few (among the younger generation are able to identify with). I would like to think that if WP had been given the same amount of publicity on the MSM regd its outreach activities, the response would be overwhelming.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you have to automatically feel that faceless people like Lim Boon Heng and Mah Bow Tan are Rock stars and the MM is Elvis."

lol wonder how Lim Hng Khiang fits into the PAP IDOLS mould

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do wish Vivian well. But with the million dollar salary rolling about - I guess it is easy to forget your values, your core and your calling. I still feel wary about the caSINo and its possible fallout. I don't know, maybe his next performance bonus will be tied to how much $$ the casino will bring in, from Singaporeans, from foreigners, and how much of the entrance fee the govt collects from its citizens. Sell out.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Vivian is regarded as the clown by the mainstream ministers. They sniggered at him behind his back.

To me, he is a disgrace to the intelligentsia in Singapore.

He certainly has lost weight, about 21 grams to be exact.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon above good one!

4:07 AM  
Anonymous fckfashion said...

With kiddie comments such as the one on the bar top dancing, its no wonder, his colleagues are sniggering behind his back.

Lost 21 grams? Lmao. That punt was one hell of a slime!

7:27 AM  

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