Sunday, February 04, 2007

Deep Throats

Note : do read a fellow treacherous idiot, dearest Molly.
The news that PAP activists on anonymous surfing duties, to blend propaganda into discourse does not really surprise me. What did raise my eyebrows is the fact that the ST actually reported a leak. A leak of ruling party Internet discourse strategies from no less an anonymous source. Perhaps next week, we will have DeepThroat on BlogTV, suitably shadowed, pixellated and deep-throated.

Is this DeepThroat a hero then? Someone working behind the lines. Someone who feels that this is not right. Someone who thinks that this is something that the public should know and to react to. Someone who believes that the integrity of the PAP should guarantee that its tactics remain above the board. That it should fight its narrative wars above board, without recourse to subterfuge, without recourse to penetrating the underground. Against this resort to fighting terror with terror? The choice of words in the report is revealing. Its a counter-insurgency. This means that there is an insurgency in cyber-space. An insurgency? What is this insurgency that merits a counter insurgency?

This is perhaps the most indicative implication of the report. There is an insurgency in Singapore cyberspace. An insurgency no less. An insurgency of words? Of literature? An insurgency of Art? Personally, its all the preceding and more. Much more. Much more to the extent that the PAP has reneged on its long-held belief that the Net is just a space to vent. They are seeing the existence of an insurgency of action. An insurgency of sharing. An insurgency that causes hearts and minds to waver. An insurgency that represents the embryonic ferment of a consciousness of what Singapore can be, what is its meaning apart from the state-sanctioned narratives. And its source is the Internet and its structure.

That this counter-insurgency action is the direct result of GE 2006 means only one thing. Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, the influence of the Net on elections is significant. It is significant that in GE 2006, there was so much action, so much belief, so much passion as Singaporeans basically ignored the threat of regulations. This is what numbers can do. It renders regulations useless. Numbers overwhelm the State instruments of power. Numbers cause the enforcers themselves to waver in their self-belief. Its the same numbers arising from the NKF scandal.

And the objective of the counter-insurgency unit is to stop this coalescing of numbers. Its to plant seeds of doubt. Its to divide. Not overtly. Not overt propaganda at all. It will be a clever manipulation of words. Manipulation of reason. It will be the gentle and subtle prising apart of collective action. To keep Singaporeans separate. Alienated from one another. So that misery is a personal affair. Compartmentalised, misery becomes, in the psyche of the Singaporean, a personal failure. Compartmentalised, misery makes the Singaporean blame only himself. He is just not good enough to compete. Its his own fault that he is in such dire straits. If misery is allowed to become a collective, Singaporeans will realise that the problem is not them but the system. That there is a structural reason for their misery. If misery becomes a collective, insurgencies are born.

This is the objective of the counter-insurgents then. It is not to sell the Government message. That is the superficial level. It is to keep everyone separated. It is to introduce suspicion and mistrust into discourse. It is to divide ultimately.

It is inevitable that this counter-insurgency unit will happen. That it took so long is the surprise. That it is leaked to the ST and reported is another surprise. The motives of DeepThroat can only remain in the realm of speculation. Is he a hero? Or is this a deliberate leak. A deliberate leak to tell those in the sidelines to remain in the sidelines. A signal that there are anonymous agents around. Ready to report on you. A signal that They are in cyberspace too. Breeding mistrust and fear. Selling the party line? That is the superficial line. If you have a counter-insurgency unit, its not to do sales. Its much more than that.

There is one fatal weakness in this strategy. Its that they fail to see that the Net, or cyber-space is only the medium. The insurgency is happening because it is reflective of reality. Of the sentiments of the many. And they are using the Net only as a medium to mediate their feelings. No matter how sophisticated the counter-insurgency unit, this will be its singular failing.

The memory of numbers, of collective action will not fade so easily. Because it was through this medium that a sense of empowerment was born. A belief that there is a possibility of action. An act of uploading a rally video as a symbol of collective resistance. A belief that other Singaporeans will do it too. This memory will not fade. These feelings will remain.

when the time comes, this collective action will sweep the counter-insurgents aside. As it has already been done before in Singapore.


Quote of the Day --

"Wherever there is discontented, hungry or ill-treated peasants or craftsman, there is a potential heretic. That is why I shall not cease to collect information and to follow as closely as possible the fates of these unbelievers, to supply Your Lordship with new material to evaluate. I have nothing further to say except that I kiss Your Lordship's hands, imploring one to whom I owe such unbounded respect, to let me continue to lend these poor eyes to the cause of God. Your Lordship's loyal servant, Q" -- Luther Blissett, Q

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an incisive and insightful take on this. I'm more inclined to believe that it was a deliberate leak by the miw, OB markers at work again.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points again.

I believe that we have seen this collective action in work - NKF. Truth translates to actual actions. It takes only one simple move - stop the donations. The government has realised this collective action can happen in the physical world. They have realised that no laws can be used to reverse this simple action - the will of human being, the ability to make a choice based on truth. The internet has started to present alternative views to their policies, some are good and closer to truth. Then, the truth will build the collective action and the collective will do the simplest action - to exercise choice.

They have seen the collective action. They know the danger of this collective action.

Leak or no leak is not important, it is their fears and what they will do to subdue their fears.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Molly Meek said...

The leak is a catalyst to the proudction of suspicion, isn't it?

7:33 PM  
Anonymous james said...

Superb insight. Really got me thinking, thanks

8:27 PM  
Anonymous sim chin boo said...

33.4% getting out oF hands hah !

8:33 PM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

Aye Molly a catalyst for suspicion only. We have to ask ourselves, as citizens, what good does this "leak" do for us? Nothing. This "leak" tells us nothing in the current climate of Sg politics. If something is wrong, this "leak" will not right the wrong.

So what are we left with but to trace the physics of power of this "leak" as it filters across the collective Singapore consciousness. And this tracing leaves us with what?

You have already answered it.

9:41 PM  
Blogger http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/ said...

Robert HO :

RH:

1. I know it sounds incredible, but quite possibly, the very first beginnings of the idea of using COMMENTERS came from Martyn SEE's interview with me, in which I said, "For example, you can read a blog and leave an anonymous comment. That comment may be a sentence or a whole essay. Can LEE Kuan Yew clamp down on commenters? I think not." Read:

http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/

2. From that beginning, the idea became ANONYMOUS COMMENTERS out of sheer necessity due to the wellknown public shame of being a PAP member, so unpopular it is in Singapore. PAP members are all known to be ass lickers and working for their own selfish advancement rather than the general good and this is the widespread perception of them. Thus, the PAP wanted Commenters and by circumstance of being unpopular, it had to be Anonymous Commenters.

3. Actually, anonymous PAP commenters have always been around. Do this little exercise: post a question in soc.culture.singapore [where I was active years ago] or Sammyboy's Forum and ask regulars to identify the PAPists. You will get dozens of them and their nicks.

4. I have battled them in SCS. They are very sneaky and try all ways and means to undermine my postings. Especially my postings of LKY torture of me and family members, his daily criminal intimidation to me to further harm my son [break his arm; today] and my little niece [given a very bad sore throat].

5. They also have to be anonymous because two of their weapons are INSULT and DEFAMATION. Are insults effective? Ask Gayle GOH. Any sensitive human being suffering insults gets distressed, inordinately so and I have been tailed by LKY ISD goons who mouth Hokkien obscenities at me, which infuriates me because there is nothing I can do. So insults are effective. That is why Gayle GOH shut down her blog. As for defamation, that is part of LKY's armoury. Remember what he said of JBJ "mangy dog, hustler, etc"? And CSJ "liar, cheat, etc"? So, with LKY showing the way, his Minister Cronies and their PAPists are going to use insults and defamation in a big way. The reason, as you so rightly pointed out, is NOT DEBATE BUT DOMINATION — WITH THE AIM TO SHUT DOWN BLOGS OR SO RIDDLE THE COMMENTS SECTION THAT NOBODY READS THEM ANY MORE.

6. Will they succeed? I am not sure. Gayle GOH has been shut up. GOH Meng Seng complains about insults and defamation on his blog's comments section. There may be bloggers who are thick skinned enough to shrug off insulting and defamatory comments but some will be surely be intimidated into toning down their PAP criticisms and decide they have more important things to do than to edit a dozen new insults and non-sequiturs a day. Sheer volume can overwhelm as I found out. I was at some time overwhelmed by the need to rebut every lie and insult that I spent far too much time on my postings. Indeed, I was actually prevented from some fresh postings and essays by the need to rebut lies. I hope you all have better luck.

7. That is why, on my blog,

http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/

I have removed the Comments Section. Otherwise, I will be forever rebutting lies and defamation.

Robert HO
S0197974D

11:37 PM  
Blogger Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Xeno Boy,

I believe they have been trying their very best to up their "counter-insurgence" effort (from an initial token of forces prior to GE 2006) about half a year ago.

I think they must have felt that it is really fertile to cover the whole internet sphere and now trying to deliberately leak such information to create fear.

This is just like past USSR. The communist government may not have millions of spies to plant all over USSR but the they need to create an impression that "We are everywhere" even though it is supposed to be covert operation.

Thus, I would see this as a desperate attempt to "regulate" or even deter new potential participants in writing and sharing views that are not so favorable to PAP government.

So the next question is, what are we going to do about such subtle attempt of intimidation? ;)

Goh Meng Seng

12:59 AM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

Hi GMS,

The answer is simple. As Mr Wang says welcome it without fear. As residents of Potong Pasir will say, if there is free sharksfin, why not eat it?

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is official, no matter what your political stand:

The PAP is terrified of the Internet. What they cannot control, they will seek to divide and conquer, or demonise as being incompetent for 'intellectual debate'.

They know that more and more people are waking up, rosy reports in the mainstream media do not correlate with real life.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rage against the machine!!! GRRR!

9:43 PM  
Blogger redbean said...

hi xenoboy, hi molly, hi robert, hi mengseng and hi everyone,

i had a little experience with a few brats that suddenly appeared in my blog. and yes, they did nothing intelligent except hurling insults.

how i dealt with them? i just told them simply that they were a disgrace to whoever they represented. and who ever sent them was more disgraceful. but of course i made it very clear that reputable and distinguished organisation would not stoop so low to do such things.

and i confess here that i do not know who sent them. but they have disappeared for good.

and my ego, though big at times, tells me that i am just having wild imaginations.

cheers

i also post at www.redbeanforum.com

11:30 PM  
Anonymous tsft said...

Why overcomplicate things, XB? I think the Straits Times is well-managed enough for that story to be completely, 100% staged. I wouldn't assume too much editorial independence for a paper run by former intelligence officers.

I think what's most revealing about the surprise over this anonymous scoop is that people simply cannot believe the establishment would think of such an ill-founded move.

8:30 PM  

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