SingaporeScene
  • Singapore voyeurism site STOMP faces public backlash as citizens call for its shutdown. (Photo courtesy of SGAG/Techinasia)


    Shah Salimat is the editor-in-chief of Popspoken, an entertainment and lifestyle newsblog with a pulse on the issues that matter. He Tweets at @shahsalimat. The views herein are his own.

    Here's why citizen journalism in Singapore has worked so well: it combines two of our favourite past-times.

    One is the art of complaining, perfected to a science of passive-aggressive mutterings under one's breath and disapproving glances with folded arms. Another is our love of taking photos, even at the expense of social space and privacy.

    A cursory glance through STOMP's user-generated Singapore Seen column reveals the sort of tantrum-throwing, voyeuristic "journalism" that will make UK's The Daily Mail blush: uncle watches porn on his mobile phone in a bus, couple dances on the train as irate passengers look on, China nationals let their son run around Changi Food Centre naked.

    It is a far cry from the citizen journalism around the world that is making user-generated content a big asset to newsrooms.

    Read More »from COMMENT: Smarter citizen journalism without STOMP?
  • Window cleaners hang from the facade of Ngee Ann city mall in Singapore January 9, 2014. (Reuters/Petar Kujundzic)Window cleaners hang from the facade of Ngee Ann city mall in Singapore January 9, 2014. (Reuters/Petar Kujundzic)

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    The 116th Philippine Independence Day is coming up. To commemorate this event, the Pilipino Independence Day Council (PIDC) Singapore decided to organise a celebration at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, in the middle of Singapore's busy shopping belt. So far, so good.

    What they didn't expect was the backlash. Spearheaded by the Facebook page 'Say "No" to an overpopulated Singapore', Singaporeans began to protest against their event. Among their objections was the fact that promotional material for the event included an image of Singapore's skyline, and the use of the terms "interdependence" and "two nations". Furthermore, they are also objecting to the fact that the celebration will be in public space, rather than in the Philippines

    Read More »from COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
  • Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    In his latest “Big Idea”, Singapore’s Thinking Asian Kishore Mahbubani suggested three narratives that we should tell ourselves to “strengthen the Singapore spirit”. By perpetuating narratives of Singapore’s economic success, racial harmony and social equality (or “caring”), Mahbubani believes that we will come together to squeeze out a Singaporean spirit that will be the envy of the world.

    The piece is stunningly superficial, glossing over a host of issues without acknowledging even the possibility of different experiences. His claim that immigrants to America have shed “deep national identities” in favour of being American seems bafflingly out-of-touch. Anyone who has followed the case of George Zimmerman and his shooting of black

    Read More »from COMMENT: Why Singaporeans don't need to be told another 'success' story
  • Singapore writer Felix Cheong and his new book Singapore Siu Dai: The SG Conversation in a Cup.

    Singapore writer Felix Cheong wants to know where and why the country has lost its soul.

    He said, “We have become this glamour city, full of chrome and glass, tall iconic buildings, but no soul.”

    Cheong, author of short stories collection “Vanishing Point”, takes on this issue in his new book, along with hot-button topics like transport, education and economic growth.

    Called “Singapore Siu Dai”, which translates to “less sugar” in Hokkien, it is a collection of 50 short stories that satirize life in Singapore.

    Having previously written poetry collections and fiction novels, this is Cheong’s ninth book and his first foray into humorous fiction.

    The 49-year-old writer feels strongly about the political themes he tackles in his book. Civil servants are satirized in the book, depicted as characters who form the government’s elite but who do not see people as people.

    He said, “We have been in this same status quo for far too long. After 50 years, I think it’s time something changes.”

    He

    Read More »from Singapore writer laments that Singapore has lost its soul
  • Shah Salimat is the editor-in-chief of Popspoken, an entertainment, lifestyle and sociopolitical newsblog. He tweets at @shahsalimat. The views herein are his own.

    It was to be expected.

    The moment Mothership.sg scored a feature on national daily The Straits Times, its brand of humourous listicles and quirky personality profiles with a Buzzfeed-like sensibility had been given the seal of approval.

    It also was the time when two things were established: the site was touching on key socio-political issues (no matter how funny the accompanying sarcasm was), and that it had a company behind it with a swanky office space in downtown Singapore and an investor to boot.

    The Media Development Authority (MDA) did what any other governing body would do: tick the checklist and invite the Mothership team to register under the same class license that The Independent Singapore did and Breakfast Network did not.

    After a trying year in which skeptics launched a #FreeMyInternet campaign to challenge a seeming

    Read More »from COMMENT: MDA registration — censorship or making legitimate?
  •  Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    It’s a convenient argument, trotted out every time unwelcome change – unwelcome to certain groups, that is – is suggested. When faced with arguments supporting LGBT equality, freedom of expression or the abolishment of the death penalty, we get told that it is not in line with our “Asian values”. And that’s meant to be that; the discussion on becoming a more progressive society shut down with one meaningless, illogical retort.

    A letter by Bay Ming Ching in the Straits Times neatly rebutted the arguments of an earlier letter-writer, who wrote:

    “Our traditional values of filial piety, humility and a focus on the family should be promoted, instead of Western values like absolute freedom of speech, sexual permissiveness or gender ambiguity.”

    Read More »from COMMENT: The obsession with ‘Asian values’ must stop
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    Just how compassionate are Singaporeans? (Yahoo photo)Just how compassionate are Singaporeans? (Yahoo photo)

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    COMMENT

    When Charlotte Ashton and her husband moved to Singapore, a friend posted a link on her Facebook wall to a survey revealing Singaporeans to be one of the least positive people in the world. “Good luck in misery city!” he said.

    Ashton’s experience in Singapore has now gone on to be a viral op-ed on the BBC’s website entitled "Does Singapore deserve its 'miserable' tag?". Singaporeans are passing it from one social media profile to another, arguing over how awful it really is to live in Singapore. Some have leapt on the piece as an opportunity to once again rehash complaints about the city, while others insist that Ashton has made it all up.

    I don’t doubt Ashton’s account of crouching on the floor of an MRT train with no one to

    Read More »from COMMENT: Why Singapore is so much more than ‘misery city’
  • Daniel Wong is a learning and personal development expert, as well as a certified youth counselor. A sought-after speaker and coach, he is also the best-selling author of "The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success".

    Nobody likes rules. We associate rules with structure and rigidity—that doesn't sound fun at all.

    But I'm sure you'll agree with me that it's necessary to have some rules. Imagine the chaos if there were no traffic rules, or the lawlessness if there were no rules in sports.

    In a similar way, there are parenting rules that exist—and that shouldn't be broken—if you want to raise happy, healthy and successful children. By the end of this article, you'll know what five of these rules are and how to apply them.

    I developed these rules based on the extensive work I've done with both youths and parents, so these are parenting rules from the child's perspective.

    Rule #1: Focus on progress, not performance

    We live in a society that's obsessed with key

    Read More »from Five rules smart parents never break
  • Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes at www.rangosteen.com. The views expressed are his own.

    Meet Sandy Snakenberg, the 53-year-old sports trainer who uses the bicycle as a form of transport. Two weeks ago, Sandy got a visit by the traffic police because someone had lodged a police report alleging him to be the reckless cyclist featured on citizen journalism site Stomp.

    “Yes, yes, I know we all look the same,” moans Sandy. “But look at him, he’s got a different smile, he’s lighter in skin and he’s got a different bike”. It was clearly a different person. Sandy adds he always rides with a helmet camera.

    Yet he remained on police records a “suspect” until only a couple of days ago. He won’t get an apology from the person who ratted on him, because whistle-blower details are confidential.

    “So what do you think of the cyclist in the video?” I asked.

    “He’s a dick” was the sharp reply.

    “But let’s be fair, the video had no

    Read More »from Sports trainer gets mistaken for cyclist in Singapore viral video
  • Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are her own.

    Over the years we’ve heard plenty about the need for more Singaporean couples to have children. What we’ve not heard more of, though, is about sex and the quality of sex that Singaporeans are having.

    It was this issue that a panel of three experts attempted to tackle Friday at a talk on emotional and sexual satisfaction. With 61 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women in Singapore agreeing that mutual sexual satisfaction is crucial for a successful relationship, remarkably little attention has been paid to such a topic.

    As the talk went on, it became evident that society’s reticence in talking about sex has fed into issues of sexual satisfaction and dysfunction. Sex has been made mysterious, and people are uncomfortable to approach the

    Read More »from COMMENT: Taking the talk out of the bedroom on International Women’s Day

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