Monthly Archives: September 2008

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IPS-Law Fac forum on AIMS paper

Just got this mailer from IPS. Thought I’d post it up in case anyone is interested.

IPS-NUS Law Faculty Public Forum “Consultation Paper by the Advisory
Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS)”

Date:               19th September 2008

Venue:            Seminar Room 4-4,NUS Law School,Block B, 469G Bukit Timah Road

Time:               4.00 pm – 6.30 pm (Registration begins at 3.30 pm)

Attire:              Office Attire

The Institute of Policy Studies and the Law Faculty of the National
University of Singapore will be organising the above forum to gather
feedback from members of the public on the recently published
consultation paper by the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media
on Society (AIMS). The advisory council was appointed last year by the
Government to study the far-reaching social, ethical, legal and
regulatory implications of a rapidly growing new media sector. Last
month, it unveiled its consultation paper, entitled “ENGAGING NEW
MEDIA – Challenging Old Assumptions”. The paper contains
recommendations on how and whether Government should engage with
citizens, regulate the Internet and protect minors from harmful online
content. The paper is available for download at the website of AIMS
(see http://www.aims.org.sg/library/docs/Executive%20Summary.pdf for
the executive summary and
http://www.aims.org.sg/library/docs/AIMS%20consultation%20paper%20-%20Engaging%20New%20Media.pdf
for the full paper). AIMS will refine its paper in the light of public
feedback before submitting it to the Government.

To register for the forum, please complete the attached Registration
Form and email it to Ms Raihidaya Wapa at daya@aims.org.sg or call
6837-9842.

If you have further queries regarding registration and administrative
details, please feel free to contact Mr Aaron Low (Email:
aaronlow@aims.org.sg) or Ms Yvonne Pang, (Email:
yvonnepang@aims.org.sg).

If you unable to attend the forum but will like to give feedback on
the consultation paper, you can do so at the AIMS website at
http://www.aims.org.sg/ or at the forum located at
http://forum.aims.org.sg/ You can also give your views by sending a
SMS to 94354608 between now and the end of 30 September, 2008.

Thank you.

How fast can you SMS?

So like to break from the usual politics-social commentary blah blah, I went to look up some of the more interesting tech waves hitting our mobile devices and laptops. And found this:

 I thought this was a freaking marvel. I mean I have a HP PDA and using stylus to type SMS just plain sucks. It stops me, literally, in my tracks as I have to bend over and write the message. Properly. And if I get one letter wrong, I scream and start to sweat. So, it’s a pretty annoying situation. I went back to my old Nokia after 6 months of putting it up with it.

Now, with this it is highly unlikely it will be able to detect things like la, lor, wah lau. Maybe we can input the Singlish dictionary in…

Myopia and its related illnesses

Myopia, as it is defined, afflicts many people.  Those with myopia see nearby objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred. (Wikipedia) Singaporeans are known to have one of the highest rates of myopia in the world. Many blame it on computer games, TV and reading in a poorly-lit room.

It seems myopia has not only overtaken our sensory functions but also our way of thinking.

Our treasured and dearly-loved elites over at Serangoon Gardens most clearly and stunningly exhibited this form of myopia. Not only myopia, might I humbly add, but also xenophobia and sheer racism.

Before I continue, I have a disclaimer. I do not appreciate the massive human jams on the public transport system nor in the shopping district especially on Sundays. While it is easy to blame foreigners, I don’t. I resent that it is crowded environment but I also greatly appreciate that we need these foreigners in our midst. Its the same everywhere else in this world. Fact of life: No one wants to work as a cleaner for $800 a month. Yet in my estate, I see young men and women from China clearing our the rubbish, dilligently, might I add.  (The economic solution to this is to pay higher wages for cleaners, similar to what we give our young educated men and women. In fact, economic theory suggests that we have to pay even more salaries to attract people to work in lousy jobs because they are lousy jobs. The result? We have to pay at least $2,000 to get a local young worker to work as a cleaner. The implications are quite clear, of course.)

The kind folks over at Serangoon Gardens seem to forget that their trash would pile up if not for foreign workers; their roads not smoothened out, their $2m houses not built; gold taps not fixed; their BMW/Mercedes cars not shined. They are actually okay with foreigners, just not stinky, smelly, dirty (might I daresay, black or dark) foreign workers.

No, let me correct that: they are not okay with having to share their living space in suburban heaven with such creatures. As long as they are out of sight, smell and mind, its okay.  Foreign workers are free to mix with the rest of Singapore, since, you know, people with no money don’t really count as thinking, living organisms either.

The government’s solution? Instead of correcting or reprimanding such racism, it went on to suggested that it would set up a segregated ghetto, as it will certainly become. (WTF are going to be cleaners for a compound of cleaners??!)

“Regardless of race, language or religion to build a democratic society…” Obviously, foregn workers not counted.

I weep for Raja’s vision.

Aiming too far ahead?

So the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS) has finally released its report. More than a year after it was set up it proposed key changes in policies and laws in 4 areas, engagement, online political content, protection of minors and limited immunity for intermediaries.

Great.

Uh, were you expecting anything more? Lots of people are saying, boo AIMS. Lame AIMS. Blah AIMS. Aim higher la.

What? Do cows fly over the moon?

Fact 1: AIMS is government appointed. That it got so far in going beyond what PM said is already an achievement. Don’t expect more than what it can go.

Fact 2: It is run by people who are not practitioners of New Media. No bloggers, no forumers etc.

Fact 3: These are but mere RECOMMENDATIONS. The final decision-maker is the government, and I’m betting they aren’t even going to go as far as AIMS.

So what are we left with? Everything. Look, the world moves on. Even if the government says, hey no one is to post pictures of chicks (I mean the yellow fluffy things that grow up to be McChicken burgers) or cats online, does that mean that the Net will suddenly be filled with a dearth of chick flicks (Haha)?

Fact is the Net ignores everyone and no one. We too have to move on and create something out of nothing. I find it amusing to see people write “The Net is unregulable!”. If so, why are they petitioning or writing about why the government should relax rules on the Net? If it is, it is.

If the idea of community moderation is to take flight, it is now that it should. We don’t need a stamp of approval.

Just do it