Bloggers gain prominence – comments

In my post a couple of days ago on Bloggers gain prominence, I talked about how bloggers are getting more recognition. Some have been courted by corporate and governmental institutions and some seem to have achieved a certain level of legitimacy and recognition in society.

I received an interesting comment which I thought I’d reflect in this post, together with my response.

From CY:

      I’m with AP Ang on this one. Until bloggers are ready to be held accountable – and some are e.g. Yawning Bread, TOC – in the same way traditional media is e.g. by not being anonymous as a start, then I don’t see how they can be equated to say traditional published media.

Not that this will stop bloggers from wanting to write though. And moreover, some of the most insightful stuff are written by bloggers with believe they have nothing to fear as they are out of jurisdiction or believe they cannot be tracked.

From Blogscapes:

Hi CY,

Thanks for your comment. You have a point there – in order to be seen as credible, bloggers need to be responsible for what they post.

It looks like blogging is getting to a stage where it is starting to ’split up’. One one hand, you do see bloggers getting prominence and achieving a certain legitimacy, so much so that some of them have been given press passes to events and press conferences. Blogging is also increasingly seen to be yet another marketing arm used by corporations and government agencies.

However, in having that, some may lose ’street cred’, as I believe many readers still hold on to that notion of the ‘renegade’ blogger, who doesn’t toe institutional lines, and which then makes what he writes, usually more controversial, and hence, more exciting?, leading to more conversations!

Pretty interesting times for the blogosphere!

Perhaps, months or even years from now, we’ll look back and see the different directions and movements taken by the blogosphere.

Well, what do you think, fellow bloggers?


PM Lee Hsien Loong, product placement and New Media at the National Day Rally 2008

New media featured in a pretty big way at the recent National Day rally.

PM Lee Hsien Loong, in his National Day Rally 2008, amongst other things, highlighted the need to use new media and to use it meaningfully and responsibly.

He talked about the need to prepare our people to cope with and manage the use of new media. He also highlighted the websites of McCain and Obama. In an earlier post, I talked about how Obama was winning the Facebook war! If Facebook popularity is anything to go by, Obama would win the US Presidential election! When you do a simple Google search, you will see a long list of websites and blogs devoted to the charismatic contender.

During the rally, he also demonstrated use of new media when he used his Nokia phone (product placement!!) to do a video capture and live video streaming to the Prime Minister’s Office website.

There’s a Channel News Asia website for the National Day Rally 2008 and you can get the whole speech and even watch the video!

The pdf documents of the relevant parts on new media are provided here for further ruminations:



I think that it’s a good move to take a more liberal attitude towards the use of new media. Actually, when you think of it, you can’t really control it, can you?

PM Lee also mentioned that new media is a good way to reach out to the citizens, and that political videos and campaign material would be allowed in the next General Elections, unlike in the past GE when these were banned. Howeve, of course, there would need for some safeguards.

Also, new media has been used increasingly by government bodies to connect with the masses. For example, the feedback unit, Reach, is getting more feedback ever since using new media on its website. Already, netizens were engaging the MPs in a webchat on the Rally issues!

Of course, there would be need to handle these and manage the use of new media responsibly, and I do hope that Singaporeans and the local blogosphere is mature enough to handle it. What do you think?

Dawn VS Xiaxue

There’s a mean storm a-brewing in the local blogosphere. Our two Princesses of blogs, Dawn Yang and Xia Xue have been at it.

They have been at each others’ throats, that is.

She says..she says…it’s all talk and now they are talking lawsuits and libel!

Bloggers’ spat: Xiaxue refuses to say sorry

By Debbie Yong

BLOGGER Wendy Cheng – better known online as Xiaxue – is not going to apologise to fellow blogger Dawn Yang. She was supposed to do so by Tuesday, the deadline set in a letter sent to her last week by Ms Yang’s lawyer.

The letter referred to allegedly defamatory remarks made by Ms Cheng, in a blog entry dated June 30, about Ms Yang. Ms Cheng, 23, had written, among other things, about the other’s entertainment and endorsement deals.

She also baulked at being compared to Ms Yang, 23, in a June 25 report in Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao. The letter had asked for Ms Cheng to publicly apologise and propose a settlement for the damages caused to Ms Yang.

‘I am not going to apologise. If she wants to embarass herself she can go ahead and sue me’, Ms Cheng told The Straits Times on Tuesday.

She is presented by Keystone Law Corporation.

Ms Yang is in Sydney on a holiday and could not be reached for comments. Mr K Anparasan from KhattarWong, the firm representing her, confirmed that he has received Ms Cheng’s letter but said he has yet to discuss the next step with Ms Yang.

However, he added that they will not rule out other options besides going to court, such as mediation or a ‘without prejudice’ meeting between both parties to settle the dispute.

This means that points raised in the meeting will not be used adversely against them in court.

The bad blood between the two bloggers goes back to November 2006, when they were compared in an online ‘hottest bloggers’ ranking.

They have been making comments about each other on their blogs since.

Ms Cheng gets 50,000 hits daily on her blog while Ms Yang gets 30,000.

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

And look at the number of people talking about them!! This is just the tip of the iceberg ( about the frosty chilliness between the two of them)

Well, frankly, while I’ve highlighted the two of them here, as their case does bear some mention as a lawsuit between bloggers could spell some legal consequences for all other bloggers, I’m not going to comment on the situation. Too much ink (of the electronic type, of course) has been spilt on it already.

Malaysian Blogger Raja Petra is jailed!

Key Malaysian blogger, Raja Petra has been charged for sedition after he wrote an article that suggested that key Malaysian politician, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is linked to the killing of a Mongolian woman.  The Malaysian blogger has been jailed and has gone on a hunger strike!

According to the article in Today, on April 2001, “Raja Petra and about 10 other opposition activists were rounded up under the Internal Security Act — which allows for detention without trial — for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He was detained for 52 days, during which he refused food and water”.

Raja Petra is the editor of the Malaysia Today news portal and he was jailed on Tuesday after being charged with sedition over his online article, and his portal is a popular news blog that promotes discussion about Malaysia’s political and social scenes.

He is the first blogger to be charged under the Sedition Act and he has refused to post bail set at RM5,000 ($2,150), choosing to go behind bars till his trial begins on Oct 6, and using his jail time to make a statement. 

This case will be closely watched, especially at a time when society is starting to come to grips with the use of the law on the blogospehere.

Racist blogs in Singapore

A couple of racist blogs have been taken down by the authorities. The two blogs featured racist comments with vulgarities and negative remarks about Muslims in Singapore. They were apparently started by the same person, presumably a male student in Singapore.  One blog was created in August and the other earlier this month.

The two blogs were hosted on Google’s Blogger site, and were taken down for violating the host’s “terms of service”. 

This reminds me of the case of two racist bloggers who were caught about a year or two back. The case kind of became a landmark one as it highlighted one of the abuses of New Media at a time when blogging was starting to catch on in Singapore.  

While it’s true that New Media such as blogs can be abused and used to express negative and divisive sentiments, what struck me about the situation this time is how the blogosphere and cyberspace seems to have developed an in-built self-regulating mechanism. What do I mean by that?

The one who ‘blew the whistle’ in this case is trainee teacher Tanveer Khan who came across the blogs on Sept 9. Tanveer knew that what he read was wrong and would have a negative effect on its readers and the race relations in Singapore, and immediately emailed the Media Development Authority (MDA) to inform them of the existence of the blogs.

His actions resulted in the blogs being blocked on Sept 18 and 20. The authorities do not police the blogosphere but do take action when they receive any specific information that needs investigating. In addition, the blog hosts such as Blogger also take action against users and prohibit certain undesirable content from being hosted on its servers. More details on specific content that violates Blogger’s policies can be found at

Anyway, with watchful Web users like Mr Tanveer, coupled with the proposed changes to the Penal Code stating that a person convicted of causing racial and religious disharmony can be jailed up to three years or fined, or both, it looks like bloggers who wish to spout undersirable sentiments should exercise more restraint.