the world is thinking..

Question is, are you?

TOC, conspiracies, truth, and me

How wonderfully intriguing this week as been, as I observe from the sidelines conspiracy theories thrown at one of our more prominent local political blogs, The Online Citizen.

In a nutshell, a certain “jasper” accused TOC of having PAP connections, more precisely he instigated that certain writers of TOC were paid by PAP to write, well, pro-PAP articles. TOC then came out and made it clear that, to spare you from the details, it was neither pro-PAP nor anti-PAP; it strived to maintain neutrality and objectivity in their articles. More dirty linen are probably being strewn around even as I continue with this entry, but ultimately does TOC’s alleged links with PAP bear any significance at all?

Personally, as long as TOC produces well argued and substantive objective articles, I don’t mind whoever is paying them, if they are even getting paid. TOC is, fundamentally, a political blog aimed at bringing about awareness to its readers. It’s not a market vendor, whereby knowing where the fish or meat came from would be important. Neither is it a jewellery store, whereby knowing if its diamonds came from conflict zones would play a part in the purchase.

The fact of the matter is, TOC’s articles are ultimately left up to one’s interpretation and critical analysis. If the article is biased or manipulates statistical figures, criticism is needed. But what this brouhaha has been all about is scrutiny on TOC’s writers and their alleged links to PAP. Let’s assume if they do get paid by PAP but still produce well-written, politically-neutral articles (of course we all know this is near impossible but bear with me), would it be all that bad? Why are we putting an unnecessary amount of attention and spotlight on the writers, instead of their written articles?

As Molly puts it,

People are looking for truth dispensers. Because people simply don’t even think of becoming truth creators. They want to be told what the truth is without having to filter information with their critical faculties. Either that or they are afraid that others simply do not have the critical faculties to evaluate information with which they are being fed (which is also pretty scary).

and more succinctly,

the point for the reader is not just to believe, to agree or disagree, but to work on producing one’s own truth relative to what others have produced.

I’ll like to end off with this quote from the movie Into The Wild :

“Rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness, give me truth”

- Christopher McCandless, paraphrasing Thoreau.

Oh and to all readers, hoped you had a Happy Valentine’s Day thus far :) A little thought-provoking picture, also from PostSecrets ~

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February 14, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | ,

10 Comments »

  1. [...] Daily on 15 February 2008 The Phantom Menace. PAP mole in the mist? – The world is thinking..: TOC, conspiracies, truth, and me – The Sun Shines on Singapore: The TOC Fiasco – Truth is the First Casualty of War – SgForums: [...]

    Pingback by Daily SG: 15 Feb 2008 « The Singapore Daily | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  2. RH:
    1. I offer a simple way to tell if TOC is pro/anti/neutral to PAP and that is to look at the PAPaganda media’s COVERAGE OR NON COVERAGE OF TOC.

    2. If the PAPaganda media covers TOC, then it is a sign that TOC is viewed favourably by the PAP. The reverse is also true.

    3. So, have the PAPaganda media covered TOC? If so, favourably or unfavourably?

    4. [The NLB has placed TOC on its Archive List but this is not PAPaganda coverage or lack thereof, since the NLB is not really media].

    Comment by Robert HO | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. “Why are we putting an unnecessary amount of attention and spotlight on the writers, instead of their written articles?”
    Quite coincidentally, I had finished reading Prof Lipstard’s book, “History On Trial,” which is about anti-semite and Adolf Hitler apologist David Irving. Latter sued because he maintains he is not a Holocaust denial, but yet insists there were no Jews gassed at Auschwitz. The question arose in the court trial, can a person who wrote more than 12 books on World War Two claim to be a historian, if his “history” is proved to be a twisted version of the truth? For instance, David Irving posits that Adolf Hitler never knew about the 6 million Jews gassed by the Nazis. IMHO, the agenda of the writer is more important than the output of the word processor. More personally, are you still reading the Straits Times?

    Comment by Jennifer | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. “Why are we putting an unnecessary amount of attention and spotlight on the writers, instead of their written articles?”

    I dont believe one can really separate the two. If Osama Bin Laden was writing fairytales would you allow it to be read to young minds?

    Besides Jasper is more or less old news now, given that ppl like the brotherhood have made a clear decision to drop them like a hot potato.

    Dunno why though? Maybe there is a trade off somewhere.

    Comment by diedie | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  5. @ Jennifer : I’d suppose knowing the agenda of the writer would enable the writer to see where s/he is coming from, and on what historic/cultural basis, if any, his arguments were made.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying the background of TOC’s writers are irrelevant. If one of them was found to have direct links to PAP even after them clearing the air, that’d definitely hurt their credibility and probably a huge portion of their readers, me included, would be reluctant to give them a second chance.

    But above the writer’s agenda and the output, what’s most important, in my opinion, is to recognise the need for critical evaluation, and not to simply accept things at face value.

    I still do read the Straits Times, it does a good job at covering important issues pertaining to everywhere except home.

    Comment by desemondez | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  6. @ RH : ” 2. If the PAPaganda media covers TOC, then it is a sign that TOC is viewed favourably by the PAP. The reverse is also true. ”

    If TOC was truly a mole placed by the PAP, don’t you think the PAP will not cover TOC at all?

    And even if it did, it could simply be mind games, where PAP knows you’d think PAP wouldn’t put the spotlight on its own mole, but ends up doing so in a game of reverse psychology.

    Comment by desemondez | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  7. @ diedie : I think you bring up a good point about young minds. Presumably by young, you mean too young to critically evaluate and interpret. In that context, I think any sensible parent would not allow their children to be exposed to any sort of influential material unless they’ve gone through it themselves and deem it safe.

    ” Besides Jasper is more or less old news now, given that ppl like the brotherhood have made a clear decision to drop them like a hot potato. ”

    I’m confused here :( Brotherhood? Is this some secret underground uprising I’m unaware of? Fill me in!

    Comment by desemondez | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  8. What is this brotherhood thing? Oh and Osama is rumoured to be dead since 2001 or 2002 according to benazir bhutto(assainated) and some french government minister(in trouble).But I guess you could still try to find that out some way :)
    O)h by the way hurray for is real they just destroyed another mosque somewhere (rumour)
    how that for conspiracy?
    Anyway How did they know about the foreign student activists who are protesting for Bur Ma.
    How come they break the soe win stuff conincidently just after he is declared dead???? lol rofl
    Yep no conspiracy.

    Comment by onlooker | February 16, 2008 | Reply

  9. Counter insurgent theory full of holes.

    The NewSintercom (http://www.newsintercom.org/index.php?itemid=571) said:

    “Whatever we might think about the PAP, they are politically cunning at least. …….. The PAP in its Internet offensive have probably dropped its P65 blog as its Internet flagship and moved to something else that the public wants to read – a moderate blog.”

    The BIG HOLE Number 1:

    Why is the politically cunning PAP, as NewSintercom said, would act in such foolish manner like:

    Having Ephraim Loy. a Young PAP, as provisional co-editor of TOC.
    Having Choo Zheng Xi paid to assists a PAP MP to gathering material for Parliamentary speeches and helps to write for the constituency newsletter,

    Does it make sense?

    The BIG HOLE Number 2:

    Jaspers said:

    “this toc chief is paid by a pap mp out in the west of singapore to write. PAID BY PAP TO WRITE. and paid quite well so its said”

    First, Jaspers mixed the fact that Remy is paid for gathering material for Parliamentary speeches and helps to write for the constituency newsletter, not his work with TOC.
    Second, don’t you think the politically cunning PAP will have better secretive ways to pay anyone to do their dirty work?

    These two big HOLES are more than enough to sink this whole conspiracy theory.

    It is said that some people are blinded from these big holes in plain sight because of their deep seated anger with PAP. They failed to think rationally to see these holes and misguided by people with flawed reasoning to spin an unjust attack against a group of caring, concerning young people who serve TOC and the general public with their objective and informative articles.

    Comment by sarek_home | February 17, 2008 | Reply

  10. Maybe EL’s role is to ensure the pot don’t boil over. A very subtle way of manipulating/controlling.

    Comment by George | February 18, 2008 | Reply


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