As I read the news from independent and social media, as well as the “mainstream” media, I’ve realized the disconnection between citizens and the government is getting wider. I subscribe to both media such that I get views from both perspectives. Here are some trends I’ve noticed:
1. “Mainstream” media says Singaporeans are bullies while Social media says Singaporeans are the victims. i.e. Many MPs and their supporters calling Singaporeans bullies and xenophobic while social media exposes FT bullies and Singaporean victims. Recently, “Mainstream” media has been trying to cover their tracks by not publishing the nationalities of those behaving badly while actively exposing Singaporeans on their news.
2. Social media exposes problems due to negligence while “Mainstream” media blames it on the people.
3. “Mainstream” media never report on the losses Temasek Holdings and GIC make while social media actively promotes accountability, transparency on our CPF monies invested in these private entities.
4. “Mainstream” media always talk down to Singaporeans. I.e. Citizens complain too much, low productivity, Singaporeans should be grateful for what they already have and young Singaporeans are the noisy trouble makers.
5. 2 opposite views on the cost of living – Independent and international news claim Singapore is the costliest city in the world. “Mainstream” media rebutted with multiple news articles on why Singapore is not expensive.
6. “The government cares for you” – “Mainstream” media blare it so loud on TV and on the headlines. They won’t need to do this if they really cared. Action speaks louder than words. I’m still hoping show more care during policy making and enforcement.
7. Opposing views on the foreign talent issue – Social media shows all the bullying and ugly deeds from rouge foreign talents. I.e. Job displacement, discrimination, bad behaviours and attacks. “Mainstream” media plays them down and blames Singaporeans for being intolerant, spoiled and xenophobic.
8. The Job issue – “Mainstream” media says Singaporeans aren’t qualified or don’t want to work in these “low” level jobs, thus require foreigners to take them on. Employers harping on the lack of qualified people or lack of Singaporeans applying for the job. Meanwhile, social media says employers are offering peanuts (meagre) salaries, FT HRs excludes Singaporeans’ cv, displaced PMETs becoming taxi-drivers, age discriminated and retrenched, pregnant and fired for biased work appraisals… the list continues.
9. Singaporeans are under-happy or unhappy – Many or if not most citizens don’t have much avenue to voice out their opinions and frustrations, so they become the ‘minority angry netizens’ as the “Mainstream” media puts it. If that’s true, then social media should be renamed ‘minority media’ not very social indeed.
10. “Mainstream” media is Pro-PAP while social media is pro-opposition – Everyone knows about the propaganda Singaporeans have been listening to. Recently, we have seen a lot of Pro-PAP Facebook pages and websites trying their hardest to gain social media market share. You have the FLOP and FPAP who are hard-core PAP supporters. Some of them masks themselves as sites promoting SG50, while some put up politically neutral news to attract readers etc. Sometimes, they subtly promote and support the government. I reckon when the next general election comes, you will see them morph to a hard-core PAP supporter. Many independent social media are being held hostage with a performance bond on the type of news they publish. I am glad that there are still some websites who have escaped such ruling, not because I’m pro-opposition, but because we know “Mainstream” media has been unreliable throughout.
11. The Workers Party Farce – “Mainstream” media plus PAP MPs complain too much too shamelessly about the problems they created for them. I.e. holding a trade fair without a permit, even if the trade fair is good for residents. Social media actively rebuts “Mainstream” media but “Mainstream” media calls social media fabricating lies without justifying any of the so called ‘lies’.
Even though I’m residing overseas, I still can feel the pain and frustrations Singaporeans are currently facing. The reason I still care about Singapore is because my parents, relatives and siblings are still living there. My mum keeps complaining that she can’t retire peacefully, dad complaining about the rising cost of living, while my siblings and relatives work overtime every day and have no time for romance. If these trends continue and the government refuses to change, no good will come out of it. Singapore will be doomed.
“Mainstream” media refers to news reporting agencies owned and controlled by the government such as Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp. Singapore is ranked 150th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, down one place from 2013. See: http://rsf.org/index2014/en-index2014.php and http://en.rsf.org/singapore-government-subjects-news-websites-30-05-2013,44689.html