Welcome to the second website for The Young Republic!

The Young Republic started out as a mailing list on 19 October 2003 for young Singaporeans by young Singaporeans, to discuss serious issues of interest to us all.

The Young Republic Mailing List covers a vast array of topics under the sun. Since our earliest days , we have discussed political topics such as National Service, Interpretations of Racism, and social controversies such as Oral Sex in Singapore, Science and Faith, and the nature of some elitist prep schools in Singapore.

We welcome anyone who is interested in reading about or commenting about such issues. Sign up today!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Finally, the government's position on the press explained in crystal clear clarity!

First of all I want to make a few declarations. I am a completely biased observer- I'm a bit of a wishy washy liberal when it comes to things like freedom of speech, and I look forward the day will be when the Straits Times publishes stuff that shows Gayle's level of insight.

I would also like to be prime minister one of these days. However I am completely useless at the whole business of electioneering. Like the only elections I've ever won were all walkovers. That was how I really got to be treasurer of the Salsa Society in Oxford and part of the disciplinary panel on the Corpus Christi JCR. I am known to many people who know me as an over-excitable and annoying personality. I managed to lose Agagooga's memory card with all his photos on it in a CPU in a Munich Internet Cafe. I have an embarrassing video of myself on Youtube dancing to a Gunther song. Worse, I can't speak any dialects. One of my baby cousins is also positively frightened of me.

So what political party still wants me as a political candidate again? I wish.

Having completely trashed my own potential political credibility as one would wipe a dishcloth on a Newton Hawker Centre table, let me now go on to my completely and utterly biased criticism of something that really ground my gears today.

By now I am sure you are all familiar with the rebuke of the famous blogger mrbrown.

However I want to point all of you to this passage from Mr Lee Boon Yang's press secretary

"mrbrown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics."

How it is logical to offer "constructive criticism" and yet not at the same time "champion issues" or "campaign for or against the Government", hence undermining "the Government's standing with the electorate" completely escapes me.

Suppose I thought that preserving the now-demolished national library building, because of its historical value, was more important a priority than building a tunnel through it. That is constructive criticism. But my value system, and those who agree with me are at odds with the Government. By putting forth my views in the papers, I'm trying to persuade more people. In this way I'm undermining the Government's standing with the voters.

Similar logic just about applies to everything else.

Of course, unlike the prime minister, I did not get a double first in maths from Cambridge. Perhaps with his vast and undeniable intellegence, the prime minister can help clarify how the government's position is not an incoherent crock of garbage.

koh Jie Kai