How I know the Singapore government is not "in touch" with young people

Edited to add (21 Nov): The Ministry of Finance (MOF) informed me today via email that "it was not part of the Organising Committee's publicity plan to post such publicity messages on blogs."

Or with any people at all, for that matter.

So at approximately 10:22 pm tonight, the following comment was anonymously posted on the previous entry on this blog, "Pay and pay, eh?":
Join us at "Building Our Singapore-The Public Service in Action", an exciting and interactive
exhibition jointly brought to you by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Public Service Division (PSD), to celebrate the constant dedication of the Public Service to serve the people of Singapore and its spirit of innovation

Date: Wed-Sun, 15 to 19 Nov 2006
Venue:Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall
Time:10:30 am to 9:30 pm daily.

Come see how the Public Service aims to e-delight you through electronic services and strive to serve our citizens and residents better with a heart of service!
While most comments promising to "e-delight" me would automatically prompt me to delete them comments forever, this one gets to sit there as an object lesson in how the current Singapore government is completely out of touch with the young people of the internet generation it's trying desperately to court ("post-'65" Members of Parliament attempting to get wit da blogging and hip-hop dancing, anyone?).

Assuming that the comment was left by a bona fide civil servant (perhaps a poor soul working desperately after hours in order to comply with a boss's instruction that they "reach out" to "post-'65ers" using "the latest web platforms?), there are so many things wrong with this attempted "outreach" that I don't even know where to begin.

Do I begin with the fact that it's an anonymous comment, thus not necessarily inspiring the greatest sense of trust or reliability, even assuming it was posted by the government? Particularly since that same government told mr brown he should "come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly." So the government gets to leave anonymous comments on the internet, but ordinary citizens can't even use pseudonyms?

Or do I begin with the fact that leaving comment spam is so gauche and verboten that entire systems have been set up by Blogger, Wordpress and other blogging software companies to combat the problem?

Or, as a copywriter myself, do I point out that even if one were to forgive the above two cardinal sins of internet etiquette, the comment itself is so thoroughly packed with the corporatese spoken by our government --- I mean, hello, "e-delight"? --- that it's not remotely likely to achieve its desired objective of attracting people to the event in question?

And never mind the fact that the comment was posted on a blog entry that is fairly critical of the government's latest policy announcement ...

For the record, the web link provided in the comment spam above is genuine. Now whether the comment was actually posted by a civil servant is another question, but the fact that it seems to be taken wholesale from some kind of government-composed press release has me pretty much convinced of the fact. Which irritates me because I can studiously ignore the "post-'65" Members of Parliament blog and the imminent hip-hop dancing *shudder* --- but now they want to bring their lame suxXx0rs attempts at "getting in touch with the people" to my blog, my space on the internet?

Dude. Dude.

Last year, in his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said:
The Government has to adapt to the digital age. First of all, we need to find leaders who are of that age group, and that’s what we have been doing. That’s why in this election, we fielded a lot of people who are below 40 years old and we call them the P65 generation and they are reaching out to the young generation, understanding the young, being in tune with them, same wavelength, knowing how they react, how to move and motivate this group. [emphasis mine]
Dear government,

Get over it. You're not cool. You're about as hip (which is different from hip-hop, by the way) as Air Supply, pocket protectors and plaid pants combined. The harder you try to swagger around in the hopes of winning a seat at the cool kids' table, the more the cool kids are going to lean back and laugh at your swaggering, and then not still invite you to their parties, even for comic relief.

Spend a little less time on the song and dance routines (quite literally, in the case of certain "post-'65" Members of Parliament) and a little more time working on the actual problems that ordinary Singaporeans --- not just young people! --- grapple with every single day. Thank you.

Oh, and PS: stop leaving comment spam. The internet's messy enough as it is, without the government adding to the heap.


Of course, this post is predicated on the assumption that the government was responsible for leaving the comment spam in question. If MOF lets me know that it definitely, most certainly, 100% wasn't a civil servant who did it, I'll be happy to retract this entire blog post.


Technorati Tags: ,

Labels: ,


At 11/14/2006 9:15 pm , Blogger stanley said...

yeah! :)

At 11/14/2006 9:48 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What on earth are these guys thinking?!?

At 11/15/2006 12:13 am , Blogger Han said...

I won't be surprised if they automated the process. I wouldn't be too hard for them you know, its like asking robots to act like robots.

Plus they probably want to invest into building infrastructure for the spambosses. I read somewhere that spamlords make tons of money. Somewhere in Singapore there's probably a Spamopolis under construction and tax free incentives for spamlords to come open their spam hubs here.

At 11/15/2006 12:49 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

e-delight sounds lewdly criminal

At 11/15/2006 2:19 am , Blogger Anders Brink said...

As a long time reader of your blog,
take heart! I too agree with you 100%. The government has been preaching capitalism for so long that now, when they try to become socialist, it just sounds so incredible. This, despite the fact that I can see where they are coming from.

At 11/15/2006 7:09 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ain't rocket science to cut and paste, dear, and it doesnt necessitate a civil servant to do that.

"The No Child Left Behind Act Is A Historic Law - It Is Working, And It Is Here To Stay. When he came to Washington, President Bush worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and he was proud to sign it into law."

There -- you got mail from the White House. The US Govt must really be losing its touch with the sentiments of Americans to be forcefeeding them like that.

At 11/15/2006 7:29 am , Blogger Olorin said...

Hey, hey, hey... leave Air Supply out of this dudette... they give me a good supply of songs to belt out on the odd karaoke visit I make... ;)

A bit free-er these days... will try to catch up with you before museum opening...

At 11/15/2006 9:01 am , Blogger  said...

Wa lao - "e-delight". Nasty thoughts come to mind.

So lao kui.

At 11/15/2006 11:28 am , Blogger Tym said...

Anonymous #2 > Yes, I'm well aware of the possibilities of cut-and-paste. Which is why I noted repeatedly that my reaction is predicated on the assumption that it's the government deliberately doing this (be it cutting and pasting, or other methods).

Having said that, based on the government's recent avowals to get "in touch" with young people, based on the fact that prior to this posting, I had not come across such an impersonation of a government announcement before, and based on what I consider the extremely unlikelihood of an anonymous internet user being bored/idle enough to go around cutting-and-pasting such text in order to create the impression of the government doing such things --- I certainly don't put it past the government to execute such a move and I've contacted them to find out what's going on.

At 11/15/2006 8:54 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chill man...lotsa such stuff and more in sammyboy - Sal

At 11/16/2006 11:30 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out that the first time I remember wanting to be cool was when Wilson, a family friend visiting Wisconsin from Singapore, introduced me to Air Supply.

At 11/16/2006 7:58 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm e-laughing at this entry... e-ha ha ha..

then again.. they might be e-framed by by the e-trickers.

At 11/21/2006 8:22 pm , Blogger Anders Brink said...

Apparently it is not the government, but internet pranksters. It's their way of getting you to say what they won't be caught saying. Web cowards.
Why am i not surprised?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]