Thursday, April 14, 2005

Blogs as intellectual platforms 

Do people in Singapore really understand the potential of blogs?

Koh Buck Song commented in The Straits Times today:

A recent forum raised the question of whether Singapore qualifies as a great global city. The conclusion was mostly mixed, but the consensus seems that it is not, and that there is still room for improvement... For me, the most obvious shortfall is in software. The country’s “brain” is big, but it focuses on only some things and has few places to express itself.

Crucially, Singapore is lacking in one major area — it has no intellectual periodical to speak of, let alone one that makes an impact outside these shores. The model I have in mind is a print forum for intellectual trends and world affairs. To take an example from the United States, it would be something like the New Yorker magazine and Foreign Affairs journal rolled into one...

Currently, about the only platform in this country that offers an expression of Singaporean intellectual life on a regular basis can be found in the Review pages of this newspaper...
Significantly, blogging was not mentioned as an avenue for expressing intellectual views.

Most bloggers would be aware that there is an intellectually vibrant blogging community in the United States. The Singapore blogosphere is currently not quite at the same level (although more blogs by expert bloggers like this would surely help). But the situation, in my opinion, largely mirrors Singapore society as a whole.

Notwithstanding this handicap, I think that for Singapore, the Internet in general — and blogging in particular — is a viable alternative as an avenue for airing intellectual opinions. After all, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew himself has endorsed it.

Koh’s article, however, shows that blogs still get little respect from the mainstream media. Perhaps some people in Singapore think a blog is just a toy in cyberspace.


Trackback: ...The fly in the ointment, as far as I can tell, is that while there seems to be a lot of talent in the Singapore blogosphere, a large part of it is not directed toward expression of the intellectual sort at all...

Trackback, From a Singapore Angle, "Reviewing the Singapore Blogosphere: Managing Expectations"

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