Monday, April 25, 2005

“Infantilism”, corporate culture and the Singapore blogosphere 

Steven McDermott continues with his investigation of “infantilism” in Singapore.

Corporate Culture Revisited
... I am exploring... The idea that if Eric Ellis’ claim is correct, that Singapore is run like a large corporation...

“The system functions like a big corporation, designed to maximise profit. The Government maintains an upbeat information department, frequently holding press briefings lauding economic achievements but rarely or publicly discusses substantive matters of policy and politics.” by Eric Ellis

...and coupled with the following article and references to ‘infantilism’ being the result, then is this the case in Singapore? Are Singaporean bloggers willing to accept the label and argue that they have in some way accepted the corporate culture, or do they reject the label but behave childishly? It’s an idea, that’s all...
McDermott then quotes from a management article on corporate culture and how the hierarchical organisational structure is becoming obsolete and being replaced by collaborative, self-managed teams where employees contribute towards shaping corporate values rather than having them imposed from the top.

The quoted article provides a good summary of current management thinking on how corporate cultures can be shaped. However, in my opinion, it has more relevance to the way that the Singapore government is trying to engender an inclusive culture. To go from the article to the conclusion that Singapore bloggers tend to have “infantile” concerns because of an authoritarian government requires much more work, which I presume McDermott will follow up with.

Personally, though, I am more interested in looking at the issue from another angle: Why is there a lack of serious blogs in Singapore? No, this is not exactly the same question as: Why are Singapore blogs so “infantile”? While the prevalence of so-called “infantile” blogs may crowd out serious blogs, I think the lack of the latter is an issue in its own right.

In particular, I think that blogs written by experts on their areas of expertise are especially valuable, because they form the anchors around which other serious blogs can congregate, just as blogs also tend to congregate around mainstream media. However, Gilbert Koh has given one reason why we can’t expect much from one potentially important source: government officers; they can only blog about “infantile” concerns, and maybe poetry (I presume Koh did not officially write poetry for the government).

In the meantime, the lack of such expertise among blogs means that the mainstream media can usually ignore the Singapore blogosphere with little consequence, as they routinely do — see “Blogs as intellectual platforms” and “The Mainstream Media does not get blogs”.


Trackback: From a Singapore Angle, "The Mainstream Media does not get blogs": "...Elsewhere, Singapore Commentator links (thanks) and asks some soul searching questions in light of recent pertubations (the infant* affair) in the Singapore Blogosphere..."

Ha ha, very funny. About me writing poetry for the government, I mean.

On a less "infantile" note, I just wanted to say that almost everyone is an expert, or can be an expert, in one area or another.

For instance, if you are a businessman in Singapore, you are potentially an expert commentator on entrepreneurship, the economy etc;

if you are a student or a teacher in Singapore, you are potentially an expert commentator on the Singapore education system -

if you are an insurance agent or a personal financial planner, you are potentially an expert commentator on Medishield, CPF, income tax;

if you are a human resource officer, you are potentially an expert commentator on workers' retraining; employment trends; the Singapore job market;

and so on.

It just so happens that I'm a lawyer. Hence SLMJD.

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