Horns of a Dilemma
That's what I'm on. I'm faced with a choice and I'm not sure that either decision would be a win-win one, not that I'm faced with the old Socrates and Euthyphro problem outlined by Plato
In fact, if you do understand then you're a better moral philosopher than I am, so perhaps you can help by leaving a comment below.
I received this email last night.Hi there,
I'm Joel from Radio Singapore International. I came across your blog and found it rather interesting. As I'm currently producing a programme that features interesting blogs and their authors from around the region, I was wondering if I could interview you over the phone on Jakartass. It'll touch on topics such as how the blog got started and the issues that it addresses.
Would greatly appreciate if you could get back to me as soon as is convenient!
Thanks and kind regards,
Radio Singapore International
Ignoring the damning with faint praise ~ only "rather interesting
"?!? ~ my quandary is simple. I can answer the first part of the question quite simply and at length. I started Jakartass at a time of extreme under-employment and because there were issues that needed addressing. However, I wonder if I'd be allowed to talk about these on a programme hosted by the Singapore government.RSI is dedicated to quality broadcasting to external audiences and Singaporeans abroad. It seeks to be a radio of reference for the region, providing a service which is a reliable, accurate and objective source of news and views on international, regional and domestic events. The station will help foster a sense of common purpose through programmes which emphasise good neighbourliness and promote mutual understanding in the social, economic and cultural fields.
That all sounds good and proper but I'd want to talk about how I hoped to encourage Indonesians to express their opinions in a balanced way, to highlight the iniquities of corruption, human rights abuses, the destruction of the environment and the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor here and to generally challenge the status quo ~ all for the sake of developing a mature, caring and pluralistic society.
I've tried not to be a ranter, preferring a quizzical approach even when I'm slagging off that doddering ex-dictator of ours. You see, Indonesia is learning how to live without authoritarian rule, whereas Suharto's old mate, Harry ~ that's Lee Kwan Yew
to you and me, and Sir to Singaporeans ~ remains as Minister Mentor of his son, the Prime Minister, and all the other minsterial lackeys.
The lack of authoritarianism means that we no longer go around whispering our subversive thoughts whilst playing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture at full volume, which we did before reformasi in 1998. We can now say that the Minister of Justice, Hamid Awaluddin
, should be prosecuted for corruption and that the Minister for People's Welfare, Abdurizal Bakrie
, should resign forthwith in acknowledgement of the environmental and societal disaster his family's company caused by the drilling cockup at Sidoarjo
in East Java.
See, we bloggers can say that here and so can the mainstream press. But if all this were taking place in Singapore or its other neighbour, Malaysia, we couldn't. The Singapore press practises self-censorship
and the government harasses its bloggers. Full praise to Mr. Brown
for stretching the boundaries, albeit as "L'infantile terrible of Singapore
" whose other neighbour, Malaysia
, is also scared of the perceived power of we bloggers.
Singapore Press Holdings has also acknowledged the power of the blog, but is apparently, by offering a car, resorting to bribery
because the poor bloggers who want to write for them would be exposed to some of the most draconian of censorship rules worldwide.
Just a week ago, I posted a satirical piece
on bloggers getting paid for flogging whatever and regular readers should by now be used to my plugs for essential goods such as dehydrated water.
So I'm obviously not after a bribe.
I don't drive.
What I am after is a solution to my quandary. Knowing that it is likely that what I have to say could (should?) upset the power(s)-that-be in Singapore, a city that I can enjoy for a one day visa run but definitely would not wish to live in
, do I or do I not offer myself for interview?Indcoup says
, "I imagine the interview would be recorded rather than live, so if you talk about freedom to blog they could simply cut it out
And if they did that then I'd be wasting my time. Probably the best thing to do is to leave it up to the Producer-Presenter of the show. Having read the above, Joel, do you still want me?"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," Reporters Without Borders