The Lianhe Zaobao political desk ran a story today about blogging and politics. This is a great way to learn Mandarin – you reply to their email questions in English and they translate it for you.
And knowing that they’re known for accurate reporting, I now know exactly what it is in Mandarin that I said in English. Cool.
P.S. You don’t look your age, Alex.
– Do you think blogging is a good way to reach out to Singaporeans?
Yes, I think blogging’s a great way to reach out to Singaporeans given that we spend a lot of time online, and we’re always hungry for more information.
– Do you feel that blogs will raise the level of political awareness/consciousness in Singapore?
It already has, I think. The last elections were testament to that, as there was a lot more commentary than compared with previous elections.
– Given that most political blogs are in English, do you see the Chinese/Malay/Indian-speaking community lacking a voice online?
I think there are a fair number of Chinese blogs which I haven’t read, given my lack of Chinese reading ability. I don’t think they lack a voice and ideas are generally the same regardless of linguistic groups. Perhaps people, regardless of linguistic backgrounds, are more comfortable expressing their ideas in English. Just a guess.
– Personally, do you find blogging addictive? How often do you check your blog for new comments?
I don’t see it as an addiction, rather as a habit, and a good one. I check my blog for comments perhaps once a day.
– How often do you read other people’s blogs? Which blogs do you like best?
Daily. There are too many to name, but I like blogs which document quirks and little known facts about Singapore.
– Do you read foreign countries’ politicians’ blogs? how different are they from our local ones? What are your views on them?
I haven’t compared.
– Some people have argued that politicians should blog about serious topics/issues. What are your views?
Well, it depends on what their purpose is. If they want to discuss serious issues, then they’re free to do so, as are any other blogger.
– Do you feel it is important for politicians to use real name when blogging?
For credibility of views, no. But if they want to be credited with those views, and want to stand by them, then obviously yes.
– How do you view the combined blog that the P65 parliamentarians have set up?
I think it’s a great start. They’ve blogged about things which make them sound personable.
– How do you think blogging as a trend or fad that will fade eventually?
It will become less of a fad/trend and become part of life, so I don’t think you should use the word ‘fade’. Instead I’d say ‘grow’.
– Do you think the government is putting enough effort to engage the internet community?
They’re doing a lot, and I don’t think anyone can fault them on effort.
– Do you think the internet is a useful tool of communicating most accurately and with least censorship to the general public?
Accuracy of facts is dependent on the author. It is difficult to monitor the vast amounts of information available, but if you’re an intelligent enough reader, you’d be able to sift the truth from the distorted. And I think we have a very intelligent internet population in terms of readers.
– Some people have complained that the internet community is unfairly scaled towards anti-government or anti-establishment? Do you agree with these views?
No, I don’t, because pro-government viewholders are free to establish their perspectives on the same medium, which they are beginning to do, which is great.
– Being an experienced blogger, pls share how can a new blogger establish a credible image and a huge following from the public?
Be consistent, be regular and be readable.
– When you started blogging, did you ever expect the response to be so good?
– In your opinion, is humour an important factor to attract hits?
Humour is one way of being engaging.
– By being humorous, is there a risk of people taking you too lightly?
There is humorous and there is silly. You can be humorous and still be taken seriously.