Musings of the day

The recent elections campaign in Singapore have generated a lot of hype. I wasn’t around in GE2011, was still working in Taipei but I can really feel the buzz in this election.

Much of the buzz is actually generated via the media. This led me to recall…

When I was young, there were no mobile phones, let alone Internet. People carried pagers. You have to find a payphone to return calls. Then I got my first alphanumeric pager with Sunpage. We all used to spend a lot of time at the payphone just trying to punch a message out. There were codes like 843 which stands for “BYE”


I used to have one of this! Do you all know what is this?

 then Nokia phones became the rage and everyone started playing “snake” on their mobile phones. 


Nokia over the years, I still think 8210/8250 is the most classic ever launched

The internet exploded and suddenly people across the globe become connected. You no longer need to write letters. You can use ICQ and IRC to talk to someone halfway around the world.

such nostalgia…

Then came Friendster and suddenly you have many friends that are not really your friends,.but even that was not as popular as facebook.


who still have a friendster account?

 I remembered reading that when newsfeed first launched, people complained it was an invasion in privacy. Nobody wanted to have their lives, what they did that day exposed to their friends. But soon you are hooked. You spend hours scrolling through just to see what others have liked, shared etc. (I am guilty of this)

iPhone, Samsung become the smartphone and it forms very much part of your life and maybe you become more 24/7 for work too, if your personal phone becomes your work phone. I had messages from customer while I’m having dinner or seeing a doctor. I find myself reading emails late at night and when I wake up in the morning. You are “online” all the time and hardly offline. And when you are offline, maybe you feel withdrawal symptoms. 

The younger generation start to use Instagram, Twitter since they feel their parents are using facebook to stalk them. But it’s still the same, a lot of time is whiled away scrolling pictures, tweets, videos. 

From Gen X to Gen Y to the new millenials, every generation, we just want things faster, more instant gratification due to the advances in technology. 

People’s emotions get stirred very easily as reading messages online has no tone and you add whatever tone to it depending on your mood at that time.

Sometimes we hit the send button before even thinking whether what we write or post is right. 

I have seen so many instances where the ‘keyboard warriors’ start to have long arguments. There’s social lynching. 

We see something indignant and we post, or we stomp. We see a pretty face in NDP and it sparked an online massive hunt for the mystery lady. Comments were all positive until we learned she is a foreigner and suddenly ppl change their tune. It’s amazing how fast people switch sides, probably a by-product of this fast generation. We like to think we are self righteous, yet it bears close to ridiculous when we see someone being bullied in public and many first instinct is to whip out the phone and video.

Because of the high connectivity and the power that social media holds, people start to focus on digital marketing. This is used in all areas, from e-commerce, to politics to promoting your cause/rights. And people become easily influenced too. Sometimes you notice a trend where one simple comment in the forum such as the recent “Is SXL the new candidate a PRC?” (she is Singaporean born and bred btw) and various ppl just start posting and commenting and then the die is cast.

The social media is a scary and powerful propaganda tool. It’s scary because of how easy, deceptively simple and fast it is. In the past, we have to write and send things out via email or post on a computer. It’s way much slower, but maybe due to its slowness, it actually gives you time to stop, pause and reflect if what you are writing makes sense. Right now, half the type I reply emails or surf the net and fb on my mobile phone and sometimes I do make embarrassing mistakes.

 I think we should do due diligence to use technology wisely and not let it control us. 

Remember whatever you do or post or write online, even Whatsapp, it almost always leaves a digital footprint and you never know when it will come back to haunt you one day.

Many articles and videos posted on the Internet may not be true. I hope if you have time, do your own research, read from as many sources as you can before you form your own conclusions. Our vote is precious and will make a difference in shaping Singapore’s future. I personally will vote for a candidate that I believe can do the job and will enable Singapore to have the next SG100.

Don’t be swayed by emotions. Don’t oppose for the sake of opposing. Vote if you believe that party can bring about the results you want. For me, I studied the opposition parties manifesto and took time to discern and review whether their proposals are sound. Then I compare it with the existing government and see if change is suitable for me at this time or I am happy with what my government has done for me. I also downloaded annual reports of town councils and did my own research, as there are so many conflicting voices out there. . 

Singapore has come a long way since when I was a child. I have seen the Singapore skyline change. The older generation would have seen even more changes.

I am proud to be a citizen of this country and I hope that we will have many more 50 years to come. 


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