Apparently, Minister Yaacob Ibrahim had a fruitful afternoon addressing 800 secondary school children some afternoon ago. In the dialogue, he urged all netizens to come together to develop an internet code of conduct. [report] Who would have expected that?
|Young Netizens at the dialogue, clearly impressed by Minister Yacoob's vision|
What Minister Yacoob does not realise is that there is already a code of conduct in the internet. Do you know what it meant to TYPE IN CAPS? If you received an email you are reasonably expected to reply if you are the main recipient under "to:" and recipients under "cc:" and "bcc:" can reply but are not expected to. There are some form of syntax in communication, be in it business emails, flaming wars on a random forum or gaming with your guild mates. The list goes on. Thus, Minister Yacoob's vision was both perplexing and unnecessary.
How can one create something that is already there? The suggestion is akin the notion of creating darkness. We cannot create darkness because it is already there. Having temporary sun light or an electrical luminance switched on indicate the masking of darkness, not its non-existent. We measure brightness by luminosity, the unit is lux. There is no scientific unit created to measure darkness. Like darkness, the internet's code of conduct exists but it not definitive.
What Minister Yacoob really want was not developing an internet code of conduct but to create a self-censorship culture for Singapore internet users. Think our national papers, the Straits Times. Think of the forum section. That is the way we should be talking in the internet, to the minister.
Though the internet is a double edged sword, it is a level playing field for everyone. Minister Yacoob has probably forgotten how netizens uncovered the Yaw Shin Loong scandal, which many of his colleagues including his boss, scooped up the information in delight and used it to their political interests. To date, I have yet to know any PAP ministers or MPs being forced to step down due to the internet's whistle blowers but it claimed the first causality in the opposition. It was surprising Minister Yacoob has chosen to focus on one edge and overlooked other.
Without the internet, would MND had picked up the NParks' Brompton case, conducted an investigation and found out that they might be foul play? Without the internet, would the tip-off sparkled so much public interests that City Harvest Chuch had to be investigated? Without the internet, the frauds would not be even investigated without proper evidencing. If not for the internet, the truth behind many of our Singaporean sons who died during National Service would be forever buried in the secret archives of the SAF. Angela He Xue Li might have died of injustice. Cleopatra might have gotten away from the clutch of justice but not in the quiet manner as she would preferred. Without the internet, we would not learn about the story behind that MRT suicide case which saw a quick donation movement to help the mourning family. Without the internet, Singaporeans in Melbourne would not be able to offer community support to a fellow countryman's family involved in a fatal crash in Australian highway.
What Minister Yacoob really want is not to develop a code of conduct, but to remove the power from the people and to re-instill the right level of fear among the people during the days without the internet. We have enough evidence to show that the internet can be used to do good for the masses. Minister Yacoob warned specifically about alleging him and his colleagues on being corrupted without the backing of facts. What the minister really need is not a code of conduct in the internet, but reinforced commitment among his colleagues and himself to remain as pure as their uniform. As long as our government remains incorruptible, why be afraid of the unregulated, irrational virtual milky way?
Somebody is afraid here. This is just my opinion.