Thursday, September 4, 2008

And hope returns

It's been a crazy week and I might take a break from everything to focus on my research and my work soon. It does seem like there's just dark clouds everywhere and not a silver lining in sight. Things have been rough for a couple of close friends I'm also trying to be there for them. To top it off, I've taken ill... again. Flu's gotten much worse since Tues night - the tummy ache and headaches are not helping as well. :( And my parents are out of town this week, so it's just gonna be mi and my bro. Thing about staying at home is how I tend to get domesticated and start cleaning up my place, cooking for myself, taking care of the groceries for my bro and myself. Which make being sick at this time kinda sucky. I just feel like staying at home all day to rest - with or without food. Ha.

However, my mum's been a real ball this time, she was thinking of not going away in case I get worse, but I insisted that she go anyways and that I can take care of myself *crosses fingers* Figured this will be a good exercise in independence since I might have to do tt this time next year. :) Realised some stuff this week as well which boosted my spirits- how T really thinks that I'm one of her closest friends, even though we've not talked much recently and how great some of my friends really are. Received smses asking if I've seen a doc yet and also how someone wants to take leave on my bday. Touching stuff really.

Which kinda makes the thought of leaving Spore tougher. Think this will be the last time I'd ever talk about plans for next year, coz as T says, saying things out might jinx it. Why leave things to chance? As I was on my way to sch yesterday morning, I keep asking myself this: where will I be next year? Will every day I spend in Spore from now on be the last of such days for some time? Makes me wistful and sad, and this is before I meet my grandparents to check on them tomorrow while my Mum's away. S once asked me why is leaving such an easy decision for me. It isn't. I struggle with it everyday. The inertia to stay is present, definitely. And I duno how I can leave if I do. I think I will leave it to the guy up there from now on, if I shld stay or go.

To end on a happy note: I received an email from a prolific US researcher in SNS who's going to put up my reference for the recent AMIC conference on her website - she also asked me to send her a copy of my paper for her personal reference! :) Yay! I almost did a tap dance ard my room when I saw that - for me, it's about the small victories now. :)

Singing in the Rain

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly):

I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the rain

Dancin' in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I'm happy again!
I'm singin' and dancin' in the rain!

I'm dancin' and singin' in the rain...
Why am I smiling
And why do I sing?
Why does September
Seem sunny as spring?
Why do I get up
Each morning and start?
Happy and head up
With joy in my heart
Why is each new task
A trifle to do?
Because I am living
A life full of you.

"Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors. "

This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson has been going on and on in my mind since I got started on the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS) report., which included excerpts from the seminar on the Proposal for Internet Freedom. When I asked another blogger for his take, his response was a "no point, they are not interested in what we have to say, they have more or less made up their minds." Which was interesting and was reflected in the AIMS consultation paper as well, where focus groups revealed that ".... were also skeptical of the Government’s intention to gather feedback."

My colleagues have been throwing ideas and opinions via email these past few days and some of them have been very interesting. And the significance of the 'liberalisation' of the Hong Lim Speakers Corner has not been lost on us. Though stationing reporters there throughout the evening seemed to drive home the point that there's still a lack of uptake of people coming up to discuss issues in the public sphere. This is an attempt to open up more physical spaces for people to gather and discuss issues which matter to them, a concept which has been around since the time of Socrates and replicated successfully in places such as London's Hyde Park. I remembered being fascinated on my first trip to London and I saw picket fences and peaceful demonstrations outside places like Westminister Abbey. But will this work here?

While I think that it is laudable for AIMS to come up with this report, there were some portions which raised questions for me. While they are advocating community particpation and engagement, they seemed cautious as to how to approach it. There seems to be a tenacious situation where the government recognises the difficulty in regulating the internet yet hesitant in allowing the netizens free rein. There were interesting local and overseas case studies from S. Korea, Australia, US, China and the UK but still I did not see anything concrete in the steps AIMS was going to implement with regard to this.

Also, their hesitancy and cautiousness was displayed in the course of the report, when words like "radical" were used which protrayed new media in a negative light - this was something which my colleague highlighted and I totally agreed. This seems to run afoul of what they emphasised - keeping an open mind, when dealing with new media.

The report mainly goes through issues such as e-engagement, online political content, protection of minors and intermediary liabilities, which are pertinent issues as most bloggers here, the digital natives, still fall within the category of minor and might not be aware of the legal responsibilities which come with blogging.

After reading the Straits Times today, I think that the Bloggers 13 did raise some interesting points, but I think that advocating for free speech online might be too much of a leap in a country which has never had a reputation for free speech advocacy in real life. Why should that be any different online, even after acknowledging the affordances of the internet?