“Why do you spend so much time and effort writing about an assortment of Singaporean concerns online”? Well, that was a pretty good question; for a moment – after one of my friends had queried me recently – (ironically) I was at an utter loss for words.
Challenges associated with the independent management of a commentary-based, current affairs-driven website are aplenty: churning out pieces require a fair bit of research, planning and contemplation; negotiating around boundaries (especially so when I was completing my National Service); and balancing my personal engagements. Most importantly, I am barely twenty-one years of age; are my views truly representative or reflection of Singapore’s populace? Would people even bother listening to what I expound upon? Who actually gives a damn about what ordinary people – affectionately labelled as “citizen journalists” – have to say about socio-economic issues?
But Who Gives A Damn?
Citizen-based publication and pieces have gained increased traction in the past few years; with unprecedented political developments and heightened accessibility of the Internet, writers have been forthcoming with a multitude of perspectives. The audience for these websites and weblogs – correspondingly – has been growing very steadily; in fact, many have developed a predilection for these forms of news, information or discourse, to complement their traditional reliance upon newspapers, television programmes et cetera.
People are indeed reading, and writing is a great way of being involved in the (probably-grand) scheme of things.
Writing also allows for coherent expressions of ideas (of course, the common proposition on the emergence from apathy or lethargy); simultaneously, I have become more cognisant of the nuances of varying positions. Interactions with others, through dialogue and the active exchange of contentions, have genuinely empowered me to listen more intently, and work towards the constructive comprehension of considerations.
Moving Beyond The Rhetorical Dimension
I think it makes a significant difference to have myself heard, and I suppose this desire makes me highly-receptive to suggestions or recommendations postulated by others. Increasingly, I am realising that my ability to form my thoughts cogently before presenting them holistically has benefited my projects, initiatives in civil society. Through my volunteerism and community service stints, keen awareness of our education system has allowed me to move beyond the rhetorical dimension.
One cannot holler for change and expect progress based on words alone; this is something many writers – including myself – struggle with.
The following months (and years) would grant a variety of opportunities for exploration: corresponding with representatives and politicians through electronic mail (not necessarily seeking resolution, but pursuing understanding); exploring independent studies and campaigns (on National Service, and school-based community service); and writing about matters that are closer to my heart.
So yes: I think, I care, therefore I write.