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Musings

Another Step, Another Milestone

I have spent this summer writing, like a madman. I have spent these three months covering events, like a pseudo-journalist. And I have loved every moment. This was the first time I was being edited rigorously (here), and I was learning to write more crisply and intelligibly. Of course, this is far from the end (I hope), so a reflective piece will have to wait.

When I woke up yesterday morning, there was a pleasant surprise a-waiting:

Teachers 'Should Help Students Take Responsibility Online'

I wasn’t approached formally for the study, but I never thought my perspectives (here, for instance) would be worthy of an academic journal. One could say that it’s a form of scholastic affirmation (and if so, I gladly accept the praise), though I’m more comforted by the notion that my viewpoints matter (however insignificant or whimsical they might be).

I’m not sure about the copyright issues, so I’ll reproduce the extracts from the study, “Geographies of Online Spaces and Intercultural Citizenship”, by Li-Ching Ho and Mark Baildon [comments, mine].

– Next, we decided to select two very different sites that were representative of the types of sites produced by youth … The second is a teen-generated blog that addresses political or social issues: guanyinmiao’s musings. The author of this blog is a socially and politically active Singaporean teenager, Kwan Jin Yao, who has just completed his pre-university studies and is currently serving his two-year National Service obligation. His commentaries have also been published in the local newspapers such as the Straits Times and Today.

Guanyinmiao’s musings is a blog created by a youth activist, Jin Yao Kwan, currently doing National Service in Singapore. His website categories include civil society, community service, education, human rights, the media, policy recommendations, politics, Singapore, and Youths. He credited the creation of the site to his friends who found him too opinionated. At his ‘About’ page he noted that ‘My brand of cynicism can be jarring at times; but it is my way of seeing the world: that only with constructive criticisms and (self-) evaluation would we progress and prosper.’ [think the ‘About’ page has changed though!]

Kwan argues that youth civic participation should be increased and feels that there is a need for greater political literacy. He believes more can be done to overcome youth disinterest and apathy, and offers five ideas to increase civic participation. For instance, his blog post, ‘Politics For Youths, By Youths,’ [here] offered ideas about ways Singaporean youth can get more involved in politics in Singapore. Kwan presents the immigration issue as a complex social, political, economic and emotive issue. In a blog post, for example, he made that case that immigration should not be seen as a solution for an ageing population and that the government should implement ‘proper consultation and engagement platforms to genuinely comprehend how stakeholders feel about the influxes and efforts undertaken.’ He also argued that the government had to address ‘the feelings of weakening national unity as a result of immigration.’ In spite of the numerous links made to this blog by other prominent Singapore bloggers, his posts did not engender much discussion and debate. [oops]

– For example, in his blog post titled ‘Addressing immigration concerns more tangibly,’ [here] Kwan provided a balanced yet critical perspective of government policies and called for a refinement of existing immigration and integration policies. He critiqued the government’s lack of public engagement and consultation:

The administration cannot expect to completely convince Singaporeans on the benefits of immigration if they do not put their ear on the ground to understand and address the immediate concerns more tangibly. Continually asserting that immigration will bring about greater general economic growth does little to relieve the plethora of direct frustrations and dissatisfaction felt … The National Population and Talent Division cannot shut its eyes and pretend that all is rosy in Singapore. If nothing constructive is done to empower Singaporeans and calm their anxieties, boundaries will harden further and the consequences dire [I sound like a prophet; or a charlatan, ha].

In addition, he recognised the concerns expressed by numerous citizens: ‘Immigration must take on a more qualitative approach … (and) more has to be done to reverse the feelings of weakening national unity as a result of immigration.’

Humbled. Onto the next piece (and to “engender [more] discussion and debate”, haha).

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About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

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