Moving to

I'm moving to Mostly.

I plan to use that site as a "self-marketing website" of sorts and to manage content in a way that I would otherwise not be able to do on blogger alone.

This blog will stay, ostensibly for more provisional ideas prior to refinement. I'll be gradually moving content (I still like) over to the other website. =)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ramblings on Self-Radicalization

The ruling party and the state-controlled media has more or less issued a blanket condemnation of critical voices online as "noise". In addition to making the claim that these voices have little to offer, they have also said that some of the individuals get their information from a limited pool of sources and end up "self-radicalizing". Having been previously used to refer to those who have perpetrated or planned to perpetrate lone wolf terrorist acts, this term has taken on a very negative conotation.

In a way, this as an attempt to draw an artificial dividing line between "us reasonable people" and "those who would promulgate senseless chatter" that is wasteful and should be "considered harmful". I'd like to ramble a little about this so called "self-radicalization" and consider why it may be the appropriate reaction of reasonable people.

When one hears of famine in Africa and children dying, one feels sad. When one hears that many innocents were killed in a terror attack, one feels angry. When one is told of how one's social/ethnic group has been systematically marginalized by those in power, one gets very angry. Information often supplies the motive force for one to take action. This information may be unbiased or biased. Whatever the case, if it is taken to be a good reflection of reality and resonates with the recipient, that individual may be driven to action. This is a fact of life, and applies to all but the most apathetic.

Perhaps this is why people leave well-paying jobs to serve the underprivilleged; this is why people volunteer to support social causes; this is why positive action happens. (The flip side to this exists and should be acknowledged.)

Naturally, news and direct observations about the state of Singapore naturally touches Singaporeans; Information about the way the ruling party and its associates behaves would necessarily have resonance with Singaporeans. When people feel that something is wrong, they are driven to say something. Inarticulate as such a statement might be, there is probably something behind it. If it is backed by action, it is all the more certain that something is behind it.

Since disenchantment and jadedness sets in when good intentions are thwarted and denigrated, the prevalence of the jaded Singaporean can be easily explained.

So the question for the labellers to ask themselves is, why are people being, in their words, "self-radicalized". Simply tossing out a label is cheap and somewhat dishonest. When people are driven to action, something important and salient to them probably underlies that action. The only responsible thing to do is to find out what drives such action, and address it in good faith. Anything less is not acceptable.

No comments: