Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TOC's mole affair - My personal opinion

Hi Friends,

Much has been said of the sordid affair about how Remy Choo Zheng Xi , could be part of a PAP-inspired counter-insurgency campaign to control the blogosphere (via The Online Citizen "TOC") in favour of the PAP.

False premises

My observation is that this allegation is based on false premises.

The main false premise is that the TOC ( and the blogosphere at large) is anti-PAP. This premise probably comes from the deep-seated needs in some readers who want to read alternative views which are grossly under-represented in the official news media.

As TOC has already clarified that this is untrue and that TOC is not anti-PAP, nor anti-establishment nor anti-government. Then it seems the matter is settled and this “cloak-and-daggersque” affair should be allowed to die a natural death.

Or should it?

Confict of interests

Some will argue that Choo’s role as a paid worker ( albeit as an honorarium) brings him in conflict with his job as TOC’s editor. Come to think of it, his job as TOC’s editor (where he may now and again allow to be published some very anti-PAP stuff) may prevent him from working wholeheartedly for the PAP MP. I wonder if the MP knows about this? She may not be getting the full $500’s worth!

In all probability, Choo has a clear conscience and feels that he can be impartial as a PAP MP’s paid assistant as well as be TOC’s editor. I am not so sure that it is possible.

Except in Utopia, any MP’s job is to make the electorate happy so that he/she can get re-elected. This occurs in all constituencies so that the party with the most MP’s ( which is inevitably the PAP) gets to be the government of the day. So, even Choo would agree that his monthly $500 is part of the deal to help the government continue being the government the next time the GE comes around. I know the string (that links all this ) is very long- but that is the crux of the matter.

I am not for one second saying that Choo is despicable (or wrong) for helping the PAP MP. No, if he so believes that the MP is good and that the PAP is great, then he should do more for the MP or party (and ask for more pay in the process).

Way out

May I suggest that Choo continues with the TOC as a writer and let Andrew remain editor and hence having to agonise over which articles to publish ( be they pro- or anti-PAP). The alternative ( which is more painful) is to reject the honorarium and work as an unpaid volunteer for the MP whilst remaining TOC’s editor. (To most people, being paid or not makes the world of difference.)

Anyway, TOC- you guys have done great work and I will continue reading the stuff here ( even if Choo just sits on his hands and does nothing). I can be open-minded but not everyone is like me.

Before I forget, the rest of the allegations are just plain rubbish.


Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan


Anonymous said...

Some will argue that Choo’s role as a paid worker ( albeit as an honorarium) brings him in conflict with his job as TOC’s editor.

As a politically literate person, you should realise that Choo's work - researching MP's parliamentary speeches - is essentially that of a political intern!

The conflict of interest that you suggest exists, is not between him being just a paid worker and an editor of a political blog... but because he's a political intern and an editor of a political blog.

Note that political interns are essentially auxiliary staff of an MP! Where does she get the money to pay him... except from the state?

nofearSingapore said...

Yes That is why I feel that even if Choo was naive to think otherwise, there is a conflict of interest.
The honorable thing for Choo to do would be to resign as TOC's editor ( to save TOC's credibility).
Sigh- but I think only the two of us gets it.


Anonymous said...

Your suggestion that Choo work as an unpaid volunteer for the MP while remaining as TOC's editor does not really remove the conflict of interest - he'll still remain as a political intern nonetheless.

sandy said...

Finally, we get to see what a paid pappy dog looks (and writes) like!!!

Anonymous said...

If it looks like a dog, acts like a dog, and sounds like a dog, then it is a dog!

Those who frequent sammyboy will know that TOC founder was a flip flop and a pro-pap running dog. Such questionable character traits should already raise alarm bells right from the start.

Anonymous said...

Actually i agree with you on Remy Choo but if you were to repeat this in the TOC blog, you will be ripped apart by their fanatical supporters.

To say that there is no conflict of interest is naive at best. If it was not a problem, why did it come to light only now from a malicious allegation and more so after a deleted TOC comment?

No matter what content Remy Choo publishes in the future, it will still be judged based on this revelation.

If you had a stinker on something happening in Boon Lay would you divulge this to TOC?

Anyway good and somewhat "brave" post.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi anon 6.09

To be fair to TOC, they did post this article there and my opinion is there for all to see and think about. And I don’t think their supporters are as fanatical as you make them to be.

The readers (myself included) do appreciate the hardwork that Andrew had put in to make TOC a successful website and we want it to continue to be a credible and substantive voice for independent minds.

I am sure TOC did not know about the $500 and that Choo did not think it was significant enough to disclose this bit of information.

Any insinuation that this is part of some clandestine plot is just too farcical to contemplate.

I have nothing against Choo- in fact I do not know him from Adam.

I am sure TOC will recover from this temporary hiccup to make significant contributions to Singapore’s blogosphere.



Anonymous said...

"In all probability, Choo has a clear conscience and feels that he can be impartial as a PAP MP’s paid assistant as well as be TOC’s editor. I am not so sure that it is possible."

The conflict of interest is not choo's alone. If Andrew or any of the other writers knew of this link, perhaps there lies a conflict of interest there too.

If its just Choo then i agree with you, he should take a step back. But are there more weeds to remove from the garden?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that I cannot comment because only Singaporians are allowed to comment on domestic issues