Say goodbye to your newspaper deliveryman on a scooter.

The world is changing at an extremely rapid pace, and so is technology. Back in the old days, people update themselves on current issues and happenings of their city by reading newspapers, or other forms of print articles. However, many things have changed since then.

 

Read here.

 

50 years ago, people read books called autobiographies, to learn about that particular person’s life and accomplishments. In this day and age, people still read a book to do the same thing – it is called Facebook. People post updates and statuses on these social networking sites, and friends will instantly know what they are up to with just a click of a button. What I’m trying to say is, technology has changed the way people live their lives. There are so many things that can be done with a computer, from watching a movie, to buying things. The way people communicate are also computerized, in a sense. Hand-written letters are now replaced by emails, and visual interactions are replaced with the invention of webcams. We now live in an era of computer mediated communication.

 

As mentioned in the article, electronic gadgets such as computers are getting more advanced by the year, and also cheaper. This increase in affordability has made computers or laptops seem like just another shirt you own – almost everyone has one, some even two or three. Hundreds on programs on computers allow for two or more people to converse, ignoring the boundaries of geographical proximity. A very good example would be MSN, which millions of users subscribe to. Messages can be sent and received instantaneously, including your facial expressions! A simple ūüôā or ūüė¶ will allow people to comprehend someone else’s mood, even though there is no actual visual interaction. Emoticons, which serve the same function, are also prevalent in these online chatting programs. Tired of reading just words? Simply click on the Skype button and you are seconds away from real-time video conferencing. Communication, be it written or visual, can now be done with a computer.

 

Other things like news broadcasts or articles, can also be found online. These news can be read anywhere, anytime, especially since inventors have now also merged the technologies of a computer, together with a cellphone. With the abundance of iPhones and BlackBerries, the same computer mediated communication can also be done on these smartphones! When people go for meetings, or need to take down certain notes, they take out a laptop or an iPad instead of a pen and paper. Even the tedious task of finding a life partner can now be done online, because the setting up of dating sites have made this possible. You can even filter out unwanted individuals with a simple click of the mouse. However, with communication being computerized, there might be a danger of having an identity crisis. Online, you can be anyone you want. But once you shut down your computer, you are back to reality. Some people end up confused because they adopt multiple identities virtually, especially in online games. This can be detrimental in the long run.

 

To sum it all off, we are now slaves of technology. We most probably would not survive without our laptops or iPhones. We are too reliant on technology for communication and information, and I think that all of us are already on a path of no return. Who knows that, like my title suggest, newspapers will be wiped off the face of this Earth in 50 years. News and updates will be in the form of holograms, like what you see in your typical Startrek movie.

MediaCock!

I’m sure that by now most of you have watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Awesome show right? It was so awesome that it already raked in more than $500 million worldwide on its 9th day of screening! If I was Michael Bay I would use that money and buy myself a Chevrolet Camaro so that I don’t have to wake up so early everyday to bus to school.

 

Read the article here!

 

Anyway, movies such as Transformers and the upcoming Harry Potter, are excellent examples of media globalization by the media companies. Most of these companies are U.S.-based companies, and it also shows the dominance of US media products outside of its own country. It is evident from the figures which shows that sales abroad is much higher than the sales domestically. The movies that our local cinemas screen are at least 95% foreign, with only local productions screening once or twice a year. Our television airtime is also bombarded by US shows and movies, and more so with the availability of cable television. Many other Asian television networks even had to copy various US programmes such as the American Idol to ensure viewership.

 

Personally, as a Singaporean citizen myself, I find it rather upsetting that the government rather spend on acquiring obsolete Leopard tanks and funding other useless things, than improving the arts and media industry. Thousands of artists end up giving up their dreams and settling for 8-5 jobs, because they very well know how atrocious the market and room for growth is in Singapore. Yes, the US is the largest exporter of mass media products internationally, but it is up us to import them or not. Why can’t the media companies in Singapore do more to create more of its own shows, movies, and other programmes? Everyday you flip through the local channels, you are most likely to see something that isn’t local at all.

 

The only saving grace of the local media is The Noose which is aired on Channel 5. Why can’t more of such programmes be reciprocated? The movies which are locally produced are also utterly disappointing. No special effects, no mind-blowing plots or scenes, only hokkien phrases and lame army jokes. If you want to suck our cashcards dry everyday, why not use the money to acquire high-end visual effects technology that you get from Transformers or Avatar, and not using the money to build even more ERP gantries! It is, by the way, not helping the flow of traffic at all.

 

Come on, Singapore. Do something before your country is made up of 95% foreigners, and 5% Singaporeans. If you keep this up, I see that as an inevitable outcome.

Foul play?

The General Elections are over, and a new one is coming up soon – the Presidential Election. Many are debating over who should rightly succeed our current president. One of the hopefuls is Dr Tony Tan. Ever since he decided to run for president, he received nothing but endorsements from none other than, PAP.

 

Click here to read.

 

The media has been covering so many wonderful stories of him, and how he deserves to be president this year. Media hegemony immediately came to my mind. It is one of the media communication theories by Antonio Gramsci, which states that the media is represented by the powerful elite, and those who hold economic or political power. I am in no way doubting Dr Tony Tan’s credentials as a presidential candidate, but I have been wondering, isn’t the coverage of him a little too extreme and is in a way overshadowing the other two candidates?

 

PAP leaders such as Goh Chok Tong, Lee Hsien Loong, and even the current president himself, have been issuing statements that Dr Tony Tan is the man to vote for. He is perhaps the most closely related to PAP despite resigning from the ruling party and is running as an independent candidate. But is there really such a thing as an independent candidate? Dr Tony Tan has held various high ranking positions in the ruling party, Singapore Press Holdings, as well as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. How can an independent candidate, who is being endorsed so heavily by the ruling party, still be considered independent?

 

You might argue that the other two candidates are also formally from PAP – Dr Tan Cheng Bock was a former MP who garnered a staggering 88% of votes during his election. Tan Kin Lian, former NTUC Income CEO, was also a branch secretary of PAP. I did some research myself and found out that Dr Tan Cheng Bock previously had a few disagreements with PAP regarding certain issues of conscience. Unfortunately, I could not find much about Tan Kin Lian.

 

Therefore, all this hype about Dr Tony Tan has led me to think about whether the media is trying to control and prime its audiences, and whether media hegemony or agenda setting function is in play with regards to the Presidential Elections. There may be things going on behind the scenes that we will never have knowledge of.

The poor’s only ticket to Dr. House – handcuffs.

I’m sure we all know the power of mass communication and how people use them to put across various messages. This article I found is rather appalling, because it tells of an American who committed a US$1 robbery, just so that he could get arrested and receive free healthcare while in jail. Prison handbooks in the US states that inmates only have to pay a small fee of US$5 to get medical care, and a second statement which says that no one will be denied of medical care even if they cannot afford the small fee.

 

Click here for the article.

 

The United States has had many healthcare issues over the decade. Almost half the personal bankruptcies filed are due to the immense medical debt incurred, and this is due to the high cost of medical care in the country. There is also a lack of medical coverages for the citizens, and a study done by Harvard states that almost 50 000 excess deaths each year are attributed to this lack of insurance. There are many who can’t afford the high cost, such as the 59 year old male in the article. The system is so flawed and does not take into consideration the pockets of the lower classes.

 

This case is so bizarre that, even a reporter from Reuters had to interview him in jail. What this man may not realize, is that he has in fact created a strong message in the mass media. The target audience is definitely the governing body of America, and perhaps other nations who have similar healthcare issues. It undoubtedly gives these governments something to think about. James, the man in the article, even admitted in the video that he was indeed manipulating this loophole, but only because such manipulation is the only way he could get healthcare. Imagine yourself being extremely poor and unable to afford healthcare. You hear that prisons provide free medical services, and you are in dire need of attention. Would you do the same as he did?

 

I definitely stand by the actions of this man. The fact that he only asked for a dollar during the ‘robbery’, is a clear indication that his aim was solely to receive medical help. He even sat on the couch, waiting patiently for the police to apprehend him! This is a desperate act, and a plea to the government to resolve the issue on healthcare. Some may argue that he is exploiting the mass media. But whether or not he intended to, I say he has done it well. I am not surprised if crimes rates skyrocket in response to this case. And why not, since it beats death because the government ignores you. I sincerely hope that this video will be aired in various mass medias such as documentaries, news channels over national television, and even online platforms.

 

After all, the nation is supposed to help its people, not leave them to die.

“Ehhh, add me on fb leh!”

Okay no more STOMP. This time¬†I found something interesting on Yahoo! News which talks about everybody’s favourite book: Facebook!

 

Click here to read more!!

 

The article is essentially stating that Facebook users are a lot more trusting towards people, as well as more engaging. Those who use the social network are found to have more close friends, stronger¬†ties within their social circle, as well as higher engagement in political issues. Do note that this survey was done in the America. But if you think about it, you’ll realise that the results¬†also somewhat¬†apply to our island. This new¬†form of contemporary¬†interpersonal¬†communication has indeed taken the world by storm.

 

Facebook, and other social networking platforms such as Twitter, have changed the way we communicate and forge relationships, and made our world ‘smaller’.¬†In the past, the¬†prerequisites for¬†interpersonal communication are: 2 or more people, and face-to-face interaction. But now, you don’t even need¬†any of that. You¬†can even form a relationship with a stranger you’ve¬†never met before. And I’m sure many of you know that¬†countless relational partners have also met in this manner. Such platforms eliminate the need for initial contact, and¬†the issue of proximity. By proximity I mean that, it¬†allows you easy access to almost any individual¬†in Singapore in cyberspace, but¬†not in terms of physical proximity.¬†All you have to do is click ‘Add as¬†Friend’, and you’re¬†one step closer to getting a mate.¬†Gone, are the days of¬†pure fate.

 

However I do not entirely agree with the outcome of the survey that was done. Who defines what is a ‘close’ friend, or ‘close’ ties within your social circle? What if this is a case of¬†an¬†experimenter’s bias, or another form of ingenious advertising for Facebook¬†itself?¬†Many a times we forge a friendship with someone, and we think that this friendship is strong. But how many times have you been disappointed or betrayed? Even if no action was done, the mere intent is already sufficient. The report also claims that these users are more trusting than others. This is simply due to the fact that all these interactions, and exchange of information (regardless whether it is the truth), is done in the cyber world. Many people rather pour their hearts out to strangers because there is no affiliation, and thus there is also no fear of awkwardness. There are still many others who seldom indulge in Facebook, but still have a lot of ‘close’ friends.

 

This report is right about one thing though. And that is the fact that such social networking platforms have encouraged higher engagement in political debates. This, however, is only something seasonal because you don’t get elections every week. Think of our most¬†recent General Elections. How many times have you logged in to Facebook, and saw status updates about Ting Pei Ling or Nicole Seah? I have witnessed that¬†the number of comments on these updates can go up to at least 50! That’s a hell lot to talk about. These sites have indeed provided people with a platform to voice their opinions freely and easily.

 

Therefore, I think that Facebook, and other similar sites, are just¬†nothing but platforms for¬†contemporary interpersonal communication. It is not a variable¬†that should¬†be used in formulating speculations about people’s lives. However, I still salute Zuckerberg for bringing Facebook to the world, and it¬†has¬†nearly wiped Friendster off the face of the cyber world.¬†Facebook has definitely altered communication in countless ways. Who knows, something bigger and better will be designed and invented in the years to come? Till then,¬†let us all continue¬†to indulge in¬†our beloved webpage of blue and white.

What if… …

Once again, I found something on STOMP to share with you all. I guess maybe because STOMP has a wide variety of news and gossips, especially the juicy and yummy ones. Anyway, this STOMP entry is about two young women who didn’t give up their seat despite knowledge of an old lady standing, and carrying heavy stuff on the MRT.

Click here to read it!!!

As you can see, one of the young lady (I beg to differ although the STOMPer claims she’s young) was even sitting in the seat reserved for the elderly or disabled. Most people who see this photo would definitely feel disgusted by the two young women. However, since I am feeling rather evil tonight, I shall argue in the defense of the two young women.¬†Just a few days ago, our dear Ms Hui lectured us about non-verbal communication, which can be subjective in the sense that meaning is in the eye of the beholder. The STOMPer goes on about how inconsiderate the two young lady were, but did it ever cross your mind that perhaps, the two young ladies were not at fault?

Based on the personal nonverbal stimuli which the STOMPer has consumed, she perceives that both young ladies were ignorant and mean for not giving their seat up. But what if, before the STOMPer boarded the train, both the young ladies actually did ask if the old lady needed a seat but was turned down? Or what if, both young ladies coincidentally had some form of difficulty in movement and needed the seat badly to rest? Or what if, the lady in the reserved seat was really asleep and had no knowledge of the old lady entering the train? I know I sound extremely evil right now, but I am not wrong to say that sometimes people tend to overlook certain things which can lead to various perceptual errors. Omission and distortion of facts, as well as our cognitive schemata are just a few factors that contribute to how we organize the information we consume. The STOMPer might have just entered the train and caught eye of such an image, and then proceeded to organize the information with proper knowledge of previous events.

We also tend to judge people by their physical appearance, which is one of the types of non-verbal communication. Young women who dress well are strong and able-bodied, while old women are frail and weak. Such is the stereotype most people have. But like I said, it is a stereotype. I dare challenge any thirty-five year old woman to a ‘walking race’ with my seventy odd year old grandmother, triathletes excluded. Winners get a sweet from me, any takers? Well I used to be in the Reconnaissance team, known for their inhuman walking speeds, and my grandmother has no problems matching or surpassing my pace.

Therefore what I’m trying to say is that: nothing is as it seems. We must not perceive things solely based on various non-verbal cues that we consume. I think this is also a very good rule to follow in life. Say you catch your boy/girlfriend hugging someone of the opposite sex. Don’t jump to conclusions because it might just be a goodbye hug, or a dare from someone. Upon knowing this, I’m sure your other half will love you so much and eventually marry you. And on the day of your wedding, don’t forget my fat ang pao!

Oh come on, it’s the 21st Century!!!

Here is a photo i came across on STOMP.

The title of this post is “Too short or not? Caucasian girl waits for train in super short shorts”. This particular STOMPer is saying that the dressing of the girl in the photo is way too revealing. However if you were to turn your attention to the comments section, you will see that this STOMPer is getting nothing but flak from other STOMPers. Interestingly, at the MOOD METER section, 74% of STOMPers selected ‘Shiok’ and only 1% selected ‘Enraged’. This brings us to the idea of perception, which was something that we have all just learnt recently in class.

Click here to view the post on STOMP!

Perception shapes our world, and our world shapes our perception. However each individual has his or her own ‘world’, and hence not everyone has the same perception about things. Perception these days are heavily influenced by social factors such as the mass media, as well as the cultural background of each individual. All of us are now living in the 21st century, where countless of advertisements are driven by the concept of ‘sex’. Even the Minute Maid Singapore commercial, which was aired a few years back, had two Singaporean artiste kiss passionately just to show that two different flavours are being mixed. PG-rated movies these days, which are viewed by hundreds of thousands of children, do not even censor the word ‘fuck’ anymore.

Therefore who is to fault the Caucasian girl in the photo for wearing short shorts? Another thing to note is that she may be a foreigner who is not born a Singaporean. It is known that the Western culture is a lot less conservative as compared to Singapore, therefore what we perceive to be ‘short’ may not be what Westerners perceive. As I mentioned above, each individual has a different ‘world’, and that shapes our perception differently in relation to our own ‘world’. I personally do not feel offended by the Caucasian girl’s dressing at all, simply because based on my personal experience, I know that she is not alone. Take a trip down to Zouk and/or Phuture, and what do you see – hundreds of females in extremely revealing dresses and other outfits. Has anyone ever taken a picture of a girl at Zouk, placed it on STOMP, and said the same thing as what was said about the Caucasian girl?

The answer is, obviously, ‘No’.