Friday, February 24, 2012

The Quieter One

One thing seems clear these days. If you want to hide something from the internet - you're only likely to make it more widely available, so you're often better off not stirring the hornet's nest. That's what Mike Masnick wrote about Barbara Streisand's legal effort to have the photo of her Malibu beach house removed from the internet. The futile exercise that gave us the Streisand Effect.

Do the people who hire the lawyers realize that the act of trying to repress something they don't like to read online is likely to cause it to be read by many more people, including people who may not have bothered to know about it anyway? The move by Lee Hsien Yang, younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and second son of Lee Kuan Yew, just days after PM Lee demanded a website to apologise for a post that alleged nepotism in the appointment of the premier's wife as head of Temasek Holdings, has set off a stampede of keyboard junkies scouring the internet to locate the offending bits.

Since most of the limelight has been on elder brother, little is known of Lee Hsien Yang - unlike a politician's, his personal life is his private affair. Interviewed years ago by Major Leong Choon Cheong, compiler of the book "Youth in the Army", he considered himself "more at home with numbers than with words"(page 188). He told the author, "I can't tolerate a poet friend". His wife is the one who works with words, a very talented lawyer in her own right, and daughter of Lim Chong Yah, the professor of economics who gave us the National Wage Recommendations (NWC).

Less is known about why he suddenly resigned from Singtel in July 2006, a job that paid as much as $2.2 million in a good year. "It's certainly surprising, it's not something they've been telegraphing," was the reaction then of Hugh Young, managing director at Aberdeen Asset Management in Singapore. Even more surprising was the ex-CEO's parting remark, "At this point in time I really have no idea where I will be going." When he signed on with Fraser & Neave as business consultant for $1 million, even his father was surprised: "That's not a full-time job." "Yes," he explained, "but I'm also going to manage my portfolio." So he went to Fraser & Neave and managed his portfolio, wrote Lee Kuan Yew ("Hard Truths", page 415). Life is full of surprises.

If the legal tussle had proceeded on to court, even the kopitiam crowd will have something to yak about. Unfortunately the website has decided not to "vigorously resist Mr Lee's demands", its lawyer having discharged himself after claiming to fight "in defence of the freedom of expression in cyberspace." The offending comment posted on the website has been removed, nobody knows what the fuss was all about, leaving an open field for speculators to run wild with their imagination. The frustrated keyboard sleuths, at least the pissed-off ones, swamped the website with some 300 comments, postings that were allegedly outright "defamatory and seditious." Since everything online is being purged, rumour mongering will just have to revert to the good old fashion grapevine.


  1. What a shame..had they continued with the hornet's nest, kopitiam 瘪三 uncles might actually find some quality honey to stir their teh-0 with.

    Me thinks Sammyboy forum remains the best treasure source.

  2. It does not matter who's right and who's wrong but the fundamental principle should be fairness. Those who write in must be mindful that claims must be sustaintiated and not based on hear-say.

    While we all like to put forth our opinions, it must be stated clearly in the beginning so as not to mislead readers are truth.

  3. To anon 6:40pm

    Agree about fairness. But let's be fair, if people clearly stated it is rumours or alleged, then the onus if up to the Investigative Reporter to do their jobs and confirm or quell it, without fear and favour, don't you think? If the 'free press' is doing its estate job and holding people in power for their accountability, then we would not be in such a pathetic state. We are in 21st century, everyone knows how to ascertain fact from fiction or satire, filter, weigh, ignore , dissect and analyse. If you can't trust your citizens to do the same, you're not really giving them a lot of credit!

    The world most powerful leaders have other important agendas to solve and tackle than to sent 3 legal threats to its citizens. No wonder our PM's plate seems full. Maybe there are more to come..

  4. I also curious why he suddenly become "CAAAss boss."

  5. //If the 'free press' is doing its estate job and holding people in power for their accountability, then we would not be in such a pathetic state. //

    You mean from 136th last year to 135th this year by Reporters without Border when ranking our free press?

    LOL - at the rate we are going, it will take us another 134 years to get to number 1. I wonder over how many unenlightened PM's dead bodies will it be?

  6. Whether their appointment was due to capability or blood ties, deep inside our hearts, every Singaporean knows.

    There Is A Chinese Saying - Real Gold Is Not Afraid Of The Furnace Fire!

  7. The nepotism allegation is not new. Even Wikipedia has a section in the LHL entry. Many people believe it in their heart but no one dares to speak out. It's just like the Emperor's new clothes.

    Needless to say, the Emperor has no clothes!

  8. LOL - wait till you see uncyclopedia!

    Singaporeans should take a class-action suit and go after that website..TGIF !!

  9. Tattler, you hit it on the nail oce again, before the PAP minister mentioned The Online Citizen (a few months before GE2011) in the MSM, my wife & I were kinda pro-PAP and not that interested in politics but after we checked out TOC and blogs like yours, we not only attended WP and SPP raliies, we actually donated money to them! So it is obvious who we voted for back in May.

  10. Tattler, can we post some defamatory comments on your blog to sabo you? Hehee, just kidding :)

  11. If you say it is not nepotism, then it is not lor. As if so scared many people don't believe you.

    But like that, also want to send lawyer's letter meh ?

    Now we all believe you, Ok. No need to act like big bully mah. Life is so short, leh.

    1. Will he go shout from rooftops if it is?


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