Monday, April 29, 2013

Dialogue — The Speech of Fiction

We have had enough of bad dialogue. Enough of those politically correct utterances from staged puppets, spouting verbiage that no one is allowed to challenge without the consequence of a lawyer's letter of demand in the mail. Come on, who in real life lets another person spout off without interruption, especially when debating points he or she doesn’t agree with? It's only natural there’s a response if the parties agree and an even stronger response when the parties are in opposition. Anything else, it's plain wayang.

The task of dialogue does have responsibilities. Dialogue is supposed to:

Advance the plot
Dialogue can and should both direct and change the course of a storyline. A simple revelation, like how much does it really cost to build a HDB flat, will soothe the skeptics about the affordability of public housing. To suggest that the housing authority actually incurs financial losses, like the fairy tale of the $8 open heart surgery, merely stresses the plot and prolongs the agony of the spin.

Reveal character
Dialogue cannot be bland. Characters in play should not speak in dour, colourless monotone, unless you plan a career in announcing electoral results with a robotic voice. The absence of emotional engagement when addressing the concerns of a worried generation says a lot about the sincerity of the speaker. Just avoid rabble rousing theatrics like prompting the audience to assent with a "keechiu!"

Create or increase conflict
Dialogue should shake up the status quo, not prolong the perpetuity of the ongoing injustices. The misunderstanding of multifarious parties in contention — either by accident or deliberate ploy - is only evil when by promoted by participants with separate agendas, pursuing those agendas at the expense of others. Even the authorities have issued a statement declaring that if insensitive comments are made in the heat of the moment, or by relatively immature persons who did not know better, after the investigations uncover, “a more nuanced response may follow” by the police in handling the matter.

Break up passages of action or inaction
Like fiction in a novel, too much of any element is simply too much. The audience need a break from the drone of the official spiel; repetition ad nauseam - "we are on your side" - can only put one to sleep; exposition without pause is merely regurgitation of propaganda; and constant dialogue, as would constant conversation in real life, annoys people to no end and drives them to alternative platforms like the May Day gathering.

One of the answers to the Shell Thought Leadership Question "How can a meaningful dialogue between the Government and the people be sustained" suggest that dialogue sessions should not be restricted to just "politically correct" opinions and views, and the people should be given the right to challenge the Government (Student, Tampines JC, 430 Votes). The student may wish to add a disclaimer about personal views and partisan parlance, even though that declaration may afford scant protection from whispering ministers.


  1. That's why I never vote PAP. It has become quite clear that the majority treats a flat as a basic necessity, not an asset. But PAP ministers, especially Khaw, always act deviously by pitting one group of Singaporeans against another group so that he can sit back and watch Singaporeans fight amongst themselves and gain all the benefits and at the same time act like a diplomat pretending to help.

    The true test of trustworthiness of a person comes from his action or inaction. By looking at how the resale price index continues to climb despite 7 rounds of "cooling" measures, it is obvious that he is just talking and not working. Even newspapers are covering it up for him by erroneously correlating a drop in sales volume to the effectiveness of cooling measures instead of using price as an indicator.

  2. "The more money there is, the lesser the value the money has.. Prices going up is just a symptom of inflation.. It's no wonder the graph of money supply and prices of house are almost identical..

    It's very surprising no one has mentioned the relation between money supply and inflation..
    Look up the meaning of inflation. It means the expansion of money supply.
    The money that is being printed and circulated" - Mohd Rafi · Works at Morton's of Chicago.

    “Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.”
    ― Bertolt Brecht, Galileo

    RCs are undergoing their largest-scale revamp since they were formed 36 years ago, in a move to reach out to more residents in the
    neighbourhood and better represent the local community's needs.

    The People’s Association has set aside S$44 million for the RCs’ rejuvenation. Each RC will also have its own manager, who will work with grassroots leaders on organising activities and courses, as well as forming interest groups. This is unlike the current practice of staffing the centre with volunteers.

    Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and the People’s Association Deputy Chairman Lim Swee Say described the revamp as a “major turning point” for RCs.
    "About 460 RC centres that are more than 15 years old will be upgraded and expanded by 2017.
    They will get health equipment, wall mirrors for dance and yoga classes and more,depending on what the RC plans to offer."
    - THE NEW PAPER, Monday,April 22 2013)

    1. "The People’s Association has set aside S$44 million for the RCs’ rejuvenation. Each RC will also have its own manager, who will work with grassroots leaders on organising activities and courses, as well as forming interest groups. This is unlike the current practice of staffing the centre with volunteers."

      And how will this make our lives easier or better?

  3. Since you are planning to build new theme parks on that island, it would make alot of sense nurturing wayang actors right? Anyway your chief political actors have been leading by example: everyone of them pretending to work hard daily (following the example of a certain octogenraian ex-presidente), sit in hours of meetings pretending to discuss policy papers copied from The Economist, pretend to attend foreign summits but actually going for overseas joy rides (like your current presidente and ESM who love the golf in nice cool weathers unlike the hot and humid TMCC), when they meet the people they will recite their lines of lies such as "We are working for you" (omitting "to pay more taxes") and of course they are also good at the timely shedding of a crocodile tear every few years. The best part: they also pretend to run the economy - by blowing bubbles with hot money sucked in from tax evaders. When bubbles are formed, they pretend to introduce "cooling measures", which always fail, so they can pretend some more to introduce more measures, thus guaranteeing a life-time acting career, which will eventually culminate in a life-time achievement award like what Maggie Roberts (aka Thatcher) just received. One such award might be coming your way soon, I think...

  4. First they said they want to delink the HDB flat prices from resale market values to cool the market & to bring new BTO flat prices down.

    Then they said wait a minute, can't go down too low otherwise people will curse PAP if HDB resale prices also crashes. But then they insisted the HDB still made losses because of the huge subsidies. Are they not contradicting themselves ?

    If the Minister already gave the directive to delink the prices, does it not mean that HDB has in the past been actually profiteering from the linking of BTO flat prices to resale flat prices, which implied absolutely nothing to do with actual costs nor huge housing subsidies ?

    So now can the Cow Minister stop procrastinating tell us ONCE & FOR ALL which one is the actual real situation .... mere profiteering or huge housing subsidy? Can't be the latter if they can simply delink new BTO prices just like that, isn't it ? Are they still lying to us ?

    1. If they really making huge losses subsidizing Singaporeans, they would be nominating themselves for sainthood during the last General Elections.

      The fact is that they can only talk.
      But cannot be open & transparent by appointing an independent audit from United Nations.
      Maybe that should tell all of us something?

  5. Hey, look.
    A dishonest white paper.

  6. Dialogue is not about talking to the same group of questionable people who tailed you all year round and ignore those who wanted to challenge your opinion.

    Dialogue is not about, end of the day, which grassroot people will make you feel good. It is about accepting the opposing voices that make you feel wiser with something new to bring home for the betterment of the people you served.

    Dialogue is not about adopting teacher-student style in classroom settings filled with drawing board and paper and than disseminate questios which may not be relevant to the problems at hand.
    It is about walking the street and talk to everyone you met in casual style - see , listen and talk about what affect their lives from the ground.

    Dialogue is not the current National Conv. style. Too staged for consumption and its ultimate verdict is out of touch with the real issues at hand.