Hypothesis: 1 x Singaporean gone overseas = -$120 for Singapore
When the Straits Times Interactive went
down paid subscription access only in Mid-March this year, I thought about setting up some kind of web scrapin’ mirror site that would allow a me to “pirate” the news information using a paid subscription so Singaporeans around the world can keep up with developments back home. Alas, this Robin Hood mentality would be pointless as Singapore’s amazing legal powers would definitely not take to my liberty with their “property”.
So as I counted down the days before I start to lose a part of my connection with Singapore, I wondered what other Singaporeans felt about the paid access deal and whether they would subscribe. Most of my Singaporean friends in my university didn’t really bother and just started looking elsewhere for home news. At this point I thought how sad it was that Singapore was already losing local talent overseas (having spent so much on Contact Singapore as well as other “Singaporeans-Come-Home” propaganda), that a move like this seemed really
stupid silly. Why cut off access to your fellow man/woman overseas for $120? Has Singapore calculated that $120 per year is the same amount Singapore loses with each citizen lost overseas? i.e: Is our networth $120 per person?!?
Opinions aside, I sought alternatives that Singaporeans might have taken to for news. It was when I read Sarongpartyfrens’ site about “Straits Times vs. Technorati” that it awoke the blogger in me… damn, how could I have forgotten! All that darn SexyBlogger meme floating around the Internet must have taught us something…
As with the origin of the Internet, “decentralization” was the key!
From a Singapore Angle said it best about the whole situation, as the key point bloggers were making was to use decentralized aggregated sources such as search engines and Technorati tags to read your Singapore news. Using the search term “Singapore News”, you would be able to find a wealth of information via Google News (which you can now customized as part of your Google News page or make a Singapore Google Alert!), searching Technorati, Del.icio.us, Flickr and so on!
Using these social tagging services, Chinese students protested against the government’s ban of the public from accessing their Chinese university BBS system. Reactions and commentaries on the ban have proliferated in the blogosphere in the form of Blog posts, flickr photos, furl and del.icio.us bookmarks, which are all tracked via “smth” tag on Technorati or Flickr. As the news report mentioned, this is a very effective way to aggregate “sensitive information” through a distributive process in a politically censored cyberspace. This kind of decentralized peer to peer communication is in the rage nowadays… other technologies such as BitTorrent works in a similar fashion, sans the tagging part (but that could soon change).
Which comes down to this:
If you’re posting any news related Singapore, what should you do?
Well, Many2Many had an article which explained that even though it may be a little tedious “tagging”, instead of making you feel bad for “only” doing 99% (of the tagging work), a well designed system makes you feel good for doing 1%. As such, don’t worry too much about tagging, just write write write and you’ll be found. If you do want to be found quicker or help do good for the blogosphere, insert Technorati tags like “Singapore” into your blog posts as shown below:
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/singapore" rel="tag">singapore</a>
Just click on that and you’ll see other people who posted with Singapore in mind. Together now… Stand up, Stand up for Singapore!