Friday, 18 December 2009

SISTIC, blogging and delusions of grandeur

SISTIC has received a 'Proposed Infringement Decision' from the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) on December 16. I want to believe that the CCS notice was sparked by the Grand Moofti's two posts on SISTIC (November 25 and December 4) which discussed the monopolistic nature of the SISTIC franchise.

After all, it does not take long to figure out that SISTIS's business is a monopolistic cash machine with consumers forced to feed the machine. The CCS can do that in a few days, especially with access to the legal agreements binding the Esplanade to use SISTIC.
Much as I like to feed my ego such delusions of grandeur, the CCS investigation probably started some months ago. Surprising as it may sound to us bloggers, achieving results in a transparent legal environment generally requires a little bit more homework than writing a blog post.
Still, allow me 'bloggers license' to take some credit for at least moving things along in the right direction!
Singapore's mandarins tend to be methodical and thorough, if somewhat risk averse, in their approach. They will not issue a notice hastily only to lose 'face' in the future.
The SISTIC saga, still ongoing, validates some personal notions about Singapore. The government is willing to address non-controversial and 'meritocratic' issues quickly through the system. Constructive debate can make a difference.
The above does not hold true for 'sensitive' issues. Race and religion are rightly deemed to be sensitive. Irresponsible behaviour or writings on the subject threaten the social fabric.

Nevertheless, I believe that if an idea passes a 'Reasonableness Test' it can be written, without fear of adverse repercussions, even in Singapore's self-regulated environment.  
My own 'Reasonableness Test' is a combination of a few assessments.
I should be able to defend my argument or hypothesis to my neighbours, friends and my local MP without feeling embarrassed or uneasy about supporting such a notion. If I am writing about a really touchy subject, like Islam or race relations, then I imagine how LKY will react if he read my posts!
If LKY listens to my argument and does not threaten to prosecute me afterwards then it has passed my self-imposed 'Reasonableness Test.' I figure that it is then safe to assume the Establishment will not take me to court and lock me up (and force me into bankruptcy for good measure) for expressing my beliefs.
The SISTIC saga shows that there are genuine issues which we face in daily life where a little publicity may go an unexpectedly long way. And, Pakistani-Singaporeans bloggers are passionate about many issues, not only the distinction between 'Malays' and 'Muslims!'
Please remember that next time you buy a concert ticket and pay a reduced SISTIC handling charge. Yes, I know it's only about a dollar per ticket but it's all about the Latte Effect.

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