What Hsien Loong did not say
We all know that he did not talk about the recent hike in transport fare. We know that he did not say anything about the high cost of living or the high medical fees. There are many things which obviously he did not touch on. More pertinent are the sources of feedback that he depended on and acted on. The frustration of first time flat owners, the jam packed trains, the overwhelming presence of foreigners leading to a citizen versus foreigner controversy and tension, the high property prices, the concerns of parents of their children’s education, these were some of the key issues that he spoke about intensely and announced measures to deal with them. What he did not say is that these issues were the daily grinds in cyberspace, the kpkbs, the whinings and gripings that were hardly reported in the main media. If left to the main media, or if Hsien Loong were to rely solely on the main media for his feedback, there were no problems to talk about. Everything is perfect and blissful. Report only the good stuff and hear only the good stuff. Only the irritants in cyberspace are complaining incessantly, deafening at times, on these issues that really hurt them badly. What Hsien Loong did not say is that he read the feedbacks from cyberspace, probably mainly from Reach for sure. He may also read some of the frustrations and whinings from other non govt blogs and forums. How else would he come to know that the people were grousing if the grouses were not reported in his normal channels of communications? The whinings and gripings are important. Who say not so? Without these kpkbs, the problems will not have surfaced or taken notice of. No complaints means no problems to look into. And what Hsien Loong did not say is that he took these kpkbs seriously as well. And if the complaints are legitimate, the govt will take actions to resolve them. There is an important role for the alternate media or new media in throwing real issues for the govt to tackle. The new media can tell the truth and can be a good source to listen to. They may be the messengers of bad news, but still important news and can be taken seriously by the govt. Relying just on the main media is a handicap and many problems may not be given the appropriate airings. And lastly, what Hsien Loong did not say is to tell the new media to shut up. There is a complimentary role for the new media as a source of feedback to the govt.