There is no lack of criticism on Singapore and her government. Time (2007) says her politics are “paternalistic” and her social environment “straitlaced”. The Economist (2010) describes Singapore as a “nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny”. Just last year (2011), an independent socio-political blog was “gazetted” by the govenment.
So it may come as a surprise to observers when the Singapore government embarks on a National Conversation. Initiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long and led by Education Minister Heng Swee Kiat, it is an opportunity to “reaffirm what is good and still relevant; recalibrate in areas where we have gone off course; and refresh and innovate, and break new ground.”
Citizens can participate in the conversation either via Facebook, Twitter (#oursgconv), via organised dialogue sessions (which you need to signup for) or informal discussions.
Here are our observations after four days (14 - 17 Sept) of social media monitoring using JamiQ Buzz.