I was reading the CNA article about PM Lee talking about Government’s approach in engaging S’poreans in new media. I can’t help but totally disagree with him on the issue of sending template email to our minister or REACH.
Citing the leadership tussle by Singapore women’s group AWARE, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted how easy it is to mount online campaigns.
He said he received many emails from opposing camps.
“Many of the emails were identical. Exactly the same letter, word for word. Obviously somebody cut and pasted from a template,” Mr Lee said.
“That’s not just my surmise. It’s a fact because some of them didn’t fully cut and paste so if you read till the bottom of the letter, you will see down there the rubric is still there. The rubric says please enter your name and IC number and send this to the PM.”
Hence, Mr Lee said that in this instance, it is not independent feedback, but an organised campaign to lobby and pressure the government to back one side against the other.
What if I can’t write well? Does that mean I cannot feedback to my Government? Does that mean I do not have a say?
Is sending template emails to our Minister/REACH wrong? Sending a template email doesn’t mean the feedback is not independent. I find it hard to believe that our government expect every citizen to be able to write emails in their own words to them. Not everyone is proficient in the English language to write a good email to their MP. They might not be able to convey their message to their MP well if they write the email themselves. Which is why they rely on email template by other like minded people who are more proficient in the English language. Why penalize those who aren’t able to write well? Why stop REACH-ing to those who are not good in words?
Copying a template email does not mean that it is Astroturfing. It is like a petition using email. Do you see people writing in their own words in petition? No. They put their name there because they support a certain clause. It’s a group of people with similar point of view coming together to send out one unified message to their Government. I do not see what is wrong with that. I do not see why the Government should ignore these people just because they are not confident of writing in their own words. End of the day, it’s the message carried in the email that is important.
Do not discriminate those who can’t write well. Every citizen’s feedback to the government, be it thru their own writing or template from a like minded person, is still a feedback from a Singapore citizen that should be taken seriously by the Government.
And by the way, when I vote, I put a cross on a printed sheet of paper. It’s also somewhat considered a template. Does that means my vote doesn’t count? Do I need to write a good essay on why I’m voting for a certain party before my vote is counted?