April 29, 2017

31
PSI
CONNECT WITH US
 
 
Authors Posts by Joshua Ip

Joshua Ip

Joshua Ip
18 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

by -
0 497

by Joshua Ip

PERHAPS I’m too optimistic, or have succumbed to the wave of rose-tinted nostalgia that has suffused Singapore mass-hallucination-style in the last year.

See, I remember the Internet as a place where two people could settle their differences through the rites of honorable combat – a verbal duel on a Facebook wall. Once a gauntlet was thrown down, both parties engaged in the formal dance – the boundaries of the debate were clearly circumscribed, points were scored for art and skill, and the party who was provoked into ungentlemanly jabs below the belt – i.e. the ad hominem – was shamed into a concession. One could not argue with the facts of logic, and the results of the joust were clear for all to see – even if they had fought each other to a draw, the two parties could still invoke the ancient ritual of “agree to disagree” and walk away with their heads held high.

But as the reach of social media and the possibility to share and re-share grew beyond the ability of the average poster to foresee, the duels began to take on a bit more of a wild wild West flavor. New challengers began to arrive mid-bout, and many more refused to balk at playing dirty or changing the rules halfway. Duels devolved into multi-player slugfests spanning multiple threads, with grudges from weeks before being brought up again to mark a particularly unruly avatar. In essence, King of Fighters had become World of Warcraft.

Somewhere along the line, it became commonplace to see a young troll with a shock of wild hair prancing along, gleefully casting ‘Spell of Religiously Offensive Youtube Video’ and drawing a huge swarm of angry mobs in his wake. On the other side of the battlefield, you’d spot a glossily-armored ‘Paladin of Media Literacy’ swinging his ‘Hammer of Fox News Obnoxiousness’, eventually being swarmed by a horde of liberal barbarians. A mid-level orc attempts to ambush a noob with his ‘Apprentice Sim Lim Scammery’, and finds himself instead obliterated by ‘Giant Fireball of Pizza’ from a master-level ‘Feedback Wizard’. Or a savvy family of ‘Master Design Mage’s’ casting ‘Spell of Crying Child’ (+20% Public Outrage) to great success against the ponderous bureaucrats of the Gallery.

There are no longer any rules. There is no longer any consideration for scale, for significance, or for what we should occupy our time with. Minding one’s own business is a concept that has been relegated to the 20th century because everybody’s business is now everyone else’s business.

Instead of considered debate, we have a giant death ray of righteous outrage that leaves a blazing trail across the Internet every day. It can’t be turned off, and it needs to be fed – all that low-level irritation combined with a certain level of ennui at one’s boring existence has to go somewhere. Why not let the energy go into an angry comment about some horrible ang moh who beat up a taxi uncle? Or the next day, a furious share about some despicable taxi driver who tried to con a gullible tourist into turning off the meter? Does it matter if the two incidents are the same? As long as I’m part of the good guys, or the defenders of our nation’s pride, or the ones passing judgment from 30,000 feet based on a photo or a video clip?

We have built a Death Star, or if you prefer, a Starkiller Base. In doing so, we failed to realise that the beam of death can turn on anyone of us at any moment. There is no governing body, no court, or due process that controls who is incinerated. Just a sense of anger, raging like a consumed sun. Whether it is the Filipino worker in Tan Tock Seng or the Minister posting an ill-advised selfie, they can see their doom slowly approaching, just like the people of the Hosnian system watched the red glow of Starkiller Base’s attack searing its way towards them – each share, each like, each angry “wtf” spreads like a virus. You can take down the post or close your Twitter or get your PR department to submit a “we are looking into this” statement, but the ray still burns inexorably towards you and your good name.

How did we get here? Maybe Xiaxue, Queen of Blogs, crossed the line first. When she first reposted the unflattering personal pictures of men, who made offensive comments about her, and their families, half the internet cheered. A few wondered if she had set an uncomfortable precedent. Then notorious troll ‘SMRT(Ltd) Feedback’ doxxed Sim Lim scammer Jover Chew for cheating a poor Filipino of his money (Doxxing refers to the act of publishing private information about an individual on the Internet – in this case, his phone number, address, private photos, and the contact information of his girlfriend.) He was harassed by the Internet into closing his shop within days. From then on, the kid gloves were off. Any foreigner who made a comment about Singaporeans on his personal Facebook, or private WhatsApp group, or outside a pub, or basically anywhere that could be recorded, screenshotted, and shared – was at risk of having his employer contacted, his wife’s pictures dissected, his children screamed at in school, and having angry Singaporeans or confused pizza delivery boys appear outside his door.

Certainly, there is right and wrong. Every angry person on the Internet can tell you that. Right needs to be done, which chiefly means beating up people who are wrong. But there is far too much stupidity and idiocy in the world for even the Internet to police. If each one of us looks into our private moments or quiet conversations, I’m certain we can all extract something offensive or obnoxious enough to go viral. All of us are guilty of doing something stupid. The Death Star could happen to any one of us. And even if you are a saint who’s never said an offensive thing in your life, one only has so many hours in a day, in a month, a year, a lifetime – how many of those do you want to spend making some poor social media intern tear his hair out because he has made a poorly-thought-through post on the corporate page? Why should we activate the Death Star on someone’s stupidity when it can be sorted out with a quiet conversation (or Jedi mind trick)?

The Death Star floats through space, its planet-annihilating ray constantly blazing a path through the universe. This one has no convenient exhaust port or thermal oscillator to fire a proton torpedo down. The only way to shut it off, is, ironically, to shut up. Stop sharing. Stop commenting. Stop reacting, even. If you really feel the need to release your anger somehow (even though anger is the path to the dark side), draw your lightsaber. It’s called a private message. Go have it out with the person, one on one, the old way, the respectful way, the controlled way. The worst thing you could lose there is a bit of your pride. And we could all do with a bit less of that these days.

 

Featured image by Natassya Diana.

If you like this article, like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
2 1512
Definition of Eunoia and way to pronounce it.

by Joshua Ip

A newly announced junior college (JC) has sparked much public interest online. Eunoia Junior College, set to start taking students from Catholic High School, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School starting 2017, has captured the attention of netizens here for…its name. Acting Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng explained how the name “Eunoia” has Greek origins and that it means “beautiful thinking” and “goodwill towards others”. However different interpretations of its pronunciations have been made (MOE says its pronounced ‘yoo-noh-iea’), and many netizens can’t help but imagine other names the JC could have had.

Will the name catch on? Here’s what the future might look like.

1. What if the online buzz over Eunoia started a new naming trend among Singapore civil servants?

  • New university – Eunoiversity
  • New theme park – Eunoiversal Studios
  • New park – Eunoisco World Heritage Gardens

2. What should we call Eunoia JC students?

  • Because “Eunoians” is too obvious.
  • Avoiding the problem – EJCians
  • To prevent teenage sex – Eunuchs
  • Easy to distinguish each batch – First year – Jeunoias, Second year – Senoias.
  • Cuter – Eunoinois

3. What are Eunoia JC’s students’ favourite things?

Favourite TV Show

  • My Little Eunoinya

Favorite Football Club

  • Manchester Eunoited or Liverpool (because Eunoiver Walk Alone)

Favourite Bookstore

  • Kinokeunoia

Favourite Card Games

  • Uno

Favourite Board Games

  • Scrabble (Easy to get rid of all the vowels)

Favourite Food

  • Quinoia

Favourite Restaurant

  • Yoshieunoiya

Favourite Swear Word

  • Kanieunoia

4. What are our favourite mispronunciations of Eunoia?

  • You know yah!
  • You nuah
  • You nao hiah!
  • Your nai nai!
  • Yo Yo Ma
  • You Pinoy ah.
  • No lah.
  • Eunos
  • Innova

5. What are the worst puns about Eunoia JC?

Q: What do you do when Eunoia JC is on fire?
A: Eu noia, noia, foia!

Q: What do you call a thin Eunoia JC student?
A: Eunoirexic

Q: What did the principal of Eunoia JC say over the PA system?
A: Students, I would like to make a Eunoincement

Q: The Eunoia JC student had a burning feeling when he went to pee. What happened to him?
A: Infection of the Eurinoiary tract

Q: What was the result of the MOE meeting on the naming of the new JC?
A: It was Eunoinimous.

Q: What do the MOE civil servants who named the JC want to be now?
A: …also, Eunoinymous.

6. What should Eunoia JC’s school song be?

Eunoia Know how/To make them stop and stare as I zone out/The club can’t even handle me right now

Don’t call me baby/You got some nerve, and baby that’ll never do/Eunoia don’t belong to you

Eunoia want you/Eunoia need you/I want it bad, bad romance

7. What else could Eunoia JC have been named?

  • Mount Sinai JC
  • Ghim Moh JC
  • Controver-JC
  • Chinese Catholic Convent JC (3CJC)
  • LKYJC
  • SG50JC

Eu no you have more to share, ya? Tell us in the comment box below!

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 458

by Joshua Ip

THIS song covers the top 10 events that happened in 2015 in Singapore… and outside Singapore. To the tune of “Our home our heart our Singapore” by Dick Lee.

 

(Verse 1)
It isn’t easy summarising 2015
It’s a long way back to where it all begun
When it appears simi sai also SG50
Here’s the top 10 things that happened one by one

(Prechorus 1)
A lot of people voted PAP
The Pioneer Generation got money
Then City Harvest shook us to the core
3 ringgit is 1 dollar Singapore

(Chorus 1)
Hep C outbreak no one know
SEA games win go-o-o-old
Botanic go Unesco
Our home our heart our Singapore

(Chorus 2)
LKY go-o-o-o
NDP ho-o-o-o
Got haze oh no-o-o-o
Our home our heart our Singapore

(Verse 2)
Beyond us all the world stared horrified at ISIS
Myanmar had their first election without fear
The bombs went off in Bangkok and the guns in Paris
It’s a crazy world we’re living in this year

(Prechorus 2)
But then we look around us and we see
All the rich people signing TPP
Some more rich people sign 1MDB
Other country not like Singapore

(Chorus 3)
Nepal earthquake oh no-o
FIFA people score own goal
Gays get married a-also
Other country not like Singapore

(Optional chorus 4)
LKY go-o-o-o
NDP ho-o-o-o
Got haze oh no-o-o-o
Our home our heart our Singapore


– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.


Featured image KN2_2112 by Flick user CS HeeCC BY 2.0

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 452

by Joshua Ip

Today’s Ipster Cafe is about the recently signed climate change accord, Singapore’s role in it, what we’ve done, and how we’re terrible.

We signed a climate change accord – at last, the world agrees
We signed a climate change accord – at last, the world agrees
We should keep global warming under 1.5 degrees
We recognise it as a threat, all countries must pitch in
Reductions in emissions are right where we should begin
Preserve the trees and drop some Gs, keep greenhouse gases down
Address the ‘loss and damage’ to the countries getting drowned
To some extent, to some degree, in language highfalutin
The rich kids gonna pay the poor kids to slow down polluting
We’ll framework our transparency to keep this greenhouse clear
And come back with revised emission targets each five years

So Singapore signed up for this, one of one ninety five
Low-lying island states better play ball to stay alive
If everybody lived like Singaporeans from birth
We’d need to sustain that with 4.1 new planet Earths
Emotions tense, emissions are intense, they call us dirty
But we pledged cuts of 36 per cent by 2030
By then, we’ll work towards a peak of gas we think we’ll spew
No more than um, sixty-five million tonnes of CO2

Already we’ve dumped coal and oil, although it wasn’t thrifty
We’ll pull the plug on natural gas, maybe by 2050
We’ll make our petrochemicals invest in cleaner tech
The smoggiest will close down or be forced to clean up their act
Design our flats with features for eco-efficiency
To optimise the wind flow so we’ll turn off the A/C
Stick solar panels everywhere, turn buildings green and fine
But it won’t change a thing unless our people change their minds.

We’ve fished the seas until they’re dry, no tuna can escape –
That’s what we gotta do to put sashimi on the plate
We’ve logged the forests till they’re porous, naked to the sky
That’s what we gotta do to wipe our ass with triple-ply
We’ll patrol our petrol supply routes with the national fleet
That’s what we gotta do to keep my Lexus on the streets
We’ve pumped the sky with chlorofluorocarbons and freons
That’s what we gotta do to keep the air conditioning on
We only bother ‘bout pollution when it hits our shores
With hazy air and rising tides just too close to ignore
200 countries just agreed the earth’s in shitty health –
We need to consume less before the world consumes itself!

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.


Featured image by Global Warming. The Earth became the newest Waterworld. by Flick user Andrea Della AdrianoCC BY 2.0.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
1 472
Christmas lights in Singapore. Image sourced from Flickr user: garyt70

by Joshua Ip

The day before Diwali all the lights went up in Orchard
In red and green and white and candycanes and reindeer sculptures
With fireworks and sweets and sales the tourists will remember –
It’s only Hindu Christmas celebrated in November!

On August 9, the sleighbells ring, Dick Lee adapts the score –
Thanks Santa Nila Utama for finding Singapore!
Our home, our heart, our credit card, we know we’re not alone
When Kit sings “This is where I know it’s ho-ho-ho-ho-home!”

On Hari Raya Puasa all the shops bring out the feast.
Turkey rendang is the latest craze, just call it west meets east!
When you want to dine with sayang, there’s no need to akan datang,
Just call it Muslim Christmas in July, now makan makan!

Now all the public holidays are declared open season,
Christmas will eat them all regardless race language religion,
So wave goodbye to Vesak, Labour, Easter Sun, Good Fri:
Christmas is coming for you, Jesus Christ, dead or alive.

It swallows Chinese New Year, and spits out the ang bao zhuat,
‘Tis the season to be giving, all the businesses say huat!
And finally this dread holiday devours itself in Jan,
We countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, MERRY CHRISTMAS AGAIN!”

 

*this poem was written in response to a prompt by Michelle Martin, who asked me to write a poem for 93.8 FM with the following words: open, red, white, green, sayang, and wave.

 

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 560
les miserables, between shots

by Joshua Ip

Les miz returns! After two decades gone,
Cam Mackintosh doubles down on his blunder
of casting Wolverine as Jean Valjean –
He’s flown in a full cast from way down under.

Such foreign talent. where’re the local names?
We underrate the talent that we’ve got.
Imagine now, a cast of lians and bengs
slanging: “you got hear people sing or not?”

Young idealistic Marius, brash and proud
sings songs and heckles all the bourgeoisie
with Cosette and her castle in the clouds:
think Roy Ngerng serenading Han Hui Hui!

The masters of the house – the Thenardiers;
you’d bet they’d try to put one over you
Imagine all the profits they’d declare
if Susan Lim hooked up with Jover Chew!

Who better to play Gavroche than Amos Yee?
the feisty pipsqueak ends in tears and pain.
and Eponine’s part goes to Jokowi –
the dude just wants a little fall of rain.

The troubled villain, Officer Javert
will never cease his hunt or turn away
from fate as long as duty calls him there
we have Eugene Ng of the ICA!

The leading man, once fallen, now restored,
the former prisoner 24601,
a man now feted, be he once deplored,
I give you Mr Chee Soon Juan Valjuan!

See, musicals provide a glorious podium
for local talent – foreign casting’s tragic!
Instead, catch next year’s Rent by Pangdemonium
or this year’s Beauty World (cha cha cha the magic).

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image les miserables, between shots by Flickr user alev adilCC BY-SA 2.0.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 804
Someone using the Uber app while a taxi passes by

by Joshua Ip

NO MORE blue Hyundai Sonata, no more Prius with my friends,
I’m not cruising in my Comfort Delgro swag Mercedes Benz,
No more Chevrolet Epica, no more yellow-top taxi,
Now I drive for Uber in a sexy rental MPV.
Cause the rental’s grown by more than half since 2005,
I pay sixty bucks a day, a third of what I paid to drive .
I don’t have to fork out for a car that’s worth its weight in gold,
I can get away with riding in a nine or 10-year-old.
I don’t have to clock a daily quota of 250 clicks,
I can sit around and wait for business on my iPhone 6.
I don’t need to deal with silly corporate policies and plans,
I cross the causeway every day now just because I can!
I can drive around without a taxi sign above my head.
No more advertisements plastered round in garish shades of red.
I love the freedom and the fees on which my life depends.
So you’ll have to pry the Uber app out of my cold dead hands!
They say a one-stop taxi app’s the answer – not for me,
Oh, I bet you’d get a fee they set in state monopoly,
So Khaw Boon Wan, dear minister, my driving’s not a crime,
Can you just concentrate on making sure trains run on time?
And you say you love the markets and you love the innovation,
But you’ll guard these transport dinosaurs with over-regulation?
I’m just running my own business, an entrepreneur on wheels,
Will you steamroll my ambition for your level playing field?
You can bury me in licenses and forms and dossiers,
Well, the road to hell is paved in letters from the LTA.
You can say I’m no real cabbie: here’s the proof, you can decide,
I’ll complain about the gahmen through your 40 minute ride!

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

 

 

by -
1 1077
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Mr Ng Chee Meng and the Ministry Of Education Logo.

by Joshua Ip

INSTEAD of one Minister for Education, now we have two. In the newly reshuffled cabinet, the education portfolio is split between two ministers: Mr Ong Ye Kung is Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Mr Ng Chee Meng is Acting Minister for Education (Schools). The two new faces to the Cabinet said in a joint message on Monday that their work is “integrated and synergistic”, and the education system of the future won’t just be driven by national needs but also the “bottom-up” aspirations of Singaporeans.

The poem is an empat perkataan, a southeast asian poetic form with rhyming lines consisting of four two-syllable words or word groups.

 

One ministry two ministers
PA poor thing finger blisters
airforce pilot union sec-gen
learn to sign name pilot black pen
one highflyer schooling nation
one more higher education
high regarded hifalutin
climb up high then parachute in
future PM must prove useful
every school a times two good school
4G leader cannot cock up
wasted 5 years now must buck up
double trouble dual tag-team
two-way action two-men acting
every staff repeats two yes-sirs
every ribbon got two scissors
every consult got two time slot
every carpark got two prime lot
every entrance got two fanfares
every meeting got two man-chairs
one man ends it, one begins it
finish meeting two sets minutes
parliament question which one answer?
test CEP which one faster
troubled staffers double action
favorite boyband one direction
singing harmony a cappella
which one lower which one higher?
whats the short form? min 1? min 2?
which one’s 1? other humtum you.
ministry website whose face on top?
orgchart dunno how to concoct
every workplan got two speeches
god knows which one gets to speak first
two-head monster HQ stresses
heng heng they got two PSes

 

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 520
PR

by Joshua Ip

THIS week’s Ipster Cafe is a villanelle, a nineteen-line rhyming form that repeats variants of the first and third line over and over again.

Public Relations.

Public relations, like the sexual kind
are often bought, but best enjoyed when earned.
I wouldn’t say I had to pay for mine.

It’s just a service – no, it’s not a crime.
I’m not engaged, I have the cash to burn
on public relations, like the sexual kind.

Netizens can often be unkind
and actual fans sometimes speak out of turn:
I wouldn’t say I had to pay for mine.

The one place where the two are not aligned:
selfies should not be stiff and taciturn
in public relations, unlike the sexual kind.

Is there an NDA* i have to sign?
If ST asks, all of you are interns.
No one should say I had to pay for mine.

They’re volunteers, I never crossed the line!
They’re only working ladies who’re concerned
with public relations likes, and shares. They’re kind!
Still, I wouldn’t say I had to pay for mine.

*NDA: non-disclosure agreement

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image PR by Flickr user Niuton mayCC BY 2.0.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by -
0 553

by Joshua Ip

I SMELL the whiff of burning in my country
The list of reasons stretches one week back:
The burning brakes of screaming F1 jockeys
Because some cockster stepped onto the track;
The burning questions of 25,000 callers
Asking what they’ll pay for MediShield Life;

While some pastor burns stacks of paper dollars
To sate the hunger of his yau kwee wife;
Great balls of fire! scream property agents
Who under them have now a fire lit;
Or could it be the smell of the ignition
Of forty minutes of the chestnuts script?

A bullying video drawing our attention
Like a viral fever waiting to be stoked;
Or perhaps it’s just the smell of our election
Analysis still going up in smoke;
I smell the whiff of Singapore, it’s burning
A week of news unearths unbidden horrors…
To what we do best, we should be returning:
Yes, burning up somebody else’s forest.

– Joshua Ip is a cheem poetry writer. His girlfriend says he should try to be less cheem, so liedat lor.

 

Featured image Campfire by Flickr user Sam HowzitCC BY 2.0. 

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground’s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.