~原發表於2005年9月29日 http://maomee.172baby.com/posts/122116.html

The past few weeks have thrown up another worry about children and the Internet, as if parents don’t have enough on their hands.
I’m talking about blogs.

As a journalist, I’m naturally wary of blogs already, mainly because bloggers are wont to throw accuracy out the window.

That’s because checking facts seems to be the last thing on bloggers’ minds unlike, say mainstream publications which, for the most part, do their darnedest to make sure what they publish is accurate.

For bloggers, saying what they feel like saying seems to be de rigueur, consequences be damned.

Now, blogs have generated much controversy, but what happened here about two weeks ago takes the cake.

Just in case you missed it: Three people were charged with making racist comments in their blogs. They allegedly made seditious and inflammatory remarks about Malays and Muslims.

In one particularly galling incident, one among the three allegedly admitted to being “extremely racist” in one of his entries online.

That just about did it for me and blogs.

I’m glad the authorities hauled the trio to court. Hopefully, doing so will send a message to like-minded folk in cyberspace that they’d better start putting the brain before the mouse.

As far as I’m concerned, blogs are possibly the worst things about the Internet. Sure, pornography and other stuff rightly furrow the brows of parents, but the things some bloggers say go far beyond the pale.

I have read some of these comments, chiefly because some sane members of the public occasionally e-mail such views to us, to raise a red flag about what goes on out there.

Frankly, some of the blog entries just beggar belief. The amount of vitriol being spewed by some of these chaps will leave you speechless. And all the talk about self-regulating is just so much bull to me. You read about cases where people are forced to shut down their blogs because they get a stream of invective from folks who don’t agree with what they say.

But there are may more blogs which encourage like-minded people to come forward and pour petrol on the fire.

Then there’s the curiosity factor. The Sarong Party Girl blogger was one. She might have toiled in relative obscurity for a while, but once the word got out, the hits just kept on coming.

In the case of the three charged under the Sedition Act, there was worse to come.

After the news of the charges broke, some members of the blogging community made comments that seemed far from the realm of common sense to me.

Here were three people charged with making inflammatory statements — in a society where being tolerant is constantly drummed into us, no less — and other bloggers were worried about what the incidents bode for freedom of speech.

They were alarmed that the arrests meant there was some campaign afoot to curtail what one could say online.

They had got to be joking. I wonder where it says that feedom of speech means one can go around irresponsibly taking potshots at everyone one dislikes, with a medium which has probably the widest reach of all.

Sure, you might have the freedom to say what you want, but it comes with responsibility and accountability. Many of the bloggers I have come across have neither.

As I said, blogging, to me, is the biggest danger out there. It’s also given me more work to do when it comes to my children.

Now, I have to find a way to keep my kids from believing what they read when they come across such blogs.

My children are part Chinese, part Indian and part Eurasian. Plus, they have relatives whose faiths are a whole spectrum, from Roman Catholic to Muslim.

Already, they’re asking some hard questions about the state of the world today, especially when it comes to acts of terrorism that have been committed since 9 / 11.

Sometimes, without thinking, they mouth certain things after reading or watching a news item that I then have to catch.

With all these influences around them these days, irresposible blogs are not going to help.

~ By Carl Skadian, The Straits Times, Wednesday, Sep.28, 2005

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最近,大姨妈又还魂了,正巧今夜读了这篇专栏 【Fatherhood】,感触很深。科技的突飞猛进究竟是好是坏?人性竟是那么地经不起考验。我想起了之前帮朋友写的一篇短文:

I believe that advances in science originate from humanity.

This is a constantly and rapidly changing world. What makes human beings different from other life forms is the ambition, the ambition of creating a better life. Looking back at all the scientific inventions and discoveries, everything has been so concerned with human beings’ needs. Maybe not necessarily needs, sometimes it is just our laziness. By making good use of the advances, we do not have to labor so much and therefore can save a lot of energy to do what we would like to do for a much more leisurely life.

But when they are used wrongly, they can cause disastrous damage. A very good example is the development of offensive arms. It is supposed to be for self-defense. Unfortunately, some people use the arms to attack and invade others’ territory from pure malice. The two World Wars almost terminated the civilisation.

Still, advances of sciences originate from humanity. But let’s pray that the good will always conquer the bad and bring us a wonderful new world!