To be honest, I had no idea what AWARE was about. I mean, Repeal 377A came and passed me out, and I let it passed me by, and this AWARE incident, and though I know that my CSO/NGO/activist friends would all be rather interested in all these, I well, just let it passed by. But this AWARE incident has demonstrated at least, I think 2 things. The first was the impact of the social technologies that are becoming more and more pervasive in Singapore society. Looking at the tweets that were revolving around the AWARE saga, it demonstrated that Singaporeans are becoming conscious of the use of social technologies to express themselves. This definitely has certain implications. But first, additional observations. The crowd that is using the technology seems to suggest that for a bunch of people, technological-savviness is coupled with a high level of social activism. My peers that are engaged in their CSO/NGO work know how to use technology to spread their message across. Many informal groups use Facebook extensively, and the use of Twitter and the ability to text updates through their mobile phones, is truly a powerful technology, and it will surely take a while for government to respond to the implications.I would think that these social technologies will finally begin to become pervasive throughout Singapore, and these technologies will come to centrestage come the next GE. It would be interesting to see how Singapore government and society will view these technologies…
The second thing, that I’m more worried about, is that the whole episode was perhaps an insight into Singapore society. While the whole issue has been framed in terms of societal maturity, I would actually think that the AWARE saga reflects that Singapore society, at least the bit that engages in such civil discourses, is highly polarised. As far as I can tell, it is only the English-speaking crowd that is engaged in this, and I can hardly see the same level of engagement within the rest of Singapore, in particular Chinese-speakers. What does that mean? Is social activism limited to the English-speaking crowd?
Regarding the maturity, the so-called secular bunch of people have been shown to be as intolerant as the so-called Christian Fundamentalists that, as others have framed, ‘took over AWARE’.
While the entire episode has been interesting from a society-technological point of view, it does reflect rather troubling trends in Singapore society.