Why reading socio-political news is so painful to me…

This article has been written by Donavan Cheah, an undergrad.


What are the trending topics these days? A lawsuit, questions on fiscal trust and whether our money is really safe in CPF (Side note: If our money weren’t safe, we’d have lost the AAA rating by now!).

While the topics are relevant to a very young nation, the way the discussions have gone online has indeed been painful to read.

Every few days or so, some new issue will be raised and my Facebook page will be exploding with discussion.

However, what makes one feel so sad about socio-political news is that too few people bother asking good questions! Worse, plenty of fallacies deter the reader from making a good judgment.

So how? Here are I have three tips to help you make reading online news less painful.


  1. Avoid the “False Dichotomy Trap”

The “false dichotomy trap” is a nefarious trap that exists in plenty of forms.

These Ranging from the famous “PAP IB versus Opposition IB” to “Heartless Minister against Average Citizen” discussions.

These writers want to distort your view and make you either all white, or anti-white.

How do you counter the trap? Simple: Nothing is really all about “white versus anti-white”.

In fact, every camp hold pockets of disagreement somewhere. Even among “whites” there exist “hot white” and “cold white”.

Even blues, reds, oranges…and dots of pink don’t come in the same shades!


  1. Ask, Ask and Ask!

A common problem among readers is that readers let writers dictate their train of thought.

This is more serious than a false dichotomy. Some readers let a writer draw nice sandcastles in their head without ever asking why. Who would honestly believe someone who worked so hard to “chao keng” to get out of NS will undo it all by posting it as a “true  story”? Did anyone ask who Roy Ngerng was affiliated with, when it was reported that he was “merely an average citizen”?

Did any politician say the retard things that anti-establishment media always accuse them off? Why did Lim Swee Say wear a Zorro outfit? (To cheer workers who were on the brink of job loss) Does the GIC actually take money from the CPF for investment? (No. Clearly no.) Does the People Association belong to the PAP? (No. They belong to the Government – different things).

Everyone claims they are “middle ground”, who is really “middle ground”?

We leave it to the reader to decide. Just as everyone tells you to vote wisely, read wisely, too.


  1. Get Out There, Stop Reading!

The best way to figure out whether what you read is the truth? Go out there into the real world. Observe for yourself.

Stop checking into your smartphone for more online news;   you’ll be more deeply enriched when you actually see the world, not see what people write about the world. For starters, if you think Singapore is just about overcrowded trains and buses, maybe you should ask whether you were forcibly pushed into the train… like in Japan, or whether you have to hang yourself to the bus in India. Have a conscience: criticise only when you see more of the world.

Hopefully this writer has helped made your already stressful day in Singapore less stressful by giving you a few ways of not being too horrified at the socio-political landscape of Singapore today.







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