The Straits Times, the government propaganda mouthpiece, as expected, has been giving glowing news coverage to the Youth Olympic Games(YOG). But true to its colour, it chose to withhold incidents of inferior food supply to the thousands of volunteers and consequent food poisoning among some of them from its reporting. The netizen world is full of caustic criticisms of these incidents and has accused the MCYS Minister of "callous" treatment of the volunteers. There were even pictures showing what the netizens called "dog food" consisting of a small piece of unpalatable looking bland meat with six small pieces of long bean with some rice. These criticisms could not have escaped the delayed attention of the MCYS Minister who, no doubt apart from rectifying the inferior food, showed a hypocritical performance by heaping praises on the hapless volunteers in an attempt to make amends for his "callous" treatment.
The netizen world is full of reports of poor spectator attendances and of school children being coerced to attend the games to make up for the poor spectator crowd. 80,000 tickets have been allotted to schools, but apparently these were not gratis and students were made to fork out money for the tickets. Very cunningly, the Straits Times chose not to highlight these glaring imperfections in its reporting, no doubt done with an ulterior motive.
Just imagine with the plethora of caustic criticisms by netizens, with none pulling their punches, on the YOG is added the vitriolic comment by a fiery netizen in the person of Abdul Malik Mohammed Ghazali who posted on a Facebook group on August l8 that it was time to "burn Vivian Balakrishnan and the PAP". It appeared to be more violent than other netizen postings on the subject but there is no reason to believe that it was not said by Abdul Malik in a metaphorical sense.
There is no doubt that Minister Vivian Balakrishnan took umbrage to this personal attack on him and as a result the police swooped on Abdul Malik, arresting him for "incitement of
violence". As soon as news of Abdul Malik's arrest got out, the netizen world responded with extensive vitriolic criticisms against the arrest and blamed Dr Balakrishnan for the police action. The MCYS Minister has not spoken and if it is true that he is responsible for the police action, then it would be wise for him to remedy the situation, unless he disregards netizen criticisms and considers netizens not part of the polity. After all the offence is, to all intents and purposes, technical and why picked on Abdul Malik to put him through the rigmarole of a court prosecution when other similar-minded inimical netizens abound. Or could it not be the MCYS Minister's unwholesome intention of making an example of Abdul Malik, hoping thereby to put a stop to the belligerent action of the netizens?