New media- Are we getting smarter AND wiser?

I have to thank this “new media revolution” for letting me have the chance to air my personal views on events and things that’s happening around us. With a small population of slightly more than 5 million, it seems that we certainly have a wide range of opionions on a wide range of issues, none more so than online media. Issues like the high ministerial slalaries, high public housing prices, COE prices etc are getting a lot of activity online.

However, I would just like to draw on a comment by Mr Lee Kwan Yew in 1 of his speeches or in 1 of his books (I’m not sure which one); Singaporeans nowadays are getting more educated, therefore they’re getting smarter, but not necessarily wiser. I’m not quoting him word for word but the gist of the comment, which is we are getting smarter but not necessarily wiser.

There is a definite co-relation between smarter and wiser but if we were to look at it from a different angle, there is also a marked difference between being smart and being wise. I have long been an admirer of Mr. Lee Kwan Yew since the days when he was our PM. It takes a very smart person to reach such heights but what makes him stand out is that he’s also a very wise individual. Add charisma to that and we have a very select group of individuals who commands respect worldwide. Of course as with every other outstanding individual, he has his fair share of detractors, no matter what the rest of the world thinks of him. In any case, I’m just drawing an example, not using this article to heap praises on him.

To begin with, let’s look at our education system. MNCs don’t set up their Asia Pacific HQ or R&D facilities here because our government gives them lots of tax incentives. We have the brain power to operate such important functions in a company simply because our education system is constantly producing many smart individuals to take on the demands of such jobs.

But to be fair, a lot of times we don’t have or is unable to understand the information available to us to make a sound and wise decision. We also have a tendency to make rash decision based on what we feel at that point in time.

Take for instant the recent spade breakdown of trains, each affecting tens of thousands of commuters. As compared to the London Tube or the Paris Metro, our network is “young” in age. But however, it is still a system that has been running for quite a number of years. At some point in time it will breakdown but unfortunately, it has to happen now and with such frequency. There were and still are loud calls for somebody to take responsibility. The CEO has stepped down and some even wants the Transport Minister to step down. Assuming the Transport Minister steps down, what’s next? Can anyone guarantee the system will be problem free from now onwards?

The truth is, it’s not a wise move to ask this person or that person to step down and take responsibility. At least during the course of fixing the problem, we have a familiar face to get to if the system continues to fail as frequently as now. With the onset on the new media, we have thousands of comments (some to the state of being vulgar) and no credible solutions. This invariably added extra stress on the people working hard to fix the problem. So, has the new media made anyone smarter AND wiser in this instance? Apparently not.

We now have access to millions upon millions of information previously not available to us. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, etc all added up to an obscene amount of information at our fingertips. Useful in many ways but does it really add up to us being wiser in making decisions? I’m not too sure about that.

Individuals in high public office have the worst of the lot. Many a times, they get more scorn then praises whenever their names prop up  in conversations, whether it’s online or just coffeeshop talk.

Online chats and comments are sometimes more extreme as the person’s identity is not revealed. They can basically say what they want and yet not bear any real responsibility. The so-called new media is thus doing more harm than good. Making people smarter and wiser? I don’t think so.

Like I said at the begining of this article, I have to thank the “new media revolution” for making it possible for me to air my personal views on matters that I feel should be brought up. With the amount of information available to us 24/7, we have to learn from the positives that will help us become smarter AND wiser at the same time.



One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on SG Hard Truth.


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