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Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 10:53:11 AM
Lee (left) and Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong sharing a light moment during a dialogue with youth leaders. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
BEING proud of what you are doing, and having thick skin: these are the two elements of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s resilience in the face of a hostile cyberspace.
At a dialogue last night with 60 youth leaders, Lee was asked by a participant from the Singapore Kindness Movement how he remains positive, for example on his Facebook page, when online commentators are unkind.
“First of all, you must not be ashamed of what you are doing,” he said. “If there are some naysayers, you must decide if you have the majority with you or not.”
He said that in cyberspace, “some generally disagree, some are just looking for things to disagree with you about”.
“But if you want to do something for Singapore, you should not be deterred because there are some nasty postings. In public life, you must learn to have thick skin at the right places, in the right times.”
While noting that it can be intimidating for those not in public life to be flamed online, he said: “I am in public life. You flame me, I’m flame-proof!”
Lee also told the audience that there are limits to how widely, and for how long, his government can consult the public before deciding on policy.
While he thought that the “Our Singapore Conversation” mass engagement exercise was very successful, Lee noted that if there was an emergency or “if you have a difficult situation and you must move quickly, you cannot spend one year talking about it”.
Citing as an example the issue of whether to raise taxes, he said “we will never finish the discussion”.
“But one day, if I need to, I have to decide and do this, and persuade the people.” — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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