The Mighty Pen

The pen is mightier than the sword. As we witness the recent uproars about controversial caricatures of Allah and Prophet Muhammad published on several European newspapers, this age-old saying has taken on a literal sense. The damage done by a gun-wielding person is limited to the ammunition he has. But the havoc wrecked by a pen-holding person is only restricted by how far his words spread, and with the advent of the internet and 24-hour global news networks, information knows no boundary.

As loyal readers might have already noticed ever since I started SG Watch, updates are far and few in between. I’m not a prolific writer. Random thoughts travel through my mind at the speed of light, making it extremely difficult to jot them down in writing.

Another reason is that I tend to be careful of what I write online because I believe in writing responsibly on the net — the clear and present threat of libel lawsuits notwithstanding. Bloggers who argue should be allowed to write anything on their blogs, including libellous or racist remarks, because blogs can be considered as part of one’s private space are not telling the whole truth.

Most, if not all, bloggers want their blogs to be read and their voices to be heard — that’s the point of having a blog in the first place. It’s not hard to find popular bloggers who intentionally publicised — and in some instances, exaggerated or even made up — selected juicy bits from their private lives, or make scathingly critical remarks on everything from politics to celebrities’ dress sense, just to attract more readers to their blogs. More often than not, these are the same people who turn around and argue that what they’ve written on their blogs should be considered as private when irresponsible bloggers are sued for libel. It’s like the government opening up Istana to the public on public holidays, only to charge all who step inside its gates for trespassing.

The pen is a powerful weapon. Use it wisely.

25 February 2006 · Web

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