One hot sunny afternoon, Ah Beng and Ah Seng went to a kopitiam to have drinks.
Ah Beng: So Ah Seng, what you want to drink ah? I help you buy.
Ah Seng: They got what drinks ah?
Ah Beng: Aiya I tell you this coffee shop very lousy one. They only have Kopi-O or plain water leh!
Ah Seng: Huh, why they so like that one. Then I drink Kopi-O lor.
In the story above, Ah Seng only gave Ah Beng two options, but actually in fact the coffee shops sell other drinks like Teh-O, Milo Peng, Jia Jia Liang Teh, Teh Tarik, and Iced Lemon Tea etc etc.
So hor, if Ah Seng really blur blur, he doesn’t know what the coffee shop sells and doesn’t know the fact that Ah Beng’s family is supplying that coffee shop the coffee beans, then he will really believe Ah Beng that the coffee shop only sells Kopi-O and water nia.
Where got people like that so zek ark one?
Have. One very good example is Beijing, China, where they use a mix of persuasion, inducement and a lot of pattern-more-than-badminton techniques to create a psychological environment which poses false choices for other countries.
Including ours, Singapore.
How you know ah?
A few days ago on Wednesday got one conference on Chinese public diplomacy, where they shared a 91-page report, “Ties that bind: Quantifying China’s public diplomacy and its ‘good neighbour’ effect”.
The conference was organized by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and attendees were more than 50 academics and policy makers.
This Ties That Bind report released by AidData research laboratory, Centre for Strategic and International Studies and the Asia Society Policy Institute, tracked China’s public diplomacy efforts between 2000 and 2016.
The report said China has spent more than US$48 billion (S$65 billion) across East Asia and the Pacific between 2000 and 2016 to reward trade partners and those supporting its foreign policy positions.
Interestingly, Malaysia is the largest beneficiary of Chinese cash diplomacy, having received $13.4 billion in “official finance with diplomatic intent” between 2000 and 2016.
Who say one?
At the conference, Mr Bilahari Kausikan, a retired Singaporean diplomat and civil servant, also Ambassador-at-Large and a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shed insights into how China communicate and disseminate their propaganda to the general public in East Asia and the Pacific.
Bilahari said the idea of being a multi-racial country is important.
“Modern Singapore is not based on being a Chinese country… No one can ignore China. But significant influence is not dominant influence or exclusive influence.”
“It is wrong to think that we side with China or America. We side only with Singapore. Our organising idea is our own national interests.”
In case you’re too busy to read the long ass article, we have summarized it below:
- China uses technique like presenting false choices to influence countries that they are dealing with so as to benefit themselves.
- This technique is where someone tells you that there are only two choices, but actually there are more. Usually, in the two options presented, unfair advantages will be given to favour one answer. (Just like my Ah Beng and Ah Seng story)
- The intention is to disturb your thinking so that your ability to make judgments about what is good or true is not fully engaged.
- It also makes you think that these events are fixed in advance so that we, human beings, are powerless to change them.
- This technique is powerful because they are not entirely fabricated and they do contain some truth, except that they are presented in extremely vague form or they will leave out important facts.
- These efforts would only work on those who are blur blur like sotong and unaware of the psychological techniques to mislead, intimidate, demoralize and influence them. But once you are aware of their intention, you will not fall for it.
- What China did is that they tried to influence people into thinking that Singapore sides with China more than America by highlighting certain truths that support their own position and omit other truths – Basically is that China tried to stir shit lah.
- But the truth is, they anyhow say one because Singapore don’t side China or side America hor. We only do what is best for Singapore.
And then how ah? How we know what they say is real or fake?
Nah, don’t say never share. This is what you can do:
- Always remember that Singapore is a multi-racial country! We are ONE, regardless of race, language or religion.
- We never say China no good, but it also doesn’t mean we only think China is the best. We want to be friends with all, and enemies with none. But at the same time, we don’t compromise our national interests under any circumstances.
- Singaporean should also be interested in foreign policy, like that at least you know what is going on with the rest of the world, and this will allow lesser chance for other people to “psycho” you with fake news.
- Know Singapore’s history well and know it like the back of your hand.
- Always remember that we only side with Singapore and Singapore’s interests come first!
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