Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dear Russia and Singapore, your tax dollars were spent on... rap videos

Russia's Defence Ministry just released a rap video last week to sing praises of the Russian military.

And of course, how could I not be reminded of a similar attempt by the rapping bureaucrats of Singapore's Media Development Authority back in 2007:


So dear Russian readers, if you feel embarrassed by your Defence Ministry's rap video, believe me, I know the feeling. I know.

But who did it better?

The Russian Defence Ministry shot it in one day. It must have taken weeks to produce the Singapore MDA video.

The Russian Defence Ministry video featured one performer, who for all accounts, looked kind of comfortable being himself and more or less has an idea what rap is. That isn't evident in the MDA video, where I'm sure several of the civil servants must have been coerced into performing for the video.

But I kind of like seeing the MDA managers dancing in their suits though... it was funny, though probably not intentionally funny.

Lyrics? Both equally cheesy... I'll leave that as a draw.

And to the Russian's benefit, their video was half the duration of the Singapore one, which dragged out to an excruciating 4 minutes. 

So who did it better? Tell me in your comments!

(But how I wish it were Shoigu who actually did the rap...)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A reaction to reactions on my last blog commentary on dissidents and whistleblowers

My dear readers, first let me thank you for stopping by and reading my blog; big thanks to everyone at filbuster.net for all your comments--and most of all, big thanks to Сережка Йорк for translating (!) and posting my last commentary, Unwise "dissidents" of today's Russia, and other whistleblowers, on his filbuster site. (Do check out their site--it has a huge fiction library.) I have learnt a lot from your discussions, and I hope maybe you learnt something about my country and culture as well. I don't know how you guys put up with all the Russia-bashing. The worst Singaporeans have to defend themselves against is the bad press about the chewing-gum ban... and maybe about our "soft dictator".

There are probably things that got lost in translation, such as the credible/critical RT video (Я не считаю канал РТ по-настоящему независимым (на самом деле, это вроде российских Fox News), но пока что он представляет собой единственный источник правдоподобной информации о Навальном на английском языке, который мне удалось найти:), and maybe even the title (Низкое качество новых российских диссидентов и прочих стукачей) where the word стукачи (I suppose it is closer to "snitch"?) might carry a more negative connotation than "whistleblower". 

I continue to be frustrated at the Western-dominated international media who has lionised these "dissidents" and "whistleblowers" such as Berezovsky, Pussy Riot, and Navalny, whom, as one of my readers pointed out, "the most self-serving people in all of Russia, if not the entire world". (She too has a great blog, and also recently wrote about the Russia-phobic Western press.)

Surely, there must be great dissidents and critics worthy of international press coverage. But there are not in the mainstream press. 

So meanwhile, dear Russian readers, you'll have to point them out to me.

Who are some of the great contemporary dissidents of Russia? Please write in the comments here! (I've enabled anonymous posting, but I will just need to approve your posts before they go up to keep the spam bots at bay.) I will too check in now and then on the filibuster post, so you can comment there too.