There is a platform for every opinion to be aired. It is when you have chosen a wrong platform to express yourself that turns others away and that limits your form of expression.
How do we then recognize which platform is appropriate for our form of expression?
First, we have to ask who our audience is. If I am seeking to express political dissatisfaction, I should seek to air it in a political media dedicated to political expression. It is pointless for me to express my political view to a group of teenagers whose primary passion is in computer games, unless I don’t desire any feedback to my form of expression.
Second, in addressing it in the appropriate platform, I should also be aware of the existing protocol and to adhere to it. The protocol will govern how I should address myself, the title I should use in addressing other parties, the structure of my message and the vocabulary I should utilize. It is meaningless to explain the derivation of kilowatt-hour to a group of politicians in technical terms. I should instead illustrate the relationship of kilowatt-hour and the cost and usage of using electrical energy in layman terms and more importantly, how it will influence the politicians in making informed decisions on policy.
Third, I must ask myself the desired outcome that I seek to achieve and whether the amount of tolerance or allowance for my views to be modified during the feedback process. The feedback process it thus crucial as it may help to close the loopholes in my structure or even thoroughly reform my structure by tearing it down and rebuild from the ground level. If I think that there are too many Electronic Road Pricing setups on the road such that travelling in a private transport is considered a form of expensive lifestyle, I may come up with proposals to justify why the cost of the ERP should be adjusted and why some sections of the road should not have ERP. I must then be prepared for a feedback from the Land Transport Authority or from the general public, depending on where I send my message to. I must be prepared to examine my argument if those in authority or other commuters can point out why the imposed fee is justified and how it benefits a larger community which I fail to perceive at my level. It would then be unscrupulous of me to hypothesize a conspiracy from those who are in disagreement with me and when I could no longer seek recourse to a better argument to debunk the opposing argument. The worst is when I addressed my unfounded hypothesis to a group of ignorant people and flamed their unwarranted emotion by empathizing with me and to garner support for me in this cross-fire between myself and those in disagreement with me.
(Written on 24Apr06)