Fighting online falsehoods deliberately, but judiciously

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Fighting online falsehoods deliberately, but judiciously

This op-ed was published in The Straits Times on April 14, 2018.

By Viswa Sadasivan

The word "truth" featured prominently in the recent Select Committee hearing on deliberate online falsehoods (DOF). I was uncomfortable that it was viewed as a binary imperative.

This came through especially in the session where committee member, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, and historian Thum Ping Tjin debated whether Operation Coldstore was effected on legitimate, objective grounds or was politically motivated. Each asserted his truth as the truth. But those watching will need to come to their own conclusions.

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Some considerations if new laws are to get backing

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Some considerations if new laws are to get backing

This article was published in The Straits Times on March 28, 2018.

By Viswa Sadasivan

The idea of fresh legislation to tackle deliberate online falsehoods (DOF) is a move in the right direction. Laws should, however, be crafted to avoid punishing the majority of Internet users who play by the rules. They must also not send the wrong signal.

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Barack Obama: Through the Interviewer's Lens

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Barack Obama: Through the Interviewer's Lens

Mr Viswa Sadasivan interviewed Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, on 19 March 2018 in a closed-door session organised by the Bank of Singapore, at the Shangri-la Hotel Island Ballroom in Singapore. The Bank of Singapore invited 1,000 guests and clients from around the world to attend the session.

By Viswa Sadasivan

When I was invited by the Bank of Singapore to interview Barack Obama, in my mind it was just another assignment. Being on stage doing a one-on-one interview for a full hour with the 44th President of the USA wasn’t a big deal. After all, I had done this with several luminaries over the years.

I would be lying if I said that.  I admired that as the president, he had remained true to himself. Meeting and interviewing him would be such an honour.

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Malayalee father tells what Chinese gangster taught him

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Malayalee father tells what Chinese gangster taught him

This article was published in The Straits Times on 24 September, 2017. 

By Viswa Sadasivan

A journalist once asked me what my proudest moment was. Without hesitation, I said: "When my daughter, Maya, was born."

I remember her in my arms, looking at me with glazed determination to live a life where dreams come true.

As her father, it would be my privilege to have her dream big and grow with her. She would embody my gratitude for a past that "with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams" gave me a blessed life in a beautiful world. Maya is my future; a future where dreams must continue to come true.

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CMIO – Is it time to de-emphasise it?

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CMIO – Is it time to de-emphasise it?

This article was published on population.sg on 8 September, 2016.

​​​​​​​By Viswa Sadasivan

A Personal Reflection on the Past – why CMIO was necessary

On the 23rd of March, 2016, I attended the Gala Premiere of Jack Neo’s movie, “Long Long Time Ago 2”. The film captures Singapore in the 60s and early 70s, and made me laugh and tear in poignant reflection.

For me, the film accurately portrayed the Singapore of the past. It didn’t just praise the country’s history, but also focused on getting the audience to know Singapore better, warts and all, as a starting point of our journey as a nation. In particular, the film served as a reminder of how life, especially for an ethnic minority citizen like myself, could have been rough if Singapore started on a very different foundation where primal communal instincts were allowed to overbear shared interests.

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GROWTH - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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GROWTH - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

At an individual level, greed blinds us to what makes us ugly. But when greed is institutionalised on society, it can blind our collective conscience, legitimise rationalisation and counter the benefits of economic growth to society.

Read Viswa's opening statement kicking off a lively panel discussion at the inaugural St Gallen Symposium Singapore Forum, the first of its kind outside the annual global conference held in Switzerland. Minister of Prime Minister's Office, Chan Chun Sing delivered the keynote address, cautioning on the pitfalls of becoming a 'yardstick society'.

Tune in here  

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GE2015: Likeability – The Tipping Factor

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GE2015: Likeability – The Tipping Factor

This article was published on the Inconvenient Questions blog on September 18, 2015. 

By Viswa Sadasivan

Being likeable is not difficult, is it? Yet, why is it that I am finding so many politicians appearing unlikeable during the rallies – even those I know to be reasonably nice people. Quite sad, actually.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about those who try very hard to show care and concern and end up looking totally plastic. Neither am I talking about the politicians who are clearly too well prepped by spin doctors and end up smiling awkwardly, raising their voices at inappropriate moments, speaking broken English (ostensibly to connect with the crowd), showing off their mastery of multiple languages, or in some cases even crying.

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A Narrative for Winning

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A Narrative for Winning

This article was published in The National University of Singapore Society's Commentary Volume 23 in 2014, titled Singapore Challenged: The Uneasy and Unchartered Road Ahead.

By Viswa Sadasivan

Of the lessons in political commentary that the late S Chandramohan taught me, one stands out. He was then Director of the current affairs programmes division of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. In the draft of my script for a special edition of the then popular weekly current affairs programme, FEEDBACK, I described the then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew as a “politician”. Chandra told me that I was wrong; the term politician is pejorative and refers to those who use political power to further interests that are less than noble. He said that Singapore has political leaders who have the “intellectual sophistication and emotional integrity” to deliver on promises. Chandra emphasised that even though some of their policies and actions could appear undemocratic and even draconian, closer examination would show that they were based on a “logic of accountability”.

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Multiculturalism * Ideology vs Pragmatism

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Multiculturalism * Ideology vs Pragmatism

This article was published as part of 'Aspirations for Singapore/Raffles Future' in 2014. 

By Viswa Sadasivan

It was 1965. I was six years old. My mother had asked me to go to the provision shop a few doors away to get some groceries. The owner was a mild mannered, middle aged Indian Muslim man who I knew only as “uncle”. As usual while he was gathering the groceries I was walking about the shop, restless. My eye caught a flag on a bamboo stick hanging outside the shop. From the colours I could tell it was the Pakistani flag. This intrigued me.

I asked “uncle” why he would put up the Pakistani flag when he was a citizen of India where his wife and children reside. He told me it was because he was Muslim.

This was my first big lesson in multiculturalism.

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Do Efficient Outcomes Dull Resilience?

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Do Efficient Outcomes Dull Resilience?

This article was published in the 2013 Social Space Journal by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. 

By Viswa Sadasivan

Dusty roads, inching traffic, and an incessant belting of horns—this is an everyday affair during peak hours in Mumbai. Well, not for poor Singaporean me for whom being caught in slow-moving traffic for 20 minutes is unacceptable. Trapped in the almost stationary car, I was feeling sorry for myself. And it would appear I was quite alone in this mood.

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Some Hard Truths About Race

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Some Hard Truths About Race

This interview was published on the independent.sg on September 25, 2013.

By P N Balji

Singapore’s race relations were put under the microscope in an exhaustive survey recently. The results showed that although Singaporeans are generally open to other races in the public sphere, they are not so in the private sphere. After half a century of enforcing and encouraging racial harmony, why this disharmony? Where did Singapore go wrong? Can race ever be wished away? Is race utopia ever possible? P N Balji talks to Viswa Sadasivan, former NMP and vice-president of Sinda’s executive committee.

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Diminished Leadership in Crisis Communications

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Diminished Leadership in Crisis Communications

This article was published in the Global-IS-Asian Journal on 26 December, 2011. 

By Viswa Sadasivan

The mishandling of crises around the world boils down to a crisis of leadership, and those in positions of responsibility should demonstrate a higher level of integrity, transparency, empathy and compassion.

The year was 1982. Americans, and indeed the world, witnessed what has since been hailed by corporate heads and scholars alike as the finest example of crisis management.

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Leadership in the Hot Seat

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Leadership in the Hot Seat

This article was published on citynews.sg on 15 April, 2011.

By Yong Yung Shin

One of the several things the global audience has taken note of in the wake of the Japan is the grace and composure with which Prime Minister Naoto Kan has handled the pressure. So said Viswa Sadasivan, CEO of strategic media and crisis training firm Strategic Moves Pte Ltd at a talk titled “Leadership In Crisis Communication” during the third Educators Summit on March 18. The Summit, organized by impactus! Pte Ltd at HDB Hub, was themed Insights And Best Practices.

Using many real-life corporate case studies, Sadasivan drew out the fundamentals of leadership in times of crisis. “Crisis management is actually common sense. The focus has been on managerial leadership when it should in fact be on moral leadership,” he said. While a manager is responsible for doing a task right, a leader is focused on doing the right thing.

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Viswa's Parliamentary Speech on Preschool Education

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Viswa's Parliamentary Speech on Preschool Education

MOTION By Viswa Sadasivan (Nominated Member) on 22 November, 2010 in the Parliament of Singapore. 

PRESCHOOL EDUCATION : That this House, with a view to better preparing our children for school and life, urges the Government to conduct a comprehensive review of pre-school education in Singapore by rationalising issues of continuity to formal schooling, variance in standards and fees, and equal opportunities. 

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Into the Net: An Interview with Viswa Sadasivan

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Into the Net: An Interview with Viswa Sadasivan

This article was published in Volume 2, 2010 of the English Language Teaching World Online: Voices from the Classroom (ELTWO) Journal. 

By Dr. Radhika Jaidev

“Strategic Communication is striking the ball into the net!”

“Erm…I beg your pardon?”

“Imagine a hockey forward who is able to dribble the ball all the way past the ‘D’ line, fending off all opposition, but is never able to strike the ball into the net.”

This is the analogy that Viswa, Nominated Member of Parliament (Singapore) and master trainer, used as he described “very highly qualified people who are holding key positions in the private and public sector” but who “have a distinct problem putting their point across in a manner that’s cogent and with a certain logic, focus and clarity.”

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The Ideas Man

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The Ideas Man

This article was published in tabla! and on asiaone.com on June 25, 2010.

HE IS normally clean-shaven. But when I met him, Mr Viswa Sadasivan had something close to a french beard.

He had lost his father a few weeks earlier and, as part of the mourning ritual, Mr Sadasivan had grown a beard.

When the mourning period ended, the beard gave way to the new look.

"Maybe it will be gone by the time I return from my holiday in Melbourne with Audresy (his wife) and Maya (his daughter)," he said with a laugh on the eve of their trip to Australia.

For nearly two hours we chatted. He spoke about his maiden speech in Parliament, his plans as a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), his work as a consultant, his family and his late father...

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Viswa’s Maiden Speech in Parliament

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Viswa’s Maiden Speech in Parliament

MOTION By Mr Viswa Sadasivan (Nominated Member) on 18 August, 2009 in the Parliament of Singapore.

NATION BUILDING TENETS: That this House reaffirms its commitment to the nation building tenets as enshrined in the National Pledge when debating national policies, especially economic policies.

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Crisis of Leadership in Singapore

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Crisis of Leadership in Singapore

This article was published on the Online Citizen website on 11 May, 2008.

By Gerald Giam

Mr Viswa Sadasivan, CEO of communications training and consultancy Strategic Moves and renowned social commentator, recently gave a talk where he shared his views about politics in Singapore.

True to his style, Mr Viswa's off-the-cuff presentation was peppered with witty anecdotes, incisive observations and a strong sense of conviction about what Singapore needs to change in order to reach the next level of development and progress.

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