Cyberspace: Are you s.u.r.e? What, if, really, no, come again...?

An eventful month for the digital spy-thriller writers in Singapore - with government websites been hacked, Snowden leaks revealing the city-state's alleged role in spying on its neighbours, and the PM outlining new approach for online engagement

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Amidst all this, the National Library Board (NLB) has quietly taken it upon itself to teach Singaporeans to differentiate “facts from fantasy”, or be “S.U.R.E

As NLB puts it, S.U.R.E, which stand for source, understand, research, and evaluate, is an initiative “to promote information literacy skills” among Singaporeans, who are “finding it increasingly difficult to navigate the flood of information available with greater access to the web, mobile devices and social media”.


Plans are in place to display messages such as “How do you tell gurus from the gundus?” at various public places. [“Gundus” is a Singlish term for “stupid”]

NLB also informs that it has been working closely with the Ministry of Education “to apply SURE principles when studying a subject” and has launched S.U.R.E clubs in secondary schools since May this year.

While teaching children how to navigate the maze of online sources of information is understandable due to their impressionable age, why are adult Singaporeans also being included in this campaign is not clear. This has left many wondering whether the argument is being stretched too far, giving arsenal to critics who have, rightly or wrongly, consistently termed Singapore as a “nanny state”.  

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