Update: You can also find the full list at mrbrownshow.com.
World Business, a magazine published in association with INSEAD, has a cover story this month by Michael Backman, on the Top 20 Asian progressives and what the hey, I am Number 16. (Update: The magazine is now called Management Today and this is the new link)
Other Asians selected for this list include my usual arch rivals, China's president Hu Jin Tao, Vietnam's prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and former Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. I'll beat you guys next time, darn it!
As Singapore's only representative in this list of Asians, I am proud to announce that I beat governor of Malaysia's central bank, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who is Number 17. Because, as all Singaporeans know, it is always important to one-up Malaysians in a Top Whatever List of any kind. Take that, Zeti!
In case anyone is reading the above literally, I am only kidding. This is a surprise and a huge honour to be hanging out with Asians of this calibre.
I was informed by readers Jonathan Poon and Benjamin Chiang about making this list (thanks guys!) and so went down to Borders to get the magazine. My first reaction upon getting the magazine was "Wah lau eh! $25.90! So expensive ah!". My second reaction was "Chao turtle! Why the artist draw me until so old and fat?"
Then she followed with, "Ok, Mr Progressive, now go to the Chinese medical hall and buy Gripe water for Faith. She's been cranky all morning and it's probably because she has an upset stomach. I think she's got Isaac's gastric flu."
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to read the rest of my expensive business magazine. $25.90 leh.
Oh, yah. And buy the Gripe water.
16. LEE KIN MUN (ALIAS MR BROWN), SINGAPORE
Singapore has some of the world's tightest media restrictions. Little genuine public debate is permitted and investigative journalism is largely non-existent. The role of the media is to report government announcements rather than to hold the government to account. And so Singaporeans are fed a bland diet of lifestyle articles, world news often slanted to show Singapore in a good light by way of comparison, and news about government policy. Not surprisingly, Singapore has one of the world's most active blogging communities. Genuine debate, opinion pieces and news appear on many Singapore-related websites.
Lee Kin Mun has become one of Singapore's most widely read and influential bloggers through his social and political commentary website, www.mrbrown.com. Lee also produces a satirical podcast called the Mr Brown Show, which averages 20,000 downloads a day. It is sophisticated and hugely funny - and a stark contrast to what is available on local government-controlled television.
Such is the popularity of Lee's blog that he was given a column in the government-controlled Today newspaper in a measure designed to demonstrate that the government could tolerate a measure of public debate. However, the experiment ended abruptly after Li wrote a column on rising living costs. A government official complained that Lee had distorted the truth and Singapore's prime minister claimed that Lee had made wild accusations.
Lee continues to publish and broadcast his satires and commentaries, providing Singaporeans with a vibrant and diversified media otherwise denied them.