"I love your "Malaysian Accent", can you say it again?"
"几够力一下有没有"

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Trying hard to forestall the rot

"Most notably, there was a near-complete shut-out of Singapore campaigners from the newspaper. Although the anti-death penalty forum organised by Singapore's Think Centre on 7 November was covered by the Australian and foreign media (including Reuters and AFP), it was completely ignored by the Straits Times.

The letters page also suggested bias in selection... it seemed very strange that while the Straits Times found letters from pro-hanging Australians to print, they couldn't find a single anti-hanging letter to print. This was even as lots of Australians were vociferously voicing their opinions down under. Did none of them write to the Straits Times, unlike their compatriots who favoured the death penalty? Or did the Straits Times trash all such letters?

Was the debate entirely in Australia? Were Singaporeans generally unanimous that capital punishment was justifiable? From the Straits Times' coverage, it would seem that Singaporeans either had no view to offer or were behind our government. But if one looked at the blogosphere, you'd see that many Singaporeans were, like Australians, either uncomfortable or downright against the death penalty.

How many, of course, is impossible to say. Singaporeans know full well that any attempt at taking an opinion poll on the matter would be seriously frowned on by the government. Even if someone wasn't afraid to pay for one, I doubt if any reputable polling organisation would want to take up the job, for fear of retribution from the government. Why, one might conceivably be charged under the Sedition Act...

Taking the 10 days' selection of news stories and published letters as a whole, there's more than a whiff of desperation... Why did the Straits Times go on and on telling Singaporeans that hanging drug traffickers is the right thing to do and that the world approves? And oh, by the way, Australia is going to hell with its drug problem... Finally, did you notice how gleefully the Straits Times reported on Australian opinion polls, but didn't commission a poll of Singaporeans themselves?"


And you wonder why "ST" stands for so many unflattering things in people's minds, and why the young are getting turned off traditional media.

JC critical thinking lesson: "My teacher said it, so it must be right.
It's in the Bible, so it must be right.
The Straits Times said it, so it must be right.
Lee Kuan Yew said it, so it must be right." (or words to that effect)
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