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A Tale of Two Papers May 13, 2007

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

Being in the military is a risky proposition, even during times of peace. The handling of equipment of war involves a certain element of risk and at times the folly of man or the nature of circumstances are such that accidents do happen. As can be seen in the latest incident in Taiwan, where a F5 fighter crashed into a building, causing the deaths of 4 military personnel, the 2 Taiwanese pilots and 2 Singapore servicemen.

The interesting thing is, the Taiwanese Media, in their typically inquisitive manner, have raised the possibility that the Taiwanese Airforce F5s are old and outdated and therefore they are accident prone. A few years ago, the media did the same, this time it was regarding the crash of a Vietnam War Era UH-1H helicopter. It appears that the Taiwanese Media do indeed practise investigative journalism.

Contrast this with the ST, which for all practical purposes can be said to represent the Singapore Media. It appears that everytime something to do with the government is published, the Senior Editors would either parrot whatever has already been said, or merely report the fact ad verbatim. Rarely have the ST journalists attempted to get into the bottom of things; so much so that words like “mouthpiece” and other not so pleasant terms have been hurled at their doorstep. In fact rather than ask why, at times they have gone so far as to try to convince the people of the government’s policy. The Forum too is a sad place, often filled with the inane or at times horrible posts by our fellow countrymen. If a letter not supportive of the powers that be does get published it will often be shot by several other letters, as can be seen by the recent flurry of letters regarding the Invasion of Iraq.

But then did not the ST publish several stories regarding military accidents? Most prominent being the incident where the guardsman drowned during prisoner of war training? Does that not constitute investigative journalism?

Unfortunately, we must remember in the above incident, there was a death. Thus in such an instance, it would be impossible for such a thing to be kept under wraps if the intention was to do so. Furthermore ST merely reported the facts and findings, and did not question the various practices of the Military. In fact, it is precisely because the media rarely engages in any investigative journalism; thus resulting in situations whereby unfortunate people like Lawrence have no recourse should anything happen to them in the military. There are things happening in the military which can be said to be a direct contravention of standards; however precisely because the system is extremely against whistleblowers, therefore many victims choose to, in NS speak, “lan lan suck thumb, Serve and fuck off”. Thus when the seeds of disasters are sown, they are often left to grow until disaster strikes, and then everyone engages in unconstructive finger pointing.

Thus, for ST to work in the interests of society, it has to go beyond parroting of facts and parroting of the government’s line. The latter action may not necessarily equate to the interests of society, for if one accepts the fact that there is a great divide, then it naturally follows that there be a divergence between the interests of the ruling party and the common man in society.



1. guojun - May 13, 2007

at no point of time did ST say it was for the interests of society, hor!

Want to read about the interests of the society, blogosphere has a lot more concerned citizens. The ST is only more concerned about earning money and keeping PAPa happy. hahaha.

2. YCK - May 14, 2007

I will be the devil’s advocate and suggest that we being a society steeped in asian values frown on challenging authority (which in this case is benign) at the risk of causing social upheaval.

3. Ned Stark - May 14, 2007

Well, then what of Taiwan and China? Are they not also so steeped in Asian values? 😛

4. YCK - May 14, 2007

Ah that is where you are mistaken. Taiwan has “democartized” so much that the cracks in their society are obvious between the real Taiwanese and the mainlanders. China as we all know is Communist. Where is the asian values in Marxism? This is why both are in states less than ideal.

Singapore on the other hand is still carries the torch of ancient wisdom. The mere invocation of Confuciansm will make all put away petty personal differences and calculations and uphold the greater good of the whole society.

Can’t believe I wrote that :b

5. Ned Stark - May 14, 2007

Indeed there is merit in what you say. However there has been no attempt to explain said Asian Values. There is no defination as such of these values which underpin our society. Is it Confucianism? or somethine else? and that begets another point, namely that such values are often used as a facade for discrimination and hate mongering, as religion has been hijacked by terrorist groups.

6. anon - May 14, 2007

Didn’t the ST try to settle the NKF issue behind closed door meetings with the old NKF management?

7. Ned Stark - May 14, 2007

Yes, thats a process called mediation. I believe Mrs Goh was hoping for both sides to come to an amicable agreement and therefore suggested that they mediate the dispute. Unfortunately one of the terms SPH demanded was that they would be allowed to publish a full article on the gold taps. Naturally Durai did not want it and thus decided to fight it out in court.

8. LCC - May 14, 2007
9. Ned Stark - May 14, 2007

Interesting link. Thanks 😀

10. scb - May 14, 2007

Confusingism is a very effective tool against the commoners in Singalore!

11. guojun - May 14, 2007

Yes! Don’t forget, we must follow confucian values. Stay confused, Singapore!

12. celluloidrealitys - May 14, 2007

Confucianism is but a cheap excuse for being too lazy to innovate and be critical of anything that moves.

13. YCK - May 14, 2007

A facade… Touche. I concede your point 🙂

14. guojun - May 15, 2007

Yeap. Confucianism is a good reason to remain in the good ol’ days of imperial China with a not so good king and an empress (in singapore: emperor) dowager pulling the strings.

Confucious rocks, yo!

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