Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Venerable Venereal Straits Times

I haven't wrote in a while. But today's headlines on the by-elections in Hougang in the venerable The Straits Times (Singapore) was sufficiently venereal to motivate me to awake from my slumber. 

Compared to another friend, who almost got a stroke reading the same news, my reaction is perhaps muted.

At least three websites, whose writers have, to some extent, informed insights into the workings of the Singapore Press Holdings, have addressed the coverage of The Straits Times. If you would like to understand my reasons for taking issue with The Straits Times, you can read this link, this link and this link.

What I want to write about is why I think this is happening and why it may be the return of an old normal that readers of The Straits Times should get used to.

If the general elections coverage of The Straits Times was the beginning of a new dawn for a newspaper under a valiant editor wanting to remain relevant to a readership disenfranchised with its less than objective coverage, the Hougang by-elections coverage of The Straits Times is the rehashing of an old story by an editor fearless in driving a blunt wedge through its readership, even if it means polarising a populace frustrated by a ruling party showing signs of complacency.

In February this year, The Straits Times replaced its former editor with the honourable Warren Fernandez. Warren believes he is a true son of independent Singapore. He has a written a tome about the founding father of the People's Action Party. He has gained immensely from the meritocratic system espoused by the PAP. He has waxed lyrical about the PAP's success in managing Singapore in columns aplenty, which I once followed as a young student. Read his book, if you would like a flavour of these insights.

It is therefore not surprising for someone like Warren to think that to be loyal to Singapore is to be loyal to the PAP in pushing the agenda of the PAP. I accept he owes a great deal to the PAP system for what he is today. After all, at least until he was invited back to The Straits Times, he may well have been working in a multi-national oil conglomerate bringing home twice his current annual salary in bonuses alone.

As such, I admire his deep-seated desire, willingness and ability to want to give back to our motherland.But there is a fine line between blind faith and good faith. The coverage today of The Straits Times was a display of the former.

In my view, there was something more important that was clearly more newsworthy and deserved the front page coverage. This, the solidarity of Singaporeans from all walks of life in that pelting rain in a cause they believed in.

I once said his book "represents Warren Fernandez's version of Singapore. If, as a reader, you do not like it, ignore it. Alternatively, you can choose to be engaged and offer your own version in return."

Likewise, The Straits Times is fast becoming Warren Fernandez's version of Singapore. Ignore it or embrace it.

Thinking about whether this is the kind of your newspaper you want to subscribe to in Singapore is allowed.

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this? Feel free to react below or leave a comment.


KAM said...

All these top dogs think they are gods (god spelt backwards).
They are placed there for a reason.

People power, people day just one day.

Anonymous said...

Beside having a nickname ShittyTime, it has another nickname known as SmearingTime

Anonymous said...

The most appropriate name for Singapore Straits times is the People's Daily of Singapore,with reference to PAP's worship of CCP,China Communist Party,pity those so called ex-Communists who spent years in Changi prison.

Anonymous said...

What you wrote sounds like a broker with an amazon account selling third party books.

Anonymous said...

Objectively, the scoops did come from within WP itself. And it's also clear that Png had mis-stepped with a white lie intended to give him political mileage. Png simply could've said "no comments" and focused on his own message, instead of being so defensive as to make a white lie.

On the other hand, PAP should also try to understand that people are irked with its dogged high-handed approach to such matters in elections in the present climate. In more favourable times, when grouses are few and muted, it's forgivable. But now, with heightened sensitivities, things are different for the PAP and the WP's made full use of this climate.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, a civil servant who is related to the Prince was offered the newspaper.

This was while he visited his son in Italy.

Having spent some days away from home he asked "what newspaper?"
It was offered to him as " the PAP circular"..

He did not quiet understand until his wife said " its the Straits Times"

That employee was terminated 1 month later.

The Pariah said...

"Straits Times" is mispronounced as "Shit Times" in Singlish talk.

I stopped subscription years ago.
To find out about what the Govt is up to - I can get more accurate and more complete picture from the relevant ministry web-sites.

I don't need PAP propaganda - IF I did, I would join as a member to read Petir, PAP's house newsletter.

So why throw good paper money after bad paper print?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mr. Warren Fernandez knows the compromises that he has to make or will he find out as he goes along.

SingaporeMemoryProject said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

On behalf of the National Library Board (NLB), we would like to invite you to pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Project as part of efforts to collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.

By pledging your blog to SMP, you are affirming that every memory matters. Whether your posts are an account of your daily life, or an expression of your thoughts, the SMP hopes to find a home for your memories so that it can help build towards an understanding of Singapore. You will also receive a badge that you can display on your blog in recognition of your contributions.

Contributors to this blog pledging initiative will be listed on Singapore Memory portal’s blog pledging webpage. All blogs pledged to SMP will archived using NLB’s web harvesting software, in addition to images of each blog’s landing page.

If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, simply fill up our response form at this following URL:

You may find out more about this initiative at

We are looking forward to your contribution.

Simulation Software & Technology (S2T) Pte Ltd
583 Orchard Road #14-02 Forum The Shopping Mall S(238884), Singapore