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TOC Editorial: ST’s Mas Selamat coverage bad for the ST, worse for Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 24, 2008


“If it is determined there was only one weak link, at junior escort level, then the people should stop carping about why it is usually small fish that get fried.”

– Straits Times, April 24, Page 23, “Were failings systemic?”.

The term ‘wag the dog’ was introduced into popular political discourse by a 1997 American film starring Robert DeNiro. In it, he plays a Washington Hollywood director turned spin doctor charged with rehabilitating the flagging ratings of a President caught in the midst of a sex scandal. To do this, our protagonist manufactures a fake war with Albania.

Our national newspaper, the Straits Times (ST), seems to have taken a page out of DeNiro’s book of tricks.

Before the dust has settled on one of the most shocking security oversights and incompetent post-debacle information bottlenecks in our nation’s history, the ST has chosen to banish their coverage of the Mas Selamat backlash to the inner pages of the Home page. The front page story: a resurgence in hand, foot and mouth disease.

TOC almost wishes the ST’s editors were Hollywood directors turned spin doctors. At least the distraction from the most important issue of the day would be entertaining.

The ST’s selective coverage and equivocal editorial position risks damaging its own credibility in the long run. As we wrote yesterday, many Singaporeans will have to now tolerate a government it perceives as out of touch and overbearing in light of the unsatisfactory responses given in Parliament.

The ST should not make matters worse by forcing us to live with a similarly disconnected press.

ST Editorial: the paper’s flimsy position

The mark of a good newspaper is its ability to find the broader issues of national relevance in simple events. The publication’s inclination and ability to do this is distilled in its editorial, which represents the opinion of the paper. Looking at today’s ST editorial, it is worrying to see the converse occurring: a deliberate obfuscation of important issues hidden behind a surplus of nitpicking questions.

The editorial opens with what seems to be a grim warning that the government might yet suffer from the debacle: ‘Singaporeans will be unforgiving’ if Mas Selamat carries out a ‘ruinous attack’.

In fencing, such an opening is called a feint.

This opener sets the Singaporean threshold of tolerance unrealistically high. It suggests that anything short of a ‘ruinous attack’ will not warrant Singaporeans being unforgiving.

This subtly downplays the level of anger many Singaporeans currently feel at the cumulative weight of the initial bungle, the opaque and confusing flow of information, the summary exoneration of the highest echelons of authority, and the gross conflicts of interest that have pervaded this whole episode. Its suggestion boils down to this: Singaporeans are a tolerant bunch, it will take a terrorist attack to make us outraged.

Instead of highlighting the broader issues of national importance, it then goes on to do the opposite: narrow the issue to the point of banality by asking a series of questions. These include such gems as: ‘How frequently were operational audits made, drills and refreshers for camp staff conducted? What has been the quality of the training?’.

The editorial’s bald assertion that ‘No level in the hierarchy should be immune from censure that deserves it’ is completely undermined for the same reason Wong’s statements in Parliament lack credibility: by narrowing the scope of inquiry down to the operational procedure, they are insulating the political leadership from command responsibility.

This is an uncanny echo of Deputy Prime Minister Wong’s statement to Parliament. Henceforth, the area of liability is to be limited to what went on in Whitley Road Detention Centre (WRDC).

Could it be that Singaporeans have stopped caring about Mas Selamat and the government’s response to the debacle?

Unlikely. Over the last few days, site managers TOC have spoken to have reported an exponential spike in their readership. This corroborates the anecdotal interest in the issue expressed beyond cyberspace in almost every single conversation.

There seems to be a hunger for further discussion that the mainstream press is simply not satisfying.

The mainstream press, to hide the consequences of their political timidity, then utilizes another fencing maxim: the best defense is a good offense.

When all else fails, blame the bloggers/kopitiam patrons

The tactics are simple: dismiss the expressions of anger as the rantings of vocal netizens, the educated elite, or those too uneducated to think for themselves. Paint them as unpatriotic, borderline traitors out to muddy the country’s reputation at any expense.

Chua Mui Hoong, senior writer of the ST, described the outrage as that of ‘anonymous bloggers and grandstanding kopitiam rabble rousers’, members of the ‘cocktail and kopitiam circuit’.

When the Mas Selamat debacle first occurred, Deputy Political Editor Paul Jacob characterized the outrage on the internet as ‘rants that demand ministerial resignations; and sarcastic comments about how paying officials a million dollars more will perhaps better incentivise them to capture the culprit’ and ‘rants in cyberspace [that] take pleasure in knocking Singapore’s firm and no-nonsense reputation’.

The response online was indeed visceral. But to see ordinary bloggers or kopitiam patrons as an isolated source of dissatisfaction would be willfully shutting one’s eyes to reality. If anything, the dissatisfaction is part of a deeper malaise. Last we checked, Mui Hoong, the kopitiam crowd made up the majority of the country.

Unfortunately, the only crowd the ST editorial team seems attuned to is our political leadership. The rest of us are the rabbles that rant.

The Chinese proverb, ‘When drinking water, look to the source’, seems ironically applicable. The press regularly reminds Singaporeans of the government’s successes. Yet, when something goes wrong, the finger is pointed at the people who are characterized as the fountain of irrational anger: the logical connection to the source of the outrage is not made.

The consequences

These tactics of “scapegoating” and understatement can only last that long. It is precisely the propagandizing of the Malaysian press that has led national newspapers in Malaysia to lose credibility with the country, so much so that Malaysian bloggers designated April 1st a nationwide Boycott Malaysian Media Day.

The state of the Malaysian media’s infamy is such that senior journalists have left it for the freer fields of online journalism. Ahirudin Attan, a former President of the National Press Club of Malaysia and editor of the New ST Press, set up a popular personal blog. By far the most prominent Malaysian example of mainstream journalists entering the online fray is, which has a readership comparable with mainstream publications.

How long will it be before good journalists in the ST decide that they’ve had enough of the paper’s timidity and borderline culpability in propagandizing? How long is it before the fig leaf of credibility falls from the ST, and journalists, writers and citizens start taking the news into our own hands?

To whom much is given, much is expected (revisited)

The lessons we hope the government will learn from the Mas Selamat debacle equally apply to the ST. To whom much is given, much is expected. Singapore Press Holdings has been given a near-monopoly of Singapore’s print news market. With alternative news sources still in their infancy, it is imperative upon the ST to accurately reflect sentiment on the ground.

Our message to the government yesterday was simple: you cannot have your cake and eat it too. You cannot claim to be a hands-on government of strong leadership and disclaim command responsibility when it matters.

Our message to the national press today is similar: you cannot keep your monopoly on the minds of Singaporeans and insult their intelligence at the same time.



74 Responses to “TOC Editorial: ST’s Mas Selamat coverage bad for the ST, worse for Singapore”

  1. When i read the Straits Times editorial today, i just imagined myself pissing on the faces of these propagandists who go around masquerading as journalists.

    I’m trying to hold back my fury here coz i’m tempted to utter expletives at these jokers.

    They have been at it with such garbage for many years that, after i read such propaganda, they always leave a fucking bitter taste coz they choose to ignore the damage it does, not only to themselves, but more importantly to the country as a whole and its people! My apologies to TOC and to your readers but i hope you will allow me this one time that i let slip an expletive

  2. s said

    spot on. kudos to this article!

  3. ErnieUrn said

    I think mainstream news being boring is an understatement. As expected, media blackout by ST. People on the ground have to hold on to a 80cents newspaper for vital follow-up action by authorities that effects their security. I used to trust the news … now it feels like they are giving my the noose.

  4. Alan Wong said

    As usual despite the huge amount of unhappiness & anger expressed by the blogers and public via the net, the Shit Times was trying to portray the opposite by giving the impression that the public at large was prepared to move on over the incident.

    The Shit Times is really true to its name – Shit.

  5. logicalman said

    It’s no secret that the Straits Times echoes the Government’s stand. Time and again, it seemed to publish news or editorials aimed at harmonizing with the Government’s position on current issues, especially issues on homeground. Which is why I no longer read ST articles belonging to this category. I can only bear to read analyses of some foreign situations or issues to which the Government is remotely related, for at least, these are objectively written. Beyond that, I would say, don’t waste your time.

    Whether we can just be dismissed as the online equivalent of brick-&-mortar kopitiam patrons, the Government will find out further down the road. Rational citizens have painstakingly provided feedback and suggested to the Government on how to tackle issues ranging from CTE jams to the high cost of living, only to be dismissed as myopic at best and irrelevant at worst. For example, many have felt it untimely to raise the GST, and have warned that the net increase in cost of living will be many times more than the 2 percentage point, but all these seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. When it turned out that we have record inflation figures, could the press have at least written some objective, reflective and critical articles on this issue?

    Bottomline is, a national press that’s afraid to be objectively critical of the Government is no different from party newsletters.

  6. Observer said

    Very observant. Good and timely article.

    The way these 145th spinners are going, they are actually doing Singapore and Singaporeans a very great disservice.

    Once the “frogs-in-the-well” awake from the “drugs” they have been fed, there will be serious consequences beyond any control.

  7. Dr Syed Alwi said

    What we need is precisely a courageous press ; a 4th Estate willing to keep an eye on the Government and be ready to criticise it for the better. Our press should focus on the issue of our reserves. Who is answerable for our reserves ? Where are the safeguards ? Audit ? And so on….

  8. LifesLikeThat said

    The Straits Times… hiazz… made up of graduates who will sell their souls for a few bucks. How did we produce supposedly intelligent people who now work in the ST and who do not blink an eye to such injustice?

    To the ST reporters reading this (and I know you do read blogs):

    Time to search your conscience.

    Remember how you guys joined in the witch hunt when James Gomes misplaced a minority form? Remember how you guys carried the balls of LKY and went for his blood for 9 days straight?

    And yet here we have something even more serious – much much more serious and all the ST would do is to play along again to the tune of those men in white.

    James Gomes – misplaced a form – castigated for 9 straight days.

    Wong Kan Seng – let the No. 1 terrorist escaped – defended as if he is a saint.

    ST reporters, do you guys really feel good about yourself?

  9. CelluloidReality said

    We need a press that helps in nation building and ensuring that issues that threaten security do not get moved away or brushed aside .

    Attempting to spin negative opinions into positivity does not remove the problem of lost credibility. It merely glosses over the idea for the short-term.

    I’m not angry anymore, I’m just disappointed that the press has let the nation down and I believe that this incident will lead to greater cynicism and when people have been “cried wolf” to, too many times, they’ll just switch off no matter what is done.

  10. LimChuKangGRC said

    It’s a pretty sad situation. The rot was actually set in a long time ago. We can’t do much now. ST has been controlled by the gov for many years. All laws, rules and regulations in Singapore are “designed” to PAP’s advantage.

  11. singapoor said

    before 1959 there were more than 20-30 newspapers. today you know whats the situation.

    but today large majority of singaporeans believe in ST. when elections come each time, one of the chief factors the majority of voters vote for PAP is what they believe after reading ST. what is interesting is that my foreigner friends who come here, when they started to be skeptical of ST, they either start to stop reading ST and/or not believe whatever ST has to say. but majority of singaporeans are indeed skeptical of ST yet they still ironically believe ST.

    majority of singaporeans are also not overly unsatisfied with not having alternatives. you dont hear singaporeans complaining about it as much as they complain about other things. in malaysia for instance there were a lot of public discontent when PAS newspaper was restricted some years ago.

    its just like our political system. despite whatever grievances singaporeans have with PAP the majority of voters still feel that no other party can do a better job than PAP. likewise despite the skepticism about ST, singaporeans benignly do feel that there can’t be a better newspaper than ST.

  12. maxim said

    In Singapore, one has no choice but to read the ST. The government knows that not many will forgo reading newspapers just because it has become the mouthpiece of the government.

    But what they may not realize is that readers of ST have learned how to read between the lines. This is especially true of the headlines. Most of the time, we have to unscramble the headline to get to the real meaning.

    Instead of being the voice of conscience, the ST has turned the society into a sad and neurotic state.

  13. Humty Dumpty said

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

    Make a guess who or what entity Humpty Dumpty is ?

  14. Aidil Omar said

    They did put Humpty Dumpty together again in this case, with resin glue and adhesive tape. But it’s fragile. Very fragile.

  15. AO said

    “despite whatever grievances singaporeans have with PAP the majority of voters still feel that no other party can do a better job than PAP. likewise despite the skepticism about ST, singaporeans benignly do feel that there can’t be a better newspaper than ST.”

    i call it the posb syndrome…catch them young and they’ll stick with you for life, for better or worse

    let’s face it, we all grew up with pap and the straits times

    in our subconscious, there was never an alternative

    so, we are the ones who need to change

    only then will the government change

    otherwise, come 2010 or 2011, it’ll be the same result all over again

    com’on, fellow singaporeans! we can do it!

  16. Seeking Salvation said

    Very Good Article
    The shit times does not even qualify to be recycle for toilet roll.

  17. Humty Dumpty said

    Theres a saying nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    If we dont try we never know. Given the current stance, i can see its getting from bad to worse.

    So its makes no difference to try out something new, at least we make a choice and choose to exercise it as Singaporeans.

    That is important. Whats there to lose anyway ?

    Would you want to be told to work till you hit the grave ?

    Have seen and heard enough 🙂

  18. Jordan said

    Hi all I have called the editorials of ST times and told them of this website. I also inform them of Today April 19 , 2008 Page 4 where there is an eloborate article on “State of Singapore Journalism” by Loh Chee Kong. I challenge the editors to read the entries by matured singaporeans here and reflect the sentiments on the ground. Let’s see if they are really lackey for the government.

  19. Hi Jordan,

    Thanks for bringing up the piece by TODAY.

    For our readers, you can read it here: State of Singapore journalism.

    Extract from the article by Loh Chee Kong:

    “In Singapore, the industry’s response so far appears to be an attempt to make itself look good by window-dressing…Cue marketing efforts going into overdrive with revamps and makeovers without giving the same amount of attention to content…

    Indeed, for a country that prides itself on its honest governance and transparency, there is no reason journalism should accept anything less…

    Laws such as the Internal Security Act and the Official Secrets Act keep journalists and editors in check while the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act empowers the Government to determine the composition of a newspaper company’s board of directors.

    In fact, journalists must be at the forefront of asking the critical questions — simply because of their privileged position, which allows them to go to places or see things few people do.

    Newspapers are run by businessmen who should stick to their job and leave the journalists to do theirs. And the journalists have a big task on their hands: Get out there and connect with the readers, through dialogue sessions, blogs, community projects and partnerships.”

  20. Expected Analysis said

    In view of the public outcry over the Straits Times'(ST) biased reporting, an interview was conducted with SPH’s chairman to clarify ST’s role and position.

    Question: Why is ST perceived as a pro govt media?

    Answer: “SPH is a govt owned company and therefore obliged to report in a manner deemed proper by the governing ministry. This is especially necessary since SPH has been granted perpetual monopoly over the country’s print media.

    Much as our carefully selected journalists would like to report in all probable fairness, the editor’s hands are rather tied up with directives from the Ministry of Information,Communication and Arts (MICA) that we must not paint the govt in bad light even if the obvious is indisputable. If such a scenario does surface, our journalists will phrase their reports to focus the blame on those other than the higher echelon of office.”

    Question: In doing this, wouldn’t it be a betrayal of conscience, especially in S’pore where the PAP govt emphasizes so much on integrity, accountability, etc?

    Answer: “Integrity is subject to each’s interpretation, depending on the situation and the individual’s position.

    It’s natural for one to take a defensive stand in the face of adversity. Where the situation is unfavourable, excuses and stories have to be concocted to confuse rather than to convince, however incredible or stupid they may be.

    As far as our ministers are concerned, only money can be counted, not accountability, which is largely non-existent. It is easier to pronounce than to spell, therefore, they decided to do away with it. In any case, it’s practically impossible to account because of the systemic failure for the past decades.”

    Question: Sorry, but I’m referring to SPH’s accountability and the journalists’ conscience!

    Answer: “Whether it’s SPH or the govt, it’s the same principle. We have been deploying non-confrontational style of engagement in order to diffuse the potential threats and valid arguments. We find this tactic rather favourable as we do not have to give an outright answer. Surprisingly, many Singaporeans seemed convinced of our explanation as shown in the results of past elections.

    Conscience of the heart is difficult to substain as it’s in conflict with conscience of the stomach. Our well informed journalists know where their interest lies. They have family and personal commitments too. Given such dire conditions, they would be wise to report as expected without underlying tone.”

    Question: In your opinion, do you think there’s a remote chance that the journalists will become critical of the govt in the near future?

    Answer: “There’s absolutely no chance because their reports are vetted by the editor prior to print. If it does happen (maybe one in a million), then the journalist will be the first to go, followed by the editor.”

    Question: What about you?

    Answer: “What about me??? I did not sanction the report, nor did I give permission for it to go to print. It’s strictly a case of the journalist who strayed from the protocol. The editor will have to answer too.

    The PM has given the best answer and protection to the top management. They are not liable for the mistakes of their subordinates. They are paid millions to oversee policies and exact punishments only. Accountability and transparency are pure fiction, at best, child’s play.

    Hope that I have enlightened you today. Thanks for this interview.”

  21. TheWrathOfGrapes said

    /// The Chinese proverb, ‘When drinking water, look to the source’, seems ironically applicable. ///

    More ironical, and I say this with a heavy heart – it doesn’t apply. You can attribute this observation to me and say you was it for the first time here: — with the invention of NeWater, this ancient Chinese proverb has taken on a whole new meaning. When drinking NeWater, thinking of the source will make you vomit.

    So, is that why the power that be don’t bother about the source of the power and legitimacy?

  22. TheWrathOfGrapes said

    Sorry typo above — should be “saw it” and not “was it”.

  23. bateman said

    What this whole saga has created is the widening gulf but this time not the have and the nots but between the “upper” class and the “lower” class, between those in high authority and power and those at the bottom end, the staff and officers, those eventually doing the dirty and sometime unpleasant work.

    We have learnt here that those in authority will never be held accountable ( only in Singapore!) for the wrongs or screw ups of a ministry’s policies or lapses and unfortunately woe to the officers.

    I think the next big thing to fall upon us is the inflation levels and coupled with that the looming prospect of slowing growth. Well who do we turn to for direction. This confirms my own thoughts, we have an sorely incompetant government, unable to properly address this whole saga.

    I really wonder what has become of our country’s finances and just how much do we really have in the coffers.

    On the world stage, I am totally embarrassed for our country and on a national level, I fear and am depressed for our future.

  24. Ned Stark said

    Haha…perhaps it is rather apposite to say that such writers who sanctioned this editorials and this pot shots at their fellow citizens have thereby abdicated their responsibility towards the public.

  25. Singaporean said

    The link above speaks much about the credibility of our press and the degree of our press freedom.

    Who needs “ranting” in the internet or kopitiam if our own press / media can serve as a better platform. It is equally puzzling to hear it from those whose very existence of employment is paid for by taxpayers’ money that those who are disagreeable with their views are ranting.

  26. Tang Li said

    Well, unlike the decadent West, we in Singapore have a “Responsible Media,” namely a media that knows that is responsible for things like keeping the status quo in order.

    I have a lousy confession to make. Although I work in the PR and journalism line, I’ve stopped reading local papers in much detail. I can get my information on the CNA website. A simple headline does it all. I also read Bloomberg and the Economist, two publications that have been sued by Minister Mentor Lee – hence – they must be somewhat credible.

    No editor in his or her right mind would publish something vaguely critical of the PAP. This is the only press that I know of that understands the meaning of “getting a phone call.” Apparently Sudan, the land the brought us the Darfour Massacre actually has a freer press than Singapore.

    Anyway, WKS has proved that the SG government is less than perfect.

  27. Ex-PAP Supporter said

    What really makes me sick is how they expect accountability from everyone else. And if they do not meet the HIGH standards of the PAP, they are demolished, ridiculed, hung out to dry, sued, bankrupted and have their livelihoods destroyed.


    Chee Soon Juan.

    Tang Liang Hong.

    Francis Seow.

    Tan Wah Piow.

    Vincent Cheng.

    Gandhi Ambalam.

    Chee Siok Chin.

    James Gomes.

    Yet now they are talking about “seeing things in perspective”, “honest mistake” (LHL mentioned this twice in Parliament), and “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”.

    When you are merciless in destroying those who simply oppose you professionally, you yourself will not get mercy from anyone.

    Wong Kan Seng, Lee Hsien Loong, Lee Kuan Yew… all are a total utter disgrace to the very values which they claim to represent – integrity, accountability, and honesty.

    There is no integrity in making scapegoats of those in the lower ranks.

    There is no accountability in appointing your own ministry’s people to be in the COI.

    There is no honesty when you mercilessly destroy others and use your overwhelming power to shield yourself from worse transgressions.

    PAP, I have lost faith and trust in you.

    It will be my personal endeavour from now till the next GE to convince everyone I know not to vote for you bunch of obscenely-paid monkeys.

    Pay peanuts get monkeys.

    Pay bananas, still get monkeys.


  28. Jordan said

    Well said Ex PAP, but i think we now need to bombard SPH who is trying to paint a rosy picture that a bulk of Singaporeans are willing to let it go and accept the ridiculous explanation PM Lee and WKS are offering. We need to make them (SPH and the fellow Singaporeans alike) realise that such is not the case. Time and time again, SPH has tried to paint a very different picture from the ground. I.e. The Comfort Taxi Price Hike. Till today, I still heard of many complaining of the expensive fare, but they claim that ridership had gone up in a bid to justify that consumers had accepted to fare hike. The hard fact is that we are left with no choice. So in my opinion, SPH should be first targetted to bring across factual facts and sentiments on the ground to the masses of Singaporeans. Only then can the Singaporeans cast their vote in a trueful and responsible manner which best reflects the kind of people we want to elect into the government.

  29. Paper generals said

    This reminds me of those fat army dudes who eat , drink beer and imagine that they are freaking fit and know it all in the Army,

    These are the kind of guys that will tell you to charge they sit behind and giving commands.

    But if you ask them to do it themselves, it would be like hoping that Pigs could fly.

    Has beens?

    Put your money where your mouth is, if you expect people to believe that you are world class. Then i think the only decent thing to do is to behave “world class”.

    very shallow indeed.

  30. Daniel said

    Excellent article.

    The state of affairs concerning the mainstream media in Singapore is quite frankly nauseating. It will not be long before readers start turning to alternative sources en masse.

    Do we currently have any idea as to how many per cent of Singaporeans are consumers of the “alternative media”?

  31. Insulted said

    Sometimes I wonder about the futility of all these arguments. Was there one single Singaporean out there who sincerely believed the government will hold the Minister or for that matter anyone in the inner circle responsible. The writing has been on the wall for a long time now. Its just getting more blatant.

  32. Neo Sg said


    Now is the time to promote alternative news sites like TOC. One can never go wrong to hear from more points of views. People in Singapore need to be made aware that whatever the mainstream newpapers and Media Corp spew out are already tainted with hidden agendas.

  33. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Dear fellow Singaporeans,

    You get what you vote for !

  34. Kan said

    wong kan seng is mediocre, complacent, and incompetent. he should be fired, and the people who hired him should resign!

  35. Neo Sg said

    The lastest scorecard for WKS. If my son gets this type of score I will straightaway send him to ITE (But I know of many ITE students who can perform much much better then WKS.)

  36. Whirl-Class said

    We have titanic leaders, drawing titanic salaries, but when comes to responsibility and integrity issues, they blame the icebergs.

    Well Singaporeans, please wake up, during the next election – we can truly be icebergs.

  37. Balance said

    Mine, mine, is that what the govt calls a “balanced” scorecard.

  38. Bateman said

    Good one Whirl-Class.
    I don’t think we are the icebergs.
    We are the people on the Titantic who drowned in the cold sea!

  39. TheWrathOfGrapes said


    And while the Titanic was sinking, instead of rescuing the passengers, the crew were busy rearranging the deck chairs and the captain was telling the band what songs to play…

  40. Gary Teoh said

    When Low T K the WP leader did a blunder in parliament by not answering PM Lee’s question. The ST and TODAY will highlight it prominently to show the weakness of opposition. So the readers will be mislead into thinking that opposition can’t perform, and no point voting for them.The media played up the issue, just like the James Gomez saga.

  41. Daniel said

    Yes, exactly. We have captains, officials who drove and in charge of the Titanic, and they are paid Titanical pay. But one day, due to their honest mistake, the ship is inadvertently steer into area of ICEBERG and hit the iceberg. But there wasn’t enough lifeboat. But the captains, officials there thought their life and elitism were above others, and they were not responsible for the disaster because the captain did not steer the ship, he is resting. The officials definitely nothing to do with disaster because they are doing office stuff only. The sole steering guy is totally responsible for the disaster along with a officier that on duty with him and overlooking him.

    The captain said,
    “It’s a disaster. So what to do ? It happened.”

    Very well, the captain and officials announced ship abandon and quickly dispatched the lifeboats, and put themselves into lifeboat FIRST instead of passengers. When the boat was sinking, the passengers stayed in the cold freezing water, while those elites on the lifeboats were kept alive and warm with clothing, food and hope.
    “Yes, we do good to rescue the passenger out of love and compassion but make sure these passenger does not become a burden to us and if there is no space for them, to hell with them”.

    “We will steer the lifeboat away from the the sinking Titanic first and return later when the Titanic has sunk to the bottom of the sea otherwise we be sucked in if we stay too close. Forget about the passenger, we are more important. Without us, the passenger has nothing and no hope. We are their saviour. See ! How we are so responsible and accountable to life of the passenger !. Every life is so precious to us. It just that Some life are more precious than others !” proclaim the captain proudly.

    After this disaster, a investigation was carried out by team of three who work for the shipping company and are the close friend of the influential and popular captain. The final verdict were that the captain and officials did not need to take responsibility and accountability for the disaster simply because they did not steer the ship. And they acquitted of all responsibility and accountability and they agree that the thing responsible for all these thing was not complacency but a thing called “FATE”. Yes, blame it on FATE because the passengers has no FATE to enjoy a dose of good voyage.

    After the incident, the captain and those officials received yet another astronomical pay increment never happen in the industry because of their experience and ‘oustanding’ crisis -handling in the Titanic. They clapped their hands,petted each other shoulder and congratulated themselves for job well-done.

    The court and ship company remain as close friend and business partner as before, with relationship improving because of this incident, and they see no conflict of interest because there is no such thing as ‘conflict of interest’ at least not applicable to them because they are above others somehow.

  42. Daniel said

    oH , I forget to add this. For this incident, the captain was award the coveted Award Of Excellence and Bravery by his company.

  43. Whirl-Class said

    We shall and can, be icebergs come 2011, even dozens of titanics can be sunked. Lets give WP’s and all the like the support.

  44. From blogger Ian On The Red Dot:
    China colleague asked me – Do you love your country?

    Over today’s lunch, my colleague asked me if I love my country. I told him I did but I didn’t like it or rather disliked certain aspects of it.

    I asked him how he felt about China. His answer was the same but he added:

    You only really dislike aspects of something if you love it. If not you don’t care. You don’t bother. You hate the whole thing.

    My government has constantly talked about whether Singaporeans were stayers or leavers, whether we have a national identity, whether we have people who are loyal to the country …

    At the same time, the government seems to want to suppress dissent and negative opinions about stuff in the country and more specifically about the government.

    True, not all dissent and negative opinions are equal. Some come from people who hate the country who don’t really care if the country changes and even if they do, they probably won’t be satisfied.

    But, a lot of it is really coming from people who dislike only certain aspects of the country. We still care.

    Suppress the voices, and very soon, two things will happen – the voices of those who care will disappear (we don’t hate or love the country, we become indifferent) and those who hate the country will just get louder.

  45. Expected Analysis said

    Ladies & Gentlemen,

    In fact, LTK did not have to answer LHL’s question because he did not call for WKS’ resignation.

    His question to LHL was on govt’s different approaches to accountability.

    In retrospect, LHL did not answer LTK’s question directly as usual. In return, he challenged LTK to state his stand in parliament. Perhaps, LTK could have shot back the question to LHL as follows.

    “Whether WKS should resign, he should know better than I do. Given that you’re the PM, you are in a even better position to decide. Of course, your decision will ultimately be judged by the electorate. By the way, you have not answered my intended question. Do you really understand what I’m asking for on behalf of Singaporeans?”

  46. Crazy Dog said

    Something is going on when surfing the internet today.. unusual scripts running

  47. Whirl-Class said

    Yea, I have the same experiences as Crazy Dog. In fact,I had it many many times, but specifically I noticed its only on the TOC site. Wht happened were I got prompts on the screen instructing me if I do not stop the script, it will slow down my IE browsing, and if I stop, then it would be ok.

  48. Fever Guy said

    About ST Senior Writer MS chua mui hoong ‘s article,

    You guys should read her article on Friday which i happen to read it for free. I like to say to he please shut the F*** up, Chua! If you have nothing better to write, don write. I nearly got choke on her crap article. In the end, she puts forward that WKS should not resign because our gahment should not follow UK style. She has forgotten our constitution is from Britain, so is our system here.

    Write decent human stuff will you? Have you no conscience? We all know you are paid very well and write some kid stuffs to fool people like u, it doesnt worked this way anymore.

    No decent sinkies would buy a ST, it is not even worth to 80cents….look at their share price…it really shows how their readership has fallen to its lowest point. I say we should support a singaporekini site to totally replaced ST.

  49. Chua Lee Hoong – sister of fellow Straits Times senior writer Chua Mui Hoong – said the 3 magic words we were all waiting for the ST to say:

    “Lets move on.”

  50. disaster recovery said

    The ST should not be more complacement and work with the ground for true news.

    Take forward the hard questions that people are asking and provide the answers.

    Not write some drama mama story about what our elites want us to know.

    Now that the cover has been blown, it will be good to see how the next elections will look 🙂

    Frankly I would not be so DISGUSTED if the elites had taken care of Singaporeans who needed assistance.

    Always proclaiming to be be 1st world

    but when the s**t hits the fan, you see them running for cover. To hear the reply for MSK , that one takes the cake for sure.

    Just imagine if we find out our reserves are not what it is made out to be ? can bet you we will get a cookie cutter reply with no “yes or no”

    I am sure millions of people feel the same.

  51. UtterlyDisappointed said

    What is new?

    Look at how Irene Ng become a PAP MP, where she was before being “selected” to be a PAP MP.

    Then, look at what the Chua sisters are doing now.

    Connect the dots – Bingo!

    Chua Lee Hoong said that “reading the internet postings make [her] blood boil.” Don’t antangonise her. God knows what else she could do….

  52. UtterlyDisappointed said

    And oh, by the way … I did a search on the internet … guess what?

    Chua Lee Hoong used to work in the ISD as an analyst. Get the picture?

    No wonder her blood boils …..

  53. Logicalman said

    Low Thia Kiang did not blunder by remaining silent. He spoke out loud and clear. His answer was in fact, “Mr Prime Minister, whether I would or would not ask for WKS to resign is irrelevant. What’s most important is what you would do about this. You are the PM, I am not. I cannot presume to be able to speak on your behalf, and even if I think I can, I should not. If James Gomez was the Home Affairs Minister, I will answer that question.”

  54. Logicalman said

    Of course her blood would boil. After so many years of writing things that are against her principles (or at least, her conscience or the values her ancestors stood for), how can her blood not boil? Look at Catherine Lim, ever the sensible writer. Still full of glow and vitality.

  55. Daniel said

    “Chua Lee Hoong said that “reading the internet postings make [her] blood boil.” Don’t antangonise her. God knows what else she could do….”

    Really, to many who want nothing but the truth,
    We said that “not reading the internet postings make our blood boiler”, and that show how much we want to engage in internet.

    When the government doesn’t want to speak up the truth, and degrade real problem as non-issue, it only end up in speculation. But what did we know ? Surprisely, speculation do have real contribution as it lead to enquiry, questioning and research. And not to mention the combined intelligence of the crowd compared to the pathetic braintrust of the clowns lead by the clown prince.

    Didn’t we learn from the Edison’s scandal ? Who uncover the truth ? It is not the media company, it is the internet ! The more they refute the truth, the more the truth will be uncovered.

    That speak for the government too.

  56. National reserves said

    It goes to show one thing, for progess and a better quality of life, things have to change.

    We can’t have people living in the twilight zone telling us how to eat, sh*t, breathe, and to buy cheaper food.

    These elites are from another dimension and they cant seem to relate.
    Common sense has eroded to a point where s*hit is gold.

  57. joker said

    T.O.C. — You must start to expand your services to include what Straits Times provides now:

    Classifieds, adverts, etc. You have much more credibility than these jokers!

  58. Fever Guy said


    I fully agreed with you on TOC, expand your services and i dun mind paying for it too. Maybe ST will advertise on your website too. Haha… coz the chua sisters will be out of job so is Paul Jacob. Cant wait to see them jobless.


  59. National reserves said

    TOC, please have an open invite to the PAP to engage the people on this forum as I am sure it would be a common platform for Singaporeans to discuss and contribute ideas.

  60. Fever Guy said

    We should start a list of ST and Today writers who write so much crap that their names must be on the Chart ” Top Bullshit Writers for 2008″ .

    I say i start with a few names,

    Paul Jacob (ST)
    Chua Mui Hoong (ST)
    Chua Lee Hoong (ST)

    please feel free to add in your choice of bullshit journalist

  61. Daniel said

    Fever Guy,
    putting name may have limited usage because people tend to forget easier about comment and it is hard to search comment.

    Why not do something drastic ?

    In order to discourage substandard work from bootlicker that promote only pro-PAP view in mainstream media, why not force them to be accountable by putting their PAPish face, and their PAP-propaganda shitty article/remark on Online Citizen that easy to access ?

    Could Online Citizen setup another tab where it will contain all the faces of PAP inept members that have sprouted rubbish (Not all PAP people are like that, only those arrogant Papstard who are disconnected with the citizen), along with link to their offensive remark and also link where bloggers refute their remark ?

    In doing so, Online Citizen can be consider as a research site where people can easily extract quote, resources for use in their own blog.

    The friends of the editor/report will isolate them if they think that the reporter and editor lack morality and only work for money without conscience.

    Let’s the society decide and judge by what they write in mainstream media. If the clown write something with cuckoo/moronic remark/reasons and without logic similar to some of the remarks of cuckoo ministers, then they will be embarassed and mocked by their own friend, stranger and relative. If they write in the true spirit of journalism then they will naturally be praised and envied by the people.

    This way will force ShittyTime to impose high independent standard of reporting and journalism. The mainstream media supposed to be Singapore’s newspaper, not PAP’s newsletter and propaganda shit.

    In the past, the coffers had used expensive mainstream media to discredit opposition party and patriot that threaten their regime by posting the latter’s face along with Shitty’s big arrogant nefarious headline. Now using internet, we should let the coffers taste back their very own bitter medicine.

    Beside, this will also keep the ministers on the toe not to sprout rubbish that infuriate and insult Singaporean.

    That also help to remind people not to be senile where it comes to election.

  62. patriot said

    The Day I started surfing the Net about two years back, there were many who posted saying that they will not read the Straits Times because it carries government(PAP) Propanganda. However, Netizens are hurt by what they read in the Straits Times time and again.

    Do yourselves a favour, all you need to do to stop hurting yourselves(damaging of course) is to avoid reading the Straits Times. If You cannot do it, blame yourselves, do not blame the ST Writers. Did the Chua Sisters and others in ST force You? Answer to yourselves honestly.


  63. Daniel said

    unfortunately, staying clear of newspaper will not help and it will continue to exist since they are using taxmoney to fund it. Rather I think the best way to counter it is to make use of it to educate the people to read critically. As much it is a valuable propaganda and mouthpiece tool, it can also be the establishment’s nemesis too just a fire can be a faithful servant but a terrible master.

    One can extract remark from newspaper and refute it. Yes, it is a mouthpiece of the establishment but without quoting from the mouthpiece and trying to critically analyze, there is nothing to tell your friend and people around what’s wrong with mainstream media. There still lot of people who still read Shitty Time and is ignorance.

    It may not be a bad thing if one read the shittytime and become infuriate, because the anger will translate to vote of no confident to the establishment too.

    Consider the ShittyTime the printed version of and I do find the more credibile than Shittytime though, with a good laugh …

  64. Fever Guy said


    The basis is one must not pay to read shit times and in my case i dont. Reading their article is really damaging to my brain and i try not to read them. Anyway TOC blog and many other blogs do have reference to their article and i will try to skip them too. Sometimes when the crap gets really stinky you got to refute them or sinkies will be taken for a ride. You got to read their stuff to know how much they have degrade their profession.


  65. Expected Analysis said

    Fellow Singaporeans,

    To be able to refute anybody over any matter, we have to be well-read and well-informed first. Reading ST or any other papers does not mean that you support or believe what is reported.

    The important thing is whether you have exercised your own analysis on the reports yourself, with friends, etc.

    Only with substained interest and a real purpose that one will be able to draw an analysed conclusion. There is no right or wrong. It is an opinion formed through your knowledge of the matter, the quality of the information received or used.

    Keep up with the times and read widely. You will realise that a lot of things are very much different from what can be seen on the surface.

  66. patriot said

    Apart from the Straits Times, Singaporeans have 6 free(with annual licence fee) Local TV Stations, One Malaysian TV Channel and numerous radio broadcasts to tune in. Today and Mypaper are free sheets or shits(basically carry same news as ST but in summaries) and also the Internet are available for anyone interested in News.

    Newspapers publishers are not printing news to educate and inform the masses, this purpose is secondary to making profits. So, if we get similar news from the other medias, then I must say ST is no more that essential as it is made out to be here. Maybe not buying it may cause them to be more ‘neutral’ in their reportings. As it is, it is but a mouthpiece of the Authority.

    I am new to the Internet; just about two years and I have discontinued my subscriptions to all local newspapers(English/Chinese) and even hardly buy them on Saturday which I used to few months ago. Allowing any establishment to profit from us and not benefitting us with right/good values is simply not supportable. We have to make them be awared that they should not disadvantage us, the customers that make their business viable. And we must be resolute and united to effectively prove our point. Let us be sincere in our protests and not just ‘lip service’. Hope I am being reasonable.

    Yours truly: patriot.

  67. Fever Guy said


    I agreed that hurting ST in their pocket may change them somewhat but to be what we want ST to become is going to be tough coz gahmen has money to burn.

    As for me, I read it free in library and clubs and i stop buying any magazines that is owned by ST. To stop supporting means any magazines owned and published by ST should also be banned from buying. I buy Time magazine and find it more informative than ST many times over. Also there are alot of internet website to get information too. Do we still need ST? No and YES. We still need to read ST to see how bad they have become but never spend a dime on it, that’s my rule. No, it has lost so much reputation that readership is declining fast.


  68. Concerned Citizen said

    See the following:

    When you have an ex-ST editor who have moved on as PAP MP that behaves in this way, should you expect any better on those aspiring to go the same way?

    I rest my case

  69. patriot said

    Fever Guy;

    thanks for your response; I used to think like You before but then I realised that whatever ST reports are also reported by TV stations, radio broadcsats and freesheets. Hence we do not need ST.

    Secondly, I believe we are having freesheets because ST and even Vernacular presses are suffering from falling readerships. And I suspect that the freesheets are for the ‘education of readers’ to appreciate the leadership for their glorious and unmatched performances. Such performances include how after losing Mas Selamat, they are still able ‘to move on’ as glorious as ever.

    My respects for them have gone into the trashbag very long ago actually.


  70. Fever Guy said


    Thank you. Ha Ha Very funny! The freesheets sounded like North Korean progagada, they now think we are dumb. How low the pappies have degraded themselves. Now i am worried for our reserves going to be wasted on some useless credit crunch banks like citi and UBS. I am getting worried at these monkeys handling of our reserves.

    Yet, our glorious leader now behave suddenly like a financial guru giving his holy speech. He haven even account the billions lost in these banks as GIC chairman to his shareholders.


  71. Couch Potato said

    Congrats on TOC climbing onto another level to bring independent news reporting in Singapore to greater heights.

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