The Online Citizen

TOC rebuts ‘Kingmaker’ misquote in Zaobao

January 11
13:27 2011

On Jan 1 2011, Lianhe Zaobao published an article titled 反对党何必高谈团结?(translated “Is it time for opposition unity?”) by Yew Lun Tian .  In the article, Ms Yew wrote:

“网络公民”的一个负责人受访时,也不讳言他有意把这个网站打造成反对党政治的“造王者”。

他说:“我们的目的是让凡是想在反对党圈子发挥影响力的人,都免不了要透过我们的平台去与网民接触。” (translated: “A TOC spokesperson didn’t mince his words on the intention to turn TOC into the “kingmaker” of the Opposition. “It is our intention to promote TOC as the defacto online platform for the Opposition to engage netizens,” he said.”)

The following is our letter to Zaobao sent on 6 Jan 2011, in response to the statement in question-

Dear Editor,

We refer to your article, which was translated non-verbatim by New Asia Republic (Link: http://newasiarepublic.com/?p=22730). The article, written by one Ms Yew Lun Tian, claimed that “”A TOC spokesperson didn’t mince his words on the intention to turn TOC into the “kingmaker” of the Opposition. “It is our intention to promote TOC as the de facto online platform for the Opposition to engage netizens,” he said.””.

Zaobao journalist Yew Lun Tian

Following internal investigations, TOC has ascertained that the quote in question was part of an off-record social lunch that Ms Yew Lun Tian had with our former Chief Editor Mr Choo Zheng Xi. Mr Choo recalls that the meeting was strictly off-record, and at no time was speaking as a representative of TOC. Ms Yew did not at any time record any part of the conversation and at the outset of lunch told Mr Choo that he should “speak freely because we are meeting as friends”. In fact, at the end of the lunch, Ms Yew gave Mr Choo a belated birthday present.

The article further gives the impression that Mr Choo unequivocally asserted that it was the intention of TOC to be a “kingmaker” of the opposition. Mr Choo distinctly recalls that the suggestion of TOC being an opposition “kingmaker” emanated from a question by Ms Yew, as it was a phrase he was extremely uncomfortable with. He instead chose to qualify that what he hoped TOC would become was “the de facto online platform for all political parties to engage netizens” (emphasis added).

Regrettably, the veracity of this quote is not subject to verification due to the social context the conversation occurred within.

We appreciate that reporters regularly meet up with news sources in social contexts to cultivate a deeper understanding of their beats. TOC practices the same, and we have always been happy to befriend journalists in the mainstream media as well as keep an open door policy to being officially quoted.

However, when the confidentiality and informality guaranteed by a social meeting is taken advantage of and passed off in the public domain as a quote gathered through accepted journalistic channels, we believe that the line has been unethically crossed.

We would thus like to request an apology from your good self and the publication of this letter of clarification in your paper. In lieu of the latter, we reserve the right to publish our correspondence in full on our website.

With best regards,

Joshua Chiang

Chief Editor,

The Online Citizen

The letter appeared in a revised form in Zaobao this morning (11 Jan 2011).

Below is a translation of the published letter-

The Online Citizen becomes unintentional ‘Kingmaker’

We refer to your article, which was translated non-verbatim by New Asia Republic (Link:http://newasiarepublic.com/?p=22730). The article, written by one Ms Yew Lun Tian, claimed that “”A TOC spokesperson didn’t mince his words on the intention to turn TOC into the “kingmaker” of the Opposition. “It is our intention to promote TOC as the de facto online platform for the Opposition to engage netizens,” he said.””.

Following internal investigations, TOC has ascertained that the quote in question was part of an off-record social lunch that Ms Yew Lun Tian had with our former Chief Editor Mr Choo Zheng Xi. Mr Choo recalls that the meeting was strictly off-record, and at no time was speaking as a representative of TOC.

The article gives the impression that Mr Choo unequivocally asserted that it was the intention of TOC to be a “kingmaker” of the opposition. Mr Choo distinctly recalls that the suggestion of TOC being an opposition “kingmaker” emanated from a question by Ms Yew. He instead chose to qualify that what he hoped TOC would become was “the de facto online platform for all political parties to engage netizens” .

Regrettably, the veracity of this quote is not subject to verification due to the social context the conversation occurred within.

We appreciate that reporters regularly meet up with news sources in social contexts to cultivate a deeper understanding of their beats. TOC practices the same, and we have always been happy to befriend journalists in the mainstream media as well as keep an open door policy to being officially quoted. But we feel that off-the-record comments should remain confidential and not be published as a quote gathered through accepted journalistic channels.

We would thus like to request an apology from your good self and the publication of this letter of clarification in your paper.

Joshua Chiang

Chief Editor,

The Online Citizen


 
  • chanel

    Never trust reporters from Shit Poo Hate. They will twist and distort facts to serve their political masters.

  • sgcynic

    It is one thing that MSM lacks journalistic integrity and fairly. It is now worse that we can even trust any individuals from the organization, in personal or professional capacity.

  • sgynic

    Correction:
    It is one thing that MSM lacks journalistic integrity and fairness in its reporting. It is now worse that we can’t even trust any individuals from the organization, in personal or professional capacity.

  • Mei Ren Ji

    “Ms Yew did not at any time record any part of the conversation and at the outset of lunch told Mr Choo that he should “speak freely because we are meeting as friends”. In fact, at the end of the lunch, Ms Yew gave Mr Choo a belated birthday present.”

    Looks like a case of Mei-Ren-Ji (beautiful-girl-trick) to extract frank and unguarded comments and then divulge a the details of a private conversation carried out during a sumptuous birthday lunch!

    And what paid with a present too!

    How unscrupulous!

    :r

  • prettyplace

    Must be a cocktail meeting, taken out of context.(hahaha)
    Anyway, its impressive that TOC has such ideas.

  • Steve Wu

    Is this the incident which causes TOC to be gazetted as a political association?

    http://theonlinecitizen.com/2011/01/breaking-news-pm-wants-toc-gazetted-as-political-association/

    We recall the recent Wikileaks disclosure which embarrassed the MFA. Is it surprising that SPH is caught propagating double standards again by NOT extending the same “courtesy of silence” to TOC?

  • Dumb and dumber

    Aren’t she the one that painted CSJ in a bad light last year about his source of income?

    http://www.temasekreview.com/2010/03/25/dr-chee-soon-juan-replies-to-zaobao-journalists-clarification-on-her-facebook/

    Leopard cannot change its’ spots.

  • Bugbear

    I believe there might be a channel for legal action. Misrepresentation and damages to reputation. No?

    Need to check though…

  • ah tan

    not misrepresented and misinterpreted too?

  • Ong TH

    Professional ethics is missing !
    So much for professionalism

  • Ordinary Citizen

    This reminds me of the Wikileaks episode in which some Singaporean officials were caught making unsavory remarks about our neighbouring countries.

    The only difference is, unlike the faux pas made by the obscenely paid diplomats, there is nothing wrong for TOC to want to provide a de facto online platform for opposition leaders, especially since the latter are routinely snubbed by SPH.

    It should be obvious that TOC has been doing just that all along. And so superbly that the PM Lee wants it muzzled or gazetted too.

    Vote wisely.

  • popcorn

    Never trust women journalists, they would even sell their souls to gain fame,
    especially from the mainstream media.
    Obviously Yew Lun Tian took a leaf from Asange’s Wikileaks’ deed.

  • http://Website(optional) reader

    who is the reporter, name and shame should be in order here

  • http://Website(optional) sad day

    See the comment before your, the reporter is Yew Lun Tian.

    MS YEW LUN TIAN
    Job Title: Member
    DID: [1] 63192438
    Email: [2] yewlt@sph.com.sg
    Unit: [3] NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY (NEA)
    Parent: [4] NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY (NEA)
    Organisation: [5] NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY (NEA)
    Description: “NEA’s Vision: aN Enterprising Agency, Embracing All in Caring for Our Clean and Healthy Environment – Today, for Tomorrow.”

  • Ajax

    The minister warned us not to wikileak & they did a wikileak?

  • eaglefly

    SHITTY TIMES HAS,

    NIL INTEGRITY, NO COMPASSION, ZERO PRINCIPLE, AND SHAMEFULLY GREEDY.

    I HOPE THAT LADY WILL LET ME GIVE HER A LESSON ON KAMASUTRA V2.1

  • Wai Leong

    You got it wrong. It’s Ms Yew who said you didn’t mince your words and intend to be the kingmaker. Only the words in quotes are attributable to you. But kingmaker is her reading of your intention. This has nothing to do with what was said at lunch.

  • Wai Leong

    You got it wrong. It’s Ms Yew who said you didn’t mince your words and intend to be the kingmaker. Only the words in quotes are attributable to you. But not mincing words and wanting to be kingmaker is her reading of your intention. This has nothing to do with what was said at lunch.

    What you need to correct is her impression and interpretation of your actions.

  • Mei Ren Ji

    Wai Leong, you sound as if you were there at the lunch. Quite a light-bulb right?

    Or was it your birthday too, and you also received a present from the journo?

    :r

  • bukom

    same reporter interview Chee SJ

    chee’s reply – 24-March 2010
    Lianhe Zaobao reporter Ms Yew Tun Lian recently conducted an interview with me in which she described my answers to her questions as evasive. I was alerted to her recent Facebook posting in which she continues to insist that she had not misrepresented me.

    I had fielded several questions in the hour-long interview with her during which I was asked about the SDP’s development, the schism with Mr Chiam See Tong, and the upcoming elections.

    While I readily answered these questions, I was less willing to talk about my personal affairs such as the kind of flat that I lived in as well as my personal income.

    I hesitated when Ms Yew asked me those questions not because I had something to hide but because they were intrusive (in her own words “rude”). But she chose to put the worst possible spin on my response, that is, that I was evasive. For obvious reasons, the Straits Times ran a report on this part of that interview, highlighting Ms Yew’s point.

    In the context of her report, the implication was that I was being funded by a foreign agent to work against Singapore. This is not surprising because her colleagues at the Singapore Press Holdings have time and again used this line against me.

    I work hard – very hard – for the little money that I earn through my writing. I chose, a long time ago, to marry my writing with my political work. It is impossible to carry on a full-time job as a neuropsychologist and do what I am currently doing in politics.

    Yes, I could have had a successful career if I had concentrated on building up my practice. But I decided against it because there was something more urgent that called to me.

    It was a difficult decision to make, but my wife gave me her support, and I took that fateful step of immersing myself in political work.

    To be certain, it has been a struggle financially. We live in a three-room flat. We don’t go overseas for costly holidays, and we don’t buy each other expensive gifts. We eat simple meals and don’t dine in fine restaurants. I don’t play golf or indulge in expensive hobbies, my only recreation is my morning jogs.

    But I don’t feel deprived. On the contrary, I thank God everyday that he has blessed me with such a wonderful wife and three lovely children who mean the world to me. I feel like the richest man on earth.

    I hestitated to tell Ms Yew these details because they were personal. The fact that she works for my political opponents who never felt any compunction in ruining my life and career makes it even harder to talk to her about such personal matters.

    It is certainly not that I was evading her questions because I am being paid by a foreigner to ruin Singapore. Think about it: Who would want to pay me to ruin what?

    And if I am indeed on the payroll of some foreign agent, I would have been living much more handsomely than I am now. As it is, I have been made a bankrupt, I cannot travel overseas, I keep going in and out of prison, and I am barred from standing for elections.

    But don’t get me wrong. I do not complain and I am not the slightest bit bitter. I do what I do with my eyes open and with the gratitude – gratitude because I am able to cast aside my fears and speak truth to power, and gratitude because I have the honour of working with some very courageous men and women in the SDP.

    I willingly live the kind of life that I do because I believe that Singapore and Singaporeans are worth fighting for.

    I don’t need anyone, foreign or local, to tell me what to do. This is why I find Ms Yew’s insinuation that I am bankrolled by some foreign force so beyond the pale.

    But I have come to expect this from the state-controlled press through the years. It is nothing new. My opponents have called me a gangster, a psychopath and now a traitor.

    These words don’t bother me, because I know who I am and what I believe in. And I believe in Singapore. I believe in a free and just Singapore that is yet to come.

    I will not submit nor will I run away. I will stay, because I love my country and I will fight because I want to empower my fellow Singaporeans so that, one day, we can walk tall again and be full citizens of a truly democratic country.

  • AL

    The moral of the story is not to trust any reporter from from the SPH.

    The SPH newspapers have to be gazetted as political mouthpiece of the PAP.

  • Dumb and dumber

    Wonder why my post is deleted? Did I violate any rule?

  • Bobby Tan

    As long as our LOCAL MSM.are under the CONTROL of the Government the so called Journalists in these Organisations are nothing but Propagandists and does nothng useful, not report anything that is newsworthy.

  • prettyplace

    What a nice way to spin a ‘Kingmaker’ story and get TOC to be a political organisation.

    Wow, the PAP thinks that people out there are still foolish enough to buy into all the spin.

    Now, with a headline such as this story, they expect most people to think that TOC is sinister in its work and win sympathy from the public.

    nice try. got to give it to the guys.

  • Gilbert Goh

    You got to be careful when speaking with reporters even from an informal off the record basis.

    Once the news is out the damage is already done.

    Shin Min is particularly gossipy in nature and is not really a paper that you want to be close with.

    I doubt Shin Min will apologise here.

    Take care all at TOC. The heat is on and that means you are doing the right thing!

    Dont give up…

  • agongkia

    Please learn a lesson from here if you haven’t..One can easily fall into the trap of seow ren and niren.There is even a chinese proverb to warn you on that.
    As for me,any niren that try to approach me will be made to call “koko” by me before I start a conversation with them,as a precaution.Be careful.Birthday present can have hidden bug .
    Also dun forget Hsu Mui Fung , Latuk Chua and the weekeeleak .hehe

  • potatoehead

    Don’t think TOC should be going after the zaobao reporter like that. Very similar flaming style as you know who.

    No need to be shy. This gazetting is a sign the government recognizes TOC as an influential platform above everyone. Should be proud of it.

  • potatoehead

    You cannot gazette MSM, it must remain neutral.

  • Lily Tan

    I hope local bloggers will learn their lesson, never trust reporters from SPH.

    Their boss is in fact the government!

  • Die Liao

    You guys are too kind hearted to believe a reporter especially when it is a ‘she’. She really nailed you guys down and proper.

    Weird that she never try to interview TR since they are also popular.Maybe it is because TR had defended her previously and they had built rapport then.

  • Judas

    This is the world wikileaks has created. Nothing is private, nothing is safe.

    So technically wat she wrote as the truth… just ot meant to be quoted?

  • http://Website(optional) no dignity

    man, she’s a hassler. now that Temasek Review has offered to take TOC in, is she going to interview TR as misquote them too?

  • EatShit

    Actually with TOC being so open, I dun think there is much diff if it is gazetted or not. Just more paperwork.

  • Goddamnit

    TOC should not have done the face to face thingy. It should have been more careful and neutral.

  • DML

    If same reporter was “misreping” Dr Chee, why Choo so open with her without taking protection?

    Like having unprotected sex with someone with a reputation. Exciting but could regret forever.

  • George

    Actually, I don’t see how different is this from those numerous occasions TOC quoted our ministers out of context…

  • ccchia

    We should not trust reporters and politicians; they should be treated as similar to used car salesmen.

  • Denial Tan

    I am not interested about Shitty Press Holdings whatever report by whatever reports.

    Even wikileaks have more substantial truth then them.

  • YODI

    Never ever trust any reporter. First of all they have to ve pro PAP. That;s one of the requirements!

    They will sell their soul for a story. They have no feelings no caring as long as they get their story.

    There is this saying: Once bitten twice shy three times dont waste time! But with reporters dont even give them a chance cos they will twist and turn to sell their story and get it publish!

  • mice is nice

    what TOC Chief Editor fell for the cheap trick?

    better check if the present got bug. be it tracking device, video capture ability or sound recorder…

  • 小母狗

    ST has the Chua sisters and Zaobao has Yew Lun Tian. This is called 平起平坐。

    I am so proud of you, Ms yew and Zaobao.

  • Oppostion

    I would prefer a main website to focus all exchanges on political situation in Singapore, this would allow us to effectively publicise our message.

    The article from ZaoBao by Yew Lun Tian confirms the agenda and aim of TOC which is political in nature. This puts everything in black and white which allows the authorities to come in with less problem.

  • http://Website(optional) Apollo

    She is the same journalist that fixed SDP Chee Soon Juan before. Just google

    Yew Lun Tian SDP

    to find out that she is the sharp point of SPH’s pro-pap agenda.

  • FP

    This is the same Lun Tian who just claimed that SDP’s information is hard to get and promoted RP’s event instead, plus a string of other untruths: http://yoursdp.org/index.php/news/singapore/4494-zaobao-reporter-says-harder-to-get-information-from-sdp

  • Unethical Journalist

    She doesn’t have to do this just so she could get promoted. What’s the point of doing it when you turn your heart numb and insensitive? You lose your own full capacity to embrace your being in its totality. You will then eat well but not fully taste what you eat; drive well but not fully enjoy the sights and scenery; sleep longer but not deeply, etc. What do you get at the end of it all? A retired MOE principal I know told me that she’s trying to clean the impurities in her heart. This after so many years in education and drawing a pension. This is what happens to many such people in later years. They developed iron-casted egos and numbed hearts such that they no longer enjoy their own company as their hearts had rotten in the process of outdoing others.

  • Dont trust

    SUE HER AND HER COMPANY. THAT WILL TEACH THEM A LESSON!!!!

  • Writer

    What is the email address to zaobao forum page?

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