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S'pore's press have lost self-restraint, says Law Sin Ling.

Singapore Press – rushing to infernal self-condemnation

TOC thanks Mr Law Sin Ling for allowing us to re-publish the following article. Mr Law is the Secretary General of the National Solidarity Party.

Law Sin Ling

It was not pleasant news for Sunday, or any day. A life was lost through yet-to-be-determined circumstance. Murder was insinuated by the newspaper. The reporter was not obliged to sanctify the incident. He opted instead to let loose a devilish instinct from a more primordial period of human civilisation. He opted to bestialise his upbringing.

Browse the literature freely and one will inevitably experience an uneasy sense of literate discontinuity, like a crudely constructed out-of-place road-hump on the evenly-tarred surface of the information expressway, or a pernicious chasm in the civil humanity continuum.

Consider the indisputable factual morsels:

(a) The stabbing did not concern Mr. Tan Lead Shake in the first person. He was neither the proven culprit nor the victim.

(b) His shod preference for slipper was of no concern to the case even by the wildest imagination.

(c) His defeats and that of his father in past General Elections were of no relation to the case.

(d) No photograph of a single adult member of the affected family was featured, with the exception of that of Tan's in an impassive pose. Has he been adjudged guilty by association? Did the paper commit prejudgement?

So who is Tan Lead Shake? And why did the paper see it appropriate to print his derogatory nickname ("Slipper Man") on the front page in a font size readable from 5 metres away? Why did the paper judge it sensible to devote 78 words and 3 paragraphs of readers' precious weekend emphasising his status as an Opposition politician who had a history of losing in national elections? And mocking his retired father for similar failures was supposed to be the paper's idea of relevant reporting and (cut the crap already) building a cohesive nation?

Be under no fairy-tale illusion. This is Singapore, a supposedly first-world democratic country where members of the Opposition are casually labelled, under the bestowed blessing from the ruling PAP government, such spectral descriptions as bicycle-thief, riff-raff, psychopath, and snake oil peddler; verbal abuses one would not catch the PAP stalwarts shrugging off without launching into threats of lawsuits for libel against anyone who absent-mindedly tosses one in their direction.

The reporter, Aw Cheng Wei, is sans aucun doute guilty of making a despicable biased swipe at an Opposition politician during the latter's moment of grief and emotional turmoil over a veritable domestic (read - private) tragedy, guilty of an abominable absence of professional ethics, and guilty of a display of a stupid and shameful anti-social disposition to diminish the values of another (especially when the subject is down) for the devious sake of fulfilling the haughtier need to satisfy and appease an esteemed one, be it that of his or that of his powerful protagonists.

And such was his haste to accomplish his pestiferous mission that he committed the most heinous sin of his profession - getting a fundamental fact hopelessly wrong - Tan Lead Shake is NOT a member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance as the reporter claimed he was.

It remains to be determined which of Aw's peers, sharing his malevolent tendency, would rush to brazenly betray their thicket of putrid inner value. And it will be of immense interest to observe which other institutions (notably government agencies) would trade in their decency under the demands of a higher order.

If the same standard of journalistic sludge was applied to the stricken missus of Minister Mentor Lee (the chief of the PAP) dying under public resources from brain haemorrhage, readers would have been abundantly served sordid stories from Mrs. Lee's family and the sparks of all their domestic contentions. But alas, the Fourth Estate is all too mindful of the source of their patronage.

Singapore's national papers have undoubtedly descended into the moral realm of no-return in the course of near 50-years of strong-arm rule of the PAP government, whose obsession with subjugating free speech had effectively peeled away any last meaningful modicum of self-restraint and dignity within the mass media.

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