In a report on 29 May, Straits Times reporter Lee Jian Xuan wrote about Mr Roy Ngerng’s background. Mr Ngerng is, of course, the man of the moment, being sued by no less than Mr Lee Hsien Loong, who happens to be the Prime Minister of Singapore.
The lawsuit is over Mr Ngerng’s blog post on the CPF issue, with Mr Lee claiming that Mr Ngerng had damaged his reputation and integrity by being accused by Mr Ngerng for alleged “misappropriation” of CPF funds.
Reporter Lee’s article claims that “Mr Ngerng, 33, came to prominence in 2011, when he revealed in his blog, Right To Love, that he is a homosexual.”
And that Mr Ngerng has since penned posts on issues affecting Singapore’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, such as relationship woes and Aids.”
It is a curious report by the reporter on two counts.
One, that Mr Ngerng “came to prominence in 2011” because he revealed that he was “a homosexual” in his blog. The reporter does not explain how this came to be, or what it was that Mr Ngerng had written that made him “come to prominence”.
Two, reporter Lee seems to have also been confused about when Mr Ngerng started blogging.
In the very first paragraph of his report, the reporter says:
“Health-care worker Roy Ngerng has been blogging since 2012, focusing on social issues.”
But five paragraphs down, reporter Lee says that Mr Ngerng had in fact started blogging in 2011 – for that’s when Mr Ngerng supposedly, according to reporter Lee, “came into prominence” through his blog.
So, which is which?
Yet, if you visit The Right To Love, the earliest blog posts are from 2012, not 2011 as claimed by reporter Lee.
The last post was made in April 2013, and the total number of hits on the blog is 114,950.
Compared to the viewership of Mr Ngerng’s other blog, The Heart Truths, in which he writes about current affairs and social issues (such as the CPF), it would seem that Mr Ngerng in fact came to prominence with this blog, rather than The Right To Love.
The Heart Truths, according to Mr Ngerng, has attracted some 2 million hits thus far, compared to the 114,950 for The Right To Love.
So, why did reporter Lee say that Mr Ngerng “came to prominence” through The Right To Love?
But the more important question is this: What has Mr Ngerng’s sexuality to do with the matter at hand, which is the law suit lodged against him by PM Lee?
It reminds one of the smear campaign by the mainstream media against then opposition candidate, Vincent Wijeysingha, during the general elections of 2011.
Amidst all this childish attempts at smearing Mr Ngerng’s name, our prime minister himself espoused in Parliament just two days ago “constructive politics” which include “maintaining high standards of integrity and honesty”.
One hopes that the mainstream media will take heed of the prime minister’s words, else we may be encouraging what Mr Low Thia Khiang called a bullying culture in our society through the use of high-handed tactics.
One thus hopes that reporters like Mr Lee Jian Xuan will take some personal time to reflect on the report he wrote.