Mr Han, Mr Han…. oh my goodness!

 

Hmm… an interesting series of 3 incidents happened recently. First, MM Lee Kuan Yew pooh-pooh Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House’s rankings of Singapore press freedom. MM Lee spoke on Sunday, 14 Oct.

He had said:

“I do not measure myself by the yardsticks of Amnesty International or Freedom House or Reporters Without Frontiers.”

3 days later, we have the editor of the Straits Times coming out to say the following, which was published on page 3 of the ST, no less. The headline of the report was, “80% of readers say ST is important to their lives”:

“ST editor Han Fook Kwang noted that a readership survey in April found that nearly eight in 10 of the paper’s readers polled in face-to-face interviews considered it an ‘important’ or ‘must-read.’”

I will come to the questions about the “survey” which Mr Han mentioned later. Now, to further give himself (and the ST) a grand dose of self-importance, Mr Han said:

“ST Forum created citizen journalism. It goes back to the third issue of the Straits Times in 1845.”

Now, before you fall off your chair, perhaps someone should ask Mr Han what he meant by the statement: “ST Forum created citizen journalism.” That seems a rather broad statement to make. Was Mr han referring only to the Singapore context – or that the ST actually “created citizen journalism” vis a vis the worldwide phenomena?

But, since the piece was written by its own reporter (Oo Gin Lee) and published in the ST itself, we would have to take it with a large dose of salt – and not just a pinch.

On the very same day that the report came out, Reporters Without Borders published their 2007 Press Freedom rankings. An eerie coincidence? Hmm… anyway, Singapore did better than before. From 154th (I think), they have managed to crawl their way up to 141st this time. Hooray!

And of course, the ST (and the other papers, which are all under the same publishers, SPH) did not report on the RWB’s rankings.

So, what does one make of all these? It is not hard to see that the ST pre-empted RWB’s report by having its own editor come out and trumpet the ST’s “importance”.

Except that Mr Han is fooling no one.

Which now brings me to the questions about the ST survey which Mr Han mentioned.

Mr Wang spotted a rather telling flaw in the survey itself. In his blog, Mr Wang says:

“The flaw in the survey is that its sample population comprises only people who currently still read the Straits Times. Thus the survey excludes all those people who had already stopped reading the Straits Times precisely because they considered the Straits Times to be “unimportant” or “unnecessary”.

It is kind of weird for the survey to only include those who are ST’s current readers. Shouldn’t such a survey include a wider spectrum of Singaporeans – including those who do not currently read the ST?

Second, how many people were actually surveyed? In the ST report, there was absolutely no mention of how many people they asked. There were just mention of phrases like “nearly 8 in 10” and “half the readers”. 8 in 10 of how many surveyed? “Half” of how many people surveyed?

Also, notice how the ST avoided claiming that it is 80% of Singaporeans instead of readers. Truth is, they cannot make that claim, could they?

And now, the question about citizen journalism. As far as I can remember, no one in Singapore has actually defined the term. In fact, although Mr Han claims that the “ST created citizen journalism”, his ex-colleague at the Straits Times, Mr Cherian George, said that even the ST’s online website STOMP, is not citizen journalism.

Thus, if only writing letters to the forum page of the ST is considered citizen journalism (as Mr Han claimed) and sending in pictures, videos, reports on STOMP is not considered citizen journalism, then isn’t it clear that the term “citizen journalism” is not universally or even nationally defined and accepted? There is no accepted standard or definition.

So, for Mr Han to make such a bombast claim that the “ST created citizen journalism” is, at the very least, somewhat stretching it a bit.

This reminds me of another stupid piece recently by Ong Sor Fen – also of the ST – where she claimed that she “never” reads blogs, and then dutifully proceeded to say that blogs lack credibility.

Anyway, the ST is only good for a good laugh nowadays. It really is no surprise – with editors like Mr Han who is prone to self-delusions, and Ms Ong who is prone to biting her own tongue.

And oh, by the way, what does it really mean when the ST says, “80% of readers say ST is important to their lives”? Does it mean 80% of readers will die, or feel there is something lacking in their lives, if they do not read the ST?

That would be extremely sad, wouldn’t it?

Oh my goodness!

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7 Responses

  1. ““80% of readers say ST is important to their lives”:”
    I’m sure they might have print it wrongly. Don’t worry, it is a honest mistake.
    So after correction, it should be
    “80% of dog-keepers say ST is important to their lives (because they need it to clear the dog’s pooh)”:

  2. ShitTime is definitely the MAD magazine of Singapore ! Hurray, we have a world-class Joker’s newspaper !

  3. Yes, it is the most lame thing that a newspaper could ever say. Maybe it is a response to what MM Lee said about print media becoming stagnant in the age of digital media.

    What amaze me is that these editors know this piece of news has little credility and yet they go ahead with this kind of news.

  4. The mainstream media need their regular ‘vote of confidence’. It’s so depressing if I don’t get to read ST to find out that our country is great and the rest of the world is in total chaos.

  5. They said the survey was conducted in April. Maybe it was on 1st Apr. lol….

  6. The name speaks for itself :-

    LHL = Leader of Hypocrites & Liars

  7. […] From LaLaLand: an interesting series of 3 incidents happened recently. First, MM Lee Kuan Yew pooh-pooh Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House’s rankings of Singapore press freedom. 3 days later, we have the editor of the Straits Times coming out to say the following, which was published on page 3 of the ST, no less. The headline of the report was, “80% of readers say ST is important to their lives”. On the very same day that the report came out, Reporters Without Borders published their 2007 Press Freedom rankings where Singapore did better than before – From 154th (I think), they have managed to crawl their way up to 141st this time. Hooray! Back to the ST survey “ST editor Han Fook Kwang noted that a readership survey in April found that nearly eight in 10 of the paper’s readers polled in face-to-face interviews considered it an ‘important’ or ‘must-read.” Mr Wang spotted a rather telling flaw in the survey itself. In his blog, Mr Wang says: “The flaw in the survey is that its sample population comprises only people who currently still read the Straits Times. Thus the survey excludes all those people who had already stopped reading the Straits Times precisely because they considered the Straits Times to be “unimportant” or “unnecessary”. Second, how many people were actually surveyed? In the ST report, there was absolutely no mention of how many people they asked. Filed under: Uncategorized   |   […]

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