07 May 2006

The Biggest Election Story

So Chiam retains his seat, and Low retains his seat, and the PAP retains exactly the same number of seats in Parliament that it had before. Seems like nothing much changed.

What then is the biggest story of GE 2006, to Mr Wang?

Not the Saga of James Gomez's Missing Form - which I think is memorable only for the way the PAP grossly mishandled the matter (far worse than James could have done himself).

Not Lee Hsien Loong's self-slap in the face, when he talked about "fixing the Opposition" and the PAP "buying the supporters' votes". Which I think the Opposition was quite gracious in not playing up, after PM Lee apologised.

Not even the exciting contest between Sylvia Lim's team and George Yeo's team in Aljunied GRC, although that comes close.

To Mr Wang, the big story is PM Lee Hsien Loong's election loss in Ang Mo Kio GRC.

"Loss, Mr Wang?" I hear you say. "You're mistaken. PM Lee won 66.1% of the votes!"

I was referring to his loss. The loss of 33.9% of AMK votes to a bunch of happy, cheery, fresh youngsters mostly aged below 30. None of whom had ever contested in an election before, and none of whom you had never heard or seen before.

PM Lee had said that he would try to make them forfeit their electoral deposits (meaning that he would try to win by more than 87.5%, if I recall the electoral rules correctly).

PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng had also gone on record saying that a good mandate for PM Lee in AMK GRC would be a percentage at least in the high 80s (that is, possibly into the 90s).

Instead PM Lee scored only 66.1% of the votes, losing 33.9%.

In Singapore academic terms, that's like a very strong A1 student, unexpectedly floundering and just scraping through to get a B3. Very un-scholarly.

I guess I would have to say that the Workers Party strategy for AMK worked well.

The Straits Times article below has the facts, although you can see how they've angled the story to save the PM some embarrassment. For example, a more straightforward, honest title would simply have been "Surprise Results in AMK: 33.9% of Residents Vote Against PM".

ST May 7, 2006
All-round support in AMK led to win: PM
PAP team retains Ang Mo Kio GRC with 66.1% of votes, but figure is not as high as expected

By Dominic Nathan
PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night described his team's win in Ang Mo Kio GRC as being the result of very evenly spread support in the constituency.

His team secured 66.1 per cent of 146,059 valid votes cast, against the 'suicide squad' of newbies from the Workers' Party.

Speaking to reporters after the election, he said: 'I am happy with the result... From what I know, it's an evenly distributed 66 per cent throughout the constituency, the young areas from north to south, all supporting us uniformly, which means we covered the ground and collected all the votes.'

On the margin of victory, he said: 'I thank all of you for supporting me and my colleagues and my PAP team, and electing us with a strong mandate to represent you in Ang Mo Kio GRC.'

As for the young WP team's performance in getting 33.9 per cent of the votes, he said: 'Well, they have been around, made one or two speeches. I think they had one rally in Ang Mo Kio, but that means the percentages really reflect the logo of the WP more than the individuals.'

In the PM's team were Dr Balaji Sadasivan, 50, Senior Minister of State; Mr Inderjit Singh, 45, businessman; Mr Wee Siew Kim, 45, deputy chief executive officer; Ms Lee Bee Wah, 45, engineer; and Dr Lam Pin Min, 36, doctor.

Adding his congratulations to the team was the leader of the losing WP slate, 30-year-old business analyst Yaw Shin Leong, who called on constituents in Ang Mo Kio and all Singaporeans to rally around the PM, with his victory.

His teammates were Ms Glenda Han, 30, businesswoman; Mr Abdul Salim Harun, 24, sales coordinator; Mr Gopal Krishnan, 54, maintenance inspector; Ms Lee Wai Leng, 26, businesswoman; and Mr Melvin Tan, 31, sales executive.

This election is PM Lee's third contest. In 1984, the year he entered politics, he stood in single-seat Teck Ghee, where he trounced United People's Front's Giam Lai Cheng with 80.4 per cent of the votes. In 1988, he polled 79.1 per cent against independent candidate Patrick Leong.

But since the formation of Ang Mo Kio GRC in 1991, with Teck Ghee as one of its wards, the constituency had never been contested - until now. Expectations of a big win were high.

PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng had said a good mandate would be a percentage at least in the high 80s, while analysts such as Mr Ho Khai Leong pegged it at 70 to 75 per cent of the valid votes.

Mr Inderjit Singh offered The Sunday Times an explanation for what he saw was a slightly lower than expected margin of victory - the James Gomez affair.

'The James Gomez issue might have affected us a little... with votes against the leaders and myself for bringing the issue up.'

But there were no regrets, he added. 'No, I think I had to do what is right, so we move on from here.'

Before the James Gomez affair hogged the headlines, much was made of the WP team who were sent in 'prepared to lose', but they came away having succeeded in denying the PAP more than 80 per cent of the votes, a target set for themselves.

On achieving this, Mr Yaw said: 'It is a significant percentage because one in three constituents and residents in Ang Mo Kio have voiced themselves out in a loud and clear manner, that the PAP have not done enough to make the life of Singaporeans better.'

Over the nine days of campaigning, the WP team had brought up rising costs, selective upgrading, and more help for small and medium enterprises, among other issues.

But with almost 80 per cent of the eligible blocks having been upgraded under various plans, with new features such as talking lifts, covered walkways and landscaped spaces, upgrading was not an issue in the GRC.

Did the young WP team help sway young voters?

Both PM Lee and teammate Mr Wee did not think so, going by the spread of votes the PAP won in younger areas such as Fernvale, Anchorvale and Sengkang.

Said PM Lee: 'In fact, it was higher than 66 per cent in some areas, so we are very happy.'

Mr Wee said this was a bellwether for how younger voters will decide. PM Lee added there were first-time voters in these new estates, and this signalled that the PAP had struck a chord with young voters too.

But on a broader national level, WP's Mr Melvin Tan believes the opposition too has won over young voters. He said: 'We have done well and secured a decent margin. Another thing we hope to have achieved is to have opened a path for better youths and more youths to take up political roles in Singapore.'

The broad-based win also means the legacy of the now-defunct Cheng San GRC was not a factor in this election.

The WP had contested the ward to give Cheng San voters, who gave the WP strong support during the 1997 General Election, a chance to vote.

For the winning team, the work has just started, said the PAP team members at the Woodlands Stadium last night.

Said Mr Inderjit: 'We have promised our residents many things. Our job for the next five years is to execute those plans.'

For the WP team, all five of the young guns said they were not going to disappear from politics.

The oldest member of the team at 54, Mr Gopal Krishnan had shared his experience in campaigning with the young team.

He said: 'I think that our style of campaigning and reaching out to the people have brought in the results. We have worked very hard and covered most estates, and the results show that people want us.'


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Agree with you on that. Like you expecting straight As for everything, and then suddenly got Bs. Good reflection point.

Recruit Ong said...


If these reporters did not object or had taken issue with their media bosses that their names are being put onto articles and opinions they do not endorse, and they now appeal to the public to "plse understand" or "oh we are sorry.. we have no choice" etc etc then I say to them it is better to shut the fuck up and say nothing at all. Stop further insulting the public.

Everyone has a choice. No point groveling and complain behind things. They went along and buried their conscience despite whatever misgivings they have inside them. Until they do something and show to the public otherwise, their apologies mean nothing.

Anonymous said...

If journalists can unite against such a system, I don't see what "they" can do to them. Sue them all? Sack them all? No way, because WE are watching! Journalism is a profession requiring utmost integrity as it influences the thoughts of a large number of people (yes, many people believe what you write!!!). Serious considerations for them jounalists: did you all enter your profession so that you can write the way you are writing? I do not think so. An apology is too late, and really not enough. But it certainly is not too late to find that conscience, and be true to yourselves again. Be united, truth will prevail, and you will then have our support.

at82 said...

hmmm his face expression and voice during election nite, signalled to me that he doesn't think that this a gd win.

PM Lee if you could do the right thing in the next 5 yrs. Ppl will support u, but another of this nonsense, well u are gg to lose ppl's hearts.

Mykel said...

The ST forgot to quote the PM, who said that the WP's 33% votes were because voters "were in support of WP's logo, not their politicians". I laughed when I heard that.

Anonymous said...

I totally agreed that its definitely not a strong mandate not just nation-wide as a whole but especially so in his ang mo kio grc. ang mo kio grc has also performed below the national avaerage (66.6%) with just 66.1%. i would expect small lee to do much better in his "home-ground" against a ground of so-called first timers! don't see people no up ok!

Workers' Party! Workers' Party! Worker's Party!

by the way, small lee mentioned that the Workers' Party is Wayang with just one or two speeches in ang mo kio... if by just making a one or two speeches in ang mo kio can allow the worker's party win over 33.9%, i really wonder what if more speeches were to be made by the 'first timers' workers' party??? small lee should be thankful that it was just one or two speeches!

pls remember that the rally is allocated by the Election Department and from the list of rally schedule, one could not help but to notice that PAP always gets the good place that is near to the ward that they are contesting. I hope that in the next election 2011, a fair allocation of rally venue can be observed...

Anonymous said...

Dear Jounalists from SPH
How do you sleep at nite knowing that you misrepresent and give an imbalanced views to your friends, relatives and country men? How do you look at yourself in the mirror in the mornig? Sure you say you have no choice but to earn a living - but it is not something u should feel prouf of. You wield alot of power, and if you want to continue to wield the respect of your readers - u better buck up and have a rethink. A lot of thinking Singaporeans only read the life section of the newspaper now.
Yes I agree that self censorship has to be practised often when writing to the public - since we are often viewed with a keen eye by the auhorities, but you can still uphold truth. A case in point - I can use alot more stronger language on you.. but choose to be diplomatic.

Anonymous said...

Dear PM Lee
If you are reading this - this election is not a victory for you.Those who vote for PAP - often have done so bec they are less opininiated and not willing to make better changes for Singaporeans. Some clearly support u strongly for your policies, but some just have no views. I can safely say that those who vote for opposition have clearly thought about their choices and feel strongly.

It is also a call to you to begin to listen to pple more, offer more transparency and accept that one day - the opposition will get strongger and offer a credible alternative voice. Get used to it - times are a-changing and the more you resist it - the more your vote results will suffer.

Anonymous said...

channel's 8 two mandarin presenters were especially atrocious yesterday when reporting on the results. among the many distortions she brought to her comments (as always), zeng yue li even reminded us (when steve chia lost) that steve chia had said that he will not stay in politics again if he loses this time. what was she trying to do? i hope that they realise that the polital analyst with them yesternight had dug at them. when she was asked what the foreign analsts will think, she said that they will not judge only by the polls. they will also look at the whole election process and the integrity of the media. anybody here found these two presenters to be especially obnoxious??

Sunflower said...

Yes I do!

Anonymous said...

The part I found more satisfying about last nite's results was the humbling of the arrogant guy who thot he was so popular nation-wide that his very presence can help recapture the two opposition wards.

Anonymous said...

I saw the expressions on the Channel 8 reporters' faces and thought they were desperately trying to sound tactful about the 66%.

Anonymous said...

Before the PAP accuses Gomez, I was already have a feeling that Gomez was up to something (political trick) because he had already made a mistake 5 yrs ago, he should be extra careful.

The 3 main issues that I wish that the political parties should fight on : 1) Medical --- how to address the fees that the citizens are apprehensive of. 2) The wages of the bottom 10 to 20% workers are too low--- $800 per month because of contract out works by government bodies. 3) Too many places are allocated to foreigner in the Universities such that many qualified locals (Obviously their results are not so good compared to the foreigners) are not given a place in the Universities. Education changes, are they for the poorer or richer citizens ?

Anonymous said...

I JUST HEARD GOMEZ GOT ARRESTED!!! anybody heard anything??? this is so sad... :(

Anonymous said...

Even the journalists feel that they are forced to put their names on articles which they dun feel like writing, they can always leave the Straits Times. Over time, the Straits Times will be void and in desperate need of writers and their reputation will just drop further. The journalists should not just do nothing! Dun the top Ivy Leagues schools on journalism teach them about their duty to the public and professional ethics?

"The only thing ncessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

with regards to Gomez, how can? just because of a form? and that he has apologised publicly already? and how come only now then they (the police) detain him? after the result of the election!

Anonymous said...

Is the Elections Department an independent body? Right now, it seems that they aren't.
Can you arrest someone and seize their passport over a "complaint?"

Anonymous said...

GE 2011 ... If you're a masochist, please be kind to yourself and vote for the PAP.
If you're a sadist, please be unkind to others and vote for the PAP.
If you're neither, please vote for the PAP so you can enjoy being screwed over again and again ... ohh ... when the pain becomes pleasure, you just can't stop!

Remember, you can't go wrong with the PAP. Each & every one in the PAP has been vetted & approved by The DESPOT (eh, got starly the vocab for my SAT & GMAT one you know. 'cher sezs must use correct term to pass one, leh. Alamak! Policy flip-flop AGAIN?!! Wasted my precious time, effort, money & energy - not to mention ceaseless anxiety for something now SO UNNECESSARY! But cannot say like that, one. The Taiwan-born, US-bred NUS President hired & VETTED must be world-class so must listen. Yup, NUS, NTU world-class uni populated by alumni made up of third-world PhD students fully funded by local taxpayers - & don't need to serve NS one you know. Only the hapless citizens do that. Why be citizen when can get same benefits as a PR - can even buy subsidised housing, too! Some more no need to burn 2 yrs of my life plus 1 to 3 wks every year after that! I guess besides voters, the garmen likes being screwed by foreigners, too - and you say PAP homophobic? RUBBISH!

And you dare doubt the SOUND JUDGEMENT & ASTUTE CHARACTER ASSESSMENT of the DESPOT? Just ask Teh Cheng Wan, Phey Yew Kok, Devan Nair, David Lim - ex-SAF, ex-Minister of blah!, recent ex-MP 'cos got no time as CEO of NOL and God-knows-who-else-'cos-this-is-only-the-tip-of-the-iceberg - whoa ... so are PAPsters stayers or quitters, ah??? Now very the confused, leh. Aiyah, muhler sez WHEN NOT SURE, VOTE PAP!

If you're sure & you feel clear-headed to make the right decision, then it means you've made the wrong decision - it's time to reach for that dose of SOMA again.
(Re-read "Brave New World" to re-aquaint yourself)

Eh, BTW FYI, David Lim also was put IN CHARGE of Suzhou Industrial Park. Is future elected President material 'cos oversaw BILLION DOLLAR entreprise (note that I DID NOT use the term "investment".)

I guess PAP couldn't "fix" the problem.

Alamak! Confused again!! See lah, read too much garmen-controlled gibberish now my carefully & studiously acquired vocab is contaminated by the PAP lexicon! Someone please help FIX THIS PROBLEM!!!

Anonymous said...

How come Gomez is arrested? People should demand his release!

Anonymous said...

WE MUST DO SOMETHING FOR HIM, any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

No one will give a damm cause sinkies only care for themself and money. selfish lot.

Anonymous said...

let's see what the PAP is doing with Gomex first. My guess is probably nothing and release him... wayang wayang and act like a warning to AP

Anonymous said...

Guys, Email the PAP now! The Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng email is

and PM is lee_hsien_loong@pmo.gov.sg

cc your email to Low Thia Khiang if you wish.

You can email this:

Dear Sir,

I congratulate you for doing well in this election. However, we believe that you wanted to create an open and consultative society where every Singaporean matters. We ask you to release James Gomez immediately and allow him his basic freedom of speech and movement as granted under the Singapore constition. No matter what he did, you recieve your mandate from the people. I look forward to your reply.

Best Regards,
Tan H.W.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the PAP would start on its mini campaign of smearing the reputation of Gomez and subsquently discredit the WP.

The WP is growing and progressing under Low's leadership and the PAP would hate to lose Aljunied GRC in the next elections.(that is, if the GRC still exist then)

Just look at what happened to SDP and many another opposition members in the past. See a pattern of destruction?

What we can do is pressurise them to listen to what us, citizens of Singapore want- a open society. It's time we assert ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Sign the petition in support of him!!


Anonymous said...

NKF=honest mistake (?)
GST 200 million error=honest mistake (?)
Elected Presidency=honestly no one
Higher Bus/MRt/PUB bills=honestly petrol price go up

Gomez=liar, dishonest ???

Come on lah...

Anonymous said...

Speaking to reporters after the election, he said: 'I am happy with the result... From what I know, it's an evenly distributed 66 per cent throughout the constituency, the young areas from north to south, all supporting us uniformly, which means we covered the ground and collected all the votes.

Eh how come he know where the votes come from hah?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Ah, people. You can always trust Mr Wang, an independent commentator who does not depend on the SPH a ricebowl, to be objective and fair.

At this point in time, and based solely on what has been publicly reported, Mr Wang points out the following:

1. It was probably the Election Department who filed the police report. The police will then have the duty to investigate.

2. Why did Gomez's arrest (if that is what it really was, in the legal sense) happen at this time? Probably because he tried to leave Singapore. Otherwise the police would have taken a bit more time.

3. Gomez being stopped at the checkpoint; the confiscation of his passport etc is not surprising. The same could well occur for any person under police investigation.

4. Charge of "criminal intimidation" looks ridiculous - but note that right now, it seems Gomez has not yet been formally charged. The "criminal intimidation" is an internal police investigation classification (really just an administrative kind of thing - something you have to fill in at the upper right-hand side of every newly-opened police file) - the classification could well have been done by some junior police officer who couldn't think of any classification so temporarily he just called it "criminal intimidation".

That's based on what we know so far. Wait & see what else happens ...

Anonymous said...

The Singapore public can teach the Straits Times a good lesson. Just stop buying for a week. If they dont show improvement, stop for two weeks. You wont miss anything but they will and must change. Try it.

Anonymous said...

actually any boycott of the ST will have to be widespread to have any effect. say 30,000 (10% of circulation). I think it can be done though, but we have to think of those who depend on selling ST for a living too :)

Anonymous said...

I seriously think that the political situation in Singapore is changing for the better. If a good 50k people can vote against the incumbant PM at his own GRC, it shows alot. People are not really worried about upgrading and lifts stopping at every floor. That is not politics. It is about fairness, equality and competition (with the opposition) for the betterment of the society. PAP as a party is established but not all PAP MPs are great. So my advise is if you are not a serious poltical voter, please don't vote in the next election. You are just going to distort the picture. "Voting is compulsory,IF YOU KNOW THE POLITICS" and "Voting is secret - that's up to you to decide!"

Last pointers:

PM Lee, Congrats and but also a few things you got to think about. The candidates that you have fielded are apparently of the highest calibre in Singapore according to you. But do you know how many scholars who have broken their government bonds or how many Ivy League or Oxbridge-bound (true scholars by its very meaning- not on some 6 year government-bonded scholars!) have relinquished to return to Singapore? Why? Is there something wrong here? If we can attract foreign investors with our strong government why are we losing our own top scholars?

Anonymous said...

Seen both the live coverage of the election results on CNA and 8. I must say the standard of reporting in both technical and intellectual terms is pathetic. The communication lines were poorly set up, and coordination between the media centre and the counting sites was rather poor. The studio guests gave token responses to simple questions posed by the presenters. There was virtually no mention of what the polling results suggest about the impact of the Gomez affair, the $180 million upgrading carrot for the opposition wards, SM Goh's widely-perceived popularity, PM Lee's "fix the opposition" debacle and certainly nothing on PM Lee's real appeal to the masses.

As a layman in politics, my immediate conclusion on the polls is as follows:
1) Slightly over 20% of the population are "die-hard" supporters of the opposition and will vote against the PAP regardless of the state of the opposition party or quality of its candidates.
2) An additional 10% will vote for an opposition party that is OK generally with candidates that do not have much appeal, as is the case with SDA.
3) An opposition party with a better brand name such as WP has a small premium of about 5%. But for a real contest, we need good quality candidates who are able to debate issues and connect with the masses. Not necessarily the PAP-type who are hugely successful in their career but people like Sylvia Lim.

I am hopeful that WP is on the right track with several young members who have made an impact in this election. But I fear the governing party will not be able to tolerate this natural progression towards much stronger opposition representation in a "first-world" paliament and try to kill the development in its infancy.

Ah Meng Loves the Zoo.

Anonymous said...

"Both PM Lee and teammate Mr Wee did not think so, going by the spread of votes the PAP won in younger areas such as Fernvale, Anchorvale and Sengkang.

Said PM Lee: 'In fact, it was higher than 66 per cent in some areas, so we are very happy.'"

- This is prove that the PAP knows who votes for them! Are Singaporean's votes truely secret?!

Anonymous said...

He may be trying to instil that fear. But the fact that he knows which areas the votes come from is really not a surprise, as pple in certain areas go to a certain polling station. And some of these areas naturally house younger residents because they are newer, and vice versa. Don't let those statements frighten you, they are only estimating. DO NOT let them confuse you into thinking that they know!

Anonymous said...

I think they probably know which are the areas that has the most or least supporters, since there are many polling stations for each area. They could tabulate the results of each station and probably analyse which area should be absorbed into the grc for the next election.

Mr Lee did not expressed his feelings that some areas are lower than 66%. I wonder how he feels.

Anonymous said...

If I remembered correctly, there were around 400 polling stations and about 1.2mil voters during this election. The estimated average number of voters to polling station ratio is 3000 voters to 1 polling station. Say in a HDB estate, each block has 100 voters, that works out to be 10 blocks per polling station. Quite in line with what one of the MP had said, that they can estimate the voting percentage from a group of voters from 10+ blocks. The public indeed is insecured over the issue of secrecy of voters. This may become an advantage for the ruling party as some may vote for them because of this insecurely and fear. Perhaps the voting process should be improved to address this insecurity. For example eliminating the possibility of tracing the voters and at the same time still ensuring the verification of the voters before voting. The solution is really not impossible. Another way is to reduce the number of polling stations or to keep the ratio of voters to polling station high, at a level comfortable to the public.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Am we going to be detained in future if we question an Government HDB office ???
I just cannot believe it happened again !!!!!
Hope those Young and Courageous WP candiate in AMG GRC will not suffered in the coming days.

A Sad Loyal Singaporean.

moomooman said...

Oikono's story remains a story.

I would have thought a journalist of Ivy League quality would know how to protect his ass by not putting any such things in print. Not to even mention... to spread the word.

How many Ivy League Journalist can you find in the national tabloid? Not many I guess.. and you can easily zoom down to that guy.

As for voting secrecy. I believe voting is secret even though they could technically trace who vote for vote.

How did PM LEE knows Anchorvale or Fernvale voted in high favour towards him, or PM Goh on Realty Park upgrading issues is that...

Polling centres serve a narrow sector of each town. And once polls are counted for each of these centre, it will be sent back to Election Department for computation. Thus, PM could know for each precinct, how the general votes goes.

Near my place, there are 2 polling centres. Interestingly, both are very nearby. But one is for the HDB and the other is for the private property. That way the government would know which demographics of voters support PAP.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Monday, May 08, 2006 5:40:58 PM:


Will it be an underground publication or would it go through the usual channels?

Anonymous said...


Actually, Ivy League journalists are dime a dozen in SPH. There is this thing called the SPH overseas scholarship. These people are bonded. So, they are pretty much compelled to write what their bosses want since they can't quit.

Recruit Ong said...

Since they are bonded and can't quit, it also means they can't be sacked. It means they are the ones who are in the best position to do the job that they want to and fight their toadie bosses harder, that is assuming they want to in the first place... instead of asking ppl to "help spread the word of their unhappiness" for them..

Anonymous said...

Recruit Ong KK said:

"Since they are bonded and can't quit, it also means they can't be sacked..."

Please also consider non-promotion, social ostracism, verbal abuse etc. Unidimensional arguments aren't very helpful.

Thank you.

diana said...

#1: The "I hate what I have to do to keep my job, please tell people about this so that it buys some form of redemption" argument is bogus.

#2: The argument about the consequences of non-compliance being "non-promotion, social ostracism, verbal abuse" is also bogus.

First point: to be a journalist is to be a writer. To be a writer is to adhere to some -- even partial -- ideal of intellectual freedom. And to willingly endorse, publicly, in print, an opinion that you obviously disagree with, that you feel is substandard, is to sell out. It makes you no better than a copywriter, writing slogans for ads. Because that's what it is.

Second: Stand up and be counted, for god's sake. Whatever happened to the desire to write, love for language and expression? Why choose to take up journalism in the first place? What led you to it? The fact is, it takes a degree of courage to pursue a career path like writing that doesn't reap obvious economic benefits. It takes some degree of love for writing itself. So what happened to that courage? Sell out because you can't be promoted? That argument is bullshit. So what? If you're bonded, stick it out, then leave and write for the Bangkok Post or Jakarta Post or the Sydney Morning Herald, so forth and so on. And in the meantime, fuck it if you can't get promoted. It goes back to the first argument of why you chose to write, what your beliefs and ideals are. Further, if your colleagues are the sort who will "ostracise" you for standing up for your beliefs and not writing shit, then they are obviously people you don't really want to associate with in the first place, because people who do that sort of thing are asskissers and dickwads, geddit? And ALL bosses give you verbal abuse. Suck it up.

Have some balls, for crying out loud. Metaphorical or literal.

zyn said...

diana: wow, how idealistic. either you're very young, or you're very naive.

nowhere in the world will any journalist be allowed to publish something without his editor's implicit approval. i don't know what concept you have of a newsroom, but it sure as hell isn't one where everyone happily writes his own report based on his own ideas and submits it to what would essentially be simply a newsletter.

sure, it's easy to say suck it up if everyone hates you or wait it out and leave to join other newspapers. because, like, everyone has really thick skin/is completely globally mobile, right?

cherian george, former political editor of the straits times, has much more coherent arguments than this about how the mainstream media has actually improved. the area in ST, for example, where you get closest to true freedom is the forum pages, which have been publishing some shockingly anti-PAP letters. but then you'd all already know that, wouldn't you, given how many of you feel expert enough about ST to keep slamming it?

Anonymous said...

PAP's reaction to the poll results shows they are clearly in denial. Some shrink should talk to them.

diana said...

Actually zyn I'm not "young". I wouldn't exactly be an objective observer about being "naive" or "idealistic" either.

On the other hand, at least I don't resort to ad hominem arguments.

It is a given that no (or very few) professional jouranlists publish unedited articles. However, that is not the point.

The point, as raised by the published letter (now published in other blogs is):

1. I feel bad about what I am forced to write
2. Please spread the word about this, because I really don't believe in what I write
3. I ask you to spread the word because I have "ideals" (refer to quoted letter)

This argument is bogus.

(a) If you have "ideals", stand up for them. Nobody is asking you to stage a sit-in outside your boss' office. A suggested response if you feel so strongly about what you are forced to write and disagree with its content might be, "I'm sorry. I really don't feel comfortable with this assignment. Why don't you give this to someone else?"

The "consequences" that arise out of this - well, if you felt so strongly about it, you would deal with them. If you don't want to deal with the consequences, then it logically follows that perhaps you felt bad but not that bad.

(b) If you are doing it because it is your job, then take it as copywriting. Do not write letters announcing your ideals. You may have ideas about ideals but as in (a), not to such a degree that you would stand up and defend them. And if it is something you do because it is a job then be professional about it. Don't complain.

Finally, with reference to the "thick skin/ globally mobile" comment (another ad hominem argument typical of this writing style): the answer is, if you are of a certain age, yes. If you are brave enough to stand up for your beliefs, yes.

This will be my last post on the subject. But if you want to take this into an offline discussion over email, feel free to indicate so and I'll respond.

Mr Wang: thanks for putting up with this.

Anonymous said...

Lucky garmen realised it's stupid to detain Gomez. Nowadays, Singaporeans are less complacent and apathetic, may cause rumblings and lose more votes in the next election. All these fumbling just goes to show how desperate PAPA is. Must eliminate any potential threat. But would creating an artificially sheltered environment necessarily be good for little dragon, dogs, worms and three legged beings. Post-mortem of election results? If PAP seeks grassroot leaders for opinion, better forget about getting honest answers. These people are just arrogant, pushy sprinting dogs, out of touch with the people and reporting what the higher ups want to hear. Better listen to the ground directly or through the opposition and face the reality.

Anonymous said...

Lucky garmen realised it's stupid to detain Gomez. Nowadays, Singaporeans are less complacent and apathetic, may cause rumblings and lose more votes in the next election. All these fumbling just goes to show how desperate PAPA is. Must eliminate any potential threat. But would creating an artificially sheltered environment necessarily be good for little dragon, dogs, worms and three legged beings. Post-mortem of election results? If PAP seeks grassroot leaders for opinion, better forget about getting honest answers. These people are just arrogant, pushy sprinting dogs, out of touch with the people and reporting what the higher ups want to hear. Better listen to the ground directly or through the opposition and face the reality.

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