10 July 2006

Our Ever-Reliable Nation-Building Press


Here's my friend Alex being interviewed in the Straits Times on 8 July 2006:
ST July 8, 2006
Contributions to Stomp - Mr Alex Au

'Do you think print newspapers with employee reporters are good or bad? If you think it is absurd to pass moral judgment on print newspapers - given what we know of them and their variegated nature - why ask for moral judgment online?

I see one big problem in Singapore's future: that Singapore will ossify. Instead of being a political system adapting to evolving aspirations by being responsive to a healthy dialogue among citizens, there will be an increasing defensiveness and brittleness in our political structures. Instead of making small adjustments, keeping pace with changing times, more and more will be invested in maintaining stability, including control of the media.'

-- MR ALEX AU, 53, civil rights activist, founder of www.yawningbread.org
Notice that the Straits Times described Alex as a "civil rights activist". If you go over to Alex's blog, you get an account of how they decided on that term:
There was one final bit of silliness.

The reporter emailed me a few days later to check how I wish to be described. I said to her I preferred to be known as a "gay activist". This is not just whim, because the primary motivation for Yawning Bread when it started was gay activism. It is the chief reason for my being on the web today.

Later, she emailed back to say that her editors could not bring themselves to use that description -– which is another way of saying that I am not allowed to describe myself. They would instead describe me as a "civil rights activist".

It just blows your mind, doesn't it, that after going on and on about accuracy in reporting, this kind of deliberate blurring can still happen.

Technorati: ; .


veii said...

"Four legs good, two legs bad.."
"Gay?.... er.. uhm.."

Anonymous said...

Well, "Gay" can only be used when it is describing a negative activity or (groups of) people who live lives and counter to our much-heralded "Asian Values" - whatever the latter means.