So much about the riot have been aired, with ministers rehashing their ”once in 40 years’ occurence, nothing to do with policy mistakes or complacency” theme and netizens saying mostly otherwise. To me, it is yet another ‘black swan’ event, part of some that have come to pass but not yet the BIG ONE that will not get away. I’ll leave that for another day to write about.
For now, there are 2 observations that have not been brought up by netizens but are, in my view, worth our thinking about.
1. SUN TV, India vs STRAITS TIMES, Singapore
Yes, I’m comparing a TV vs a broadsheet. Nonetheless, both are MSM.
With SUN, there is no doubt that they went to town with their inaccurate and, potentially, inflammatory report with their own made-up facts of the riot. It was wrong and deplorable. But, credit must be given where due, SUN went back to town with a correction and an apology just as soon as they were told of their mistakes.
SUN TV did only this one report on SIngapore that took liberty with the truth.
Now, if we look at the ST. ST has been around for more than a century reporting on Singapore and for Singaporeans mainly. For nearly the last 50 years, ST has not only gone to town but force fed and drip fed us with a diet of untruths, half-truths and, sometimes, outright lies. But ST has never admitted to any such misdemeanours nor published any corrections.
So, which is worse? To have done and then have the integrity and courage to undo the wrong or to have done and continue to do with impunity? If you are reading this and still subscribing to ST, should you not reconsider?
ST is, not unlike their political masters, at the beginning of their end. Every few months, notice that they are desparately trying to entice new, 2-year subscriptions with special offers (the latest being a free MS Surface tablet) to try to stop their bleeding readership. Should you not help hasten ST’s demise by boycotting any purchase of ST products? You can still read the ST at the office, in the CC, library or borrow it from current (eh, ‘daft’) die-hard subscribers. Donate 20% of what you save to TRE. You are saving yourself some money, lots of time reading less of propaganda masquerading as reporting – and, if you donate to TRE, helping a good and noble cause.
2. What no minister has yet to say that is so telling.
At the risk of being mistakened, since I cannot have read every word published, what no Singapore minister or, for that matter, none of our MPs, opposition ones included, has said so far is this, “We deeply regret the death of Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu and send our condolences to his family.”
That unsaid message reveals more about our leaders and ourselves than all the blah blah blahs that have been written and said of the riot.
It says so much about where our political leaders are focused on, namely, continuing the present policies (no change to foreign worker policies), limiting perceived damage to Singapore (and, as well, if not more likely, their own) reputation, worse, demonising the dead (quick with reports of victim’s drunken state but curiously, no data of the alcohol level in his blood). All these and more.
What it says is that people, citizens and foreign workers alike are nothing more than statistical digits that exist only to play their brick-in-the-wall role for their sacred GDP numbers.
Fair enough, most countries and their leaders will likely use the same narrative. But just imagine if “We deeply regret the death of the worker who was killed in the accident and will do our best to help his family and provide support to his fellow workers and friends here in Singapore” were amongst those words uttered, included during the initial, if not first, remarks or thoughts that crossed the minds of Singapore govt leaders and MPs.
I guess no one really cares if the victim is not a friend or relation.
With this incident and its aftermath, I can’t say that I am proud to be a Singaporean. Can you?