3 Jul 2006

Let Battle Commence


It appears that K Bhavani may have bitten off more than he/she can chew. It is really not advisable to attempt to attack one of the most read bloggers in Singapore and not expect retaliation. And as for the charge of 'distortion' who in this world has unmediated access to reality?

Voices, TODAY newspaper, Monday, July 3, 2006:

Distorting the truth, mr brown?

When a columnist becomes a 'partisan player' in politics
Letter from K BHAVANI
Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts

Your mr brown column, "S'poreans are fed, up with progress!" (June 30) poured sarcasm on many issues, including the recent General Household Survey, price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares, our IT plans, the Progress Package and means testing for special school fees.

The results of the General Household Survey were only available after the General Election. But similar data from the Household Expenditure Survey had been published last year before the election.

There was no reason to suppress the information. It confirmed what we had told Singaporeans all along, that globalisation would stretch out incomes.

mr brown must also know that price increases in electricity tariffs and taxi fares are the inevitable result of higher oil prices.

These were precisely the reasons for the Progress Package — to help lower income Singaporeans cope with higher costs of living.

Our IT plans are critical to Singapore's competitive position and will improve the job chances of individual Singaporeans. It is wrong of mr brown to make light of them.

As for means testing for special school fees, we understand mr brown's disappointment as the father of an autistic child. However, with means testing, we can devote more resources to families who need more help.

mr brown's views on all these issues distort the truth. They are polemics dressed up as analysis, blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with. He offers no alternatives or solutions. His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.

mr brown is entitled to his views. But opinions which are widely circulated in a regular column in a serious newspaper should meet higher standards. Instead of a diatribe mr brown should offer constructive criticism and alternatives. And he should come out from behind his pseudonym to defend his views openly.

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government. If a columnist presents himself as a non-political observer, while exploiting his access to the mass media to undermine the Government's standing with the electorate, then he is no longer a constructive critic, but a partisan player in politics.


"It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government."
I always thought the main role of journalists was to speak truth onto those in power. Once a journalist in Singapore actually manages to express views contrary to the official line, they receive personal attacks similar to the one above. And if it is not the role of journalists to champion for the government in Singapore what the hell has the Straits Times been doing for the last 4 decades?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course Mr.; Brown has taaken on a political mantel with his latest comments. He must be silenced.

Anonymous said...

reporters are supposed to report events and facts without political bias; commentators and analysts can have a bias, as long as they do not pretend to be otherwise

in the same way, governments are not supposed to use state resources to obtain partisan benefit, and civil servants and statutory boards should be neutral between ruling and opposition parties

treecostume said...

All very selective vision on Bhavani's part. Which isn't to say that Mr Brown isn't guilty. But if he's going to be shot, so should the entire cabinet.

Anonymous said...

The little PAP tode, Bhavani another member of our illustrious government who is drowning in his own shit.

who the fuck is the arts ministry? Singapore TV is amongst the worst in the world, the question of plain art is a swear word, and most of the poor fucking little undernourashed kids turned out by the PAP education system do not possess one single piece of artistic flair.

Some time ago local TV ran a seriesm on filmjs shot by the local schiools. When I viewed the resuilts, I( was certain the productions had been filmed by kids from a mental school.

Forty years ago, singapore possessed a magnificent film industry. Today they turn out films so poor, I have seen better produced by twelve year old british school kids.

Whey are the government still claiming singapore will become the regional hub of art.

God please save us from such boasting

ak said...

It is not the role of journalists or newspapers in Singapore to champion issues, or campaign for or against the Government.

I didn't hear them complaining or shooting off letters when pro-establishment journalists shills for them. Maybe they're just allergic to criticism.

Anonymous said...

The usual template reply from the
Govt. One wonders these top civil servants are working for the people or the PAP?. When comments are not to their liking, they become political or we have stepped into their OB markers. Always been praised to high heaven by our 140th ranked media, the Govt now has a low threshold for criticisms even if these criticisms truly reflect the ground feelings.
Mr Brown, we drink to your column!

Nelly said...

Lee Kuan Yew has always insisted that the Singapore media report the truth. He has never claimed that they also ought to report the WHOLE truth.

This omission on Lee Kuan Yew's part, a grave one, has resulted in much misunderstanding on the ground. The population was expecting to hear the truth in its entirety.

mr brown is simply taking over from where the Straight Times left off: plugging the Truth Deficit.

Bhavani, DEAL WITH IT!