Monday, May 01, 2006

I Bantai Saja

Announcement : On Labour Day, a new blog by an old friend is born.

A few quick hits. Many blogs with so many insightful entries have emerged. I do little justice but they are good. The following comment by a first time voter in Potong Pasir, just like dansong's entry is really heartening.

"living in potongpasir since age 1 , ive seen how CST performed his duties as a mp in PP and in the parliament despite being suppressed , now 22,im gonna be a first time voter next sat..i hope the mature voters of PP are here to stay, and not be enticed and see the bigger picture. we shall see the outcome on 6 May.." -- anonymous

Someone, probably a journalist, wanting to hear Potong Pasir voices and feel its hallucinations, left this call in the comments. If what you said does not come out well, send in a parallel copy here in this blog. I will publish it. :

Potong Pasir residents: If you get to vote on May 6 (i.e. you are a Singapore citizen above the age of 21) and you would like your voice to be heard in MSM, email me at by Tuesday(May 2).

In another comment, there is a call to Singaporeans. A call to action. Those of you tired, disturbed, perturbed generally saddened by the way the media is reporting GE 2006, do the following :

"Let's give them tons of calls and emails to press for TRUTH. We can make a different. Each call can make a different. MediaCorp News Hotline 68 2222 68FeedbackChannel newsasia.comGive us your feedback on our content.Contact: mailto:newseditor@channelnews."

In this comment is another even more interesting statement.

"Many of the reporters WANT to report the TRUTH! However, they are stopped by their bosses."

Is this true? And so my entry proper begins. Today we look at media and its GE coverage. I dedicate the following letter to these reporters. I know you are reading this blog.

Dear Journalist,

I know I am anonymous. I know because of this, I am deemed not a professional journalist. I accept that. But do you know something? When the NKF saga broke out. I wanted so much to worship you. The brave journalist who stood up against the NKF. I really wanted to tell the world, my friends: hey look here, this marks the first step of maturity in the media in Singapore. This is the way into the future. The media as an institution is finding its feet after years of acceptance of its "role" in nation building as defined by the incumbent regime.

But I could not. Because while the journalist and the media institution won, I know that seven years ago, a citizen had stood up against the NKF and was silenced mercilessy. As people question where was the Government then? I too ask, where was the media then?

Dear journalist, this letter is not meant to humiliate you. It is not meant to smear your professionalism. Because I understand the situation you are in. There are editors. And there are chief editors and there is ultimately the editor-in-chief. I understand too the frustrations that a journalist would feel when his or her article is slashed and its nuances tweaked. I understand the indignity felt when your story is thrashed or when your story is turned. When your superior compromises your professionalism. And you are right. It is not only in Singapore. It happens at every single newsroom in the world. I know.

Every journalist who enters the profession harbours an aspiration. A dream. Will I get that story that changes society, will I get that photograph which moves the soul of society. Not only in Singapore, but all over the world. A scoop of sheer Humanism that touches the heart of each human being. For the better. As one semantic adjustment follows after another narrative rethink, the aspiration fades further, consigned to memories of an mythic idealistic past of a younger more innocent Self. But it will not be a myth. It will be a shadow sitting in the best left untouched recesses of your memory where all the other dissonances lie. A com-promise.

Now someone has written in my blog and said that you do want to report the truth. Especially during this period of charged emotions when people are really hungry for something. But you are stopped by your editors, chief editors, editor-in-chief. You have your livelihood to think about. You have your family. You have your future. You have a life in Singapore. All these factors suddenly loom in front of you.

I have no right to ask for your sacrifice. And I will not ask for it.

But I do want you to consider something. Your erstwhile enemy, the humble blog, the humble Internet and what pathways to some form of freedom, some form of salve for your troubled conscience, it offers. Before Steve Gan was with Malaysiakini, he was a professional journalist like you.

And I would like to leave the following words with you, its lineage is rich among journalists East or West -- "I bantai saja", "I write what I please"




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Xenoboy,

What's your take on the handling of the Gomez issue by both parties?

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I really enjoyed the Straight Times. I have a piece I would like to submit. Can you email me at



11:39 PM  
Anonymous Lina said...

That's a lovely letter. It sums up the reasons why my childhood dreams of being a journalist in Singapore is crushed by the realities of life. The family who owns the media ultimately dictate what can or cannot be published. Thus, I'll continue to wield my pen, albiet in another country - where freedom of expression is valued.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Championed by a soulless media misleading
People unaware they're bleeding
No one with a brain is believing
It's so sad you lost the meaning
Never knew it anyway
Human natures so predictable
I'm a fool to do your dirty work whoa, whoa

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your letter. some of us do have blogs. we're trying our best.

- a journalist

6:44 AM  

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