Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There's More Than Meets The Eye

Flipping through Glenn Knight's book, the above entry caught my eye. The chief investigator of Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) tripped by a straight forward car loan? One expects the disclosures by former Editor-in-Chief Cheong Yip Seng, 69, to be similarly abbreviated in "OB Markers: The Straits Times Story". The message he wants to deliver is that the Government will become "less heavy-handed" over time, and will no longer close down a newspaper. But that's a given: closing down the mainstream media will shut down it's own key propaganda machine.

Starting his journalism career in 1963 as a trainee journalist, he rose to become Editor-in-Chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division - a position he occupied for 19 years - before retiring in 2006. "I have seen newspapers closed when they fell foul of the government, and friends lose their jobs.... I did not suffer their fate," said Cheong, but wouldn't deign to reveal how he survived being "at the receiving end of Lee Kuan Yew's fury".  Mostly likely, he simply moved with the flow, like George Yeo did, instead of sticking out for his journalistic principles. Cheong did confirm though, the "favourite instrument" of changing editorial leadership in newsrooms.

In November 2003, senior staff members of TODAY (Mr Ernest Wong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Mediacorp (publisher), Mr Mano Sabnani (Editor), Mr Rahul Pathak (Deputy Editor) and Ms Val Chua (unfortunate journalist who filed the offending report) were taken to the woodshed to face the full wrath of Lee, for their write-up “SM Lee and the eye opening trauma in London,” which was based on verbatim inputs from the official press release. Warned against "writing any articles that were risqué", the unpalatable paragraphs were never disclosed, but one possibility was quoting him as saying that he had made a phone call to 10 Downing Street asking them to help as his wife had to wait till 6 hours before she could have a brain scan. Which put British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a spot. The upshot was that Lee's press secretary had to issue a follow up statement, "Lee Kuan Yew regrets that he was mistaken that 10 Downing Street had anything to do with his wife getting a CT scan at 3:30 a.m."

It has been said Lee has no compunction about putting journalists on a very short leash when it comes to reporting on his family and the PAP. Only his daughter can write about him asking his bed-ridden wife to change the elastic band in his running shorts. According to Dr Lee's article in the Sunday Times, the feisty woman, who was recovering from a recent stroke and whose vision was impaired, told him: “If you want me to prove my love for you, I will try.” That should sum up Cheong's picture of the press in Singapore, an ongoing love-hate relationship.


  1. Another old man trying to seek redemption by re-writing history thru his rose tinted glasses.
    "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

    Appropriate quote for a country run & controlled by old men.

    Life imitate art. Take a look at this 2 minute video clip from Batman. I promise you, it's worth your time.


  2. //..the Government will become "less heavy-handed" over time, and will no longer close down a newspaper.//

    LOL..i believe the question people want to ask is whether the G will open up alternative newspapers other than the mouthpiece ST !! Duh . But will give him good effort to damage control the msm that's been flowing with decades.

    1. The real question is when the G will impose the same OB markers, heavy-handed or otherwise, on the Internet.

    2. To anon 11:03

      5% of the internet is pornography..but the rest are what physicians who invented the world wide web predicted the impact to the society - the internet will become a form of high culture, high art and high society.

  3. When there is only one Govt-owned media group to monopolise all the advertising profits, what's the purpose of writing a cock & bull story that the Govt will be less heavy handed for any newspaper to be clamped down by our Govt ?

    Less heavy handed is still heavy handed leh. So essentially, what is he trying to say & who is he trying to bluff ?

    Might as well just come straight to the point and say our Govt leaders has been and will be manipulating the press till doomsday, period. At least people will remark that he is not really that dishonest as our politicians.

  4. Ahhh! image is everything isn't it?

  5. The people working in the State/Official Medias are some of the biggest sycophants to be found in Sinland.

    1. We have yet to see the best from our state/official medias. Imagine the longest ever running television series on 'Hard Truths' or 'LKY, 3rd world to 1st world'.... produced by mediacorpse ?

  6. What the heck is an OB marker?
    Who gave these morons-in-white the right to set up OB markers in the first place?
    Anybody still think the National CONversatoion is not a waste of time?
    OB markers indeed.
    Bunch of Nazis.
    Telling us what to think, what to say and what to feel.

    1. It is the art of thought control. Set the parameters of discourse and repeat it often enough and people will accept its lawful existence. OB markers are the invention of the PAP without legal basis. Anything that is not prohibited by law is allowed.

  7. Singaporeans who value freedom(democracy) will have to take action instead of wishing for change.
    The incumbent regime has to be replaced, otherwise no change will take place.
    The people need to wise up.
    Tomorrow will be worse than today and the
    day after will be hell.
    Beware of leaders without conscience.
    They will squeeze every drop out of You.

  8. this is nothing. there is this the part about gct wife help in resolving nky saga when the court case was still on going... borders on obstruction of justice.

  9. 19 years as chief editor in SPH is a long time. There is always a price to pay for such "longetivity" and "loyalty". The emasculation of the press started in 1974 with the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA). We are very similar to ancient China, with the scholars, Dynasties, draconian laws, etc...

    As an aside, in ancient China, they had palace eunuchs serving the Emperors. After castration, the pao or precious were placed in sealed jars and displayed on high shelves. To be promoted to higher grades, they had to show these to the chief eunuch. They were buried with their precious to fool the underworld gods that they were whole men. Eunuchs had high falsetto voices, and had a characteristic walk. It is said that San Pao (admiral Cheng Ho) wore his three precious around his neck.