At this point, I must address A's feedback about my introduction being too long-winded. Feel free to scroll halfway down this post to see the alternatives to paying for newspapers.
|Without a potent mix of ignorance and fear in the electorate, could the PAP still earn its "mandate"?|
I grew up on a diet of Straits Times, and subsequently once I began commuting, I got my smut fix from The New Paper. Never mind that The New Paper was utter crap - straight, pubescent, Singaporean boys in those days were likely either into porn or TNP. I didn't have broadband at that time, so...
|Mmmm... Trashy, titillating tabloid|
To put it very plainly, I admit I once believed SPH publications as gospel.
There's no sugarcoating my past. RI and RJC didn't teach me any critical thinking in this area. Of course, whether it is the job of schools in Singapore to teach any form of higher-level thinking is highly debatable. I was gullible once upon a time - and paid the price. 60 cents for TNP or ST back in those days, if my memory serves me correctly. Although I never bought ST because my family subscribed it.
The question is: Do we want to pay to be hoodwinked?
My eyes were opened when I enrolled at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) at NTU. There, I learned that the Mainstream Media (MSM) in Singapore is not only biased, but plain misleading. I'm guessing that Professor Cherian George - media academic and commentator - lost his tenure because he showed batch after batch of WKWSCI students the truth about Singapore's MSM. I may have been extremely gullible to have only realised this in University, as the younger generation born from the early 90s onwards seem to understand this from at least their Secondary School days. Gone are the days where students just swallow National Education wholesale, with SPH publications to mop up the stragglers who didn't pay attention in class. If you are from the PAP and reading this, listen when I tell you that your hegemony on our youth is slipping (see the comments section in the link). But then again, you are trying your level best to solve this problem, right?
My guess is that if you have read to this point, I'd be preaching to the choir here, but in the off chance that you find (MSM) more credible than decent
online news portals like Yahoo! News Singapore and The Online Citizen, let me cite some examples that might challenge your faith in our MSM:
- Straits Times reporting that a taxi driver earned $7000 a month. Read this for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Another perspective here, by a Singaporean cabby who also blogs regularly.
- Straits Times using statistics out of context, in order to suggest that fewer Singaporeans are becoming Australian PRs because the situation in Singapore is improving. In short, the ST article failed to note the other factors for the decrease in Singaporeans who made the cut.
- Keeping silent on a landmark protest in modern Singapore.
- Picture coverage of PAP vs Opposition rallies - you wouldn't find any direct comparisons between their audience turnouts in the MSM. Can we even trust our MSM to report basic newsworthy facts? It's not as if rally turnout necessarily equates to voting results. But I am not in the least surprised given point 1.
- Not asking basic questions which are the tenets of journalism. The Five Ws and 1 H. In this case, it was an incident of national interest: Mas Selamat's escape from Whitley Road Detention Centre.
- MSM's chest-thumping and arrogant dismissal of online media. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
Alternatives to paid MSM:
To illustrate how I use Twitter, here are some screen grabs:
In the main page, Tweets show brief synopses from the accounts you follow, as well as a condensed URL.
|As you may have noticed, my social life isn't on Twitter at all...|
To look for accounts to follow, simply use the Twitter search box, or surf to the websites you wish to follow and look for their "Follow" button:
|Yep, it's the 't' on the left...|
|Particularly suitable for smartphones with larger screens...|
|Text-only, for those using a slow Internet connection. Yes, I know your pain|
No matter which side of the fence you sit with regard to your opinion on our MSM, I hope that this article helps save a bit of money on buying newspapers and even magazines. If you don't already have a decent smartphone or tablet, now is a good time to get one and save yourself a bit of money in the long run. The Straits Times currently costs 90 cents per copy, which works out to $657 over two years. A full-size iPad costs $658, doesn't stink of newsprint, and doesn't result in the death of a small tree. It's not that mobile gadgets don't cause environmental impact at all, but face it, you were gonna buy the latest model anyway, right?