A student was found dead at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and not a word on it in the Straits Times today! How can a tragedy like that be completely ignored by Singapore’s leading English-language newspaper?
The New Paper and Today Online both apparently use Drupal – and, so it seems, does the Straits Times.
Interestingly, a quick search also turned up PDF manuals that seem to show the Straits Times staff how to create stories for their website and clear the cache of their content management system. There are extensive screenshots showing the procedures step-by-step.Continue Reading
The dean of the law school of the National University of Singapore recently wrote an article in the Straits Times for students who want to go to university. But there was a problem with the headline: Students considering university education should ask themselves whom, not what they want to be.
The punctuation is wrong. There should be a comma after “what”. The two words, “not what”, are in parenthesis. Drop those two words and it will still be a complete sentence: “Students considering university education should ask themselves whom they want to be.”
But the sentence will still have to be corrected. The pronoun here should be “who”, not “whom”.
The year 2012 ended on a Friday, according to this Straits Times report which appeared on the Singapore newspaper’s website. My calendar shows January 1, 2013, is a Tuesday. So December 31, 2012, was a Monday. But it was a Friday, according to this Straits Times report on the Prime Minister’s New Year message. What a story to get the day wrong! And on New Year’s Eve, of all days.
“Singapore’s economy grew at a lackluster (sic, US spelling) 1.2 per cent in 2012, slightly lower than the official forecasts of around 1.5 per cent,” the report began.
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the figures in his regular New Year’s Message on Friday (sic), saying that Singapore is now in a new phase of slower growth.
“For 2012, he attributed some of the lacklustre numbers to weak economies in the US, Europe and Japan that had dampened growth in Singapore.”
Actually, the US economy is expected to have grown by 2.2 per cent in 2012, according to the “ouput, prices and jobs” data published in the holiday double issue of the Economist magazine. The International Monetary Fund estimates the US growth rate at 2.17 per cent. That’s higher than the Singapore growth rate.Continue Reading
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Those lines from Julius Caesar certainly apply to Cheung Yip Seng, who loves Shakespeare. His musician father brought the family over on a ship from Penang to Singapore, where in 1963 Cheung, then 20 years old, got a job with The Straits Times.
Twenty-three years later, in December 1986, on a flight back to Singapore from Burma, the then deputy prime minister Goh Chok Tong asked him to become editor-in-chief of the English and Malay Newspapers Division of Singapore Press Holdings, The Straits Times’ owner and one of the most profitable media groups in Asia.
He might not have got the job, though, unless recommended by the man who later became president of Singapore.Continue Reading
The Straits Times was right in charging for online access, says the newspaper’s former editor. Cheong Yip Seng, who retired as editor-in-chief of the English and Malay Newspapers Division of Singapore Press Holdings, notes newspapers in other countries too are setting up paywalls now, just like The Straits Times.
But there is a reason why other newspapers offered free access earlier. They wanted to increase readership. The Straits Times did not have to do so because the Singapore newspaper like the Wall Street Journal – which also had a pay wall from the start – occupies a niche.
The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times are the go-to newspapers for financial news. And if you want a lot of news about Singapore, you have to read The Straits Times. You may read other English papers such as Today, The New Paper and Business Times. But they do not give as much news as The Straits Times. It provides a “premium service”, says Cheong in his book, OB Markers: My Straits Times Story.
The Straits Times is, as he says, “virtual monopoly”. Its owners bought off the only competition it faced. Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) acquired a 40 per cent stake in Today from the broadcaster MediaCorp.Continue Reading
A former prime minister wanted a more serious newspaper than The Straits Times. The same prime minister who suggested using pictures of Page 3 girls in The New Paper before it was launched.
Cheong Yip Seng, a former editor of The Straits Times who retired as editor-in-chief of the English and Malay Newspapers Division (EMND) of Singapore Press Holdings in 2006, tells the story in his absorbing OB Markers: My Straits Times Story.
When I was planning the launch of The New Paper in 1985, I had lunch with then DPM Goh Chok Tong. He had taken an interest in TNP. He was supportive of our editorial approach, and recognized that we needed soft news to sell hard news. Then he surprised me with a suggestion: why not consider a Page 3 girl? Rupert Murdoch had made Page 3 girls famous. For the first time in media history, young topless models were on daily view on page 3 of The Sun newspaper which he bought in 1969. Thanks to them and the paper’s brash, racy journalism, The Sun was an instant success…Continue Reading
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Straits Times mentioned in Joseph Conrad’s first novel, Almayer’s Folly. It’s at the beginning of Chapter 4:
That year, towards the breaking up of the south-west monsoon, disquieting rumours reached Sambir. Captain Ford, coming up to Almayer’s house for an evening’s chat, brought late numbers of the Straits Times giving the news of Acheen war and of the unsuccessful Dutch expedition.
It’s interesting because Conrad was writing in the late 19th century about a Dutch trader living deep in the jungles of Borneo.Continue Reading
Reading about the forthcoming leadership change at The Straits Times, I do agree the newspaper remains essential reading in Singapore. It has a good staff that does produce a newspaper of record. But to say The Straits Times has done better than newspapers abroad in retaining its readership, as SPH chairman designate Lee Boon Yang does, ignores a big difference between Singapore and other global cities.