March 2, 2008

I know that I am probably going to ruffle a few feathers here by saying this, but I am still going to anyway.

mypaper seriously needs a change of editors.

Even if it is a free local tabloid, the paper really needs an increase in its sense of social responsibility to the mass readers. Even with its generally positive reviews thus far, with the concept of the paper being fresh and unique, combining both English and Mandarin elements into a single paper, together with the implementation of a vocabulary bank where new vocabulary can be picked up between languages, the easy-to-understand language and the simple yet eye-catching layout of the newspaper, the paper really has a lot of areas for improvement.

On two pertinent instances already, the editors chose to focus on largely-overseas events instead of a major Singapore happening.

Firstly, it’s the day after the results broke that Singapore had emerged victorious in its bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010. Instead of focusing on that, the front page story was that of the Edison Chen scandal. Local blogger Dawn Yang came out of her shell with her story that the actor had once made a move on her, though she rejected the advances he made on her.

Now, we see the paper focussing on the Starbucks shutdown in the US (Thur, 28/02/08) for its English segment, as well as how Facebook has widereaching global impacts and how some corporations are actually inspecting the Facebook accounts on their employees to monitor their employability for the Chinese segment. If you haven’t noticed, that’s the day after Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Terrorish Mas Selamat Kastari had actually escaped the Whitley Road Detention Centre, sending the nation into high security alert. News on that was relegated to a single column in the English segment, and a quarter of a page on the Chinese segment.

Alright, I shall choose to ignore the fact the editors of the paper really have a warped sense of ideas as to what a front page story should be, considering that the paper has to be milked for all its worth.

It’s just that, for a such a thin English tabloid to have that many spottable English grammatical /spelling/ punctuation/ sentence structure/ slang errors within a day, it just becomes slightly more unforgiveable. I apologise that I’m such a stickler for details, but it lies in the paper’s social responsibility to be answerable to its readers. Perhaps Secondary School teachers can start using the paper as a training ground to hone their students’ skills in the editing / transformation segments of the English paper.

The following encapsulates a few mistakes which arose over the past few days:

Article: “Lessons for a budding journalist” (Page A2, 28/02/2008)
Excerpt: There were no celebrities with their glittery designer gowns. No gold statuettes to mark the even,t either.

Article: “Material Mum makes it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” (Page A15, 28/02/2008)
Except: The album, which features such songs as Candy Store and the first single Four Minutes, is the follow-up to Confessions on a Dance Floor, which made its debut at No. 1 on the US pop chart in November 2005

Article: “Love Him, Hate Him” (Page A1, 29/02/2008)
Excerpt: The charismatic Thai politician who is so intensely hated and loved at the same returned to his homeland yesterday to an emotional welcome after 18 months of self-imposed exile overseas.

Article: “No more politics: Thaksin” (Page A8, 29/02/2008)
Excerpt: The billionaire-turned-politician acknowledged that some politicians had ties with him, but added that this was “part of Thai culture” and should not construed as a political comeback.

There are still many other errors around for you to spot, in the midst of building up your current affairs knowledge.

Have fun!

Dawn Confession

February 28, 2008

In today’s mypaper, local blogger Dawn Yang has launched a tirade against people who gave her flak for “wanting attention”, following her front page mypaper news story which broke the day after Singapore emerged victorious in its Youth Olympics 2010 bid.

Alright, to be fair, she didn’t exactly choose to be front page news fodder – that’s the fault of the editors who wanted to milk the free tabloid for all its worth.

However, Dawn, instead of getting readers to “look at this logically”, why don’t you yourself take a step back and look at things logically yourself?

Admittedly, while this whole brouhaha is a result of a misunderstanding created by the media who decides to mis-paraphrase your entry and put words into her mouth, hence along the way losing her original intent of the story (as what Dawn mentions in her fightback), is Dawn not to be faulted as well for being under scrutiny?

Let’s take a step back and analyse things a little. She claims that “as their writer, I’m (she’s) just doing my (her) job – sharing my thoughts and experiences on the controversy” by emphasising that “no matter how chamring or famous a guy is, a girl should not allow herself to be caught in compromising situations”.

Point taken.

However, let’s look at the contents of the original article. What do we see, but a foray into the kinks & croonies of the MSN conversation of Edison trying to proposition her. (And she claims that it was a few years ago! She actually KEEPS her MSN transaction backlogs for years?!) Though she did not exactly go full-fledged into the story, but what she did was effectively enough to “draw attention” onto herself – she dangled a huge yet unchewable carrot in front of the readers.

There isn’t a need for all the details should she want to drive home the message to “girls out there to be careful and sensible”. And besides, following the plights of poor Nicholas, Cecilia and Bobo, I’m sure that girls out there already know the need to be careful and sensible. Was she trying to imply that she is careful and sensible and that girls out there should view upon her as a role model?

And the timing of the entire issue is improper as well, given how different this front page story looks as compared to that of other newspapers.

Singapore Youth Olympic Games Bid

 “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the honour of announcing that the first Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2010 are awarded to the city of Singapore,” announced Mr Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, a few minutes past 7pm on Thursday. The announcement practically sent the entire nation into euphoria and disbelief as it marks a new dawn for Singapore sport as the nation beat Moscow 53-44 in the tight race to host the games.

This is not the end, but the beginning towards gearing the nation up strongly towards the organisation of a memorable inaugural Youth Games. This includes the construction and refurnishing of several complexes and arenas, so as to provide state-of-the-art facilities and five-star accommodation for the thousands of participants arriving in Singapore for the Games in 2010. And of course, gearing our young blood into preparation overdrive as the country targets some medals to put itself on the Olympic world map (for the first time since Tan Howe Liang took home a silver medal for bodybuilding in 1960, should the nation fail in its bid to win medals this year).

It is indeed heartening to see many of the locals (or at least, those who have been interviewed by the newspapers) stepping up and be willing to volunteer themselves to the cause when the Games fall on Singapore in 2010. Hopefully the excitement will not die down as the nation needs to maintain this momentum on its journey to hold a successful Games.


While the entire nation is basking in glory over this unprecedented achievement in the sporting arena, I believe many would expect the above news to be splashed on the front pages of all local newspapers around the island on Friday.

But no, mypaper bucked this trend by featuring Edison Chen on the front page of the free tabloid. Which makes me wonder how the paper prioritises the issues – does the editor seriously feel that front-page Edison Chen news will garner more readership than the winning of the bid to host the Youth Olympic Games? (If that is the reason, I find it quite stupid as the paper is a free tabloid after all. I will find it surprising if the papers do not  get distributed till they run out everyday) Or is it more of a matter of attention-grabbing?

My personal disapproval towards that isolated incident aside, my impression of the tabloid has dipped tremendously since its rather impressive beginning when the English and Mandarin segments of the paper were merged to form a bilingual paper. While the paper prides itself for being a good avenue for readers to learn English or Mandarin, through their vocabulary segments, with the numerous atrocious grammar errors (and a few typos here and there) throughout the paper, the readers stand to lose out in their grammar in the midst of benefiting from their vocabulary. Interesting trade-off, isn’t it?

Aside from that, the article “Motorists complacent, so rise in Cashcard thefts” on Monday (Page A4) is preposterously written. Reading the article, you’d think that the article is entirely about CashCard thefts right? Apparently not, as the focus of the story meanders towards the amount of money most motorists deposit into their CashCards today, given the increasing spate of thefts, and for non-motorists, the amount of money communites deposit into their EZ-Link cards.

And, with the spate of the Edison Chen debacle going downhill, you wouldn’t rely on precisely this tabloid to stir things up again with a front-page cover of the issue. New (and somewhat surprising) revelations this time arose from local blogger Dawn Yang, who suddenly came front with her encounters with Edison and how he had tried to lure her into some kinky business when they were introduced in the past by mutual friends. Wow, what good timing of matters isn’t it.

Edison Chen

 “Speaking of timing, Edison has been accosted for returning to Hong Kong and addressing the media in the shadows of credited household performer Lydia Sum’s unfortunate demise after her battle with organ failure and other illnesses. (Apparently the Hong Kong tabloids are not that focused on Edison, after all – at least they’re willing to shift their attention to more pressing matters) Though I feel that either way, he gets the short end of the schtick – he comes back early, he gets blasted. He comes back late to let the tide cool off, he meets with the unfortunate passing of Lydia Sum, and he gets blasted.

Which brings the act to the climactic showdown – the press conference. Edison announced that he will be “leaving Hong Kong showbusiness indefinitely”. And there are speculations abounding regarding the usage of those words, which seriously, sound forcefully planned. Many feel that it is all a clever ploy on the part of his ego to evoke some sympathy against his plight and to emerge the unfortunate victim. (After all, Gilian, Cecilia and Bobo have already taken most of the rap for him while he went into hiding; it’s just the way the society currently functions lah. When females consent to sex, they’re at fault. When they consent to being photographed having sex, they’re at fault for their naivety. Little wonder that in an online survey of more than 5000 voters, 62% of the pollers have forgiven the actor but bad blood still run against the female stars)

Leaving “Hong Kong showbusiness” indefinitely just means that he’ll be able to expand his pastures into the wider market of Hollywood, where he has made forays into Tinseltown in The Grudge 2 in 2006, as well as a villain in a supporting cameo in the upcoming The Dark Knight. He allegedly found time to go for auditions, and to clinch a role, in another upcoming Christopher Nolan movie while in hiding. Doesn’t sound as if his career is suffering to me.

What’s my entire take on this? Just let the entire thing blow over and let the stars get on with their lives already! While this has taken the entertainment scene by storm, but that’s just it, entertainment.