Monday, June 30, 2008

Unprofessional distasteful "News Reporting" of Family Tragedy

I was quite shock and sadden by what happen to my comrade Mr. Tan Lead Shake's family last Saturday. Me deepest condolences and sympathy to him and his family.

What outrage me was the way PAP government controlled mass media's lack of ethic in reporting this incident. They lack empathy and human decency in the way they take pot shots at Lead Shake and his father. Maybe they feel that its a "Golden Opportunity" to FIX OPPOSITION again amidst the personal family tragedy of an Opposition figure.

I feel distasteful and disgust at the way they try the very best of putting the WORST possible light on Lead Shake. My comrade Law Sin Ling feels the same and has a very well written article on how the reporters slanted the news. I shall not go further to burst my anger on them but would prefer to reproduce Sin Ling's article here:

Singapore Press - Rushing To Infernal Self-Condemnation

From: Law Sin Ling
29 June 2008
Singapore Press - Rushing To Infernal Self-Condemnation

It was not pleasant news for Sunday, or any day. A life was lost through yet-to-be-determined circumstance. Murder was insinuated by the newspaper. The reporter was not obliged to sanctify the incident. He opted instead to let loose a devilish instinct from a more primordial period of human civilisation. He opted to bestialise his upbringing.

Browse the literature freely (reproduced below) and one will inevitably experience an uneasy sense of literate discontinuity, like a crudely constructed out-of-place road-hump on the evenly-tarred surface of the information expressway, or a pernicious chasm in the civil humanity continuum.

Consider the indisputable factual morsels:

(a) The stabbing did not concern Mr. Tan Lead Shake in the first person. He was neither the proven culprit nor the victim.

(b) His shod preference for slipper was of no concern to the case even by the wildest imagination.

(c) His defeats and that of his father in past General Elections were of no relation to the case.

(d) No photograph of a single adult member of the affected family was featured, with the exception of that of Tan's in an impassive pose. Has he been adjudged guilty by association? Did the paper commit prejudgement?

So who is Tan Lead Shake? And why did the paper see it appropriate to print his derogatory nickname ("Slipper Man") on the front page in a font size readable from 5 metres away? Why did the paper judge it sensible to devote 78 words and 3 paragraphs of readers' precious weekend emphasising his status as an Opposition politician who had a history of losing in national elections? And mocking his retired father for similar failures was supposed to be the paper's idea of relevant reporting and (cut the crap already) building a cohesive nation?

Be under no fairy-tale illusion. This is Singapore, a supposedly first-world democratic country where members of the Opposition are casually labelled, under the bestowed blessing from the ruling PAP government, such spectral descriptions as bicycle-thief, riff-raff, psychopath, and snake oil peddler; Verbal abuses one would not catch the PAP stalwarts shrugging off without launching into threats of lawsuits for libel against anyone who absent-mindedly tosses one in their direction.

The reporter, Aw Cheng Wei, is sans aucun doute guilty of making a despicable bias swipe at an Opposition politician during the latter's moment of grief and emotional turmoil over a veritable domestic (read - Private) tragedy, guilty of an abominable absent of professional ethics, and guilty of a display of stupid and shameful anti-social disposition to diminish the values of another (especially when the subject is down) for the devious sake of fulfilling the haughtier need to satisfy and appease an esteem, be it that of his or that of his powerful protagonists.

And such was his haste to accomplish his pestiferous mission that he committed the most heinous sin of his profession - Getting a fundamental fact hopelessly wrong; Tan Lead Shake is NOT a member of the Singapore Democratic Alliance as the reporter had claimed he was.

It remains to be determined which of Aw's peers, sharing his malevolent tendency, would rush to brazenly betray their thicket of putrid inner value. And it will be of immense interest to observe which other institutions (notably government agencies) would trade in their decency under the demands of a higher order.

If the same standard of journalistic sludge was applied to the stricken missus of Minister Mentor Lee (the chief of the PAP) dying under public resources from brain haemorrhage, readers would have been abundantly served sordid stories from Mrs. Lee's family and the sparks of all their domestic contentions. But alas, the Fourth Estate is all too mindful of the source of their patronage.

Singapore's national papers have undoubtedly descended into the moral realm of no-return in the course of near 50-years of strong-arm rule of the PAP government, whose obsession with subjugating free speech had effectively peeled away any last meaningful modicum of self-restraint and dignity within the mass media.

(Mr) Law Sin Ling

The offensive news report from the repulsive instrument of depraved moral is reproduced below. Get a copy of the paper and study the method of journalistic madness.

Sunday Times, June 29, 2008
Brother of 'Slipper Man' fatally stabbed
Sibling of opposition politician attacked in his home; woman arrested
By Aw Cheng Wei

An early morning family drama in Paya Lebar yesterday left an opposition politician's younger brother dead and his sister-in-law critically injured.

Police later arrested a 26-year-old China-born woman in connection with the case.

Mr Tan Lead Sane, 34, the younger brother of Singapore Democratic Alliance member Tan Lead Shake, died from multiple stab wounds.

The victim's China-born wife suffered neck injuries and was still in the intensive care unit of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital yesterday evening.

Mr Tan Lead Shake, 39, was given the moniker the 'Slipper Man' after he showed up on Nomination Day at the 1997 General Election wearing slippers. He contested the ward of Kampong Glam but lost.

In the 2001 General Election, he contested again, this time in Ayer Rajah, and also lost.

He is the son of opposition politician Tan Soo Phuan, 72, the former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, who also contested several general elections and lost.

Police said that, at about 6am yesterday, they received a call from a member of Mr Tan's family asking for help.

They arrived at the double-storey bungalow in Paya Lebar Crescent to find Mr Tan Lead Sane lying unconscious on the floor of a bedroom. He was wearing only a pair of shorts and had stab wounds.

Mr Tan and his wife, who was also injured, were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 7am.

According to several neighbours, at least 10 people were known to be living in the house: Mr Tan Lead Shake, his 26-year-old China-born wife, his mother, two of his brothers, his younger brother's China-born wife and four children. Mr Tan Soo Phuan had apparently retired to China a couple of years ago.

One of their neighbours, a 23-year-old freelance writer who saw the couple being carried away on stretchers, said: 'I heard a commotion at about 5.30am. It was hard to tell if the people who quarrelled were male or female.'

His bedroom faces the front porch of the Tans' residence.

The neighbour added that he often heard the sound of quarrelling from the house and thus did not find the morning spat that unusual.

But he remembered hearing a voice calling, in Mandarin, for the other family members to remain calm. When he looked out of his bedroom window, he saw bloodstains on the Tans' front porch, which was lit.

The bloodstains formed a trail at least 3m long. Police said that a bloodstained knife was found within the compound of the house.

A maid, whose kitchen faces the rear of the house, said she saw a woman running away from the house via a back lane.

The police went round the neighbourhood later to ask if residents had seen a slim-built woman with shoulder-length black hair.

One of the neighbours told The Sunday Times that the police also showed them a photocopied identification card belonging to the woman, who was from China and is now a Singapore permanent resident.

Mr Tan Lead Shake was seen coming out of the house and leaving with the police at 12.30pm. He declined to talk to reporters.

He came back with a child in hand about 15 minutes later. The wails of a child asking for his mother in Mandarin were heard from the house five minutes later.

Members of the family later took turns to leave the house and were ferried away by a waiting car.

Police said that the 26-year-old woman was arrested in Victoria Street at about 4pm yesterday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Death Too Many

On 12 June, I went to my Army Unit HQ to receive my letter of congratulations for my promotion to Captain. On the way to the HQ, over the radio news, Mindef has announced to impose "time-off" for strenuous exercises for the reason that two NS soldiers have died within a week. My heart sunken then.

It was supposed to be a small happy event at HQ but it turned out that our Commander has to give a short, painful speech on how the two incidents occur and all efforts have been made to save their lives but failed.

I was thinking on my way back about the whole incident and what my Commander has said, "One Death Too many..". As my promotion now will put on me greater responsibility with more soldiers under my charge and command, I begin to worry: If anything like this happen to my men under my charge, what will I do? I believe no commanders will want anything bad to happen to their men. Its not just about taking the formal responsibility over our men within the framework of the Army, but also the personal responsibility to the men's family members; spouses, children, parents....etc.

In any ICT training or military exercises, we are always taking calculated risks in one way or another. But at the end of the day, we all hope that we could finish the necessary training with all our men back in one piece. Any Death or serious injury, is really too many for us.

But there are times when we are pushed to the limits during training and we really wonder whether our men could possibly take it or not. All we hope is that our men's physical, mental and medical conditions could possibly withstand the fatigue that are imposed by the training. This is especially a big challenge to us when we are leading a group of men which may have some aged 35 years old and above.

To cut down the risk of casualty due to medical problems, the only feasible way is to have due diligence in our military medical screening for all soldiers. The question of whether our military medical screening should provide heart screening for possible heart problems was being raised in the past few days. This is in direct response over the possibility of cardiac arrest being the cause of the two deaths we have seen for the past week. One of the consideration of whether we should have heart screening in our military medical centers is COST. It is said that such test would cost as much as $500 per test.

If we are talking about 15,000 intake of NS men per year, it may just cost $7.5 million. But this is assuming that the Army did not have its own facilities to do such tests. The defence budget each year is about $8B to $9B per year, I believe that $7.5million per year is money well spent for Singapore as a whole. One Death is One too many.

We have always been told that Singapore is very poor in natural resources and we depend very much on human resources as survival. To have casualties during any peace time army training would mean a great loss to our nation as world. If such loss could be further minimize by investing in equipments that could spot medical conditions that could pose danger to lives, I think it is totally worth the money spent.

We owe it to our people for our defence as well as economic growth. It is about time to re-consider the needs of spending more money to safe guard the welfare of our people, especially when life and death is concerned.

It is totally unfair to put the burden of heart screening prior to enrollment into the Army on the citizens themselves. They have already made the sacrifices of their 2 years of youth and many years thereafter in terms of reservist training in contributing to the defence of our nation. It is only right for the Nation to take care of them and to provide them with adequate preventive medical screening in return.

One Death is really One too Many.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, June 04, 2008