TAN KIN LIAN VS THE STRAITS TIMES
so some guy named tan kin lian is in the news, because he's gonna resign as ceo of ntuc income. fine, he's quite important hmm... basically, as the ceo of ntuc income, he almost single-handedly transformed the cooperative
"from an asset base of $40 million in 1977" to "total assets exceeding $17 billion and annual premiums exceeding $2 billion". NTUC Income is also "rated "AA" by Standard & Poor's, [which] is the highest rated insurance company from Asia".
i'm just quoting something the ntuc lawyer quoted on his blog, here. i'm assuming he's quoting some paper, but he didn't state which. but since the lawyer said it, must be true, right?
so anyway, let's just say that this is some important guy (can you totally tell i don't write for the money section?)
however, the only reason why this guy is of the remotest interest to me is because he slammed the straits times in his blog. this is the entry in its entirety:
My earlier plan was to announce my retirement on 5 October at Income Day. This will allow some time for some of the details to be finalised.
The Straits Times heard about about the "rumour". They insisted on writing the story. I requested them to wait for a few days for the media release.
When I learned that the Straits Times insist on carrying the story, I had to get my chairman to agree to issue the media release earlier.
I had also to inform my colleagues about the announcement, so that they do not hear about it from the papers. This has to be done at midnight.
I am very sad at the inconsiderate behaviour of the Straits Times. They are willing to advance their own agenda, without regard to the harmful impact on other people.
In my dealing with other papers, including the foreign media, I generally find that they are more considerate.
as a straits times journalist, or rather, as i like to tell myself, as a singaporean scholar who is for a time bonded to the straits times, i am always interested when people criticise the straits times. part of it is self-interest: how can i avoid being criticised (we all just wanna be loved, you know). mostly though, it's because i know that the straits times is often idiotically one-sided - no prizes for guessing who or what we are sided towards.
yet, just because we are a pro-government (read: pro-pap) newspaper, doesn't mean that everything we write that someone with a blog doesn't like is unprofessional and indefensible. sometimes, the person simply doesn't like the article because it isn't to the best of his interests.
i believe that is the case for this dude - ok, ceo tan. he says he is unhappy because the straits times did not comply with his request that they delay the article until he was ready to announce the news himself.
he says that the paper should have delayed the news because he wanted the chance to "finalise" some details, and to let his colleagues and employees hear the news from him instead of from the paper.
okay, fair enough. but let us look at it this way:
should the paper delay a story it knows to be true (tan himself has no problems with the truthfulness of the article, just its timing), just because the ceo of a government-backed company has requested it to?
on the one hand, you could say, yes it should, because a delay of a few days makes no difference, and would make things easier for tan and all that.
on the other, you could say, no it shouldn't.
first, the delay would not be of a few days, but of almost 2 weeks (from today until 5 oct). in those weeks, investors/customers would be ignorant of his resignation and would be making choices based on outdated knowledge (what kind of choices, don't ask me - like i said, i don't write for the money section).
second, since when should a newspaper delay reporting WHAT IT KNOWS IS TRUE, in order to fit the schedule of a CEO? do you want to read a newspaper that answers to CEOs, not the readers?
i'm also interested in what tan perceives as st's "agenda". most people would say, st's agenda is to promote pap interests. how is this article promoting pap interests?
or, people would say that st's agenda is to sell more papers? don't know about you, but this guy's resignation is...yawn... not very interesting to me. it's interesting to maybe businessmen and adults with ntuc insurance, most of which already have a subscription to the paper. hence, st is not getting more money by running this story.
last, some people might say that st's agenda is to inform readers of the latest news. and you know what... that's what a paper is for.
mr tan, if you read this, do let me know what you think st's agenda is =)
VERDICT: tan kin lian 0, straits times 1
sigh... i didn't want my first blog entry to be pro-st - me want street cred with the anti-MSM bloggers, you know! but this case is just too clear-cut. for the record, in the recent case of the ij girls, i think st was definitely in the wrong. too bad i hadn't set up this blog yet.