Sunday, May 3, 2009

The obsequiousness of the Straits Times

Newspapers are meant to disseminate news or information of public interest, but is the Straits Times conforming to this noble ideal? What has the failure of Dr. Lee Wei Ling in her MRCP examination in Edinburg in 1982 to do with public interest is something only the Straits Times is able to fathom. If Dr. Lee's missive is considered to be of public interest, then genuine letters of public interest should not be rejected out of hand. Is the public asked to believe that this is not because Dr. Lee is the daughter of MM Lee?

More than a month ago, the Sunday Times gave prominence to a missive by Dr. Lee purporting to give a low-down on her decision to remain single. Again, what possible public interest that this had on the general public will only be known to the obsequious Straits Times group. Even on that occasion she professed to be upfront on the reasons for her remaining single, but could she have left some important details out? It was common knowledge, especially among her contemporaries in Boston, USA, that she was romantically involved with a young Singapore Indian from a reputable judicial family in Singapore. It was a serious affair and could have led to a tying of knot but for an opposition from a not entirely unexpected quarter. Dr. Lee's mother,nicknamed the empress dowager, for some esoteric reason best known to herself, decided against the Indo-Sino romance which came as no small blow to the two love-birds, especially Dr. Lee. Being brought up in strict Chinese tradition, especially where filial piety was concerned,Dr. Lee had no choice but to show obeisance to her mother's wish. What role MM Lee played in all this was not very clear but he would not have the audacity to disagree with the dowager. There was no reason to think that, if not opposed, the marriage would not have been a happy one, but by this cruel twist, Dr. Lee is now consiged to a life of solitariness, perhaps not without some merriness.

It may be that Dr. Lee finds solace in sharing her solitariness with her readers and finds it convenient doing it via the Straits Times column. The Stratis Times may be doing a service to her because of her father but the newspaper should be careful of double standards. Would the
newspaper provide the same kind of service to other lonely hearts?

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