Alternative media should report facts and avoid opinions

Recently, States Times Review (STR) was blocked. The editor of the The Online Citizen was called up by the police for alleged criminal defamation and The Independent may be sued by NTUC Foodfare for defamation.

Whether we like it or not, this would be the state of things to come. To protect ourselves, I strongly urge all socio-political websites and Facebooks to stick to reporting facts without contributing their two cents worth of opinion. Please have some faith that there will be significant number of Singaporeans who have some maturity to understand the discussed issues and form their independent conclusions.

As an example, look at the following article.

https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2017/06/30/lee-weiling-presents-email-which-contradicts-pm-lees-statutory-declaration-to-ministerial-committee/

Notice that Lee Wei Ling did not actually accuse Lee Hsien Loong of making a false statutory declaration. While we can surmise that there is a variance between Janadas Devan’s and Lee Hsien Loong’s perception whether Lee Kuan Yew wanted to demolish the Oxley house, we cannot accuse Lee Hsien Loong of lying in a statutory declaration.

For all you know, Lee Kuan Yew might have informed Lee Hsien Loong that he wished to preserve the house but changed his mind when talking to Janadas Devan. So the Attorney-General did not see any good reasons to prosecute Lee Hsien Loong, unlike the case of Li Sheng Wu who has “clearly” insulted the integrity of our legal system.

So if you are a socio-political activist, please share the facts that there is a variance between Janadas Devan’s and Lee Hsien Loong’s perception whether Lee Kuan Yew wanted to demolish the Oxley house. But please do not go overboard to accuse Lee Hsien Loong of lying in a statutory declaration, or you will risk being sued for criminal defamation since you will not be able to prove your accusation beyond reasonable doubts. And, honestly, how can you know for certain that Lee Kuan Yew did or did not change his mind between talking to Janadas Devan and Lee Hsien Loong?

As another example, look at the following article.

http://theindependent.sg/the-secret-that-is-ho-chings-salary-will-we-ever-know/

Recall that somebody once commented that the salary of one Minister in Singapore is enough to pay for the entire Malaysian Cabinet. If the estimates given in the articles are correct that Ho Ching’s pay is comparable to Charles Goodyear’s pay (who was supposed to replace Ho Ching but left after 3 months) and that Charles Goodyear was paid $54 million in 2009, then the salary of Ho Ching is enough to pay for the entire Singapore Parliament a few times over. Furthermore, note that 3% annual increases on $54 million (to adjust for inflation) grows to over $70 million over 9 years from 2009 to 2018.

Perhaps this is the reason why Ho Ching’s pay has to be kept as a “State Secret” and the Goh Chok Tong commented that all the ministers were underpaid? Was it because Goh Chok Tong knew that the combined salary of all the minsters in Singapore is not even a fifth of Ho Ching’s salary and so he truly felt that our ministers were severely underpaid (at least relative to Ho Ching)? Maybe it is, maybe it is not. We do not know for sure.

However, one thing we know for sure is that we cannot take the above estimate as being the Gospel Truth, since none of us have any concrete proof that the main assumption – Ho Ching’s pay is comparable to Charles Goodyear’s pay – is factually true. At most, it is just an educated guess which may turn out to be totally off the mark. For all you know, Ho Ching might be doing charity work for Singapore out of a sense of altruistic love and she only received $1 annual remuneration over the past 9 years. Hence, her pay has to be kept as a “State Secret” out of a sense of modesty that she did not want to advertise her “contribution” to Singapore. So please do not go overboard and make any unfounded accusations, lest you got slapped with defamation charges.

Incidentally, it will be quite interesting to see if Ho Ching will pass the leadership to Heng Swee Keat’s wife to play the role of silently doing charity work for Singapore out of a sense of altruistic love.

No matter what you do, always remember this one Gospel Truth – if you make any accusations which you cannot prove, you might be silenced forever, sued into bankruptcy, exiled from the country, thrown into detention and the rest of Singapore will not be able to hear from you, regardless of how good your ideas are. So please report only facts and avoid being too emotional.

 

Cheryl Gupta

 

 

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35 Responses to “Alternative media should report facts and avoid opinions”

  • Some good advice:

    A sprinkling of sarcasm detected…altho what you say is the correct way.

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  • fact or opinion lor ?:

    //Notice that Lee Wei Ling did not actually accuse Lee Hsien Loong of making a false statutory declaration. While we can surmise that there is a variance between Janadas Devan’s and Lee Hsien Loong’s perception whether Lee Kuan Yew wanted to demolish the Oxley house, we cannot accuse Lee Hsien Loong of lying in a statutory declaration.//

    yar lor. now who is the person who called someone ‘d**honourable son’ lor.

    variance here variance there. fact or opinion lor ?

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  • Bobo:

    If you can cook, so can you tell people that you are a chef? What is true and what is false, Singaporeans can judge better unless people are hiding the obvious. To clear speculations, the truth have to be revealed, especially when money, public fund and property are concerned.

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  • Bapak:

    Can you ask PAP to do the same?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Lies are touted as Gospel TRUTH by the system…it can and will be Twisted & Spin from Lies to TRUTH and who are you to argue with the Powers that be??? with pliant dogs Barking & Attacking on Command…you will be either Bankrupt or Detained…a pretty good choice is it NOT??? my2cts

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  • 2 balls:

    Your Opinion is flawed and shortchanged when viewed against the last will of LKY showing his very detailed consideration in it, that;

    “I further declare that it is my wish, and the wish of my late wife, KWA GEOK CHOO, that our house at 38 Oxley Road, Singapore 238629 (‘the House’) be demolished immediately after my death or, if my daughter, Wei Ling, would prefer to continue living in the original house, immediately after she moves out of the House. I would ask each of my children to ensure our wishes with respect to the demolition of the House be carried out. If our children are unable to demolish the House as a result of any changes in the law, rules or regulations binding them, it is my wish that the House never be opened to others except my children, their families and descendants. My view on this has been made public before and remains unchanged. My statement of wishes in this paragraph 7 may be publicly disclosed notwithstanding that the rest of my Will is private.”

    Which clearly obsoleted the course of event idea regarding the “change of mind” you had of between lky and Janadas Devan conversation.

    And regarding the 2 cents, you need “2 balls” to do what others did in a situation they know better.

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  • The Great Pretender:

    Acting “Smart” after the events story teller.

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  • Anonymous incognito:

    News sites aren’t just boring policy papers. Yes reporting the facts is very important but is having a vision of what’s the good life. What’s virtue, etc.
    It’s impossible not to have opinions. Even the stories you choose expose an opinion.

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  • Nation Of Dumb Parrots:

    Because the PAP has monopoly and withholding information, what other facts are there available to report when there is almost none?
    Only fools will discuss “PAP facts” in such a context.
    When tyrants want to nib the dafts, any reason goes. STR is right to call a spade a spade and put truths in plain simple language for the dumb parrots.

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  • opposition dude:

    When PAP says we own our flats it must be true because PAP say one so cannot be fake. After all, who is going to sue PAP, the voters ah?

    So when PAP wants to take you down you can flee the country if you are fast enough. Just ask Tang Liang Hong, Francis Seow and Amos Yee.

    PAP is suing everyone left and right because it’s the only thing they know how to do well. Instead of presenting facts to debate they would rather sue you to make you really pay and pay and pay until you cannot pay.

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  • As CI always comment:

    Cybernuts???

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  • LIONS:

    Your name sounds like INDIAN FT like Piyu$h Gupta,for instance?

    Your comment is also AN OPINION,YOUR OPINION,isnt it?

    What do you classify MSM N MINISTERS CALLING SGS NAMES like XENOPHOBICS,UNGRACIOUS N LITTERERS OR COMPRAINT KINGS?

    ARENT THAT FAKE NEWS N BIASED OPINIONS?

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  • Samuel S:

    In Singapore there is only truth from this PAP, any with differ opinions are considered fake. Cheryl G should analyse this government intends when they changed rules regarding CPF. If increasing HDB flats prices motives is to increase our reserves so that TH can have free hands to use the money. Even with so huge losses in the investments by TH, no one from the PAP or even our President (suppose to guard our reserves) has questioned the government. How then you expect us to know the truth? So we should just sleep and pretend everything is in order?

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  • HarderTruths:

    Only pappies speak The Truth, the rest of us have opinions – which is Untruth as the pappies say it must be so….

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  • Win loose or draw?:

    They have mil$ high flying legal eagles that can rewrite the Wester’s Dictionary to their advantage.
    So unless you peasants have a few mil$ in loose change lying about to argue your case, we peasants cant hope to win…even if the peasant is in the right ,but the elites didnt like what you penned about them.

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  • oxygen:

    YOUR HDB FLAT IS AN ASSET which value declines to zero over time is a fact. All other asset INCREASE in value over time – that is another incontrovertible fact.

    CPF is NOT your money, it is a fact told to you in fact as well. Once put in, it is very hard to take out if at all if you bundled it up in HDB housing – now this is not so sure of these assertions are “fact” or “opinion” even if they are “facts” for some unlucky one and “opinion” for the other peasants.

    IF THERE IS ANY VERSION OF FACT ANATHEMA TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, only the official version of politically correct is fact. Otherwise any departure or variation fell foul of “factually” in fact and in law of excluded law definition and interpretation.

    Such anathema of “opinion” thus offending of any publishing include this rumour of “fact” (not fact, but mere rumour of “factual” claim) include these

    Amazon.com CEO, Jeff Bezos having said

    Jeff Bezos : Amazon it not too big to fall….. It’s a fact that we’re a large company ……It’s reasonable for large institutions of any kind, whether it be companies or governments, to be scrutinized…

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/bezos-tells-employees-one-day-amazon-will-fail-and-to-stay-hungry.html

    And here is another illumination of rumour of uttered fact, albeit some may find it politically incorrect if that judgmental pronouncement comes from another politically sponsored institute of mental health in Lee-jiapore

    Tony Fitzgerald, QC, a veteran corruption fighter :In a truly open society, citizens are entitled to full knowledge of government affairs. Information about official conduct does not become any less important because it diminishes official reputations

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/peter-duttons-home-affairs-ministry-will-investigate-itself-for-corruption-20170721-gxfwov.html

    Peter Dutton was then Minister of Home Affairs – his Ministry’s highhandedness of conduct – was the subject of a Federal Police corruption investigation. Clever Dutton was just 7 votes from toppling the then sitting Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in a party spill action. We know that Malcolm Turnbull was subsequently “rolled” over from his political office.

    And Peter Dutton found himself in the dustbin of political history too after Morrison toppled Turnbull. The chapter of political history could well turn up very different of “fact” if the “rumour” then of Dutton’s Ministry had not been investigated for corrupt conduct.

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  • Nahrendra Moldy:

    Although still among the so-called more illustrious old families in the Asian subcontinent, the once-royalty Guptas now count amongst themselves descendants who have descended into the abyss of shamelessly trying to sucker up to whichever regime ruling the lands these unworthy sons and daughters have migrated to or find themselves in (career- or otherwise) – a perfect example we witness here in this piece penned by one of their female successors sporting a most Anglo-Saxon and none-too-Hindi-sounding first name.

    All, without a doubt (since they long ago lost their regal status in Mother India) in the hope of ingratiating themselves to the powers that be. Sad. Ancestors must be rolling, tossing and turning in their forgotten unattended graves.

    Deplorable state of affairs for a once-great, or so they (themselves) claim, family name.

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  • Bapak:
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  • bgkl:

    Disclaimer: I shall not be held responsible for the variance that you perceive in my absolute, resolute and unequivocal opinions designed to instigate readers to vote chao papayas the fiack out!

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  • PAP a Tyrannyo-saurus:

    Wishful thinking alternative media report facts. How much fact of facts that PAP divulge themselves?

    If social media is to report on facts then SG MUST HAVE A FREEDOM OF INFO ACT – PAP dare?

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  • Disgusting!:

    patriot of TUMASIK:
    Lies are touted as Gospel TRUTH by the system…it can and will be Twisted & Spin from Lies to TRUTH and who are you to argue with the Powers that be??? with pliant dogs Barking & Attacking on Command…you will be either Bankrupt or Detained…a pretty good choice is it NOT??? my2cts

    That’s is the experience I have had. Is revealing the ‘untruth’ touted as TRUTH not the duty of a citizen? Twist and turn ‘untruth’ to be TRUTH. Really disgusting. Even of highly positoned professional!

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  • ganeshsk:

    Cheryl

    Whether Ho Ching gets paid or she is doing it whatever she is doing, pro bono for the love of Singapore why is it kept a secret.

    Care to elaborate.

    My 2 cts.

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  • rukidding:

    “Chaos” coming !

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  • Oxy misses:

    https://m.wallstreetcn.com/articles/3443042
    跌势凶猛,比特币一日连破4000、3500两道整数关

    This fact should be reported.

    I wonder bapak or whoever the guy is got further top up bo since he so into it ! Dollar cost averaging ???

    Kudos to Oxy.

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  • The ugly truth:

    Well to be fair , the riot related to the 140 yrs old hindu temple also snubbed and not bring up here.

    Whereas news of the 4 seeking Dr Mah to lead democracy are publicised instead.

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  • Songshu:

    If we cannot form & publicize our opinions, then who can – only the Govt have that right ?
    Ms Gupta probably has been brought up under the Pap ‘s system that she’s of the opinion that we cannot have opinions unless it’s factual. But when is factual factual ? Are you not already forming & publicizing your opinions here on this matter ?

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  • Brilliant Sarcasm:

    On the surface, Cheryl is asking alternative media to stick to reporting facts to avoid defamation lawsuits.

    Then she started discussing the possibilities that LHL might have lied when making statutory declarations and that HC might be paid $70 million, which she described as enough to pay the entire Parliament a few times over. And in a most mischievous manner, she mocked that the Ministers were not paid enough!

    In the fastest about-turn, she suddenly discussed the possibilities that LKY might have changed his mind on whether to demolish the Oxley house (hence LHL did not lie?) and HC might have been doing charity work for Singapore by working for $1 a year (hence her pay has to be kept as a State Secret?). To top it off, she ended off by asking if HSK’s wife will be taking over Temasek CEO … leaving us to wonder if this was for the $70 million pay or the $1 pay!

    Nevertheless, the message is clear behind all these sarcasm. Expect to be severely clamped down if you make any negative comments that you cannot substantiate. Do not expect any mercy. Better protect yourself by sticking to reporting facts so as to avoid unnecessary legal problems. Period.

    (Of course, as pointed out by other readers, the same cannot be expected from the other side of the fence.)

    I just cannot help laughing at Cheryl’s evil sarcasm and blatant mockery, which I must commend to be very brilliant.

    However, I must add that Cheryl miss out an extremely important point.

    Tan Cheng Bock was denied running for presidency, even though he did NOT do anything negative or controversial to the regime.

    The only consoling fact was that Tan Cheng Bock was not sued into bankruptcy, exiled or thrown into jail. Otherwise, he suffered the same fate as other perceived opposing voices, even though he did not act against the regime.

    So people still might get clamped down even if they have not done anything that warrants a defamation lawsuit. They just need to be perceived as a threat to the regime.

    Hence, while I appreciate Cheryl’s kind intention, I do not fully agree with her analysis. The reality can be even darker than what she had described.

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  • Bapak:

    While others dare to take to the streets to right what is wrong if your government dont listen, Sinkies dare not even wisper behind keyboard. Dont think SG got hope. Got it?

    Bapak:
    This is no fake news – https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/more-illegal-chinese-workers-in-philippines.

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  • PaYpAy Moles:

    Nope!, the writing as perceived is the type of mole of PaYPay, making unfair affirmative judgement on ShenWu as one would have read it and perceived it as it was written. This Unfairly induced fraudulent perception on the poor guy.

    Otherwise, it don’t need another “KAY POH” interpreter to pretentiously excuse and reasoned as to how the texts should have been read, alluding it as “sarcasm technique”

    He should challenged the will in court and not use the Parleement to ownself excuse ownself. No amount of blurify by “KayPoh” moles will change the facts of the matter.

    Otherwise, please don’t be so naïve to think that you can achieve anything hiding behind throwing sarcasms. The fact of the matter is, she achieved “NOTHING” and convinced “NOBODY”.

    Brilliant Sarcasm:
    On the surface, Cheryl is asking alternative media to stick to reporting facts to avoid defamation lawsuits.

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  • Rapporteur sans singapour:

    Female anek writer is basically telling all you – yes, you TRE included – alternative media to basically do (what all PRC media, mainstream or otherwise, do), and, that is, to just copy and paste everything reported in The Straitjacket Times, lock, stock & barrel.

    Especially when it comes to (no-new-)news about the kleptocrazy famili and their cronies/clonies/clownees.

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  • Brilliant Sarcasm:

    I don’t think Cheryl is a PAP mole, or even supportive of PAP for that matter.

    If I recall correctly, at the time when most of us were debating whether HDB is leasehold or ownership, Cheryl highlighted that the real issue of the high prices on the HDB flats was that the asset enhancement scheme was a tactic abused by PAP to secure more vote shares to stay in power for the past 20 to 30 years. Furthermore, she also performed an analysis which shows that VERS is not likely to be feasible, since it would cost more than $1,000,000,000 every year to pay $100,000 redemption per flat. (Or something to that effect.)

    And while Cheryl asked Singaporeans to stick to reporting facts to avoid defamation lawsuits, she demonstrated how we can highlight issues (whether LHL was making false statutory declarations and whether HC is earning $70 million a year) without sounding overly accusative.

    Personally, I thought that was quite brilliant. It is a refined art compared to charging like a bull, but the critical issues were still clearly highlighted. Don’t you think so?

    In any case, I think she is right. As Singapore goes into the general elections, there is a real danger that more and more people will be charged for defamation and more and more websites would be forced to close down.

    See http://www.tremeritus.net/2018/11/29/is-singapore-a-police-state/.

    Those who were clamped down won’t be able to share their views any more. And that would be a loss to all of us.

    PS: Note the Ms Teo did not assert that Singapore is a Police State. Instead, she asked if Singapore is a Police State. Again, I thought she is very brilliant.

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  • Publishers to be aware:

    Mole gain the trust, penetrate the body and do the destruction.

    Publishers to be aware.

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  • Don't be silly;:

    Don’t be silly;

    The texts as read gave the perception that there is no sufficient evidence against LHL but while ShengWu is definitely guilty. The texts substantiate with the possibility of “Change of Mind” idea but purposely neglected the last will of LKY for which LHL should have challenged it using his sworn statutory declaration he made.

    The text is not brilliant but rather stupid. Stupid in the sense that it supposed TRE readers are less discerning in the hidden evil messages dressed in by some common sense here and there and the need to cite pass credentials to support it. Would you call it as pathetic typical mole defensive action?

    Brilliant Sarcasm:
    I don’t think Cheryl is a PAP mole, or even supportive of PAP for that matter.

    If I recall correctly, at the time when most of us were debating whether HDB is leasehold or ownership, Cheryl highlighted that the real issue of the high prices on the HDB flats was that the asset enhancement scheme was a tactic abused by PAP to secure more vote shares to stay in power for the past 20 to 30 years. Furthermore, she also performed an analysis which shows that VERS is not likely to be feasible, since it would cost more than $1,000,000,000 every year to pay $100,000 redemption per flat. (Or something to that effect.)

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  • Agent Mole:

    As GE approaches, it not surprising to dispense with Agent Mole number “112″ to “Whitten” his name.

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