What has an unlikely encounter with SDP man James Gomez got to do with what New Nation is about?
By Belmont Lay
JUST THE other day I bumped into James Gomez at a mall restroom in Farrer Park. This was on a Thursday while coincidentally on my way to the first-ever editorial discussion with the New Nation team.
I have never met the man in the flesh before. But I recognised him. Enough for me to promptly violate all male toilet etiquette by striking up a prolonged conversation.
An academic discussion about the press, public relations (his forte), social enterprises and the shortest possible route to Boat Quay were preceded by the usual what gives, the weather and what you doing this General Election.
All under 30 minutes and on the way from lavatory to the MRT station.
Not too bad for two people who have never met before.
Shortly after, we shook hands (which were already washed), wished each other all the best and went our separate ways.
And here’s the kicker: What was a foregone conclusion to me at that time – that Gomez was going to be a member of the Singapore Democratic Party – turned out to be news to the rest of the country only three days later.
The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.
The public announcement about his SDP membership at the party’s pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park that Saturday was reported by the mainstream media only on Sunday.
And here’s the point of this missive: You wouldn’t have had to wait till Sunday for that piece of news. I could have told you so on Thursday. And I would have been a party pooper.
Or I could have waited till Saturday evening, and I would still have been timelier — with better, quotable quotes. It would have been a scoop.
But it wasn’t. The news didn’t reach the public until Sunday and it was hardly timely as there was no where to put the news out.
If only there was an outlet, if only bottom-up news and views could be credibly reported, if only there was an initiative and if only…
So this is what New Nation is about. The “if onlys” have culminated into a publication about giving you some fresh kicks from sources in the know and letting you on to what you can’t seem to find in the mainstream press – yet or never.
It is not exactly alternative press either. Or anti-establishment.
And God forbid should it actually become the much hackneyed “citizen journalism” – a noun that has been so loosely thrown around it has become an adjective to be used for purely descriptive purposes. Like how fresh sushi is described as “unctuous” or a salad as “crisp”.
What it shall be is a platform dedicated to bottom-up news and views. It will be helmed by young people who are staking a claim in wanting to be heard in this country.
With a bit of boundless energy to spare and a keen eye strained on current affairs, we are going to prove that being critical, insightful and not anonymous will lead to sources in the know for the purposes of news gathering and analysis.
So the next time, New Nation shall be world-ready. And coincidence-ready.
The next restroom conversation might just result in me running back excitedly to my keyboard to type: “Mah Bow Tan said the breakdown cost of building HDB flats is…”
Maybe the next time you wouldn’t have to wait till Sunday. Or better still, never have to wait for never.