Tag Archive | "Today"

Today newspaper’s spell check spoil, editor gallivanting somewhere

Today newspaper’s spell check spoil, editor gallivanting somewhere

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When you see it.

Top 10 tricks used to relieve oneself on theory of evolution

Top 10 tricks used to relieve oneself on theory of evolution

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All found in one letter published by Today newspaper.

Singaporeans are never known to engage actively in the debate pitting evolution against creationism. Because this debate does not figure anywhere in our national narrative as all history in this country either began in 1819 or 1965.

But when the debate does come to town, the result is a piss poor attempt at advancing the argument.

Two days ago, Today newspaper published a letter in response to a rare article about the theory of evolution.

The letter writer is either trolling, stupid or drunk. And the editors at Today obviously don’t care or are blatantly trying to start a fight.

Regardless, that one letter contained all the hackneyed counterarguments against the theory of evolution, which very appropriately serves as a case study on how NOT to argue against the theory of evolution.

And if you really enjoy laughing at the Americans and how stupid they are when it comes to unscientific thinking, this shit below should crack you up.



National paper touts Guinness as potential vaccine for HFMD

National paper touts Guinness as potential vaccine for HFMD

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The battle against HFMD is nearly over.

TODAY Newspaper, seen by many as the most credible print paper in Singapore, has declared on its front page today that scientists are one step closer to finding a vaccine for HFMD.

The miracle drug? A pint of Guinness Draught, served chilled and foaming at the tip.

A picture of the beer was placed prominently right next to the article, an unmistakable indication of just what the potential vaccine is. Read the full story

Where did that ‘$100′ figure come from?

Where did that ‘$100′ figure come from?

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Today newspaper’s Conrad Raj’s op-ed quotes a mysterious ‘$100′ figure. Do you know where it came from?

By Belmont Lay

Where did Conrad Raj get that $100 figure from? Do you know?

The best op-ed piece of this year was published yesterday. Did you miss it?

It is titled “Time to reconsider the N-word” and it’s written by Conrad Raj, the editor-at-large for Today newspaper.

His point? The nationalisation of our public transport should be welcomed in the wake of the recent train failures and security breaches in the past two years.

Nationalisation does three things:

1. It promotes efficiency

2. It promotes cost-savings

3. It puts commuters ahead of shareholders

And nationalisation replaces SMRT and ComforDelGro with a single entity. It could be a statutory board or state corporation.

This article should be applauded for various reasons besides its frankness.

But one paragraph in his article left some readers, including me, slightly confused. And in it, lies what is perhaps a hideous error in counterfactual thinking that threatens to upend the entire thesis.

This is the paragraph:

“Each Singaporean will be able to save at least $100 a year on public transport – based just on the profits in the last financial year of the two companies, S$161 million for SMRT and $220 million for ComfortDelGro. More savings can come from greater efficiency.”

A few people I’ve spoken to, either completely didn’t get it or thought “$100″ was merely a random figure plucked out of thin air.

Perhaps due to space constraints, Conrad didn’t get to elaborate this point. Which is really a pity.

But it’s worthwhile to ferret out the logic behind it.

Here goes: (Note that this is my personal take on it. I’ve no idea if it is correct)

I believe Conrad made the assumption that there are presently 3.8 million Singapore citizens. This information is perhaps somewhat inaccurate, but a liberal assumption that helps him make his point. The 3.8 million figure can be found here.

Based on the figures Conrad quoted, the combined amount of SMRT and ComfortDelGro profits summed up to approximately $381 million last year ($161 million + $220 million).

Assuming all 3.8 million citizens take public transport: $381 million divided by 3.8 million citizens comes up to roughly $100 per citizen.

Therefore, if public transport is nationalised, which means the system doesn’t run for profit, it would, in theory, cost each citizen $100 less a year. Because this amount won’t be going to shareholders but back to everyday commuters.

So far so good?

And this is where we throw a spanner in the works.

Leaving ComfortDelGro out of this for the moment, note that SMRT profits are reaped from three aspects: Ridership, rental and advertisements.

Therefore, if public transport is indeed nationalised, which means it shouldn’t be profit-driven, can we even make the assumption that rental and advertising rates remain competitively high, or as high as what SMRT is currently pricing it to generate part of the $161 million profits that are to be construed as cost savings?

Would rental and advertisements even exist as avenues to generate revenue when public transport is nationalised, since being profit-driven is not even the main motive?

If not, would ridership alone generate enough revenue to cover its own cost?

Last but not least, am I getting this whole argument wrong and this isn’t exactly what Conrad meant and had in mind?

In light of all these questions, do re-read that befuddling paragraph from what is perhaps still the best op-ed piece published this year:

“Each Singaporean will be able to save at least $100 a year on public transport – based just on the profits in the last financial year of the two companies, S$161 million for SMRT and $220 million for ComfortDelGro. More savings can come from greater efficiency.”

There are two things we can do at this point in time:

1. Can we try to crowdsource this question to get to the correct answer?


The suspense is killing me.

2. We can leave it as it is and pretend nothing happened.

Feels like The Matrix, doesn’t it?

Editor’s note: If the Singapore Armed Forces can always be run without profit, you should never doubt that public transport can ever be run without profit either. It’s a matter of will and the imposition of structure.

Straits Times’ reach dropping

Straits Times’ reach dropping

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But print newspapers still dominant despite high Internet penetration rate.

ByTerence Lee

News speak

Circulation: A newspaper’s circulation refers to the number of newspapers that are distributed each day.

Readership/reach: Readership figures, which are usually higher than circulation, measures how many individuals read a newspaper, either on a daily or weekly basis.


“I prefer print newspapers because all the news is already presented there already, I don’t need to look for them elsewhere. Anyway, looking at the computer screen for too long is a bit tiring also. But since the hall I stay in has no newspaper, so I’ll read online.” — Mr Martin Koh, 24, engineering student at NTU

“Reading news online is more convenient for me because I’m online everyday, so I can open a new tab on my browser and visit the Channel NewsAsia website to read. With the actual hard copy, I actually have to spend time to find out which page to flip to.” — Ms Tan Xiangwei, 20, marketing assistant

HERE’S a story you won’t see on the pages of The Straits Times: Singapore’s flagship paper has been on slow decline in reach and circulation over the past decade.

While the paper engages in an annual exercise of using the Nielsen Media Index to boast about its fantastic readership figures (typical marketing spiel, no doubt), a deeper analysis gives a more nuanced picture.

From 2002 to 2010, Straits Times’ daily reach among Singaporeans over 15 has dropped from 43 percent to 36 percent, according to the Index conducted through the years.

Circulation figures, revealed in the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH is Straits Times’ parent company) annual reports, also showed a decline from 390,363 at the turn of the millennium to 365,800 this year – hardly flattering.

But no doomsday scenario is forthcoming. Journalists in the mainstream papers more or less have secure jobs, unless they mess up big time or piss off some big shots in government. Nice bonuses seem to be on the cards for them too, judging by the healthy economy.

While a smaller proportion of Singaporeans are reading the printed copy of the Straits Times, raw readership figures have held steady. The Index reported that daily readership has ballooned from 1.32 million five years ago to about 1.4 million in 2009.

“…it tells you about their priorities. Condo – important. Information? Well, if it defaces my condo marble, I’ll say no.” – Ang Peng Hwa

This phenomena of falling circulation and reach versus rising raw readership can be explained by population growth. The daily paper might have seen more readers, but the growth is not bigger than the change in population.

Despite the apparent stagnation in print readership, the latest Index revealed that only 27 percent of Singaporeans read online news daily. This is a paradox considering how wired, or wi-fied, Singaporeans are.

Some observers have noted a lack of online publications that does thorough news coverage as a reason why readers are not flocking online. But this does not account for the fact that even mainstream media websites are struggling to capture eyeballs on the Internet.

The Straits Times website, for example, only received visits from 4.3 percent of Singaporeans last year.

Comparing apples with apples, general Internet use in Singapore pales in comparison to other wealthy countries like South Korea and Japan, said Professor Ang Peng Hwa of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University.

He cited the statistic that nine out of ten condominiums were more concerned about the appearance of the residences than getting the Next Generation National Broadband Network.

“So it tells you about their priorities. Condo – important. Information? Well, if it defaces my condo marble, I’ll say no. So I’m a little bit puzzled by the high percentage of people rejecting that,” he added.

Ang noted, however, that no study has been done on this phenomena locally. But he highlighted some general trends.

“Broadly speaking, high Internet use in a society is linked with strong civil liberties or how much people trust one another,” he said.

Culture also has a major influence. South Koreans, for example, have a tendency to help one another on the Internet. That trait probably contributed to the success of OhMyNews, a citizen journalism website where readers double as reporters, often without monetary reward.

For now, it seems that the newspaper industry in Singapore is still healthy. Today newspaper, a daily tabloid run my MediaCorp, has seen rising readership and reach over the past few years, although it is still nowhere near the level of The Straits Times.

And while other SPH papers like The New Paper and Lianhe Zaobao are losing ground, new bilingual publication Mypaper is picking up the slack, registering strong growth.

Overall, daily English newspaper readership has held steady at about 50 percent over the past decade, although daily newspaper readership as a whole has declined 15 percent, from 87 percent in 2002 to 73 percent now.

Could all this change with the introduction of tablets like the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab? Each of them have sold over one million units globally within the first month of their respective launches, signalling the arrival of the next computing revolution.

If Singaporeans pick up the habit of reading news on these devices, then perhaps we can finally witness a shakeup in the newspaper industry over the next few years.