Reader demands apology for distasteful Straits Times writing

Posted on 02 April 2012

ST sub-headline sends one into a blinding rage, he claims.

On the front page of The Straits Times Home section today (April 2, 2012), there is this story that is published:

But what I’ll like to do, is to pull your attention to the sub-headline:

Honestly, I didn’t even read the article. I just glanced at this sub-headline and immediately flew into a blinding rage.

This sort of attention-grabbing antics dealing in double entendre should not be tolerated, even in a country like Singapore, with our advanced literacy skills.

Saying that “Aids come in handy” is disrespectful on so many levels to so many countries in the world today that are ravaged by Aids.

It is similar to saying that Khmer Rouge did Cambodia a favour by making everyone equally handicapped.

Or that Joseph Kony is just doing an Angelina Jolie by adopting a lot of children.

This is sickening. And there needs to be an apology for such editorial oversights.

I do realise that the ST article in question is not even on the subject about Aids the disease.

Yes, the meaning is taken out of context.

However, it doesn’t matter to me or you. And here’s why.

This is because there is always that likelihood, however minuscule, that this sub-headline can be construed to mean just that: Aids is a disease people should contract because of the conveniences it affords.

Yes, I know this doesn’t even make sense at all.

But that’s the real problem.

Does quantum physics ever make sense to you? No, right?

But do people still buy it?

Of course!

Herein lies the beating heart of the issue: I would like to re-iterate that headlines of this sort, especially those on the front page, can be hugely misleading, especially when misread.

Do you know how many protests in the world were started as a result of misinterpretations and misreadings?

If international best-selling author Salman Rushie bothered to rename his 1988 storybook “The Satanic Verses” to “Cherry Pie Pecan Girlfriend”, none of his troubles would have occurred.

No mullah from a theocratic state would have threatened to kill him. No money would be put on his head.

The countless number of effigies of the balding author would not have been senselessly burnt around the world to release untold amounts of carbon dioxide and anthropomorphic greenhouse gases that today, threaten to kill Johnny Polar Bear.

And he would still be dating supermodels in peace.

Look, all I’m saying is: Today is already April 2. It is not even April Fools’ Day any more. Why should The Straits Times pull such kinds of childish stunts?

We all know that newspaper sales are going down faster than Man United’s Nani or Joo Chiat’s streetwalkers can get on their knees, so there is a need to pique the readers’ interest into buying a copy.

But as long as I’m required to do a double-take, this means there is something wrong with the writing.

And I’m not even a mullah.

I know, I can choose to be whatever I want.

I can choose to be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, and hence, forgiving or ignorant.

But I precisely chose to be offended in this case.

And you know why?

Because I can.

And when I can, that only means countless other people with too much free time on their hands can too.

Which also explains why there are more electrifying moral outrages than electricity outages in our First World Country.

Yours sincerely,
An Outraged Straits Times Reader

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- who has written 2685 posts on New Nation.

Wang Pei can be considered a new citizen of Singapore. She has been here all her life, just that her environment's changed beyond recognition.

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