Monday, March 17, 2014

Charlotte Ashtons: Because she was former BBC

I heard this discussed on FM 93.8 this morning. It was all over the place on Facebook. The PM got into it and so did some of his ministers. I was trying to understand what's the big deal. What had Charlotte Ashtons written that was revolutionary. Finally I concluded there was nothing new except that it was the BBC. Sigh!

Do you think Ms Ashtons would even be given that space for her article were she not previously with the BBC? I am disappointed. I expected more from the venerable organization. But it is also a reminder and wake up call that the BBC has over they years changed and frequently not for the better. So has every major media company. Viewers and readers have been lazy and apathetic. We have failed to hold them to account, to higher standards. Some do but there are too few of them. Over time our disappointment will grow. Eventually a threshold would be reached and then the day of reckoning.

Singapolitics article.

Update: March 18 9:35 am

A very irresponsible Charlotte Ashton but BBC is complicit for allowing this. The global low standards had infected the BBC and this is not the first time. Someone left a comment here reminding us of the occasion when the BBC went undercover in North Korea putting all the visitors at risk.

Most regrettable that our leaders fell for it. They should have avoided commenting. Listening to the radio this morning, our President's remarks at Chinatown Library on compassion showed he was as clueless.

The media have become very short term looking for eyeballs to the point of mortgaging their credibility. Journalists and editors do not care because the people who will suffer are those who haven't join the industry yet. In fact the industry will eventually lose its right to exist in its current form, but as the need for information remains, something else will replace them.


  1. I think our ministers should take the trains incognito and figure out who are the people who tend to occupy the seats (especially those meant for the more needy) and do not give up to those in need. Take a count as to how many of those are really the foreign workers. I have come across many young Singapore students ready to offer their seats even when they are not seated in the places meant for the more needy

    1. you will only see LHL driving a taxi incognito (like the danish one) when he's about to lose his election.

  2. BBC apologises to university for undercover trip to North Korea

    LONDON (REUTERS) - The BBC apologised on Monday to a leading British university for sending two undercover reporters to accompany an academic trip to North Korea, after an internal investigation found that it had failed to inform students of the potential risks.

  3. Charlotte was ultimately using her own personal experience to justify Singapore's ranking on the global survey that found it to be the least positive country in the world. Many people did not realize this and assumed she was using her single experience to judge the whole of Singapore.

    Charlotte's article was ultimately meant to open up the discussion on this lack of compassion she witnessed.

    I have thought about the question of why Singaporeans can be seen as miserable. The following is my answer.

    Charlotte Ashton was using her own personal experience to make sense of Singapore’s ranking on the global survey that found it to be the least positive country in the world. Many people did not realize this and assumed she was using her single experience to judge the whole of Singapore.

    Even though Charlotte Ashton’s article from the BBC is not a big survey of Singapore’s level of graciousness, her experience on a public train that eventually led to her feeling unhappy is a cause for consideration for all locals.

    I think that the ability to practice graciousness in public is based largely on one’s ability to be socially-responsive, empathetic and courageous(ability to adapt well in uncommon situations). These qualities would allow a person to react adequately to those in need.

    Although I do feel that many Singaporeans do possess empathy, I feel that the qualities of social-responsiveness and courage are under-developed in most, which has led to them being perceived as being indifferent and uncaring in public.

    Native Singaporeans are commonly brought up in very strict Asian households that instilled subservience from a young age. This, as well as Singapore’s rote-learning education system, do not provide much encouragement for us to think on our own. The added pressure to be intensely competitive in terms of studies and work has made us even less focused in such a crucial skill.

    The overall lack of social-responsiveness has many times in the past gotten the general youth in Singapore to be perceived as being politically apathetic.

    Professional medical staff in Singapore are well-trained to take charge of demanding medical-related situations so they stand ready to help those in need. I am quite certain if such medical staff were present during Ms Ashton’s plight on her train, they would have immediately assisted her without a thought.

    Regarding my thoughts on the train passengers who did not assist Ms Ashton, it is difficult to know if they were actually being indifferent and uncaring towards her plight. Their lack of social-responsiveness and lack of courage are also factors needed to be considered.

    The qualities of social-responsiveness, empathy and courage are much needed to overcome adversity to create liberation that can make one feel happy. The lack of such qualities could keep one stagnant in misery.