I do sometimes try to give the local press a chance. I happened this evening to see a local newspaper article online and it was about Rajaratnam and I read it for I like the man. Who wouldn't like Rajaratnam? He was such a nice chap and quite an intellectual too. And I thought to myself that the local newspaper wouldn't say anything silly or leave out important information as they did when they wrote about an opposition leader (see my previous blog entry here) because Rajaratnam was after all a Government man.
But I was wrong. You may read the article here.
It's fine to praise Rajaratnam. Like I've said, I like the man and anything said in his favour is agreeable to me. But this line didn't strike the right chord in me:
"Hailed as a leading Indian short story writer, he was published alongside the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and Mulk Raj Anand, whose short stories are today considered literary classics."
Rajaratnam was a great man but in the world of literature, he did not stand anywhere near Tagore or Anand. True, defenders of the Singapore Press Holdings will say that line came
from the preface of a collection of Rajaratnam's
short stories but no responsible newspaper will print that quotation without qualifying it somewhat. That sentence may very well be suitable in a book that compiles the works of Rajaratnam and whose readers are probably aware of the works of Tagore and Anand or they must at least know the kind of reputation both these writers enjoy in the literary world but when a newspaper quotes it without some qualification, it becomes highly misleading especially when most Singaporean readers know very little about who the great literary giants really are and they may very well be led into believing that Rajaratnam was as great a writer as Tagore and Anand.
It's obvious the local press hasn't quite made it yet. I have no doubt the day will come when I will pick up the local papers and read them as I would real newspapers but alas, that day hasn't come yet.