Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yet Another Boo-boo by the Straits Times

Remember how embarrassing it was for the Straits Times when it reported that Kim Jong Un fed his uncle live to 200 wild dogs?  If you are interested in what the BBC had to say about the Straits Times with regard to that reporting, please click here.

I just saw in today's Straits Times on page C5 of Life an obituary of Claudio Abbado. The music world has been in deep mourning since his death on 20 January, just two days ago.  The Straits Times published today a tribute to him but guess what?  They got the wrong photograph of him.  Or rather, they got a photograph of another musician.

Here's a photo I've just taken from the Straits Times:

When I first saw the photo, I almost fell off my chair.  How could the editors of the Straits Times be so wrong?  Isn't that a pic of the famous Italian pianist Pollini? What? Has Pollini died too?

I then did a search on google and no, Pollini is alive and well and thank God for that.  It was the Straits Times that made an unpardonable mistake.  And I think I know the reason for Straits Times' blunder.  Whoever did the reporting or the editing of this obituary obviously didn't know Abbado from Adam.  Any musician in black tie is immediately taken for Abbado.  I wanted to trace the source of the photo that the Straits Times got wrong and I did a google image search for "Pollini and Abbado" and I think I have the answer. The Straits Times probably took the photo that was published in AFP and other major international newspapers which spoke about Abbado's passing two days ago.  For example, see this article published in Khaleej Times on 20 January 2014 which contains this photo:

This is my guess of what happened.  That's obviously the photo that Straits Times made use of.  In that photo, Pollini was standing next to Abbado and the Straits Times editor wanted to trim it to fit the space in his column but he had no notion what Abbado looked like and had a 50% chance of getting it right but alas, luck was not on his side and he got it wrong.  How anybody can fail to see that that was not the image of Abbado is something I can't understand.  Surely someone in the Straits Times must know at least what Abbado looked like?  Isn't the Life section of the Straits Times dedicated to the arts and music?  I cannot believe anyone with the smallest love for music can possibly not know what Claudio Abbado looked like.

Well, that's the Straits Times for you.  I have a lot to say about the Straits Times and English grammar but I'll save that for another day.  Right now, as the whole world mourns the passing of the great Claudio Abbado, I'm annoyed that the Straits Times can't even get the picture of such a legendary conductor right.  Why then did it bother to publish an obituary in the first place?



    Ming Pao Daily of Hong Kong made the same mistake And i wrote this little research on the wrong photo. ST is not alone.

    1. Thanks for drawing that to my attention. I suppose if Ming Pao Daily can make such a mistake, the Straits Times can't be expected to do any better. After all, the Straits Times has made countless mistakes, some of which I have exposed in this blog. One more mistake shouldn't surprise us in the least.