Since the internet proved to be completely uncontrollable, the younger and more wired-in generations have had the chance to explore the world outside the bubble, but for those here forced to subsist on the print media, one can only feel pity.

It kind of reminds me about my early days here, working at Panpac, when an article I had written to the requirements given to me had a couple very funny parts removed for no good reason at all. When I asked the editor why he had changed the story, he told me “Singaporeans are dumb, they won’t get it.” I then tried to explain to him that if their reader’s are too dumb, that it was his fault for not raising the bar.

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The point was lost on him. So on and on it goes, magazines filled with stories that are afraid to say anything, and the biggest player in the market is probably the worst offender of them all. Is it any wonder why the paid magazines don’t tell their true circulation figures (meaning the actual number of copies sold, not just printed)?

Besides assaultive journalism to bring down Mr. Durai of the NKF (who I had the brief pleasure of working with before starting Think Singapore, what exactly did he do that was unlawful?) to the running of yesterday’s AP newsfeeds long after they’ve appeared on Yahoo News, there was the most crappy assault on the upcoming Sembawang Music Festival in a recent Saturday’s Life section. Written by Sujin Thomas, it is the most ignorant and biased piece of writing seen outside a George Bush press release.

Mr Thomas makes several comments that can only be described as “snide”, starting off by critising the price, a mere $75 for a two day music festival featuring dozens of talented bands. Hell, tickets to most single-artist acts sold through Sistic cost more than that. He then goes on to assault some of the bands as over-the-hill (whatever the hell does that mean?

Is he talking about the Rolling Stones, I think not). But what really gets me, is his inference that this inaugural festival (envisioned along the lines of Glastonbury Festival) is a rip-off because it’s not free, like Baybeats. Does he really think Baybeats was free? Is he really that stupid? Sure, entry is free, but someone has to pay for it.

Malcolm Davies, who is putting his own money up for the festival, is paying the bands what they agree to play for, and selling tickets is the sane thing to do in order to make this a yearly event. Shame on Sujin Thomas (, and shame on the Straits Time’s editors for running it. If you support indie arts in Singapore, write him and his bosses and let them know how YOU feel. – Jeffree Benet, punker

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