(Unpublished - Jan 11, 2010)
I refer to reporter Melissa Pang's article "Molested victim a 'he'?" (ST, Jan 8, 2010).
The report cited the molested victim to a Thai transsexual, and quoted various Straits Times STOMP! users as describing her as "Ah Gua"/"Ah Kua".
News reporting can be more responsible and sensitive when quoting or reporting words and terms that are considered hurtful, demeaning and insulting towards certain people.
I suggest that future reports that objectively present information be accompanied with some form of education, in this case, an advise that the terms "Ah Gua/Kua" are derogatory insults used against people who are either transgender or effeminate.
This way, such insults will not be legitimised.
Ho Chi Sam
Imagine if the reporter objectively quoted other derogatory terms from people, such as "nigger", "abunehneh", "chink", and so on, without explaining (and in the process making a stand) that these terms are insulting to specific communities and demographies. Will that kind of thing happen?
Imagine if you're a reporter collecting Singaporeans' responses to Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam's latest release. Will you report stuff like "He is a whacked out Ah Neh" without explain that this is a derogatory word? Of course, that comment will be removed in the first place. But you get the drift.
The Straits Times should be more responsible not only to some minorities, but to all. Objectively reporting should be accompanied by some sense of responsibility towards your readers. It's quite irritating when the media, charged by the government with the role of "nation-building", continues to legitimise homophobia and transphobia.
I guess this is why there are no journalists in Singapore, but reporters. Because reporters just copy and paste what they see and what they get. The newspapers not only have a role to inform, but play a large part in cultivating a society, in this case (the lack of) education.