Thursday, June 26, 2008

The 2-day hypothesis

From the Straits Times, 26 June 2008 (Print Edition)
Passport blunders leave S'poreans stranded
By Jessica Lim

SINGAPOREANS are a negligent lot when it comes to passports, travel agents told The Straits Times on Wednesday.

It is not common for travellers to make a mad dash to the airport with the wrong passport, some said, but added that,more often, they show up at the airport with expired passports or without the required visas.

Some forget their passports altogether.

Travel agencies contacted by The Straits Times say they make it a practice to call travellers before their flights with reminders to pack their passports and check that everything is in order.

Despite this, one in 10 will goof up every month.

At least one travel agency, Hong Thai Travel, has briefed its employees to be more vigilant about passports following an incident on Monday in which a 61-year-old retiree cleared all checks at Changi Airport's Budget Terminal after having mistakenly taken his son's passport.

He realised the error during his flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival and informing the Vietnamese authorities, he was immediately put on a return flight here.

Agents said passengers without travel papers in order inconvenience others. Some cause flight delays; a number miss their flights altogether.

Read the full story in Thursday's edition of The Straits Times.

I have a hypothesis that it generally takes about 2 days after negative news breaks for the Straits Times to enter the spin control cycle (sounds like a setting on a washing machine).

After the passport blunder reported two days ago, today we have an article that deflects attention from the security lapse to focus on Singaporeans' negligence, carelessness and yes, complacency. It dovetails nicely with the front page's report on MM Lee's comment that due to a "freak election result" (entirely out of the ordinary in a democracy), because Singaporeans get "bored", Singapore could be ruined in just a short 5 years.

I will leave the blogging on this to socio-political bloggers like Mr Wang. I prefer to focus on how the mainstream media manages the newsflow, and on how my 2-day hypothesis holds up as I note down more examples of news management in the future.

[I have retagged posts that deal with this as "straits times spin". Unless I discuss the content of the articles themselves, these posts will not carry the tags of "straits times" or "news". Indeed, definitely not "news".]

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