No need for headline

In News Reports on November 15, 2012 at 12:11 am

Dear readers, here’s another chapter of a saga which I do not intend to give a headline to. My old employer is out for my blood! Yet another missive from SPH, this time, signed.

Dear Bertha
We note that you posted our letter in Part 2 of your blog. You say you set an 11am deadline for a reply from us. When and where did you give us that 11am deadline? It was not in your email to us (below), nor did you communicate it to anyone in SPH that we know.

In your latest blog you say: “Whatever SPH had done for him, the fact is that that was how he felt. I reported the last weeks of my friend’s life accurately.”

The issue is not whether you reported what he said accurately, but whether you have been fair to SPH and to your ex-colleagues. To say this is how Chee Kin felt must surely mean that we, in fact, treated him as a pariah. The facts are quite the opposite, but you never bothered to check with us. So you left and continue to leave your readers with the mistaken belief that SPH treated him as a pariah.

You also say SPH “could have done better than to pick on a couple of pars about a dead man. It’s an obituary, for crying out loud!”. We do know what an obituary is. The question is whether you’re aware that an obituary doesn’t give you licence to be unfair to former colleagues.

You now say you don’t wish to prolong the grieving process for Chee Kin’s family and friends. If you genuinely felt this way, you ought to have thought twice about including those “couple of pars” in your blog. You should also have resisted the cheek of telling us (and your readers) how we should have crafted a more gracious reply to you – after you hurled mud at us. If this is not being pious, we don’t know what is.

ps: We regret that our last letter was not signed. That was the wrong SOP on our part.

Best regards
Gary Yeo
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications
Singapore Press Holdings

Reply: This is my second followup email to SPHCORP on a deadline.
On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 5:12 AM, Bertha H wrote:
Dear SPH,
I realised that I did not give a deadline on your response before posting
on my blog. It is 11am, Monday, that is, today.

ps. I not engaging SPH on this anymore. If it wants to keep sending me letters, I will just keep publishing them.


  1. “If this is not being pious, we don’t know what is.”


    Dear Gary Yeo, I believe you need to look at your letter then.

  2. I didn’t know that was how feelings worked. So if I felt Gary Yeo to be stupid must surely mean that he, in fact, is?

  3. “The issue is not whether you reported what he said accurately, but whether you have been fair to SPH.”

    I find that this is a very common accusation. It’s not whether one gets their facts right. One must also consier the implications and impact that those facts have those involved.

    Although I do sympathise with your ex employers that they feel misrepresented, I feel very sad because there’s almost never a story with everyone’s angle. This leaves people feeling like they can never write anything so they never try.

    On a somewhat tangential note, I don’t think obituaries are meant to be very fair. We mostly cherrypick on the person’s best moments and leave out all the times they failed as a human being. Oh well, seems everything is political these days. Even obituary also need to fight over wording.

  4. One word to the unwise who just don’t know when to stop.. “Nuts!” It was how he felt! Get it? Time to stop.. RIP Chee Kin.

  5. is his email address, for those who want to write to him. I am certainly going to write to him and chide him for his bitchy email which clearly shows a lack of comprehension

  6. SPH standard has dropped. The recent report on the $7000 cabby and the articles on how limiting the number of foreigners will drive away MNCs. Why can’t they think of our fellow Singaporeans PMETs? Somehow, we can’t help but feel that G is selling out Singapore. Like it or not, Singapore is a gem with a highly educated population who are mostly bilingual with large Chinese population who can help to build up business in China. If those MNCs want to move to Malaysia where things do not run as efficiently as Singapore and there is more corruption in Malaysia, then they can go ahead. What is the point of inviting the MNCs to set up their companies and use our land when Singaporeans do not benefit? Those MNCs must also reciprocate and not expect our government to give in to all their conditions. Somehow I feel the current generation of leaders are not as good as the first and second generation leaders.

  7. So, if there are hard and fast rules to write obituary, must it be SPH way? The $7000 cabby and pro-foreigners stories just show how the newspaper relates to Singaporean. SPH is simply irrelevance nowadays… Why bother reading SPH?

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