'Oh, yes, Mrs Stitch.''...I absolutely loved Waste of Time. We read it aloud at Blakewell. The headless abbott is grand ... I put it in the Prime Minister's room.''Did he read it?''Well, I don't think he reads much.''Terracotta is too long, madam, and there is no r.'- Evelyn Waugh, Scoop
Newspaper headlines are naughty little things. They seduce readers with keywords, slogans and messages without needing readers to actually read the articles, especially when they are slightly esoteric and scantly erotic. And our mighty media can turn a local minority community's event into a State of the Number of Jobs Address, setting the scene, casting the gloom, holding up the light, galvanising a nation, a clarion call to arms, inspiring one and all, and all with an innocent headline.
But read on and danger lurks, for our media's content is neither for the timorous nor the critical. Despite the gloomy economic outlook, jobs are still aplenty. Hear, hear! Every ministry will rev up (rev up!) its hiring and spending plans. Spending plans! Because the bureaucracy can be expanded to absorb the jobless! (They who shall be exorcised by state employment!) And it won’t go into the red! Hallelujah! Most civil service organizations ride on the backs of the private sector, but fear not! Singapore’s civil service is the private sector! Anything to embellish the unemployment rate! Anything to render welfare A Dirty Word! And the Little Red Dot, World Class in a Garden City, A Gracious Society, A Nation in Harmony, Regardless of Race, Language, or Religion, Upturns the Downturn, arrives from Third World to First, Again and Again, Again and Triumphs, and Triumphs Ever Again!
O do not wonder why Mr Tharman said: "In the hotel sector, front line jobs, service jobs, quite a lot of jobs are available so Singaporeans need to have the confidence so that they can obtain those jobs. We can provide them some training," for he's Tha-Man! Never be tempted to think that the hotel and service industries are the most volatile during economic downturns! Never suggest that they've been filled up by Foreign Talents!
O do not refer to MOM's analysis of the third quarter of 2008, one that the Straits Times reports as signaling ‘the growing depth of the economic crisis’! Read not the warnings of analysts! (“…expect more … it is just the tip of the retrenchment iceberg.”) O Ssssshhhhh!!! We are no Oliver Twist!
Belief! Have faith in our A-team cabinet, the crème-de-la-crème of Singapore, with a fearless reputation so solid and fragile! They shall overcome, and overcome they shall! No one shall Do Them In! Indeed, no one can! The service sector is likely to continue to hire in the fourth quarter for the year-end festivities! And so it shall be, a happy Christmas and a Merriest New Year! Spend! Spend and All Shalt be Well! Spend, and Thou Shalt have Jobs for Now!
After that, what then? Fear ever not! The media can always craft another sunny headline! For, as the poet T.S. Eliot once opined, next year's words await another voice! As long as the headlines shine forth: “Finance Minister says many jobs still available despite weak economic outlook” in its myriad of colours, never mind that the articles are disjointed! Never notice that they bear little relevance to the original events! Just remember that there’re silver linings, even if they don’t make sense! As long as a minister says so, it therefore must be true! Our respected, nation-building media will never mislead its Dear (R)eaders with insidious propaganda or inept journalism!
O Read the headlines with our open eyes! Remember the headlines in our deepest minds! And recite the headlines till the day we die! With headlines in our heads, and hopes in our hearts of hearts, we shall all unite, Singapore Heartbeat! and march to the thoughts of Dear Eternal Mentor, and his forever beating heart! O well! Oh well! Orwell! This way we're all Singaporeans now! One People, One Nation, One Singapore!!!
(And the Little Red Dot, World Class in a Garden City, A Gracious Society, A Nation in Harmony, Regardless of Race, Language, or Religion, Upturns the Downturn, arrives from Third World to First, Again and Again, Again and Triumphs, and Triumphs Ever Again!)