comment by uppercaise
News of the NST reunion next week seems to have stirred up a little curiosity, even among media people, and also among activists. One question that quickly cropped up: why are they doing this now? Suspicions seemed to have been aroused. Fair enough, given that editors and publishers ride a perpetual merry-go-round.
This blog does not have an answer to that, but one notable guest named on a list circulated recently was the person of Ahmad Sebi. There’ll be many wondering what he’s up to, and whether he’s the mysterious benefactor sponsoring the dinner, and what that implies in terms of Media Prima, NSTP, or the wider media picture. If you are privy to this, please share.
A comment made here earlier was that if the oldtimers were only going to indulge in nostalgia, then such a gathering would be pointless. But what else do old comrades do when they get together if not indulge in nostalgia. Any other motive for doing so will usually be dealt with discreetly and will not be immediately apparent.
Implied was the unstated comment that they should all be getting together for a bout of activism. Many media activists will regard this as a marketing opportunity: let’s raise consciousness, or prod them into making a stand for media freedom, or something like that.
To even suggest that would be to reveal contemptuousness of people who’ve already spent their careers struggling within the system, and who’ve seen it all. Don’t try to teach your grandmother to suck eggs would probably be the mildest form of response.
A different comment came from nstman, somewhat of a legend in media blogs for his regular abuse of Balai Berita luminaries, and who regularly gets abused in turn, especially from followers of Rocky’s Bru in the days when Rocky was abusing Kalimullah Hassan and Brendan Pereira.
He seems to think that the gathering would serve to revive a notional good old days of professional journalism, as some of the people attending date back to the 1960s when the Straits Times was housed in Robson House in Pudu Road, Kuala Lumpur, now the Magnum 4D office. (The photo above may be from those days.)
But those “good old days” were monopoly days, when the Straits Times was the voice of the a near solid Establishment schooled in old ways. More genteel in some ways, unlike the cut-throat competition in politics since the late 1970s after the black gold of petroleum largesse fuelled the rise of instant fortunes.
And if this was indeed a “golden generation” of journalists, as nstman grandly labels them (“gunslingers gathering for a showdown”), it is difficult to discern how they will affect current practices or the future.
Perhaps the only significance is that it is being held, and that it redounds to the benefit of the benefactor.
- The benefactor wishes to impress the Powers That Be as a prelude to some move on media holdings
- The Powers That Be seek new media vassals
- Some kind of new media venture is in the offing
- They’re looking for people to join the proposed media council, with a gloss of professional competence
- The Powers That Be want stooges for guided attempts at media reform
- It’s a prelude to the New Straits Times celebrating its 40th anniversary of the Fleet takeover
- It’s to undercut The Star’s 40th anniversary this year by bragging of their past accomplishments
Or it could just be old farts wanting to get together again. Couldn’t it?
Add your two bits worth if you will.