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Some of them, they simply gasak you know? You know?

Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 13:29:53 pm

In the midst of a tea break one day, the youngish newspaper person leaned over and remarked quietly and conspiratorially: “You have to watch out for the copy from some of these guys, you know. Sometimes they just lift buta buta from gawd knows dunno where. You can see it’s not their copy, it’s not their style, and summore you know they just don’t think this way, and yet…it’s there in front of you and you have to stick it in the page. Google also can’t find, you know.”

Pause. Sip. Glance around. There’s more…

It feels so wrong, and still you have to just let go, otherwise must cari another story to fill the page and the subs will complain la and the artists will complain la and and the page will be late la, and Production will make noise la and Circulation make noise la and next day kena memo la.

So many times we bring up these things to the section editors but nothing happens. Sometimes they just laught it off. ‘Small thing only la, never mind let go, we will look into it later,’ they say. Or they say ‘We have to fill the page, there’s nothing else, let it go first.’ So you let go la.

Aiyoh, what to do ah, it’s wrong, it’s wrong, you know it’s wrong, but the boss says let go, so in the end just let go la, you know? After all who wants to be known as a trouble-maker, always questioning this, questioning that, you know?

They just want people to get it done, you know?

Ya, I know.

It’s the sad plight of the conscientious journalist struggling to stay afloat in the flood of moral and ethical contradictions that ebb and flow through the modern-day newsroom, desperate to uphold some sense of decency and self-worth, or at the very least, to see that even if it’s all going to be regarded as a load of crap anyway, we can at least make our story, our page, or our section, presentable enough, or more readable and credible, than the other load of crap that the other mob at the end of the hall, or on the other floor, keeps dumping into the rest of the paper. (They feel the same way at the other end, too.)

It’s a struggle. Many get worn down and make do. Hey, it’s a job, not a crusade. Some go elsewhere or move on. A few, more resilient or more foolhardy, keep butting heads against the wall. But apathy, inertia and incompetence are near immovable objects (some of those with fancy titles and fancy cars).

More to come…


In the meantime, I commend you these

The Daily Mail, 27 Sept 2011

Angella Johnson in the Daily Mail, 27 Sept 2011

But a few days earlier…

• … “Pan Am,” an ABC drama about stewardesses back when jet travel was glamorous, and so was serving drinks at 30,000 feet.

• …“Mad Men” evokes nostalgia for a careless, less restrictive way of life, floating on a permissive wash of sex, booze and cigarettes, but it never stops sending up the naïveté and backward biases of those times.
Allesandra Stanley for the New York Times, 22 Sept 2011

Then again…

Angella Johnson in the Daily Mail, 27 Sept 2011

But a few days earler…

• “Mad Men” is veined with injustices: the way women are overlooked, blacks are ignored and Jews despised. “Pan Am” takes a more forgiving look at the 1960s.

• Some blatant forms of sexism are gently tweaked on “Pan Am” but with more affection than regret.
Allesandra Stanley for the New York Times, 22 Sept 2011

Closer to home

You might also find those words in a slightly more familiar place not a million miles away. If you care to look it up.


  1. rom nain permalink
    Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 14:09:39 pm 14:09

    Sheesh, uppercaise, now you’ve got me going on a Friday afternoon, looking high and low for (local) source of these nuggets. At least give a date if not the name of the rag to help this poor soul save time which could be better spent having lunch.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 19:30:33 pm 19:30

      Sorry to have spoiled your lunch Rom: given the current circumstances, I thought it would be obvious where to look. Didn’t want to labour the point.

  2. rom nain permalink
    Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 14:11:18 pm 14:11

    Sorry, should have read “…for `the’ (local) source…”

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 19:34:49 pm 19:34

      Thank you, Miss Marples. Spam isn’t funny though.

    • gmarple permalink
      Sat 2012-Sep-8 @ +08 11:23:14 am 11:23

      Spam? Did I post the same comment a few times or something? Very sorry… Must have clicked ‘send’ a few too many times or something. Didn’t realize!

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2012-Sep-8 @ +08 12:31:31 pm 12:31

      No problem.

    • rom nain permalink
      Sat 2012-Sep-8 @ +08 15:04:51 pm 15:04

      Cheers, uppercaise and gmarple. I was under the impression that this was a new case you were talking about, uppercaise, and not more examples of the serial plagiarist’s `output’. There’s still been no apology from her or the Star which, sadly, seems to be the way things are done here, I guess. I remember two reported cases of blatant academic plagiarism, awhile back in UM (exposed by the Star, if I’m not mistaken) and more recently in UPM, both of which were hushed up. Since those guys moved on to `better’ things, like becoming full professors, I’m sure, to borrow from a now-infamous local judge, there’s a `bright future’ for this young woman.

  3. vasantha permalink
    Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 21:16:48 pm 21:16

    Plagiarism is a serious matter. We have to teach our kids in schools and colleges that it is a big ‘No! No!’. Students nowadays are taught in schools to memorize essays from guide books. Creativity is fast dying in our schools. I always emphasize to my students that plagiarism is a serious and a insensitive act towards the original writer. I am not exaggerating when i say that many find it difficult to write today. They resort to surfing on the internet and lift the words and thoughts of others. I tell my students that it is sometimes alright to do this, provided that we acknowledge the sources. I feel sorry that the writer has to face shame from this exposure but the original writer is vindicated. Our education system and its emphasis on the wrong things is wanting.

  4. Frann permalink
    Fri 2012-Sep-7 @ +08 22:57:18 pm 22:57

    ??? More and more? Speechless. Seriously? Why oh why would someone commit such harakiri unless she really thought she was soooo above reproach that she can get away with it. Perhaps this major crash to earth is a good lesson much needed to remind people that writing is a real craft that needs real talent; being flashy and positioning oneself to be seen as “living in the moment” while stringing together a few sentences does not a writer make. All that glitters is not gold indeed. This is one fake glitterati wannabe caught red-handed.

  5. whisb permalink
    Mon 2012-Sep-10 @ +08 12:55:50 pm 12:55


    both were published on the same day. the former article has several grammatical/ typos, which has been rectified in the latter version.

    • Tue 2012-Sep-11 @ +08 20:18:52 pm 20:18

      The irony of the heading “Let’s not be hypocritical’ cuts deep here 🙂

    • Frann permalink
      Tue 2012-Sep-11 @ +08 20:35:14 pm 20:35

      heh…so who plagiarised whom here? Hahaha…this is turning into a national pastime…”Spot the Plagiarism”….at least now this is going to make those in the industry be extra careful in NOT emulating a certain someone’s “writing style”….


  1. The Star still not acknowledging its plagiarism « Helen Ang

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