Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Black Letter Days

Today's a black letter day. Print journalism in Singapore has taken another step forward, albeit out of the same stable that controls most of the country's print media.

On my morning run into work I have to run (and I use this term figuratively as no one in their right mind actually runs to work in Singapore's humidity) a gauntlet of curry puff salesmen, itinerant and discordant erhu players and newspaper distributors.

As I have written before, speed of mobility is not much in evidence in a Singaporean morning and most of my fellow commuters look and act as if they are still half asleep - which probably they are.

This in turn translates to the bovine gait that effectively blocks anyone with the motivation to get to work quicker along the crowded pavements.

Normally the few hardy souls who are in a rush walk around the pavement blockers, often taking to the road verge to do so. The problem is exacerbated when the person you are trying to pass takes a call on their mobile phone (often) or slows even further to pick up the free morning paper, My Paper. Not content with this collection they then slow still further to read the headlines.

Up until now, My Paper has had little appeal to me mainly because it was written entirely in Chinese, a language in which I am woefully deficient.

However today, the first bilingual edition of My Paper hit the streets. If one includes the advertising lift-out there are sixty five English pages to digest enroute.

While not the highest quality of journalism and leaning toward the tabloid end of the spectrum, My Paper nevertheless fills a market niche. So today I weakened and did what thousands of Singaporeans do - I slowed down and grabbed a copy.

Now all I need is a curry puff.

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