Journalist Fed Up With Gov For Telling Him What Words To Use In COE Article

A journalist at Financial Times had enough of the state correcting his language. He posted onto Twitter an example of how his English got nitpicked on. He was told not to use the word “fall” to describe falling motorcycle COE prices. Instead, he had to change it to: “Correction” in motorcycle COE prices.

For the record, motorcycle COE prices dropped from S$12,179 to S$5,002, which is about -60% and a three-year low. “Fall” is already a polite way of describing it, though of course Iswaran no doubt feels his euphemism – “correction” – is more… correct.

If the trend is such, then it is appropriate to use the word “fall” to describe it. Why is there a need for the state to downplay it?

Nicholas Yong from Yahoo also shared a similar experience. He recalled a communications staff from a ministry once argued at length over the use of the word “banned”. The staff had insisted the journalist change it to “prohibited” instead.


This is so pointless. It is no wonder journalists get fed up. It is no surprise we are ranked embarrassingly low in global press freedom.

No matter how they deny having a say in the mainstream media, Singaporeans know better. We view the MSM as the state’s mouthpiece not because we are not discerning, but because we have seen and heard stories like these. Heck, they can continue to insist on their pointless corrections. It will not change the fact that Singaporeans can decide by ourselves what we want to believe.