An Open Letter to TOC in Response to Their Removal of My Article “Where Have The Reserves Gone”

Dear TOC,

Last Thursday, I was contacted by several readers who asked me why my article “Where have our reserves gone?” had disappeared from TOC. This alone was alarming and unusual but TOC compounded the problem by failing to put up any note by way of explanation for the article’s sudden disappearance.

When TOC did finally respond to my queries, Mr. Pillai informed me that the article had been taken down after “one of the other editors” had received a call. Apparently this call was a tip off from Temasek Holdings advising that legal action was going to be taken against me because they objected to the term ‘Ponzi Scheme.’

This is not a criticism of Mr. Pillai whom I have always found to uphold the highest standards of editorial transparency and impartiality. However who is this unknown editor and why should we believe a word of this unlikely tale until the editor in question comes forward and identifies himself? It could just be professional jealousy and a likely story to get my article removed.  I have been  further informed by Mr Pillai that a lawyer is reviewing the article. No need, just consult with me and then remove the sub heading, ‘Ponzi Scheme’ if it is offensive. Removing that phrase doesn’t alter the meaning or harm the article one bit.

I entered a good faith agreement with TOC. I allow you to take my articles wholesale off my blog and allow you the special privilege of not having to comply with the copyright conditions which normally apply. This works both ways. You gain content and whilst I lose reader stats, my pieces reach a far wider audience in cooperation with TOC. However that good faith is broken when you remove my article with no warning, consultation nor explanation.

The alleged conversation that your editor had or did not have with Temasek remains pure hearsay. I myself have received no communication from Temasek or anyone else. Temasek Review Emeritus are also running the article and have received no objections.  If Temasek Holdings did indeed contact you then it is a matter of great interest and needs to be aired. My article continues to remain up on my blog at http://sonofadud.com/2012/09/07/where-have-our-reserves-gone/

My readers and your readers expect TOC to uphold its status as an alternative source of news and opinion. We certainly expect you  to keep us informed. I therefore am writing to you an open letter asking you to confirm the identity of the editor and the contents of the phone call. As a blog with aspirations to be an important independent media site for Singapore, I believe that your readers should be kept informed if you have actually bowed to clandestine political pressure to censor the contents of your website.

Meanwhile the summary removal of my piece has damaged my reputation suggesting as it does that I would write material that was defamatory and untrue. It goes to the heart of my credibility.  This affair is all too reminiscent of what happened over my letter to the Wall Street Journal about the PAP’s continued use of defamation laws to silence criticism. When MICA published a rebuttal most news sites in Singapore, even the so-called alternative ones, removed my letter and replaced it with the MICA letter. Even though no legal action was threatened or mentioned by MICA. And how could they take legal action? After all I was right and they were wrong. By bowing to partisan political pressure and succumbing to the climate of fear, I was instead denied the right of reply and readers were denied the benefit of having both letters in order to compare and draw their own conclusions. That is exactly how self -censorship damages freedom of expression.

Similarly, in this instance you surely do a disservice to your readers and help to perpetuate the climate of fear by refusing to come forward and provide the details of this alleged conversation. By removing the article with no explanation you become the source of gossip and fear when you could be cutting a swathe through it.

Yours sincerely,

Kenneth Jeyaretnam

About kjeyaretnam

As a blogger I hope to help imagine a model for a New Asian Nation to bring about a free and fair future for Singapore. I'm a Singaporean born and bred and a Cambridge trained economist who could be broadly described as from the Keynesian school. I'm also a successful ex - hedge fund manager and a liberal opposition politician who contested the 2011 General Election with his party. After economics and politics my greatest interests are history, film and makan!

Posted on September 17, 2012, in Democracy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I think you might have a better chance with TREmeritus…TOC really has no backbone anymore.

    • I can’t see where he calls me a liar? But the tone of the thread is surprising. Ad Hominem attacks are usually evidence that I have got too close to the truth and that there is no method of refutation available. Calling me paranoid and upset is over the top. I am neither. It’s my article from my blog and my reputation. So yes, I have a vested interest in what they do with it. They don’t own it and I didn’t give them editorial control. By first publishing it and then taking it down with the reason given that TH phoned them and threatened to sue they are in fact damaging my credibility by asserting that my article is defamatory. Fact- I wrote the letter to TOC not to Kumaran and he is referred to in the third person. So I don’t know why he is taking this personally unless he invented the TH tip-off story. Personally I don’t believe a word of it and until TOC’s editor identifies himself and verifies that TOC was threatened with legal action, it remains an exercise in damaging my reputation.

    • @ Stan, Hi, OK now I see that he is denying telling me a TOC editor had been called up by Temasek Holdings. So I guess he is calling me a liar. Interesting move on his part. He probably doesn’t realise there was someone else in the room when I called him, who overheard the conversation.

  2. Thanks, Kenneth.

  3. There is no doubt that TOC was knee-jerking when it removed Ken’s post without clarifying with him first.

    A case of self-preservation, with no regard to other plausible consequences?

    Yes, TOC has a lot of explaining to do.

    That TOC was kow-towing appears to be as clear as daylight.

  4. I also cannot find Subra’s post mentioned in your article of 14 September “Talking about conversation diverts attention from bombshell”.

  5. Well KJ, when you entered the agreement with TOC, was there any agreement also to indemnify TOC, and that you’ll pay for any settlements involving money for TOC? If not, TOC have to be practical and protect themselves from such lawsuits…what’s wrong with that?

    Just because you like to bark like a mad dog does not mean that others are mad dogs like you,,,GET IT?

    Gosh, my impression of you is getting from bad to worst!

    • Point taken. No-one wants to get sued. But why didn’t they let me know. If their story is true then why cover it up? You may have missed the thrust of my article which is that until the editor himself comes forward to verify that he received a phone call from someone at Temasek Holdings then how do we know it is true? I am asking for TOC to substantiate their reasons for pulling the story. I have a few valid reasons for calling on them to do so.

      *In the interests of basic Transparency and accountability.

      *They owe it to me to keep me informed as I have been very accommodating in allowing them to post everything I write.

      *By pulling the post they damage me, the author.

      *Nothing I wrote is defamatory so it is very difficult to believe the story of this tip off, which remains hearsay.

      *No-one else including myself or TRE has received any complaint or letter.

      It has been suggested to me that the article criticises WP and that a pro-WP editor has had it pulled. (Of course this is also nonsense -that in 3,000 or so written words on the subject of our reserves and discrepancies, that is the only bit that certain Singaporeans pick up on.) It has also been suggested that my findings contradict those of editors on TOC and this is why it was pulled. Well we can only speculate until they confirm the story.

      In any case, I feel that if it is true then Temasak Holdings putting in calls and altering what does or does not get published on TOC is newsworthy in itself. But feel free to disagree.

    • Absolutely. Just because one says and insists he is right doesn’t make him right. I think KJ needs to get off his moral high horse and start seeing things as they are and not how they should be from his perspective.

  6. Hello Sir,

    I am from TheRealSingapore.com

    The Real Singapore would like to have your permission to use your article in the future. We are all run by ex-Singaporeans who are now US or Australian citizens who have no obligation to comply with any propaganda or threats from the Singapore government. Our webhosting, domains and editors are all located overseas. If you are interested feel free to visit TheRealSingapore.com or visit our facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/TheRealSingapore

  7. In the meantime, look at how IMF has also been massaging some numbers about SG’s finances. There must be some behind the doors talks going on that the public are not privvy to. Rather odd Temasek would take issue with your article but not Dr Balding’s.

    http://www.baldingsworld.com/2012/09/18/the-imf-re-re-statement-of-singaporean-public-finances/

  8. they have become more and more mainstream. nothing credible or alternative even. anyone can link sites. maybe they need Andrew Loh back.

  9. TOC has lost all credibility. Guess the govt has infilitrated their ranks, maybe offer some “incentives” + threats so that they will sell their soul to the govt..

  10. Ken, Could you get folk to sing a “Where have All Our reser-ves Gone” to the tune of “Where have All The Flowers Gone” (American folk song) and think of a good time and place to do this? Eli.(PS once I’m back I’ll provide the 6 string guitar backing….)

  11. TOC is fast becoming nothing more than a National Spitoon. If you look at their focus, you will notice a consistent whoring for nasty comments against the government. The so called editors don’t do much beyond linking articles from other sites. While you may get more eyeballs, the quality of readers they attract are too dumb to understand what you are writing.

  12. TOC is no longer credible, please get yourself updated. They are just a mere post office without a soul. Ask around, serious readers don’t take TOC seriously, anymore.

  1. Pingback: Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Missing? Reserves « Rethinking the Rice Bowl

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