Pants on Fire

I woke to a message in Fatbook this morning. A concerned Singaporean lady was deciding if she should be worried, which amused me slightly because she was already worried. Obviously the answer she hoped to read from me is, "No," so that she could sleep at night again.

Still unwilling to get out of bed to prepare for work, I squinted to the illuminated phone to read the mentioned article to see what was the fuss about.

Ah, article from The Shitty Times. What else could make people worry unnecessarily? Bear with the smell while I expand the stuff for you to read.

Headlines are dangerous.

I say that with confidence today because I am convinced that Singaporeans don't read between the lines, if not at all. I have figures to back my claim. The April Fool article about thousands of Singaporeans cancelling their Aussie PRs to return to Singapore went viral in Facebook. The reach statistics in Facebook is far higher than the page statistic in the blog. What does this tell us? That a good number of people simply shared headlines without even reading the content and if we do read, many will not be able to decipher the underlying message in the content.

A headline can plant any idea into our simple Singaporean minds, just like how it was suggested in the movie "Inception." You can laugh all you want, that is because you don't even realise what has been done to you in an ongoing process, in this case, through The Shitty Times.

So should my friend trust the 150th ranked media or me? Based on my schizophrenia and tendency to write blog posts when I sleepwalk, I would say this will be a close fight.

Ok, so using an external journalist who is based in Sydney and interviewee with a posed picture, it has to be true this time right? I contacted the journalist who was helpful enough to provide me some information;

Now it makes sense. Very simply, Ms Maria De Jusco, the featured character in the article, is not a normal skilled migration applicant. She applied for a Permanent Residency through a sub category of the skilled migration scheme which is completely different to a Skilled Migrant visa that Singaporeans normally applied for. Take a look at the Priority Chart taken off [link]

In accordance to Mr Pearlman, Ms De Jusco applied through a family sponsored skilled migration visa, whose nominated occupation is not even on the SOL. An application through this subclass is an entirely different and irrelevant to the majority of Singaporean applicants. Obviously, they do not share the same priority as well.

Is it fair for Shitty Times to conveniently slap on such a headline onto their article? To the lady who sent me the message, I'll leave to you decide if you should be worrying or not.


  1. As someone who formerly crafted headlines for a living, technically the headline is not wrong (which is the best kind of right as some wags would say).

    When writing a headline for print media there are a few things to consider, but primarily the main issue is one of space. You can only fit in so many letters and words for a particular story and therefore your choice of words, wordplay, etc are all crucial. As I see it from the picture attached there doesn't seem to be enough space.

    Which is where the subheads come in. "Family-sponsored applicants are in the lowest-priority category" is the subhead for this story, and again it is technically correct.

    Which then brings us to the readers. If the readers accept this standard of journalism and continue to support the paper by buying it, then there's no incentive for anybody and anything to change.

    And if the readers are unable to discern for themselves that a family sponsored visa (especially if they don't have family in Ozzie) is not applicable to them, then perhaps those readers are not the ones that Ozzie wants as skilled migrants.

    But for external onlookers like us, publishing such a story tells us something. Tells us a lot of things actually.

    1. "Tells us a lot of things actually."

      It does, it does.