THE TEMASEK TIMES

News and views from an unique perspective

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Wan’

TR Emeritus now stuck in ‘no man’s land’ with recent change of tack?

Posted by temasektimes on February 26, 2012

In an interview with TODAY, Richard Wan, the Singapore-based editor of controversial socio-political blog ‘TR Emeritus’ and self-proclaimed successor to the old ‘Temasek Review’ explained that he is stepping forward into the spotlight to instill more ‘responsibility’ into the website:

“There was a need to break away from the “old” Temasek Review website – which was “running like a renegade organisation” – and instil “responsibility” into the website,” he said, which is what he did after being served with two lawyers’ letters within a week by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his younger brother Lee Hsien Yang.

Mr Wan also felt he had to reveal his identity as a TRE editor in order to talk to people or it would be difficult for the site to liaise with public agencies and interview witnesses.

With due respect to Mr Wan, for all his good intentions, the split from the old ‘Temasek Review’ and his move to come forward publicly may have put ‘TR Emeritus’ in a ‘no man’s land’ for five reasons:

1. The new name for the site is already a huge ‘turn off’ for mainstream readers. Mr Wan wants ‘TR Emeritus’ to gain more ‘respectability’, but the name itself does not confer any form of respectability or credibility at all. What does ‘TR Emeritus’ mean exactly, new readers may wonder. While it may be easier to retain its hardcore readership, gaining new fans from the moderate spectrum of Singaporeans will be an uphill task.

2. ‘TR Emeritus’ can continue to be a voice for disgruntled Singaporeans who find themselves shut out from the mainstream political discourse in the country so long they know their identities are protected under the cloak of anonymity provided by the old site. With ‘TR Emeritus’ now in the open and having revealed the identities of its contributors and commentators to the lawyers of the Prime Minister and his brother as demanded by their lawyers, the site will surely start to lose readers from its previously safe ‘readers’ bank’. Paranoid readers who live perpetually in the fear of having their IP addresses tracked by the authorities will now rather give ‘TR Emeritus’ a miss, than to leave traces of their identities behind in cyberspace.

3. Being painted (whether fairly or unfairly) by the mainstream media as an ‘anti-establishment’ website has already frightened off many Singaporeans from being associated with it and what’s more after making the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons, will any self-respecting blogger or writer now dare to put his/her name down to ‘TR Emeritus’ and publicly admit being part of its editorial team? It will be hard to see any MP, leader of political parties or prominent political observer like Professor Eugene Tan from the Singapore Management University lending their names and reputations to ‘TR Emeritus’ by getting quoted on it. The only form of ‘interaction’ ‘TR Emeritus’ has got so far since coming into the open is through the form of lawyer’s letters and this is likely to be norm, rather than the exception at least in the near future.

4. The harsh reality is that while there is a sizable proportion of Singaporeans, perhaps as high as 40 percent who do not support the government, very few will dare to step forward publicly to be identified as one and therefore ‘TR Emeritus’ will continue to face problems getting public agencies, external organizations and witnesses to speak to them though it may now have a ‘physical presence’ in Singapore, so as to speak. It will also be unable to capitalize on its huge online traffic because few Singapore companies, including Government-linked companies and Multi-national companies will dare to advertise on its site for they rather forgo the advertising opportunity than to risk being perceived as supporting ‘subversive causes’ by the government which will spell a death knell to their businesses.

5. Lastly, but most importantly, the real ‘brains’ behind the old Temasek Review are no longer with the new ‘TR Emeritus’ as observed from its recent articles which lack the uncanny wit, sarcasm and bite of its predecessor. Temasek Review managed to grow its readership rapidly in less than two years to become the top socio-political blog in Singapore not just by focusing on controversial issues seldom covered by the mainstream media, but by leading political discourse and shaping public opinion in whatever ways it intended to through the provision of first-hand news right on the dot 24 hours a day round the clock, faster than any other news site in Singapore. The present ‘TR Emeritus’ is a pale shadow of its previous incarnation, lagging far behind in this critical aspect and has become a mere follower rather than the outright leader in shaping public discourse and perception.

With more credible and respectable socio-political blogs like ‘The Online Citizen’ and ‘New Nation’ establishing a niche for themselves in Singapore’s blogosphere, ‘TR Emeritus’ will find it extremely hard to dislodge them and be regarded as a trusted source of news in Singapore, not discounting its previous run-ins with the law and extensive negative publicity arising from its recent legal entanglements with members from the most powerful family in Singapore.

As NTU professor in journalism Cherian George noted wryly, ‘TR Emeritus’ may find the transition tough with the recent change in tack and is likely to lose readers in the process. ‘TR Emeritus’ may have inherited the original readers of the old TR by cheaply and conveniently diverting traffic from it to the new one, but it is unlikely able to replicate its success so long it remains stuck in this ‘no man’s land’ – neither a respectable socio-political site with sufficient credibility to be taken seriously nor an anonymous ‘safe’ haven for political dissidents to make loud enough ‘noise’ in unison to rattle the establishment.

Posted in Commentary, Opinion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

TR Emeritus’s readership doubled in a week, thanks to Prime Minister Lee

Posted by temasektimes on February 23, 2012

The readership of socio-political blog ‘TR Emeritus’ has doubled in less than a week, thanks to unlikely ‘assistance’ given by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

According to web traffic site ‘alexa.com’, internet traffic to TR Emeritus has increased by more than two-fold during a period from 14 February to 20 February after PM Lee sent a lawyer’s letter to its editor based in Singapore Richard Wan:

[Source: Alexa]


In the lawyer’s letter, Prime Minister Lee demanded a retraction of a defamatory article posted on TR Emeritus as well as a public apology. The site has since apologized yesterday.

The news made headlines not only in Singapore, but in the world as well after international news agency AFP picked up the news, propelling ‘TR Emeritus’ into instant fame.

For three days, ‘TR Emeritus’ was the third most searched term in Singapore on Yahoo search engine. It is now the 91st most visited site in Singapore.

The huge increase in traffic will surely boost TR Emeritus’ advertising revenue giving its foreign owner an unexpected ‘Ang Pow’ as its poor editor Richard Wan continues to receive lawyers’ letters on his behalf after he was served another one by Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the chairman of listed conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N).

As Prime Minister Lee did not solicit any damages from TR Emeritus and Richard Wan, many felt it is merely a ‘slap on the wrist’ for TR Emeritus and is unlikely to deter it from publishing more defamatory articles about government leaders again in the future as it is notorious for.

On the contrary, it is likely to encourage TR Emeritus to continue publishing such articles to entice prominent public figures to serve lawyer’s letters on Richard Wan so as to hit the news headlines again to increase its readership and coffers from advertisers and sympathetic donors.

For a site with little credibility or respectability, all forms of publicity, including negative ones are positive, and somemore with an official ‘representative’ in Singapore to handle the legal matters, the foreign owner of TR Emeritus can laugh all his way to the bank by just sitting down shaking leg to collect advertising revenues and donations from an obscure corner of the world.

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

TR Emeritus’ Richard Wan receives lawyer’s letter from Lee Hsien Yang

Posted by temasektimes on February 23, 2012

Less than one week after being served a lawyer’s letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Richard Wan, the hapless Singapore editor of socio-political blog ‘TR Emeritus’ (TRE) has been served another lawyer’s letter, this time from Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Lee had earlier sent a lawyer’s letter to Richard Wan on Sunday demanding a defamatory article published on the site be removed and a public apology published. Both demands have been complied.

The Straits Times reported today that Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the chairman of listed conglomerate Fraser and Neave (F&N), has sent a lawyer’s letter to  Mr Richard Wan, TRE’s official representative in Singapore on Tuesday, asking the site to remove an allegedly defamatory comment on its site about him.

Mr Tan Chuan Thye from Stamford Law, who is acting on behalf of Mr Lee told TRE in the letter that a netizen had left a defamatory remark about Mr Lee in the comments section for one of its articles late last month.

‘Mr Lee is determined to protect his reputation and would take all necessary and appropriate steps to do so,‘ Mr Tan told The Straits Times.

However, in the absence of financial penalties being imposed on ‘TR Emeritus’, the letters lack real bite and will only help to boost traffic to the site, thereby increasing its readership among Singaporeans.

According to web traffic site Alexa.com, the traffic of TR Emeritus has more than doubled in the last one week since it made headlines after news of being served a lawyer’s letter by PM Lee were splashed across the Singapore papers.

Meanwhile, as Richard Wan continues to be ‘entertained’ by weekly lawyer’s letters from prominent public figures in Singapore, the real owner of ‘TR Emeritus’ is laughing his way to the bank as rising advertising revenue and donations from sympathetic supporters fill his pockets.

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

No apology from Temasek Review Emeritus to PM Lee yet

Posted by temasektimes on February 21, 2012

It has been two days since Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) editor Richard Wan received a lawyer’s letter from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over a defamatory article posted on the site.

Though the article has been removed and Mr Wan has apologized profusely for causing ‘distress’ to the Prime Minister, the site has not posted an official apology on it as requested by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, who is representing PM Lee.

Mr Wan has initially told the media that TRE will issue an apology by noon time yesterday and will be complying with all the demands ‘100 percent’, but has still not done so at the time of the publication of this article.

A personal apology from Mr Wan is not quite the same as a formal apology by TRE whose identities of its owner and four overseas editors remain unknown.

Prominent journalist Cherian George expressed skepticism if TRE will issue the apology which will have negative repercussions for the site’s operation in the future:

“It remains to be seen whether it (TRE) will eat humble pie and issue the required apology. If it does so, it will probably have to take extra care in removing similar allegations from future articles and comments, since it can no longer claim ignorance after this episode.”

[Source: journalism.sg]

He also wondered if the other TRE editors will swallow their pride to save Mr Wan’s skin:

“Acceding to the lawyers’ demands would be a major climbdown for a site known for its no-holds-barred attacks on government. The site’s overseas-based and anonymous editors are unknown entities, so it is a mystery whether they will have enough sympathy for Wan’s plight to engage in a collective swallowing of pride.”

TRE has till 23 February to confirm in writing to PM Lee’s lawyer if it will accede to all his demands, failing which he will commence legal proceedings against the site and probably Mr Wan as well since he is its only known representative in Singapore.

 

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Richard Wan: TRE is “very sorry” for causing distress to PM Lee

Posted by temasektimes on February 20, 2012

The editor of socio-political blog Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) Richard Wan has apologized to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over a defamatory article posted on the site last week.

Mr Wan has been served a lawyer’s letter from Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, who was representing the Prime Minister.

In an interview with TODAY, Mr Wan said:

“TRE is very sorry for causing unnecessary duress to the PM and will comply with all the remedial actions.”

In the letter sent to Mr Wan on Sunday, PM Lee has requested TRE to remove the defamatory articles and related comments as well as to publish an apology failing which he would commence legal proceedings against the site.

TRE has yet to publish the public apology on its site as of now.

Mr Wan claimed that the offending post was made by one of their contributors “Matthew Chua” whom he did not know personally. It is not known if Mr Wan will reveal the poster’s identity and particulars to the lawyers of PM Lee as requested.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

PM Lee sends lawyer’s letter to Richard Wan, editor of Temasek Review Emeritus

Posted by temasektimes on February 20, 2012

Less than a week after blogger Alex Au was served a legal warning by Law Minister Shanmugam, another socio-political website has found itself in hot soup over an article published on its site.

Richard Wan, an editor of  socio-political blog Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE), has been served a lawyer’s letter on Sunday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over an article on February 16 which carried defamatory comments, four days after he made a first public appearance at a social media forum.

TRE was set up in December last year by diverting traffic from the now defunct “Temasek Review”, which was the top socio-political site in Singapore at one point in time. The owner of TRE remains a mystery though it claims to have five editors, one of whom is Richard Wan based in Singapore.

In a five-page letter sent by Draw and Napier’s Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Mr Wan was asked to retract a Feb 16 post and to publish an apology on his website within the next four days.

“The excerpt (in TRE) alleged that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong secured or was instrumental in securing the appointment of his wife, Mdm Ho Ching, as the chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited for nepotistic motives. This is a false and baseless allegation. As is publicly known, Mdm Ho Ching was appointed on merit and through proper process,” wrote Mr Singh.

PM Lee has requested TRE to remove the articles and related comments as well as to publish an apology failing which he would commence legal proceedings against the site.

“Although our client has suffered damage and incurred costs as a result of the libel, he has not made any demand for damages or cost.” Legal proceedings and damages and costs will nonetheless be pursued if TRE does not comply,” Mr Singh added.

A quick check on TRE revealed that the apology to Prime Minister Lee has not been published yet.

As TRE’s owner and all its so-called other editors are based overseas, it appears that Richard Wan will become the ‘lightning rod’ to receive lawyers’ letters served on the site in the future.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 10 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,096 other followers