In an attempt to incite ill-will against the TRS duo, Singapore’s government-controlled SPH published an article claiming without basis that Ai Takagi goes by the moniker “Farhan” and that the Australian used the Malay nickname to appear as foreigners. Another website All Singapore Stuff is also using the moniker “Farhan” to which the SPH has no response to. Previously, a pro-Lee Kuan Yew supporter was heavily influenced by media reports and took violent actions against a 16-year-old teenager who criticized Lee Kuan Yew.
Without evidence, Daryl Chin from The Straits Times wrote and speculated: “The posts exploited racist and xenophobic faultlines and drew a substantial amount of traffic to the site, which raked in nearly $500,000 in advertising revenue in 17 months.”
Singapore’s mainstream media under SPH is ranked 153rd in the world for press accuracy. The Real Singapore gained traction and popularity solely because the government-controlled media is biased and the news site successfully pressured the government to act on issues which could have been otherwise covered up like the NEA Brompton bicycles corruption case, PRC scholar Sun Xu, Malaysian ex-NTUC director Amy Cheong and PRC student Wang Peng Fei. It makes no sense for a website to achieve a ranking better than the leading Straits Times in web traffic simply by “exploiting racist and xenophobic fault lines” as SPH claimed.
With their non-compliance to government censorships, The Real Singapore has only various occasions embarrassed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Singapore government. It was forced to shut down by the authorities in May 2015, in preparation for the General Election in Sep 2015 which the ruling party won a record 69.8%.
Since it’s establishment, SPH has a history of spreading falsehoods and mongering fear previously under the British colonial government and then under Lee Kuan Yew’s time and today’s under the ruling party. Just last month, it’s subsidiary The New Paper and AsiaOne posted an apology and made an undisclosed compensation for manufacturing a fake news in an attempt to defame TRS editor Yang Kai Heng.
You may view the defamatory article from The Straits Times here.