Ken Lyen's Home
Ken's Links
London Revisited 2000
Letter from London 2006
Singapore Musical Theatre
Making the Grade
Writing Musicals
Musicals from Movies
Fred Ebb
The Story of Chess
Mama Mia
Bad Vibrations
Chestnuts 2003
Chestnuts 2004
Chestnuts 2005
Incubating New Musicals
List of Musicals on Film
Is Musical Theatre Dead?
Is Classical Music Dead?
Is Poetry Dead?
Why Read Poetry?
New Words
Nothing's Wrong
Hippie Dictionary
Singlish Dictionary
Blog Dictionary
Best of the Best
English Spoke
Reading in Decline
Too Many Books
Magic of Reading
Pablo Neruda
Graphic Novels
Writers Bar
Lost For Words
Encyclopedia Wars
Library in Cyberspace
The Bridge
Growing A Film Industry
Great Levellers
Rote Rites and Rongs
Beautiful Minds
Create Talented Individuals?
Rise of the Creative Class
Perchance to Dream
Children's EQ
Gifted Education
Gifted Children
Mozart Effect
Confucius and Multiple Intelligences
Predicting Your Future
Mistyping Personality
Messy Homes
Does Age Matter?
Too Young for Philosophy?
Philosopher for Hire
Deconstructing Derrida
University Quotas
Ranking Universities
University Ranking Continued
The Future of Universities
If Thine Eye Offends Thee
If It Ain't Broke
New Exams for Old!
Too Many Test
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Childhood Memories
Signs of Success
Follow Your Dreams
First Impressions
Handphone Etiquette
Handphones Silenced
Apple Of My i
Sex and the Media
The Greeks
Geographic Clangers
Domino Theory
Hello Kitty
Heels on Wheels
What a Racket!
Potty Training
Skip to the Loo
Corporal Punishment
Is Modern Art Rubbish?
Mona Lisa Grins
Sunday in the Park
Vision and Art
Spam Glorious Spam!
Humble Pie
Sour Grapes?
Murphy's Law Calculator
Perfect Search
False Logic
Noah's Ark
Who Discovered America?
Palaces of Dictators
Joys of Stress
Games Academics Play
Virtual Reality Treatmemt
Autistic Underconnectivity
Asperger Syndrome
Pay Attention!
Attention Deficit
Speech Delay
Almost Normal
Prozac Nation
Gilles de la Tourette
Singapore Medicine
Virtual Dissection
War Against Malaria
Into the Frying Pan
Back to Methuselah
Poetic Medicine
Far Eastern Economic Review
History of the Singapore Musical
My Research
Singapore Idle
Best Countries
Brain Drain
Greatest Happiness
Remaking Singapore
Singapore Nobel Prize
Singapore MRT Map
National Day
Caste System
Doctors' Fees
Leadership and Teambuilding
Doctor Do-Much
Play it Again, Doc
A Dose of Music
Prescription for the Heart
Multiple Personality
Fly By Night
Rape of Nanking
Iris Chang
Anne Frank
Angela's Ashes
The Notebook
Hollywood Insider
Fahrenheit 9/11 Pirates
The Front
The Barbarian Invasions
Les Choristes
The Return
Road Home
Farewell My Concubine
So You Want to be a Nurse
School House Rockz
Makan Place
e-mail me

Far Eastern Economic Review


Far Eastern Economic Review (1946-2004)

by Kenneth Lyen

We mourn the death of the Far Eastern Economic Review, which published its final issue last week.

Born in Hong Kong a year after the Japanese surrender, the Far Eastern Economic Review made a name for itself in its incisive reporting especially of Asian matters. Affectionately known as FEER, it gained wide readership because of its fearlessly critical articles. Among the people it took on included the then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, but it lost the legal battle. FEER’s circulation in Singapore was curtailed.

The Dow Jones acquired the magazine in 1987. To avoid being banned and attracting too many lawsuits, it seemed to have toned down its reporting. It remained a competent magazine, but lost some of its pungency.

Several authors gained international fame writing for it. They include the late David Bonavia, Ian Buruma, and Christopher Wood. Two Singaporeans worked for this magazine, TJS George, founder of Asiaweek, and Chairman of the Singapore Management University, Ho Kwon Ping. One must not forget that Singapore imprisoned the latter twice for his reporting in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Sadly, Singapore still has not changed. On 26 October 2004 the Reporters Sans FrontiPres published its third annual report.

We are ranked 147 out of 167 countries, below Malaysia and only marginally above Iraq.

Lack of press freedom is something that should make us sit up and re-examine our values and philosophy. It does not help that we are too sensitive about misreporting, and resort to the law courts as a means of redress far too readily.

This has resulted in the practice of self-censorship. The sad thing is that by restricting freedom of expression, self-censorship results in a muted population lacking in the vigor and exuberance associated with intellectual and academic freedom. As a nation, I hope that we will learn to develop a thicker skin and accept criticisms, both just and unjust. Sometimes the best course of action is to laugh it off.

The Far Eastern Economic Review was an important journal because it was one of the first magazines dedicated to Asian affairs, letting us look at ourselves, warts and all. Rest in peace.

4 November 2004