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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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Facilitating only….

There’s one word which I am beginning to swear at – facility and its plural variant. Things that are physical are now a facility or facilities. It is the case for the mega ITE campus on ST’s page 1. It’s a facility and there are facilities, like a swimming pool, within this facility. And this facility is actually a merger of smaller facilities, which are the standalone ITEs.

Oh, and a productivity centre which was launched yesterday is also described as a facility. Likewise a business centre opened by Boston Consulting Group. You realise there is no longer space for recreation, but recreational facilities. Or space to play sports but sports facilities. I remember the days when facilities was a polite way to ask for the way to the washroom – as in, where are the facilities, pray tell.

And while I’m ranting…there’s also this word called facilitate. Nobody helps anymore, they facilitate.

Okay, I digress. Actually my main beef is about the way the media seems to wow, ga-ga and rah-rah whenever something new is set up. In fact, they actually write that you should go “wow’’ – like how “visitors to the ITE will be wowed by a massive atrium…’’. And how students will “benefit’’ from an authentic learning environment. And how one student is “eagerly’’ looking forward to studying there. A page 1 story on the facilities isn’t enough, readers will be wowed by a massive graphic in the inside pages.

This exuberant reporting extends to any kind of facility, like sports halls, shopping malls and gardens, whether commercial or state sponsored. If it’s state-owned, I wonder why the more critical question of whether these facilities are worth the taxpayers’ money aren’t asked. For example, what is going to happen to the current five ITE campuses that are going to be move to this mega-campus? I read in Today that they will be returned to the state, although what the state intends to do to these five facilities isn’t answered.

When the media goes rah-rah over commercial facilities, I cringe. So we get a blow by blow on how many shops etc there will be and the wonderful play and eating facilities. I think to myself that the developers and private companies should take out an ad.
Look here, I am just asking for neutral reporting that would benefit the reader.

I think Today did the ITE story better. Four new courses, how many students, where they will move to, when, how big etc. Methinks ST tried too hard to factor in the big picture of an ITE that’s super, when it should just give info in some coherent order.

By the way, the ITE said it hoped the mega campus will change the “perception of the public to ITE education’’. In the next breath, the same ITE spokesman said that “locals sometimes still think that ITE is this dingy little workshop’’. Locals??? Gosh. I have to put my grass skirt back into my dingy little kampong house…

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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