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Bertha HarianBertha Harian


Graphics needed

When it comes to instant news graphics, I’ve always thought the TNP unbeatable. It does it again with a graphic on the jack-up rig in Jurong shipyard which collapsed. It described the parts of the rig, where the workers’ living quarters were and looked at the jacking mechanism which apparently failed causing the rig to tilt.  I learnt about this thing called a spud can – shoes that secure the legs of the rig to the seabed. Canned potatoes?

I’m not sure though about why TNP made a big deal about there being only one single-file gangway for the workers to get to safety. Is there supposed to be more than one? What if the rig was offshore? No gangway then.

I was also interested in one unnamed oil rig expert’s view that the failure of jacking mechanisms usually happen off shore – and not in a shipyard, except for one case he recalled that happened in Korea. I wonder what happened over there.

(While I am on this, I was interested to read in ST that the shipyard did NOT call for emergency help. I suppose the shipyard thought it could handle the cases on its own? It was members of the public which alerted the civil defence people.)

I wish the TNP did more graphics beyond the death and disaster types. I’m referring to two big stories that I have some difficulty following today: the possible SIA-Virgin split and Olam’s rights issue response to Carson Block.

I thought BT did the best in both stories, in explaining the issues and using rather fine language that didn’t descend into financial jargon.

I learnt from BT about the history of the SIA-Virgin marriage and how SIA thought it would reap the benefits of Virgin’s access to the American eastern seaboard when it bought a stake in the carrier – but got only the occasional dividends. Housekeeping allowance, I suppose.

There’s some kind of cold war on: how Virgin didn’t want SIA having a say in its management. And how SIA bars Virgin from competing with it in the Asia-Pacific region.

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I liked how BT explained that this advantage was more or less erased when SIA was granted rights to fly to US from London. Still, because Heathrow was crowded, the Virgin connection was useful.

In other words, it wasn’t a marriage on the rocks as described by BT methinks,  more like an indifferent, cold marriage which can be dissolved amicably now that there is a potential buyer for SIA’s Virgin stake.

Now could TNP have presented the issue graphically? I think so. What about a couple fighting over the world  with an atlas in background and details of the SIA-Virgin connections including those to Australia?

Likewise BT explained Olam’s latest move to counter short seller Carson Block – in text. It did creditably methinks as even Sunny Verghese said the rights/warrants deal was a complicated structure for the layman to understand. The main reason for Olam’s move, I THINK, was to get those who lent their shares to Carson Block to get them back from him because some better deals are in store for them. That’s my flimsy understanding of the issue.

Of course, some people would argue that readers of TNP aren’t interested in financial deals. Maybe so. It’s a waste. Because I don’t see other media doing good enough explanatory graphics.


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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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