I started reading The Straits Times (now New Straits Times) when I was in Standard Four in 1962 when I studied at Batu Road Boys School 2, Kuala Lumpur. It cost 15 sen then.
I had to have the NST every morning, which my mum would buy for me. If she was busy selling food, I would go to the shop and buy it. I cannot remember my favourite column.
The Straits Times’ front-page story on the birth of Malaya on Aug 3, 1957.
But, certainly, the editorial was out as it was too high sounding and difficult to understand. But I read all the news about the Vietnam war, Arab-Israeli skirmishes, sports and cartoons. I remember keeping up with the English league as Manchester United was and still is my favourite team.
At that tender age, I also supported Derby County and Leeds United.
Over the years and till today, the NST is still my cup of tea. I feel there is something missing if I don’t read it at breakfast.
There is something about the NST that attracts me as it has the “oommmph” over other newspapers. I am not exaggerating if I say that it is good reading compared with many United States and British newspapers as it gives a wide coverage of local and foreign events.
I find the reporting to be fair, balanced and transparent with the goal of creating a knowledge-based society. Of course, there are those who see the NST as a government mouthpiece.
As educated readers, we should read it with an open mind and not rubbish it. Despite all the knowledge we can get from the NST, Johan observed: “The New Straits Times used to be the biggest-selling newspaper. It isn’t now. It’s readership is dwindling, but so too other major newspapers the world over...”
There are reasons for it. In the case of NST, the main reason for the “dwindling readership” is not so much due to competition, but mainly due to the present generation being unable to read it as their level of proficiency in English is weak.
It was not the case when students sat for their Senior Cambridge in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.
I agree that the hallmark of NST that keeps it going is the culture of “thriving for excellence”. There are many good articles written by international personalities on various issues.
Local columnists also contribute great articles. Perhaps the editorial should use simpler language so that the message is easily understood.
Many times, reading it can be laborious.