While reading the New Straits Times today (Friday, April 24, 2009), I noticed a small article on page 13, titled ‘Soldiers return from Lebanon’ placed at the bottom right of the page. The content of the article is so small that one could hardly noticed it.
As an ex-soldier, I believe the press has not fair to the returning soldiers who had just returned home from peacekeeping duties in troubled Lebanon. I dare say now that NST is really not interested in giving such a report any importance, because I think they view such reports has no news value. I may be wrong in saying this, but that is how I feel having to see such an article being place at an insignificant corner of a page.
I wish to compare this to a report made sometimes ago of a group of free-fall parachute jumpers who had returned home after a successful jump in the North pole, together with a Proton car. The group upon returning home were hailed as HEROES and were treated to a grand reception at the airport, complete with press and TV coverage and interviews. Of course, the leader of the group was a politician, and the jumpers were former Mat Rempits.
Here, we have a group of soldiers who were deployed in front line duties in Lebanon, and having to be separated from their families for more than six months, and are not quite certain of ever returning home, should there be an outbreak of hostilities between the warring factions in Lebanon. I am fully aware of the threats and difficulties faced by our soldiers on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, because I had a similar experience in Cambodia. There is no denying that peacekeeping duties is not an easy tasks to perform, and yet the Malaysian press finds that the return of our soldiers is not worth the news. It would have been better for the press not to have made a report at all.
My hope is that the Defence Ministry public relations office takes a serious note of this issue, and to portray a better reporting of our soldiers return from peacekeeping duties in future
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION