There was such a blatantly unthinking spin-job (or absolutely rubbish journalism) in today's Sunday Times, that I simply had to blog about it. This was "1 in 3 foreigners passes new Service Literacy Test", on page 6.
So there's a new English proficiency test for foreign service staff that was introduced by MOM in May. This was presumably in response to ongoing complaints by locals about foreign service staff having a poor or limited, sometimes even non-existent, command of English, widely recognised as a critical common unifying language in ethnically diverse Singapore.
140 people have taken it to date, out of which one-third have passed. One would think the logical headline would be that two-thirds of the workers who took the test failed -- certainly that is what immediately came to my mind.
And when you read the accompanying box, it gets better. This is apparently one of the questions from the test:
Guest: Excuse me, can you give me an extra bottle of shampoo?
Housekeeper: Certainly, Sir. Do you need anything else... extra soap or towels?
Guest: No, just the shampoo
Question: What does the man want?
a. More shampoo
b. More soap
c. More towels
Come on! That was the standard of English proficiency being tested, and two-thirds failed?? And yet the headline led with "1 in 3 foreigners passes"?? That was either pure spin or poor journalism -- but so blatantly done that I couldn't let it pass.
Update/correction: There was a grammatical error in the original question which I've corrected -- that was all mine, and was not in the original article.