Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reading the message in the picture (or between the lines)

This photo appeared in one mainstream newspaper
recently. They are trying to tell you
things, but they do it in such subtle ways.
People with critical minds should notice such things. For the Mister McGoos* here’s a hint: Read
what's printed on his T-shirt. (click on the photo to get a clearer view)

I once saw a centre-spread in a major newspaper featuring
views of the tsunami disaster which hit Penang some
years ago. There were pictures showing
wrecked homes, boats swept onto roads, cars deep in mud and volunteers sweeping
and washing out houses. There was photo
of a group of people in uniform sitting under a huge tree. The caption said something like 'relief
workers taking a break'. Their shoes
were still shining and their uniforms looked like they were freshly
ironed. One question just popped up in
my mind. "Why do these guys look
like they've been sitting there for a lot longer than just to pose for a
picture? The paper wanted to tell us more, but they're just being polite. Or maybe they're afraid to offend some people, create an uproar and then get their license chopped.

Recently I saw another picture in the papers which caused me
to exclaim out loud enough for my teenager to come running, wanting to know
what the matter was. I asked her to look
at a picture and tell me what was wrong with it. She couldn't.
I asked her to count the number of soldiers in a motorized boat that was
rescuing flood victims. There were seven
of them. You could recognize them
because they’re in uniform. Then I told
her to count the number of flood victims in the boat. Three.
Is that a standard rule that they need to have so many personnel in one
rescue boat? If not, what were those
excess baggage doing in a rescue boat?

Right. I think I've
said enough to get these things off my chest.
I hope there are more critical minds in here than I'm aware of because
that’s my drift. I’m trying to get more
folks to be more critical. To try read
between the lines. I'm not as big as Rocky
I can't stand much heat so I'm staying out of the kitchen. I can only drop hints here and there and walk
around on tiptoes. Rather be doing
something at the drawing board. But I'll be keeping my eyes oh this gent too: http://www.jeffooi.com/


*folks who read right through without wondering,
‘what’s up?’


  1. this is a running joke in my country:
    Thief (nudges gun against victim's torso): "This is a stick-up!! I'm taking your money!"
    Victim: "You low-life! Don't you know who I am?! I'm a Senator!"
    Thief: "Oh really? In that case, i'm taking MY money back!"

  2. This is a pretty interesting note. People tend to read the papers while doing something else (haha) and aren't usually focused on the subtleties or the meaning in between the lines. It's true that there are more than one way to look at something. For example, about the workers with their shining shoes and clean uniform: It could be that the photographer waited for them to clean up prior to taking a picture because they wanted to look good on the newspaper. It's not the most probable view, but it's still another perspective and one that is certainly tinted with the bias of the reader. The truth is still up for debate for anyone that is not actually there. Having a critical mind is certainly a good thing, but beware of feeding it through a tunneled vision. Just being a devil's advocate here...

  3. Thanks. That's the kind of feedback I hoped to get. I admit once in a while I find myself in that tunnel...

  4. I looked up the word politics in the dictionary, and it's actually a
    combination of two words: poli, which means "many," and tics,
    which means "bloodsuckers."
    —Jay Leno