In his speech at the celebration of The Straits Times' 170th anniversary, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hoped that the newspaper will continue to be credible, balanced and objective in its reporting ("ST must continue to be conscious of its key role"; last Friday).
These are hallmarks of a good, responsible media.
The readers who write in to the Forum page, and whose letters provide leads and tips for reporters to follow up on, play an important part in helping the paper achieve this.
The Forum is a popular section of the newspaper. I have heard of people who read the paper from the back, reading this section first.
Through this section, which is a reflection of the "pulse and heartbeat" of Singaporeans, we can gain valuable insights into how the people feel about issues and events that they face.
Its historical and research value is immense, and it would be interesting to know how it has evolved over the years.
By giving feedback and suggestions, sharing experiences, and pointing out social wrongdoing as well as places where policy has erred, the Forum contributors help to build a better understanding among citizens, examine issues with a wider and more balanced view, and enable the Government to make better policies.
They play an indispensable role in our social harmony and cohesiveness, moulding national identity and nation-building.
Ng Ya Ken