NST Group Editor, Brendan Pereira (BP) will resign on 31 December 2006. The circumstances behind his resignation have at least 2 versions or possibilities.
One is that he is being dismissed because he plagiarised the work of a columnist from Detroit Free Press named Mitch Albom. This sad story of BP's lack of journalistic creativity and integrity was carried by the BBC in Jonathan Kent's article 'Malaysia editor in plagiarism row' - which said that internet commentators (ie. bloggers) noted the striking resemblance of BP's writing to Mitch Albom's. It went on to say that BP will resign over this issue.
NST has issued a statement that they have demanded that BBC retract the assertion that BP is resigning due to the plagiarism "row". What is probably most most damning though, is that NST did not demand BBC to retract the claim that BP plagiarised Albom.
Brendan Pereira's article: 'How dearly we miss June 6' was said to have plagiarised at least 6 or more sections from Mitch Albom's article: 'Remembering the day before the day'. Here's a side by side comparison of selected excerpts from the 2 articles.
Here's a comparison of the 2 articles in their entirety from screenshots. Geez, this is good stuff but something only full time bloggers can spend doing.
Plagiarism is a difficult thing to define, especially when it's creative writing rather than academic or scientific publication. But I'm sure you agree with me that the similarities are indeed overwhelming. If BP is innocent of plagiarism, he is definitely guilty of being an incompetent writer, inept copycat and embarassment to himself and the NST.
There is perhaps another explanation for BP's sudden urge to resign. Leslie Lau, BP's one time compatriot at Singapore's The Straits Times, has written in his article 'NST to get new group editor amid Umno pressure' that it is UMNO that is forcing BP out. He says UMNO feels that NST (which UMNO owns) should have a Malay group editor at the helm. And since the only thing Malay about BP is the fact that he can spell word 'Malay' (although he might have to plagiarise someone else to get the spelling right), he's being put out to pasture, looking for some other newspaper to embarass with his services.
Another line of thought is that Tun M's supporters might make loud, discontented noises about BP and Kalimullah during the upcoming UMNO General Assembly. BP's early departure might be a convenient sidestep. However, where does that leave Kalimullah? If there is anyone in NST that Tun M disparages more than BP, it is Kalimullah. So, might he also be leaving sometime soon?
In any case, no matter which is the true cause, there is no doubt the mighty spin doctor has fallen. With his career stalled, and his reputation tainted irreparably, BP has gone from a high & mighty cock in a henhouse -to- an embattled hen in a cockhouse virtually overnight. And by the way, that phrase is a sean-the-man original. Don't you go steal that too.