Every morning before starting work I read the news online from my office computer. Due do time time constraints I mostly read only the headlines and will only read the full news of interesting subjects. One particular headline yesterday caught my attention. It was written 'Datuk killed fleeing robbers'. It was one of the headlines of the Star newspaper.
My first thought after reading the headline was this Datuk must the Malaysian version of Dirty Harry's Harry Callahan or Lethal Weapon's Martin Riggs. He also must be using something like Callahan's Magnum or a machine gun. Otherwise how did he manage to kill more than one robber who were on the run.
Only after reading the first few lines of the story did I realise that it was the Datuk who was really killed while fleeing from armed robbers. In other words the heroic headline was for a tragic story.
I printed the story and tested a few of my friends who understand English at all. I am sad to say that I have very very friends of this kind. I only showed them the headline and asked them what they understand by it. Most of them shared my initial thought. Only one young lady colleague of mine thought otherwise. What she tought concurred with the full and tragic story.
I did not see the printed version of the Star as sold in the newstands yesterday.
In the late afternoon after opening my house computer I realised that the Star had amended the headline by inserting the word 'while' between 'killed' and 'fleeing'. It had become 'Datuk killed while fleeing robbers'. It was now a tragic headline to a tragic story. I congratulate the Star for correcting what must surely be an unintentional mistake.
I offer my condolences to the family of the late Datuk Patrick Wong. I also apologise if this post of my blog offends anybody.
So you can see what one word can do to a story. I publish here both morning and afternoon printouts. I did not do any editing myself.