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Lianhe Zaobao Officially Launches New Popcorn Pages For Teens

Singapore, 21 February 2004 - Lianhe Zaobao’s new "Popcorn" pages are a hit with teen readers, who have been lapping up the tasty bits every Wednesday.

Young readers like the easy-to-read stories, punchy headlines and snazzy pictures in the full-colour centrespread, which debuted in Zaobao’s lifestyle section zbNow on 7 January 2004 and was officially launched by Acting Minister for Education Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Saturday, 21 February 2004, at The Orchard Hotel.

Said Zaobao editor Mr Lim Jim Koon at the launch: "The Popcorn pages are a runaway success as feedback from both teachers and students have been very positive, with subscription orders from schools fast reaching 25,000 copies per week."

Teachers generally welcome Popcorn as they see its value in raising students´interest in Chinese language. Some are using it to supplement their lessons in class as the section offers tips on correct use of Chinese words and phrases, as well as specially-tailored lesson plans on current affairs, which come complete with explanatory notes and comprehension questions.

Popcorn is part of Zaobao´s efforts to attract young readers to read the SPH Chinese flagship daily and encourage them to learn and improve their Chinese language.

Added Mr Lim: "A few months back, speaking at the Lianhe Zaobao’s 80th Anniversary Gala Dinner, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew described Zaobao as a "national project" which we must do our best to promote. Mr Lee’s comment highlighted the need to keep the Chinese language alive and the problems it has to overcome in order to grow. Indirectly, it is also an affirmation of our efforts.

"To us, the Popcorn, our latest initiative to make learning Chinese fun and enjoyable for students, is part and parcel of our efforts to contribute to this national project."

Two other events - the prize presentation for Make Your Own Newspaper Competition and the annual Chinese Language Teacher Forum - were held after the Popcorn launch.

The former is a joint effort by Zaobao, its students´ papers Friday Weekly, the National Library Board and the Promote Mandarin Council. More than 400 students from 40 schools took part in teams of four. Among them, eight most outstanding teams turned editor for a day during last December school holidays to produce two "dummy" pages in the finals.

At the Forum, jointly organised by Zaobao, Friday Weekly and Thumbs Up, distinguished Chinese language expert Professor Zhou Jian from Guangdong’s Jinan University shared his insights and experience in teaching the Chinese language with teachers.

For more information (media only), please contact:

Peter Ong
DID: 6319 2547
Mobile: 98458714.

Choo Chee Wee
DID: 6319 1093
Mobile: 96937019

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings

About SPH:
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications while the online editions of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.

About Lianhe Zaobao:
The flagship Chinese newspaper of SPH, Lianhe Zaobao is the highest circulating Chinese daily in Singapore. It is an influential newspaper giving valuable insights into local and foreign news, and is regarded as an important source of political and economic news on East Asia, especially China. Lianhe Zaobao has a circulation of 190,637 copies on weekdays and 198,679 copies on weekends. It became an integrated news medium delivering content for print, TV and Internet with the debut of Chinese News TV on Channel U in May 2001. It won the prestigious IFRA Publish Asia Award for best in print (gold) in 2003. Lianhe Zaobao was launched in March 16,1983 with the merger of Nanyang Siang Pau (launched in 1923) and Sin Chew Jit Poh (launched in 1929).

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