On the whole I have found them more reliable, accurate, intelligent, and realistic than, say, the commentators in the Financial Times. They are generally much more interesting, too, and express themselves more vividly, even if English is their seventh language.
Dalrymple notes that an imperfect command of the English language sometimes confers an expressive eloquence. Finding himself in Singapore, he attempts to hail a taxi. You cannot do this on the street in the city-state, you have to go to a taxi-stand.
This I did, but still no taxi would stop for me. The taxis swept past me as if I did not exist. Then someone came and hailed a taxi about two feet to my right. A taxi stopped immediately and took him. When I stood two feet to the right of where I had been standing, a taxi stopped for me immediately. I told the driver of my experience and he, Chinese without a great deal of English, replied, ‘Singapore velly, velly law.‘
Have you read anything in the Financial Times, or any other serious newspaper, that so succinctly and accurately sums up a country or society?