Anything That’s Fit to Print (And Won’t Get You Sued): Freelance journalism in Singapore

The man at the coffeeshop pulled out a Styrofoam box to pack up the leftovers of my beef fried rice. “You and your husband, both journalists ah?” he asked in Mandarin. “Journalism is tough, right? I guess if you don’t write about politics here it’s not too bad…”

“Oh, I write about politics.”

His eyes widened, his brows arching high above his glasses. “That’s so tough!” he exclaimed. “If you write the truth you get in trouble and if you don’t write the truth no one reads it because you’re a liar.”

It seemed strange that a guy who works way more than 12 hours a day in a non-air-conditioned coffeeshop would feel sorry for me and what I do, but he’d more-or-less summed up political journalism in Singapore.

There is, of course, much more to it than that, which is why I’m even bothering to write this.

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In which my writing was plagiarised, plagiarist “hopes I don’t mind”

On 22 October I wrote the blog post ‘What transnational couples really need‘. In it, I highlighted the obstacles in the way of young transnational couples seeking to settle down in Singapore. The article generated some interest, thanks to the helpful sharing and retweeting of some friends. I also did a short radio interview with 938 LIVE on Saturday to talk about the issue.

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What transnational couples really need

They say that marriage is a major milestone in one’s life. A marker of true adulthood.

Whoever ‘they’ are, they’re right. As Facebook puts it, marriage is a “life event”. It’s a big deal. It’s also one of the hardest things that two people can do with their lives.

Our wedding in Scotland this July.

Our wedding in Scotland this July.

As if that’s not enough, there are things that can add another layer of difficulty. Being a transnational couple is one of those things. You would imagine that, with globalisation and international movement being a fact of life in today’s world, it would be easy for two people with different nationalities to marry and make their home anywhere. That assumption is wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, one does not get permanent residency just on the basis of being married to a citizen of that country – at least, not in the UK (where my husband’s from) or Singapore (where I’m from).

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