Taiwan first in Asia to accept same-sex marriage!!

The moment we all have been waiting for has come. The first country in Asia to accept same-sex marriages is here!

And of course it is NOT Singapore! (not a surprise to anyone… right??)

The Taiwanese constitutional court declared earlier today (Wednesday May 24th) that same-sex couples have the rights to legally marry and should be given the same legal rights as heterosexual couples currently got, and that the legal system have two years to implement and amend the necessary laws to make this effective.

You can read a slightly longer article about the rulings on Reuters public site here.

From what I can understand from a contact then the Taiwanese immigration authorities will immediately begin to make it easier for overseas married couples to get their spouses into the country when their partner is posted to the country, therefore giving them the same rights as heterosexual expat couples who are relocating to Taiwan for professional reasons. These restrictions should be eased already late this year, or early next year.

Singapore have in the past years gone the other way, and restricted immigration for same-sex couples, so it will in the future become more attractive for highly skilled gay couples to take on assignments in Taiwan and skip Singapore, making it more difficult for Singapore to attract skilled people to the country – something that in the past two years already have been an issue for many companies in Singapore, who have cited the country’s regulations as an issue.

The Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, expect that this ruling will be very positive for the tourism industry, who expect that  gay travelers visiting Taiwan will double in the coming years. Gay tourism for US citizens alone is estimated to 65 billion a year and European gay tourists spend in the area of 50bn EUR annually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a Happy New Year to you all.

Didn’t expect this one the last first day of the year?!

I haven’t felt like blogging for a while. Not that I haven’t had anything to talk about, but my mind and brain just weren’t into writing anything in this “semi” public diary of mine.

In the new hear I hope that I will be able to sit down and write about Singapore’s oldest lesbian couple that I met back in November (or early December?), and they had quite a life story that I would love to share with the rest of you. It is about 50% complete from where I want it to be, so cross your (my) fingers that it will be posted soon. We had a talk about changes through life and ages, finding love, Singapore’s lack of acceptance and that it is never too late for anyone to come out of closet!

I will return to work again on the 16th, but just came in for lunch and… you know, just to say hi to everyone and give all who deserve it a happy New Year hug. But after being away for about half a year, then it were a little odd to be back in the office and it almost felt like the “first day” at work again.

For the next few months I will be working part time and just try to ease myself into “work” again, but then again “part time” to me usually means close to what everyone else consider close to full time – European working hours!!

It also means that I won’t be teaching about Journalism and Reporting in Asia this year as part of the agreement with my employer. I feel quite sad about that decision because it is something I look forward to months in advance and is something that I really enjoy doing.

But as they say in the movies and cheesy romantic novellas. I will be back!

Next year…

Spending 6 month with almost no travels, no airplanes, no airports, no hotels, especially no hotel food! and full nights of non stressed sleep is something that I haven’t had tried in years and I honestly can’t remember when I last felt this relaxed and at ease with myself.

I have been so much at ease that it almost lead to borderline boredom.

But then I had plenty of time to read quite a lot of books in the Lesbian genre and whatever I could find of interesting reads on Literotica and others like that.

Oh by the way, can you remember the time when if you needed to know if anyone were lesbian, that you then just had to ask what their profile name were on PinkSofa?

It turns out that I still have an active profile on that site and someone (nunejr)- who must have been more bored than me, and/or just returned to Singapore from the UK, gave me a smile there.

I didn’t reply because S…. would object greatly to it and will likewise question about why I still have an active account there at all! I had forgotten all about it.

I used to like PinkSofa because the profiles there felt more genuine than on many other dating sites and for some reason there were less fake profile there as well. Maybe I am fooling myself about that part?, but that is what I believe. Especially back when I used to be very (very) active in the dating and “lets get together” scene.

Do you still use PinkSofa? Do any? What alternatives to PinkSofa do you use today? I mean where do lesbians go unicorn hunting now? Or are you one of the daring ones who hit on all the straight ladies and don’t care about rejections?

By the way, I send an email to PinkSofa and asked them about what it would cost to send out a mass email to all the women who have registered from Singapore through them. (they haven’t replied yet!)

In the months of staring up at the ceiling, going through a wall repainting project, reading a crazy amounts of books, spend too much time on online shopping and binge watching all episodes of Grey’s Anatomy for the n’th time, then I wondered if I should take up the Lesbian Dinner event in Singapore that I used to frequent in Netherlands, and then maybe use PinkSofa as a platform in trying to marketing it to those who don’t know who I am.

I think it would be more interesting to meet someone who aren’t in your already closely knitted lesbian circle.

I know that S… would be cheering for it and for more than one reason would jump at a dinner (She will message me 2-3 minutes after I have posted this and say “about bloody fudge[censored]ing time!!!” among xxx other). She would of course also use the dinner as a recruiting platform for her yoga mindray to get more to join yoga classes in Singapore, or find out what classes they already attended.

But what do you say? 10-12 semi single(or just want to meet new friends) ladies for dinner dating at my place? Would that be something that could work in little Singapore?

Yes there would be plenty of red wine to the Introverts.

 

I didn’t get to write about the most despicable person I have ever seen on the Internet in 2016 either. And it is not Trump or a racist asshole Trump supporter.

There is a person calling herself the “Lesbian Pua”. PUA means PickUp Artist. She is absolutely not a lesbian. More bisexual in my book since she got a boyfriend. But this person find it is okay to upload videos of her female sexual conquests to YouTube, and without the partners consent record them with a hidden camera, so everyone can see who and how many she have had sex with.

I don’t know what people do for views and likes these days, but I really feel that life and society have taken a very wrong turn for the worse if anyone’s life and self-esteem are determined by a number below a picture or a video.

The crazy lengths they are willing to go for these views and likes? And for what??

I just wonder if she even think about the women that she beds and record in secret. Does she even consider or think about their emotions and the consequences it might have on their personal life’s when she makes it public on the internet?

I mean what the f!!!?

You can read more about her on Tumblr or on YouTube and decide for yourself if she could take the title as the most despicable LGBT person of 2016
With this I wish you a Happy New Year, and hopefully a much better and happier 2017.

Take care everyone!
Sarah-Jane

Sick leave and leave of absence.

Hi everyone!

I haven’t been even near the blog for months now and surprise, surprise, it seems like everyone else have when I took a look at the statistics for the blog yesterday.

In the last couple of months I have battled with a depression that began when I got a cancer misdiagnose, that later turned out not to be cancer (felt like I dodged a bullet there) but literally a tiny tip of a feather that got stuck in the tear duct and caused a major infection that made one side of my face swell up to an unbelievable size and made me look like a victim of domestic abuse, that not even a pair of oversized sunglasses could cover.

My dad passed away from cancer, so whenever I hear the dreaded C word then I tend to go in a full panic mode.

On top of that, the infection caused me so much pain that I could not look at a computer or a TV screen, I could not handle bright sun light for a longer period of time, my eye kept running and it felt like it were about to pop out of its socket any time I moved my head, so if I didn’t hide in my bedroom screaming into my pillow from the pain, then I popped painkillers like there were no tomorrow and then having to deal with a doctor who didn’t take my feedback seriously on top of it, that were simply everything that I could take and everything that my world for a while consisted about.

I haven’t been working since July, and the earliest that I will be back to work will be in January as I have just gone from extended sick leave to a leave of absence that will last until end of December.

Things have changed for me now. Life have changed. I have gone from being a miss 60++ hours workaholic, travel all over the world power woman who felt that she at least had some parts of her life figured out, to a stay and nest at home while she neglect her obsessive running schedule person, who have no idea who she is any longer and if she really wants to go back to the insane crazy work life.

Say hello identity crisis.

At the moment I really don’t know if I want to go back to my old work. I don’t really know what I want any longer. Well, yes great mind blowing sex with miss hotness would be much appreciated, but other than that then what??? I am not suited for the lesbian equivalent of a tai tai life. Yes I want children, but don’t really feel or know if I am that suited for motherhood. I can’t stand the idea and thought of mundane and ordinary repetitive days, but then here I am.

Yay

I am slowly going back to running and made a plan to run in all the parks around the pink dot here.

I can stand looking at myself in the mirror again, but that tiny microscopic scar from the surgery that sometimes feel 10 km long when I stare at it still tend to challenge me and remind me about the last months in darkness.

I also managed to kill all my plants by the way.

Blogging will be on and off when I feel like it. I did go to an interesting event that I would like to write about here, but don’t really know when I will be able to write it down so it might come this weekend, or this week.

Someone wants to kill me because I (according to them) love the wrong person

Yesterday were a horrible day to get through for me.

The day literally began when I took my brothers and sisters kids in to see probably the worst movie in the universe, The Angry Birds Movie.

Quite a lot could be said about that movie but when they across all ages either by facial expression or flat out said that they would have preferred a trip to McDonalds and the game to their tablets instead of the movie, then I knew that this would not be the day that my nephews and nieces would fondly remember with me – their awesome aunt.

Not something that I wanted to keep as a happy memory either.

This would be more like a “note to self day”

When I came back home, after having dropped off the little monster at where they now belong, then a even more horrifying news were brought to my attention.

More than 50 people dead, and 53 people wounded in a gay club in Orlando, Florida.

I had felt the phone buzz while I were in the cinema and didn’t take it out to look at all the messages before I came home. So coming home to see the breaking news across all news channels, tweets and emails that asked if I knew anything or knew anyone in that area that might have been to Pulse, the nightclub where the gunman shot and killed so many people, were incredibly shocking.

I could not let go of the news. I needed to find out more. Who did it? Why did that crazy person attack so many people? Why did he attack someone who haven’t done any harm to him? Why did he attack a gay bar???!

I could not help feeling a lot of sadness, but quite a lot of anger that made feel that I wanted to troll someone HARD. I wanted to vent my anger and frustrations after someone else. I felt like I wanted to scream at someone.

But I also felt fear.

I can take that people don’t agree with me. Many don’t, so that is just more of my normal.

But that someone wants to kill me just because I according to them love the wrong person. That is just wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong!!

To me the LGBT movement is not about exclusion. That is all about inclusion and acceptance. Acceptance to love another adult person, acceptance across color, race, religion….and… sexuality. Especially sexuality.

I don’t hate heterosexual’s. In face most of my friends and colleagues are straight – or straight-ish and that does not make them better or worse people than me. That just makes them what they are just like I am what I am regardless about whoever I am now kissing, or share the bed with at the end of the day.

So that someone could end up hating me, that someone can hate someone so much, just because that person loves someone of their own gender. To hate someone they have never met or never exchanged a word with. That is just too stunning

“You are gay and you must die now” (evil laughter I guess)

This is what that person were thinking. This is what others are thinking about me, about others like me.

I thought about all that through the evening and night. I wanted answers. So in the middle of the xyz night, I ended up opening the facebook page “We are against Pink Dot in Singapore”. Mainly because I wanted to scream at someone – or at least troll them and post pictures of gay porn on their page.

I looked at page after page of vile and shit that where shared and thrown after people like me on these pages.

But instead of feeling angry at all these people I ended up feeling sorry for them. Sorry for them, because it is clear that none of them – or actually very few of them have a gay friend. They don’t know what it is to be carrying this “secret” or being gay. They don’t know that they statistically have at least one gay or bi relative. They don’t know that they might be talking about their good friend or colleague. They don’t realize it.

The only these people see is people who are not like them. They see something strange that they don’t understand and in the end fear. All these posts, all that hate, all that disgust. Everything is fear of the unknown. Fear of what they don’t understand. Fear of something that they don’t get. But it is also fear of exclusion. That there are something that they in their own loneliness and solitude can’t be a part of. 

To them the Pink Dot is like a red cloth, a symbol of all their fears combined.

So I ended up pitying them instead.

 

The post should then have ended now. But there are always someone who is going to take one more step further than the rest. In the gay community there are always someone who are gayer than the rest.  You will always see one diva or drama queen who top them all, a butch who can’t be butch enough, or the femme princess who can’t live without her branded goods just so she can show that she can be a good gold star lesbian and still be fashionable.  

But in a group who preach hate and exclusion where do they go next? The next step for them is not love. It’s not inclusion. The next step for them is violence, and that is exactly what happened next.

This guy. This.. I don’t really know if I should give him the pleasure of saying his name. But this guy then end up preaching to kill everyone at Pink Dot – on the same day that more than 50 people got killed in a gay club in the United States even.

This guy is not some random person who only work in a random non violent service job. No this is a person who in the past have had military training and aparently did very well. Is a reserve officer and through the Singapore police have easy access to weapons. This is a person who have been trained in killing other people, and this person knowingly and very publicly state that he wants to kill people like me.

To me that is more scary that anything else because this is a sign that we won’t be safe in Singapore and I wonder if the Singaporean government, MY OWN government, will protect us from someone like that.

Note (June 14th, 2016)
The Singapore Police media contact reached out to highlight that the person is not a Police National Serviceman although he have been depicted in uniform on several occasions.

You can read their full public statement on their Facebook page here.

Anti LGBT Groups in #Singapore are at it again and Ministry of Home Affairs gave them a brotherly hug

SingaporeIsNoIsland

 

I don’t know why, but I thought that this would be the year when the Singaporean Taliban (aka the we hate all things that looks gay and happy) would give in and accept that love is universal.

NO SUCH THING!!

The Wear White campaign and the joker aka Lawrence Khong made a tiny peep that hardly could be heard. The white shirts were relatively absent this year, and it actually took an effort to find out that they did something at all.

But I think that the pictures from Saturdays Pink Dot showed too many happy and carefree people, and if there are something that Singaporeans clearly hate, then it is to see other Singaporeans happy when they aren’t a part of it. I mean why else are we year after year rated as the most unhappy and miserable nation in the world?

It could of course just be that the haters have understood(or believe) that we in the LGBTQ community just have more satisfying sex?

But we clearly make them angry and upset. To them it is not enough to just say “we don’t agree with you, but we accept your right to be a free Singaporean”.

To my surprise they (the anti gay supporters)  came up with an oddly strange rant about the UN and United States  and that – read white people aka Caucasians or Ang Moh’s – should stay away from Singapore and let Singapore do what Singapore wants to do on its own – including hunting down everything gay within her borders.

The other surprise is that Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) within hours came with a reply that generally supported it. MHA are notorious about their late non replies to public issues so that anyone in the ministry read that document, arranged a committee steering meeting, arranged a statement, had it rewritten a few times and then released an approved press release within a few hours. That is just crazy efficient when it comes to them. If I were a person who ran around with a tin foil hat, then this is the time I would cry foul and ask questions.

Lots of questions.

 

The letter, that generally said “White people. Fuck off” and blamed Obama (thanks Obama!) forgot that Singapore were literally founded by white people, with the strong help and support of a bag of glass pearls, and all through its days of independence and its current infrastructure have been planned by people from Europe and the Western world.

And not solely by United States. Mostly by the British.

The Singaporean culture and life is a blended mix of the East and the West, and Singapore would not be what it is today without the western world and it surely won’t be able to survive without their support and the companies that originated from there in the future.

Singapore would have some serious issues if all the western expats packed up and left the country. Even if they left their companies behind.

No. Lee Kuan Yew did not barehanded, barefooted and on his knees transform Singapore from a quiet innocent fishing village and into this red dot that we know as Singapore either. He and his running mates took over a well functioning, well oiled system – and lot of British bureaucracy. Hired (quite) a lot of foreigners (white people again) and asked them to save Singapore.

Then he walked out to write the history of Singapore the way he saw fit.

Yes I know that might piss off quite a lot of Singaporeans, but the miniscule number of westerns that are in Singapore today contribute to much more than most are probably willing to accept.

But in reality western influence is a major part of Singapore and you can’t stop it.

If you do, then please start by leaving the two country sized organizations; Google and Facebook, who both supported the Pink Dot event – and even supplied you with the tools to organize and attack Pink Dot with. All free of charge.

It is actually a little funny that the anti gay organizations pen a letter using Google services and distribute it through the channels and services provided by Facebook, both companies that they advocate to get rid of.

Someone please tell them the irony about that.

Can Singapore really afford to alienate all the companies who supported Pink Dot?
“Google, Barclays, BP, J.P. Morgan, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, Apple, NBCUniversal, Microsoft, Facebook, Visa and GE”


When my relatives (the Singaporean Chinese part) came to Singapore in the 1800-something. They almost literally rode into town on the back of the opium trade, from China, and made an obscene fortune on it while they at the same time had a good time dealing with the British.

But as it is, the majority of my Singaporean relatives are thanks to their abilities to trade on human misery still richer than the 69% in Singapore and can still count judges, lawyers, high ranking pap members and scrupulous business leaders among its members, and all. Every. One. Of. Them. are there because they have been able to read the cultural changes. Not by isolation and ignorance

If it weren’t for the small detail called World War 2, then my family as a whole would not have lost the majority of their wealth and businesses and they would still be busy counting money and scheming up things.

At the same time, they are arrogant as fuck and see themselves as Singaporean Chinese purists, even the ones who didn’t fare well, that on one hand ignore everything about the family’s dealing with the opium trade in the past, while they on the other hand are proud to mention that they can trace the family back to almost the foundation of Singapore and therefore by their world view are more Singaporean than any other Singaporeans on this planet.

Something that my mother ruined by marrying an Ang Moh! “A fat white guy”, and by that polluted the pure blood of the family.

And especially when she had the audacity to give birth to a gay daughter.

How dared she do that!!

So when I read a letter like this, that Singapore should not be influenced by outsiders, that companies and individuals who come to Singapore to live and contribute, should not dare to think about supporting Pink Dot, then I get pissed because that letter is just as fucked up as my relatives are. The letter forget that the Singapore. The Singaporean culture is all about influence from others, influencing others, and that Singapore have never in its short history been an island on its own.

Yes, Yes I know that if you look at Google Map, then you might be saying “CHEY I can see water all around. Singapore IS an island you CHEAT!!~” but I am talking cultural and as a figure of speech.

Singapore have through all time been influenced by the west and the Singaporean life and culture is all about the influence from the west – and the east as well.

Singapore have never been without influence from the West and will not be free if you continue to use the services provided by the Western world.

What is funny when we in these days are looking towards the East, is that the elite of China don’t really count Singapore for much and for most of it see Singaporeans as a group of spoiled and arrogant bananas that might look and sound Chinese but when they open their mouth more sound like a bunch of western goons that have no love for PRC China and its people. So if Singapore rejects the West, where should Singapore go? South? North (Korea)?

Anyone who are penning a letter saying that Singapore is an island and will not be influenced by anyone from the outside have completely missed the point about Singapore and about the world.

Should only 3rd generation Singaporeans be allowed to support Pink Dot and be allowed to vote at elections in the future?

Or are the letter asking us to turn the country into the next North Korea? Do we really want to isolate us from the world?

Not a single religion have been founded in Singapore, so in reality the letter also asked us to ban and disband all religions in Singapore because they can by the wording in the letter also be seen as someone who meddle in Singaporean society.  

Every religion in Singapore came to the country by foreign decadence and influence were mostly brought in from the western countries by the way.  So dear MHA why not look into the religious threat that it clearly must be to the Singaporean culture because combined they own more land and more properties than any other outside imposed influence today, and if anything, they have more political capital than Pink Dot will ever have.

In fact religious organizations own so much land in Singapore that Singapore are the country in the world where most land (in percentage of the total land mass) are owned by religious organizations – if you exclude the Vatican from that equation that is.

We are number one in something again!! Yay!

So if anything, then these foreign influences clearly must be an even larger danger to Singaporean society and culture than Pink Dot and we the same-sex oddballs ever will be.

But why is it acceptable for foreign anti gay groups from especially USA to finance anti gay groups in Singapore? Why is it acceptable for foreign anti gay groups and religious communities to have strategy meetings and get advice on how to deal with the LGBT movement in Singapore?

Singapore have two ways to go. Either the country accept change and eventually embrace it – even if it means acceptance to us decadent homosexuals or it can close its borders. Send home everyone who can’t trace their blood back to the foundation of Singapore and then we can begin to let uncle Lee look at things with uncle Kim from North Korea and post it on Instagram

Send home all the maids, construction workers and the Chinese bus drivers. Return all the bankers and leave Singapore to the real Singaporeans. Then wait with a Milo in hand and see how long that will last.

Oh no. Singapore produces no food on its own (the last farms are shutting down now) and we don’t have clean water either. So I guess the Milo need to be rainwater instead.  

Yum!

 

Pink Dot already won by its non confrontational stance. It has won the hearts of most straight young Singaporeans, and it is really a very small number of Singaporeans who don’t want to accept that the conservative Singapore is no more.

Homosexuality is not something that you can ban out of the country. There are too many of us now. Too many who are already out. We are free no matter what you say and do to us, and the world at large are getting more and more accepting – Even Italy have lately seen the light and soon will the rest of the world. So the only that are left to ask is if Singapore will be the first Asian country to accept us, its own children and its citizens, or will you be the last?

Ask yourself.

What would you do if you got a gay or lesbian child? Wouldn’t it be better to say that you stand with them and you supported them. Wouldn’t it be better to tell them that your country is also their country and that it loves and supports them no matter what.

 

Did the letter really say “fuck human rights?” between the lines.

Feel free to share, comment and rant all that you like.

Wah She Is Alive!

Yes I am alive! I have just been crazy busy and my muse aka S… went to pay homage to IKEA’s holy temple in Sweden, while I am now on my annual teaching gig.

Like in the previous 2 (or is it 3 now?) years then I am back to talk, and sometimes teach, about Journalism in Asia and how to avoid getting arrested, or beat up, while operating in an Asian country to future journalists.

This year I am actually enjoying it greatly and think it is because I have found a form that fits me well and also because I actually have been given time to do it properly this year so I don’t have to force feed the students with a crazy amount of information in a very short period of time.

This time I even have time to tell jokes and sound smart (or act like it).

So I like it – even told S… that I loved it, and greatly enjoy it so much that I could see myself do this more often, than the two months that I am doing this year.

Maybe this lesbian here enjoy it because she knows there is a time limit and that she don’t have to do it all year long (yes, yes she had begun to talk about herself in 3rd person again).

Anyway, as it is, I did piss off my boss as well so at the same time I am, unlike the previous years forced to work full time at my daytime job – as sort of a perverse punishment and catch up on missed hours where I am teaching along the week and weekends.

Actually I would like to do something targeted journalists and people in the media in Singapore on how to shoot, conduct interviews and edit video’s because my face cringes every time I watch a video that is supposed to have been produced by a Singaporean journalist or media professional at the “established media”. I mean, quite often the sound are horrible, post production and editing are outrageous and I wonder if they have ever been taught simple white balancing and color grading techniques, but also how they could instruct and help the people they interview on how to pose and dress themselves, so they as reporters can create content that are interesting to view and experience.

Or at least just do something that don’t make me want to gouge my eyes out while I watch them – yes I accidentally got to see videos from RazorTV among other.

I am not gone, I have not given up on the blog either. But I have just been through a period with little time and where I didn’t know if it still is worth it for me to continue this blog any longer. I will continue, just don’t really know how often I will be updating it and in what futuere format it will be in. I am still experimenting with if I should move over to a video blog instead – but it won’t be as often as I initially planned to in the beginning of this year.

But thanks for reading and thanks for following!

Guess what? Singapore did it again!! Dropped another spot on the World Press Freedom Index

A few years ago Singapore surpassed even Russia on the world press freedom index, and is now closer than ever to countries like North Korea and China when it comes to freedom for the press.

As many of the readers of this blog might not know, then freedom for the press is usually only something that is mentioned as a joke in Singapore, or at least followed by several question marks. So yes, Singapore is notorious when it comes to giving the press and journalists proper working conditions. It is so bad that it is has been many years since the established press had a proper piece in their publications that needed investigating journalism.

Singapore does not in its many universities offer journalism as a degree, so when you are looking at the staff on the major locally and governed owned  (they all are) news organizations in Singapore, then more than 97% of the staff does not have a classical journalistic education. They haven’t been taught basic skills on how to write journalistic pieces and ask the hard questions when conducting an interview – something that might be good for them, because Singapore is notorious for making use of deformation suits when news and magazines write something that individuals in power don’t like.

In all of Singapore, there are currently, including myself, only 4 (possibly 5 now) who have both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Journalism or broadcast journalism.

From the Singaporean governments point of view, then investigating journalism and trained reporters are very bad for the country.

Yes, you read it right. Investigating journalism hurt the Singaporean economy and should by all and any means be stopped! This does also mean that any foreign journalist who operate on Singaporean soils are investigated and monitored. This also include any foreigner who disclose that they have a degree in journalism when they apply for a job in Singapore, or declare that they are a journalist when they enter Singapore.

Media companies who operate in Singapore is also monitored, and this include BBC, Reuters and many other established organizations that you normally would see as having a high ethical standard and practice when it comes to journalism – well Reuters…. are there for making money not reporting or making critical journalism. Anyway, I mentioned Reuters for a reason, but more about them in a while.

But what does it mean for a country like Singapore when there aren’t a critical media, or a country where journalists can’t work if they are too critical and don’t follow the party (PAP) line?

First of all it means that individuals are generally reluctant to talk to journalists who ask sensitive questions, that is not really unusual, but it is unusual that individuals are outright scared about what it will mean to them and their families if they speak out on matters that the Singaporean government might find “sensitive” or bring the “Singaporean name” into a bad light.

Companies in Singapore can do whatever they want to do and often do illegal, or highly questionable ethical things without  getting in trouble about it because they know that the only who will be able to bring it to light are reporters who investigate it, and they can’t operate properly on Singapore grounds. This also mean that more and more western (and other Asian) countries have moved their shady deals to Singapore, or placed them in a Singaporean shell company. Latest that have been seen with the Panama papers – where the government said they would “look into it”, but we all know what that really means…

One of the world’s largest oil scandals have ties to Singapore and a Singaporean owned oil trading company, but because the owner have very close ties to members of the Singaporean parliament, then the company have been able to continue to operate (and still does) and scam in the oil trading business.

More recently Singapore have an Olympic scandal that at least are on levels with the 1994 Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding event, that have everything that a Olympic sports drama can have, tree party intrigues, violence and intense jealousy on a very public level, but nothing that local news dared to pick up on and follow.

Singapore decided to order the closure of the online news website The Real Singapore (TRS) because of content regarded as overly critical towards the Singaporean government and two of its alleged contributors were accused of “sedition,” that could lead to 21 years of prison. Bloggers have been hunted down and some have been prosecuted for what they said and wrote online, when they were critical of the so-called government.  Something that I have felt on myself, when the Singaporean version of the 50-cent party (locally called the 5 cent army) attacked me for some of my earlier blog posts, that ended with that some of my nearest family feared that it would hurt them and their children. This also included that I got my phone hacked several times, and had when it lasted had several hacking attempts on my private and company email accounts and online social profiles. All something that is completely unacceptable when it comes to governments and how they deal with their own citizens.

The 5 cent army is a number of about 30 people employed by the Singaporean government to monitor blogs, social medias and online posts, and attack those who are critical against Singaporeans “interests”.

Since many news organizations are working out of Singapore, then they have been forced to limit themselves on what they are writing about Singapore. This could be seen when I a few years ago fell over a story about how IKEA censored an article about gay couples in their own magazine.

When the story broke, then Reuters initially released a briefing that countries like Russia, Singapore and Malaysia among other censored and removed a story about a gay couple in their IKEA Family magazine. But about 2-3 hours later that briefing were edited so any references to Singapore were removed.

I were lucky enough to actually get to see the initial briefing, and still had the window open on the news desk with the old briefing when the edited and redacted version were released, so I had a side by side comparison to them, that then lead me to find out that IKEA in South Asia actively work against gay rights and still in does in 2016, that ended with me writing the blog post about IKEA Singapore in 2013, among other.

At that time I had a friend working for Reuters in Singapore, and called her to ask why they removed IKEA Singapore from the news, and she could tell me that her boss had received a call from “someone” in the government about the brief and were flatly ordered to remove any references to Singapore or that there would be consequences.

The only local news organization who wrote about the story after I tipped them about it, were the now shut down The Real Singapore. The other and more established organizations in Singapore did not mention the IKEA story at all.

Very few news internatonal organizations wrote about the story with the first version and the international news ended up writing solely about IKEA Russia because they never got to see and know that IKEA Singapore had done the same, and those who knew. Like BBC Asia, simply ended up not mentioning it.

So this means in reality that when news organizations like Reuters and BBC among other work out of Singapore, then they are also forced to not only limit themselves, but they are also applying Singaporean censorship onto news around the world and making journalism in your country less open because they need to operate under the good will of the Singaporean government.

Is that something that you can live with and can accept?

See the full 2016 World Press Freedom List here
Details about Singapore on the World Press Freedo List here