In two weeks, I’ll be kicking off a big work trip (with hopefully a bit of holiday snuck in here and there). I’ll be speaking at Splice Beta, at the Foundation for Excellent Journalism Award forum in Taipei (in Mandarin, I’m freaking out silently don’t laugh), and at the Lviv Media Forum. If I’m very hard-working, I’m hoping to also do something in Hong Kong, and maybe Scotland? (Who in Scotland wants to hear me rant about Singapore, politics, civil liberties, and/or press freedom? Family members exempt.) If you’re a teacher who’d like to palm some students off to me for an hour or so, feel free to reply to this email! I’m a good babysitter for ages 3–6 and 15–25.
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I don’t know if it was just me but I feel like this week has been a little quieter than the past few weeks—not that I’m complaining! I’m really in need of a break. A big one. So I’m going to keep this one simple.
You’re probably tired of this, but…
The International Commission of Jurists have made public a really good legal analysis of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill. Please read it. And then share it.
There have been other statements too, from Singaporean online media practitioners and also the amazing Ethos Books. Also, Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index for 2019 is out. Singapore is still at 151.
Is this one minute or not?
Nuseir Yassin, more commonly known as Nas Daily, has moved to Singapore, where he’s going to set up his company. (He and his girlfriend are looking to buy a house that can fit at least 50 people visiting them—reading this made me rejig all the figures in my head about how much a video blogger earns.) He’s also holding a meet-up at the Botanic Gardens this weekend; it’s open to everyone and he promises a stage with music and comedy and T-shirts and things. He also says that he has all the permits required for the event.
I usually don’t really care for or about Nas Daily, but this really gets my goat, and I wrote a blog post to explain why. tl;dr Big. Fat. Double. Standards.
Race on our identity cards
A letter in the Straits Times’ forum page that makes sense! The writer makes the case for getting rid of race on our identity cards. I’m all on board with this one: our racial categories are archaic remnants of our colonial past—see PJ Thum’s video on this—and getting increasingly unsustainable as more and more interracial and transnational marriages occur. Instead of scrapping the practice, the government has instead allowed people to “double-barrel” races, which, let’s just be frank, is dumb.
Seeking accountability from NUS
An undergraduate at the National University of Singapore took to Instagram to demand more accountability from her university after a male student was caught secretly recording her in the shower in the school hostel. Monica Baey said she’d made a police report and the perpetrator received a 12-month conditional warning from the police, was suspended by the school for a semester, and forced to write her a letter of apology. She says it’s not enough—it’s not that she wants him expelled, but she’s looking to the university to set out clear consequences for such offences, rather than trying to keep it quiet and get it over with. It seems like it’s not an isolated incident, either; other students in Singaporean universities say they know of other cases.
About the neighbours…
I loved the sketches that New Naratif had during election day in Malaysia last year, so I’m over the moon that we had sketches of the Indonesian election on 17 April. I hope for this to be a New Naratif tradition (as much as possible, anyway) going forward!