Hello there! It's me, Kirsten. I run the We, The Citizens newsletter.
I'm an independent journalist from Singapore. I've done work for a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and Rest of World. My first book, The Singapore I Recognise: Essays on home, community and hope, is now available for pre-order!
Nice things—apart from job satisfaction, that is—have come out of all this writing. In 2018, I received an Honourable Mention for the World Justice Project’s Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism. The next year, I won a Human Rights Press Award for commentaries on freedom of expression in Singapore at a time when the government was pushing through problematic legislation to tackle "fake news".
I started We, The Citizens in 2018 because I wanted to show that there are tons of issues in Singapore that can be discussed through a human rights lens, and to demonstrate that there is a lot of civil society activity here. The "Singaporeans are all politically apathetic" stereotype isn't true!
With We, The Citizens, I cannot promise you "objective" or "neutral" journalism. My background, experiences, and politics inform how I see the world, and therefore how I write about it. This newsletter is definitely opinionated, but I strive to be fair, open and transparent.
These are some of the questions that inform my approach to running this newsletter:
- What would be useful to readers and subscribers?
- How can I contribute to public discourse in Singapore?
- What would be informative for people wanting to learn more about Singapore? How do I balance the need to be accessible to people newer to Singapore with details, depth, history, and (also very importantly) Singlish?
- How can I create more space for discourse and marginalised perspectives?
- How can I make people feel like they are part of a community, that we are also establishing connections and friendships?
Ultimately, if you subscribe to this newsletter, you'll be getting a different perspective of Singapore than what you see elsewhere. While I do curate news stories from the local mainstream media, I ask different questions and provide commentary from a different angle. I also often report on things that might not make it into mainstream coverage.
Right now, this newsletter has over 4,000 subscribers, of which over 400 are Milo Peng Funders. This support has allowed me to keep running it independently and start things like the Kaya Toast Mini-Mentorship Initiative, which is my effort to share what I've learnt and build capacity for politically engaged writing in Singapore. If you'd like to find out more, if you have any feedback or comments, or if you just want to have a chat, you can contact me here.
Milo Peng Funders' support also allows me to keep contributing my time and energy to civil society activities. I've been an anti-death penalty activist since 2010, and am currently a member of the Transformative Justice Collective.
Does all this sound good to you? If so, join the We, The Citizens community!