Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Enforced hibernation

Posting will be light to non-existent for the next few weeks as I've just found out that the Singapore government has refused to renew my work visa.

The Ministry of Manpower has refused to give me any reason for this decision.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information has rejected my application to cover the upcoming APEC summit for The Daily Telegraph, the UK's best-selling serious daily newspaper. They have also given me no explanation.

Having been in Singapore for a year, I now need to leave the city-state within a month and am reassessing my options with urgency. I plan to continue working in Southeast Asia.

Any offers of employment or freelance journalistic safe haven as well as messages of support or general abuse can be sent to me at

I'd like to thank all my readers and assure you that I will be back blogging with a vengeance once my involuntary departure is complete.

I'll also have more to say on my predicament at a later date.

At least I've now got some time to re-read the novels of Franz Kafka and George Orwell.


  1. Well, at least now you know they read your blog, huh? Crazy.....

  2. I was rather surprised when I found out. Suppose I should take it as a compliment.

  3. Sorry to hear that. What reason did the Ministry of Information provide? This sounds no better than when Myanmar barred foreign journalists from entering their country.

  4. As I mentioned above, they've repeatedly declined to give me any explanation.

  5. I see... Well I'm sure you'll be needed elsewhere. All the best.

  6. People will probably suggest Bangkok but I have to say I wouldn't necessarily fancy it, although Myanmar is on the doorstep and that will be a story over the next year or so. How about Jakarta? Perhaps a bit more of a buzz there, bit more of a sense of progress and enthusiasm? KL - well-located but is it fun? Hong Kong?

    I'm about to attempt to freelance in China where it;s already pretty tough to get a proper visa for full-time correspondents from established news orgs. For freelancers, forget it. It;s silly really - if I manage any measure of success here I'll come to the attention of the authorities and they will rightly ask what on earth I think I;m doing.

    Still, I like the place and I have no idea what else to do - so allez allez :) T

  7. T - KL is one of the places I'm considering at the moment.

    Good luck in China. Which city are you heading to?

  8. it is better for you to return to your country of origin. Singapore has no need for such talent of yours to exploit and sensationalise the news in this region.

  9. Thanks for your encouraging words!

    What you call exploiting and sensationalising the news, many would regard as impartial, probing journalism, which helps raise awareness about Southeast Asia in the wider world.

    It is rather pathetic that you hide behind the cloak of anonymity.

  10. Just found this after seeing your Monocle stuff on Singapore. My god, really scary. Do you think that the good sides of Singapore outweigh the restriction on speech? Like clean, low crime, dragged people out of poverty, good public housing with no gangs, bashings etc...they still have art museums etc. I'm a believer in democracy but Singapore has so many good things about it.

  11. Kiasu - I'm not really in a position to comment right now, for various reasons.

  12. Look forward to hearing more details. This is the crucial story for people who love Asia (but want to live in a clean, functioning city) and love Frank Zappa. It seems you CMI