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Longread: Welcome to Singapore, but…

It’s easy to roll my eyes at the gross misrepresentation of my country in films like Crazy Rich Asians, but things get more awkward when I’m face–to–face with gushing foreigners, talking about how much they’d love to move to Singapore, how it’s just so much better than wherever they’re living, how it seems so beautiful and wonderful and everything “just works”. In that moment, I don’t want to be that party pooper who goes off on a rant, because that feels impolite and also unfair to both my country and the speaker who just wants to pay a compliment. But I’m also reluctant to let go of an opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles Singapore’s activist and pro–democracy advocates face. More often than not, I’m just left with a sense of ambivalence..

Published April 1, 2021.

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The latest off free-to-read Couchfish

Couchfish: Get ya gear on

Couchfish: Get ya gear on
Get ya gear on
A little to the north of Candi Dasa in East Bali the forest-lined road winds up a ridge, leaving the beach behind. Before you start down again, towards the turn-off to White Sand Beach, there’s a point over-run with macaques. To the east, a bumpy road runs out of sight. Quite a few years ago, I followed the bumpy road as far as I could go. When the road tapped out, I parked and walked. After a bit of a stroll, I reached a small temple. I walked around to the back of it, hoping for an ocean view.