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Roy Ngerng was just a blogger writing on Singapore using publicly available information when, in 2015, he was sued by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation. The court found him guilty and he was ordered to pay SG$215,000 in damages and costs. His life destroyed, he eventually left Singapore for Taiwan. He talks to PJ Thum about th…
 
PJ Thum talks to Irie and Muhammad, two founders of Quasa, a peer support and community network for queer Muslims in Singapore. They talk about Quasa, what it does, why it’s needed, and what they want to achieve. They also discuss the lives of Queer Muslims, what they want, their relationship to their faith, the challenges the face, and the banalit…
 
New Naratif held a contest inviting people to tell us who they thought the next Prime Minister of Singapore should be, and why. The winner, with 57 votes, was Yeo Kian Hwee, who (presciently) picked Lawrence Wong. He speaks to PJ Thum about his thoughts on the succession and a Lawrence Wong premiership. As Yeo was born in Malaysia, they also have a…
 
Dr Chee Soon Juan is the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and one of the most respected and feared opposition leaders in Singapore, so it was a little inexplicable when he decided to start up a restaurant, "Orange & Teal". Singapore's food & beverage industry is notoriously difficult and competitive, and on top of this he s…
 
New Naratif invited people to tell us who they thought the next Prime Minister of Singapore should be, and why. PJ Thum interviews the four finalists: Roderick Foo, for Louis Ng; Joel Wong, for Prof Teo You Yenn; Yeo Kian Hwee, for Lawrence Wong; Steven Yeong, for Teo Chee Hean. Read their written arguments and vote for who you think made the best …
 
Content warning: This podcast includes references to sexual assault. On this week’s episode, Jacob Goldberg speaks to Peter Murphy, chairman of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, also known as ICHRP. ICHRP is a network of organisations in the Philippines and in diaspora communities around the world working to inform th…
 
Ahead of the publication of the revised and updated edition of her memoirs, legendary Singaporean civil society activist Constance Singam sits down with PJ Thum to talk about her long career in activism. They talk about the "AWARE Saga", when it was taken over by a group of fundamentalist Christians, which she was a direct participant in as the the…
 
Leong Mun Wai is a Non-constituency Member of Parliament for the Progress Singapore Party and the CEO of private equity firm, Timbre Capital. He explains to PJ Thum about Singapore's financial reserves, where it comes from, and how it is spent. They talk about the need for more transparency and accountability over how it is spent, and the inherentl…
 
On this week's episode, Jacob Goldberg speaks to Professor Jose Maria Sison, who goes by the nickname Joma. Joma is the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a revolutionary guerilla war against the Philippine government since 1968. He is a controversial figure to many and a beloved comrade to othe…
 
Mysara Aljaru talks to PJ Thum about her research into narratives about Singapore's Malay community in the mainstream media in Singapore. They discuss racial stereotypes, the challenges facing the Malay community, the systemic and historical underpinnings of racism, and how racism can be overcome. In particular, they argue about whether racism is a…
 
In defiance of its own laws and the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Singapore government intends to hang a man with borderline intellectual functioning for smuggling 42.72 grams of diamorphine—a form of heroin used to treat severe pain. PJ Thum speaks to Emmy Charissa, a disability rights activist; Kokila Annamalai, an ant…
 
Earlier this year, New Naratif published a piece about Wong Kueng Hui, one of the many stateless people in the Malaysian state of Sabah, and his decade-long legal battle to gain citizenship in Malaysia. In October 2019, the Kuala Lumpur High Court finally granted Wong citizenship. But this breakthrough only lasted for three weeks. The Malaysian gov…
 
What is the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Bill? How will it impact our lives? How do we avoid running afoul of it? Why is this law so important? Lawyer Carol Yuen, NCMP Leong Mun Wai, and Progress Singapore Party Women's Wing leader Wendy Low will discuss this mammoth, complicated law with New Naratif managing director PJ Thum and unpack i…
 
On today's episode, PJ Thum speaks to Faris Joraimi about his book, Raffles Renounced. They talk about how the book came about, how it rejects the orthodoxy of Singapore’s history, its national myth, and how it challenges the Raffles-centric view of the country’s history. They also discuss race and what it means to be Malay in a hyper-racialised so…
 
The Online Citizen has been banned in Singapore via the government's suspension of its class license under the Broadcasting Act. Editor-in-Chief Terry Xu joins New Naratif managing director PJ Thum to discuss the banning of TOC, what Terry plans to do next, and the proposed new anti-foreign interference law and how it will impact both TOC and New N…
 
Ryaihanny Sahrom is a legal professional and a freelance writer with a passion in human rights for marginalised genders. Speaking to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han, she argues that effectively addressing crime requires a societal shift in how we define justice, moving from retribution towards abolishing the environmental conditions that create it in …
 
Content warning: This podcast includes references to sexual assault 19-year-old Elijah Tay is already a veteran activist, having started at just 14. They return to Political Agenda to talk to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up, Singapore) about their personal life journey, their founding of My Queer Story SG and LGBTQIA+ activism, and their advi…
 
On the 16th of August, Malaysia’s 8th prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin and his cabinet, who came to power via a political coup in 2020, officially resigned. At the time of this recording, the next prime minister is being selected by a secret vote by members of parliament via statutory declarations to the king. The next prime minister—the third in t…
 
Up and Out is an Instagram page dedicated to better quality sex education for Singaporean youth, while also speaking out against the outdated sex-ed curriculum of the Singapore education system. PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up, Singapore) talk to the founders, Vanessa and Vivian, about the importance of uncensored, inclusive, and holistic sex…
 
Since March 2020, Malaysia has been placed under several movement control orders (MCOs) that restrict movement and business operations in order to curb COVID-19 infections. However, the MCOs have also resulted in rising unemployment, business closures and increased food insecurity. Cash aid from the government has been disbursed in several stages, …
 
Malaysia is falling apart: people are struggling with hunger in their homes, their healthcare system is falling apart, their leaders are bickering amongst themselves, and their parliament is failing to hold those leaders accountable. How did a prosperous country end up in such dire straits? Lim Wei Jiet, a human rights lawyer, speaks to PJ Thum and…
 
Every so often, heartwarming stories emerge of educators and students alike overcoming hurdles in order for learning to continue, whether that’s a teacher travelling over 100 kilometres daily to reach students in rural areas, or a student who spent the night in a tree for better internet connection to sit for her exams. Stories like these tend to t…
 
Infection rates continue to climb in Malaysia’s latest wave of COVID-19 infections. National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme was launched in February, not long after it was announced that everyone would be included in the vaccination program, including undocumented migrants. However, the Malaysian government later reversed this decision and instead…
 
Aleesha Khan works on sexual violence and mental health in Singapore and she runs Self_ally, an Instagram page which provides resources to survivors of trauma and abuse. She talks to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up, Singapore) about her life story, her activism, and her work. They discuss some of the psychology of racism in Singapore, from bo…
 
This podcast includes references to suicide. These days, almost anyone you meet can talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their lives for the worse. Salary cuts or a total loss of income, separation from friends and family, and long periods of isolation. It is no surprise that this pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. But ther…
 
Content warning: This podcast includes references to suicide. Shaza Ishak is the managing director of Teater Ekamatra, Singapore's leading ethnic minority theatre company. She talks with Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) and PJ Thum about her life story and the challenges she faced as a female Indian Muslim professional in Singapore. They go int…
 
When you hear the word “refugee”, what picture comes to mind? Is it an image of a boat full of people trying to find a safe place to stay, or is it a desolate refugee camp? Often, the narrative we have of refugees is that they are helpless. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Monique Truong and Leena Al-Mujahed,…
 
Trigger Warning: Sexual violence and self-harm At seven, Devika Satheesh Panicker was sexually assaulted. After a year of abuse, her parents learnt of the matter and the perpetrator was arrested and incarcerated. Yet this was only the beginning of a long journey for her, first as a survivor and subsequently as an advocate for sexual violence awaren…
 
Do politicians and rulers have anything to worry about when it comes to the influence of art in politics? This year alone, Fahmi Reza, a Malaysian political graphic designer and activist has been questioned by police five times for publishing his work on social media. Last month in May, it was for his satire piece depicting Malaysia’s health minist…
 
Heckin' Unicorn sells subtle & unique LGBTQIA+ merchandise, such as enamel pins, socks, and notebooks, that allow people to express their identity. Its founder, Teo Yu Sheng, talks to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) about the origins of Heckin' Unicorn, its ethos and mission, his personal journey, and how he reconciles capitalism a…
 
After 10 months of protests, in which Thai people took to the streets to call for reform of the monarchy and the political system, more than 600 activists have been arrested and charged for their political expression. In 2021 alone, at least 30 people have been detained on charges of sedition or royal defamation. For months, most were denied bail w…
 
Min Cheong and Jufri Salim of the Singapore Democratic Party sit down with Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) and PJ Thum to talk about why they decided to join politics, what they hope to achieve, and their vision for Singapore. They also talk about the evolving challenges of politics in Singapore, the false dichotomy between democratic values a…
 
Language has the power to shape our understanding about the world. It’s a cultural, political, and psychological tool that impacts our psyche and the way we relate to people around us. But who gets to decide the meaning of the words we use? In the official Indonesian dictionary, the word “woman” (or perempuan) is listed among compound words that me…
 
Innovative musician and activist Subhas Nair released his new album, Tabula Rasa/Tak Boleh Rasa, direct to fans via Telegram. He talks to Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) and PJ Thum about the music on this album, unpacks its complex commentary of politics and society, and explains his decision to bypass conventional distribution channels - eve…
 
For more than a month, Malaysian authorities detained Nigerian national Simon Momoh even after he had paid a fine and served his one-day jail term for a drink-driving offence. Although a court has since ruled that Malaysia’s Immigration Department had unlawfully detained Simon, his detention and the threat of deportation brought to light the many c…
 
Jolene Tan is author of "After The Inquiry", a new novel on censorship, propaganda, idealism, and everyday authoritarianism in Singapore. She discusses the novel with PJ Thum, and they go into detail in particular about the protagonist, Teck, and what the novel might reveal about Singapore. In the non-spoiler discussion, they delve into depth about…
 
On the 1st of February this year, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing launched a coup, aborting Myanmar’s five-year experiment with electoral democracy. The army toppled the civilian government a day before a newly elected parliament was set to take office. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and hundreds of their allies were arrested. Since then, numerou…
 
The Substation, Singapore's foremost experimental arts space, is due to be evicted from its building. Its board consequently and controversially decided to close the space. T. Sasitharan, former Artistic Director of The Substation (1996-2000) joins PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han to talk about The Substation, its importance, and the problem with how t…
 
A recording of a livestream with PJ Thum and Terry Xu, Editor-in-Chief of The Online Citizen Asia (TOCA), about the 8 March 2021 raid on Terry's home, his interrogation by the Singapore police, excessive/unchecked police powers, and the impending law against "foreign interference" that will target both TOCA and New Naratif.…
 
Muslim women in Singapore who work in frontline roles in the public sector are generally banned from wearing a headscarf (tudung, or hijab). This has long been a source of unhappiness for Muslim women, who are forced to choose between their faith and their work. Educator and active citizen Nur Friday talks to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up S…
 
In 2019, Malaysia’s parliament agreed to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, a move that was supposed to be implemented by July this year. However, a few days ago, it was announced that this will be delayed and pushed to September 2022 instead. This led to speculation about an impending general election, which many think will be called once Malaysi…
 
Kokila Annamalai has been ever-present in activism for many years, most recently raising public awareness of the migrant worker dormitory scandal at the heart of Singapore's COVID-19 crisis. She talks to PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) about her life, her work and the theory and practice of activism. She talks about decentralised m…
 
In this bonus episode, we bring you part 2 of PJ's interview by The Drunken Ramblings Podcast. Part 1 was released on their channel at https://www.facebook.com/TheDrunkenRamblingsPodcast/posts/223515112838708 or on Spotify. In Part 2, PJ talks about how he became a historian, The History of Singapore podcast, his approach to history, how and why he…
 
On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Febriana Firdaus, an independent journalist based in Indonesia, and Leo Plunkett, a filmmaker and video journalist, about their recent documentary, Our Mother’s Land. The documentary looks at some of the women at the forefront of hundreds of rural communities that are in confl…
 
Liyana Dhamirah is head of Red Dot United's (RDU) Youth Wing and author of "Homeless", and Elijah Tay is RDU's youngest member at just 19 years old. PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (WakeUp Singapore) speak to them about why they decided to join politics, what they hope to achieve, and about RDU and their values and vision for Singapore. They also talk…
 
PJ Thum discusses the ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation by the Singapore Government against New Naratif, and talks about his experience being interrogated by the Singapore police. Hosted by Sean Francis Han (Editor-in-Chief, Wake Up Singapore). This interview was recorded live on 5 March 2021 For more, please visit https://newnaratif.…
 
Refugee children in Malaysia are denied access to the formal education system. This leaves informal community-based learning centres as their only option. On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches, Deborah Augustin speaks to Htoi San Nhkum, director of the Kachin Refugee Learning Center, and Abeera Abdullah, a Fugee School alumni and the co-foun…
 
June Chua is a transgender woman, former sex worker, founder of The T Project, Singapore's first (and to date, only) transgender shelter, and Alicia Community Centre, a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community. She joins PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han (Wake Up Singapore) for a fun, high energy podcast, to talk about her life and her activism. They discu…
 
Art and music have always been a part of social change and activism. They have the power to intervene in politics and create lasting impact. In Indonesia, Efek Rumah Kaca is an indie rock band who have been using their music as a tool to protest against government policies and to comment on other important issues. Their song, Mosi Tidak Percaya, (V…
 
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