Kirsten Han

Kirsten Han

Journalist and writer

Telling stories from a tiny Southeast Asian island.

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Singapore's Family Feud: A 'Secret Committee' and the Problem of Due Process

What we’re seeing now is not regular due process.

Floral tributes to lee kuan yew outside high street centre  singapore   20150327 article

The Lee feud is not about the house – it's about the story

The ongoing Lee family feud is not about whether to preserve or demolish 38 Oxley Road. It never was.

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The #OxLeeFeud: A test of one's commitment to the bigger picture

There are no heroes here, no one to look up to, just a petty elite arguing pettily in Facebook posts about things not going their way.

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Memory and Movements in Building Singapore's Civil Society

Understanding our history is crucial to diagnosing the challenges we face and figuring out how to overcome them.

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Barraged by allegations, Lee vows transparency

In a rare scene of political theater in Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong apologizes to the public for his family's feud.

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Sibling rivalry raises political risks in Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's public feud with his younger siblings has raised uncomfortable questions about his leadership and governance.

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First family feud mesmerizes Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's younger siblings claim the premier has abused his power and failed to execute their late national founder father's last wishes.

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Is the First Family Finally Waking from Singapore’s Orwellian Nightmare?

Lee Hsien Loong has continued to erode civil liberties on the island. Like his father, he’s sued political opponents, journalists and dissidents. Are his siblings starting to wake up?

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Lee family feud in Singapore

Dueling public statements between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his siblings have brought ruling family discord into a glaring public light.

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A straight married couple became a same-sex one and Singapore’s famous efficiency broke down

Singapore allows transgender people to change the particulars on their IC after sex reassignment surgery, but doesn't recognise same-sex marriage. Our public housing system, meant to provide good homes for Singaporeans, prioritises married Singaporeans in the hopes that they'll start families to boost our low birth-rate. And while Singapore is well-known internationally for our modernity and efficiency, the system can also break down from time to time when uncommon unique or first-of-its-kind scenarios pop up.
Unfortunately, the couple whose story I tell in Quartz got hit by all three things, with very painful consequences.

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A Matter of Life and Death: An Abolitionist's Experience

On my work as an anti-death penalty activist in Singapore.

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Pink Dot, Speakers' Corner and the Death of Singapore's Only Space for Dissent

If this is the length to which organizers have to go to protect themselves from prosecution, then the whole concept of Hong Lim Park as a Speakers’ Corner loses its meaning. One might not need to apply for a police permit, but could be forced to spend huge amounts of money, time and energy policing one’s own event, failing which fines or jail time await.

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Taking to the stage with Singapore’s most fearless theatre company

For 30 years, the Necessary Stage has been holding a mirror to the city-state’s complex society, often drawing the government’s watchful eye.

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You Came Here to Work, Not Fall in Love

There is a widespread expectation that these migrants are “just here to work”, but it’s an unrealistic one. Although employment is the main motivation behind travelling to Singapore, life cannot be so easily compartmentalized. Migrant workers not only work in Singapore; they live in Singapore too, and have the same need for community and companionship as everyone else.

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Singapore, It Is Time for Answers on Operation Spectrum

Finding out about Operation Spectrum as a young Singaporean had a profound effect on the way I saw my country and my place in it. 30 years on, it's time Singaporeans talked openly about this event and got some answers.