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.
Most things don’t last very long in the ever-changing city-state of Singapore, but the Sungei Road Thieves’ Market has a history that can be traced back to the 1930s. It’s survived the Japanese Occupation, the decline of the British colonial era, and waves of development following Singapore’s independence. Yet Singapore’s love for urban renewal has finally caught up with one of the island’s last free-wheeling grassroots enterprises.