For most of my youth, I was convinced that there would be little place for dissent or opposition support in Singapore. I was convinced, too, that it would be impossible to be a serious journalist in Singapore—to criticize wrongdoings of the government, to speak out against immigration or racial policies, to strive to fair and accurate coverage during election period. I was convinced that should I write about Singaporean politics, very few would actually be interested, let alone be moved to comment, respond, and participate in the political debate. I, too, have never been more glad to be proved wrong.

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Shibani Mahtani is a Singaporean student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has written for the Guardian in London and the Associated Press in Singapore.