Kirsten Han

Kirsten Han is a freelance journalist. Her bylines have appeared in Al Jazeera English, the Guardian, the Diplomat and Southeast Asia Globe, among others. She is also a co-founder of We Believe in Second Chances, which advocates for the abolishment of the death penalty in Singapore.

Appraising the Apprentice

By Dan Koh What were you doing on 20 May, Friday morning? In the blue light of first dawn, crickets chirped steadily, a lone Asian koel bird hopefully called out and your neighbour stirred, hacking and hawking away in the toilet. Buses began running, newspapers dropped on doorsteps, building gates creaked open. A prisoner was loaded on to a van …

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Manifesto: It’ll keep you thinking and talking

One day before opening night, the authorities rated The Necessary Stage and Drama Box’s play R18. The reason was that its socio-political content was more suitable for “mature audiences”. But everyone should get the chance to consider the questions this show poses. Haresh Sharma, resident playwright at The Necessary Stage, described their latest play Manifesto as one that would challenge …

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Art and Politics: The Necessary Stage and Drama Box’s Manifesto

By Kirsten Han Walking into The Necessary Stage’s (TNS) black box, I’m faced with a flurry of activity even though I was told that it would be the lunch break. The crew are working on the set and the lights, and the actors are trickling in, getting into their costumes and rehearsing lines. Alvin Tan, TNS’ artistic director, and Kok …

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Singapore civil society responds to Universal Periodic Review

Note: The writer is a member of We Believe in Second Chances, an anti-death penalty group that is part of the Alliance of Like-Minded Civil Society Organisations in Singapore (ALMOS). The human rights struggles we see in films are often epic, emotional and inspirational; triumphant tales of the human spirit prevailing over cruelty, anger and hate. These stories have is …

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The Two Kirstens: Han interviews Tan

Some time in late 2008 or 2009 I printed a copy of my student film on to a tape, put it in a bubble wrap-lined envelope and sent it from New Zealand all the way back home to Singapore for consideration at the Singapore International Film Festival. My film was terrible and naturally wasn’t accepted into the short film competition …

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Providing free herbs for the sick and needy

By Sharanya Pillai Losing a loved one to cancer is a painful experience, one that 63-year-old Ng Kim Chuan knows all too well. In 2001, Ng’s younger brother succumbed to lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system. While coping with his loss, Ng, then a technician at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), also realised that many cancer patients were struggling to …

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Cat welfare volunteers urge more transparency and resources in fighting abuse

More collaboration, transparency and resources will be needed to fight against animal abuse cases such as the cat murders in Yishun, animal welfare volunteers said at a dialogue session on Saturday. Volunteers who have been dealing with cat abuse and abandonment cases expressed frustration over the lack of enforcement of laws that criminalise animal abuse and abandonment. Without adequate policing …

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Talent galore at the Migrant Worker Poetry Competition

Two Bangladeshi migrant workers and an Indonesian domestic worker nabbed the top three prizes at the finals of the Migrant Worker Poetry Competition held at the National Library on Sunday. 38-year-old Zakir Hossain Khokon won the top spot, an honour he had also received in 2014 at the inaugural Migrant Worker Poetry Competition. His poem, entitled “I am sorry”, dealt …

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