Alex Tan may be bloody, but he is unbowed. After announcing on November 9 that the website would cease publication since it had been “blocked under false charges of ‘fake news’ and ‘criminal defamation’” by the government, the controversial States Times Review (STR) editor said that he would not write anymore, and would just live his life peacefully in Australia.
The website had been blocked due to a controversial story that Tan ran linking Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the 1MDB scandal. However, the STR website was back online by November 12, and as of the writing of this article, is still up and accessible. Concerning the allegations, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had said, “When you make allegations of corruption, money laundering against the Prime Minister, Government of Singapore that we are complicit in this and so on, we’ll take this very seriously.”
Tan’s retreat lasted less than three days, because on November 12, Tan wrote what he entitled an ‘Epilogue.’
Here’s the content in a nutshell—STR’s mission will continue, but this time under a new, anonymous spearhead, a dual Singaporean-Canadian citizen, for whom Tan set up a new news site, the Singapore Herald (https://www.singapore-herald.com/).
Tan does not know this person and has never met. Having given the new editor a three-hour crash course on how to run the site, Tan says he is satisfied as to the individual’s competence, though he is quite a bit younger than himself.
Tan himself will have nothing to do with the Singapore Herald, and received no money from the new editor, though he was offered $10,000.
Here is the text of the “Epilogue” in full.
“Epilogue. The past week has been heartening to read that many Singaporeans have expressed disappointment in the shut down of States Times Review.
I have been recently contacted by a Toronto-based reader who informed me that he is willing to continue STR.
I naturally discouraged him so, and warned him the risk of endangering himself and his family. He however gave me the assurance as he holds dual citizenship in Canada and Singapore.
Being the sceptical (sic) me, I ended up rejecting his request to continue STR. However, I will do my last part for Singaporeans by setting up the website for him. I have also gave him a 3-hour STR crash course, pointers, tips and a discussion on the development of Singapore. I am satisfied to say that he is fairly competent, even though he is much younger than I am.
He would be solely in-charge of the writing and the IT backend. I will have no editorial rights, nor will I interfere with his editorial.
I declined to receive a single cent from him, even though he offered me S$10,000 to set up a similar site to STR.
I hope the best for Singaporeans and his new site, the Singapore Herald.
Best regards, Alex Tan STR Editor
*As for myself, I am permanently settled in Australia with a new citizenship. I have no intention to return to Singapore.”
The website of the Singapore Herald is now up, as well as its accompanying Facebook page. There are two articles up on the new site so far, both dated November 12, “PAP Election: Fall of Lawrence Wong, rise of K Shanmugam” and “PAP internal election rigged with ghost voters and inconsistent statements.”
The choice of name of the new site is particularly noteworthy since it carries the name of a tabloid published some decades ago, whose license had been suspended in 1971 under charges of “black operations”, “taking on the government” inciting agitation against the police, among other allegations.
Interestingly enough, the new website and Facebook page have the same look, feel and writing style as STR, leading many to wonder as to the true identity of the “Singaporean-Canadian” individual helming the new site. As to whether he will identify himself remains to be seen.