My Interview with "Lianhe Zaobao"

Below is a English translation of my interview with Singapore’s Chinese Daily Newspaper “Lianhe Zaobao” published on 11 July 2011. Click on the thumbnail below for the original scanned version.

Leaving computing for concert production

In 2007, having just graduated from the School of Computing, Nipuna Perera entered an IT company.  Recalling his first job four years ago, a humourous and cheerful Perera shakes his head saying: “Those were the three longest months of my life.”

He thought of resigning every day, but where could he go? “At that time, I felt there were only those few choices – if it is not marketing, it is banking.”

Hailing from Sri Lanka, 28-year-old Perera’s father is a banker and his mother a financial accountant. In secondary school, he studied mathematics, accountings, finance and computing, studying e-commerce computing (in NUS) in 2003. Due to his love for rock music, Perera volunteered at the NUS Centre For the Arts (CFA , in short), helping to organise student art activities/events. Formed in 1993, CFA’s purpose is to raise the cultural vibrancy on campus, and manage many student arts groups. He says: “Although it was a lot of fun, I saw this only as an interest and never thought this could ever be a job.”

Recalling his work at the IT company after his graduation, Perera said: “During that time, I was constantly frustrated, yet I didn’t know what suited me. One day, I returned to NUS for dinner and, while queuing, unexpectedly bumped into the CFA staff member who was in charge of my volunteer group. Hearing my situation, this staff suggested I apply for his job from which he was leaving.  At that time I thought, why not?”

Although it seemed late in hindsight, it was actually happened quickly. Despite a lack of relevant experience, having to start at the bottom, plus a lower salary than his IT job at the time, Perera was past caring about these. Returning home, he sent in the relevant materials, made it through the interview and entered CFA, continuing to stay on for three whole years, leaving last September.   

Compared to the three long months at his IT job, these three years seemed to pass in a flash. This February, Perera launched his artist management company “The Fallez”, aimed at finding and promoting local music talents in Singapore. Despite having left CFA, Perera still reminiscences fondly about it: “I was very happy during those three years. I got to helped out at the ExxonMobil Campus Concerts, NUS Arts Festival, and the ChildAid concert. My colleagues at CFA taught me a lot about management and I met many who shared my passions and values. To me, these experiences made up for the differences in my background. I am grateful to CFA, and especially that day when I decided to have dinner at NUS and meeting up with my senior there.”

Doing what he loves

Seeing their son’s happiness in his work, Perera’s parents did not oppose the change in his career at all. He said: “My family and relatives are mainly doctors, lawyers and engineers. That year, I was the first to go into computing, and now I am again the first to venture into the arts. In Sri Lanka, many parents expect their children to take on traditional careers. It is the same for virtually all of my friends. I am grateful to my parents for this freedom. I also want to prove to them, that besides being happy at this job, I will also strive to make it sustainable.

A friend of Perera’s who went into the IT line three years ago would now be earning two to three times what he is earning now. However, Perera feels that to do a job that one loves is invaluable. His namecard carries the symbol of a fallen angel.  He said: “The “Z” in “Fallez” is actually a fallen “N”, and a link to my name. This symbol is designed by a Malaysian friend of mine. She draws well, but is actually a dentist!”

Perera pointed out that among the many in life who are searching for their passions and interests, he is lucky to find the point which balances it all for him. What is his aim next? A PR since 2007, Perera says, “If you asked me this question five years before, I would not have been able to answer you. Now I can tell you my dream. I want to become a well known producer, and I am now working towards that.”

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Dec. 18 electric Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations on December 14 on behalf of the Chinese government submitted to the United Nations Secretariat waters beyond 200 nautical miles East part of the outer limits of the continental shelf submission. State Oceanic Administration website on the 18th National Marine Information Centre published a signed article points out,hogan outlet, East China strengthened submission strong claims in the East China Sea. The full text is as follows:First, the East China Sea submission backgroundArticle 76 clearly states that “the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention”), the continental shelf of a coastal State,sito ufficiale hogan, including its territorial sea beyond its land territory of a natural extension,moncler outlet, extended to the outer edge of the continental margin of the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas . If the amount of the continental margin from the baseline for measuring the width of the territorial sea beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastal State may claim the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.

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etc.,moncler sito ufficiale, the day before the four PLA issued jointly by Xi Jinping also approved the “strict austerity funds management regulations”, according to the criterion of combat troops raised money to work, from 17 specifies strict management control official reception expenses.In the Politburo collective study held on the 23rd of this month, and Xi Jinping stressed the need to ensure that judicial and procuratorial organs exercise judicial power independently and impartially in accordance with the law,hogan rebel donna, prosecutorial power, fight for justice in every case people are feeling justice.Xi also asked the CPC leading organs and leading cadres at all levels to improve the ability to apply the rule of law and the rule of law the way of thinking.

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Tin Pei Ling: Marriages between Singaporeans and Foreigners is a complex issue

On Singaporean Families with Foreign Spouses

Lianhe Wanbao carried an article about foreign spouses on 20 Oct 2014 (see link at the bottom). Over the years, I have received quite a number of appeals for long(er) term stay by Singaporeans for their foreign spouses. In some cases, the circumstances were complex, involving former spouses (whom we must be fair to) or suspected scams (which we must guard against). These cases will need careful consideration by the authorities. In others, there were impassioned pleas for the Long Term Visit Pass/ Long Term Visit Pass Plus/ Permanent Residency to be granted to their foreign spouses so that the family can be whole. I am sympathetic towards appeals in the latter category and hope that the authorities can consider a more compassionate solution to address this issue. I had also spoken on this issue several times in Parliament. Singaporeans today are highly mobile and it will not be surprising if we observe more Singaporeans marrying foreigners. Hence, better to contemplate an up-to-date solution in preparation for the future than to react later. 

The following was what I had suggested in Parliament earlier this year during the Committee of Supply Debate:

Ms Tin Pei Ling (Marine Parade): Mdm Chair, last year, we debated on the Population White Paper and the House spoke at length from building a roadmap towards a sustainable population for an ageing Singapore. The pillars set out in the Paper were to build a strong Singaporean core. Many Singaporeans will agree, and I agree with this too. The good news is that apparently, most Singaporeans desire to get married and have kids. The recent Marriage and Parenthood study conducted in 2012 indicated that 83% of singles intend to get married and 84% of those who are married intend to have two or more children. To enable this, we must continue to shift our society and foster a pro-family culture by starting and raising a family take centre stage in our life choices. This involves aligning fundamental values, societal attitudes, practices exercised in settings such as at the workplace and, of course, Government policies. The Government has done a commendable job so far in being pro-Singaporean families with a generous Marriage and Parenthood Package, along with all the Baby Bonuses and the likes in the past. However, with so much emphasis on families, there is still one group of Singaporean families who may have been neglected. I am referring to the Singaporean families with foreign spouses. While they are not pure Singaporean families in that one spouse is foreign, as a whole they contribute to Singaporean core too.

The number of Singaporeans married to foreign spouses has been on the rise. Marriages registered between a Singaporean and a non-Singaporean make up about four in 10 of all marriages involving a Singaporean. In 2012 alone, there were about 7,017 marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners, up by about 15% from 2011’s figure. This is significant and possibly suggesting that such marriages will become a common sight. It may not be the majority but perhaps a more common sight in future. However, the certainty of long-term residency for the foreign spouses is a significant issue. There was a total of about 11,736 Long Term Visit Pass and Long Term Visit Pass Plus granted in 2012. It is a significant figure. However, what happens after these Long Term Passes expire? Not all graduates even become PRs; some never do. But the point is there are still families who are still grappling with much uncertainty and cannot plan their lives or do so confidently.

Because of the lack of certainty of stay, some who are financially sound become financially vulnerable. While some who are already struggling are now struggling even more because of single income source and travelling costs incurred by the foreign spouse. I give some examples during my Budget debate yesterday. Hence, there is great anxiety, frustration and fear of being separated. The problem is worse if they have children together. The hurdles that such couples have to overcome make me wonder if there is an indirect way of telling people who they can or cannot marry. Every country has its set of policies that not only reflect prevalent societal attitudes but is also a means of social engineering. This is understandable and perhaps the right thing to do for a government chosen by its people. But in this context, I struggle to reconcile the national move to increase and strengthen the Singaporean and enable families with difficulties, especially the low-income families with foreign spouses.




Wrap Text field: 

Marriage is sacred and everyone should have the freedom to choose who he or she wants to marry. Once married, it is a commitment and there are obligations that they have to each other. None of the Singaporeans with foreign spouses I met so far has thought of abandoning their foreign spouses, though some wondered if they should give up Singapore citizenship altogether to migrate overseas just so that the family can be whole. These Singaporeans have chosen their foreign spouses to share their lives with and these foreign spouses have also chosen to give up their homelands to be part of Singapore. Moreover, should they have children, the children would be born as Singaporeans given that at least one of the parents is a Singapore citizen.

Hence, would the Government consider an immigration progression roadmap specifically awarding Long Term Visit Pass Plus to foreign spouses upon marriage and then permanent residency after a definitive period of, say, 10 years? This will offer a greater sense of security to these families. There are, of course, concerns over marriage of convenience or engagement in illicit activities. Heavy penalties such as immediate revocation of the pass and permanent entry ban can be imposed in such instances. There are also concerns over the financial health of the family because of the additional family member in an already financially needy family. The unspoken question among some is perhaps whether this would inadvertently increase the financial liability to our nation. In light of this, I suggest that we incentivise these families by granting PR earlier if the foreign spouse gives birth to a Singaporean child and perhaps even earlier, if he or she finds a job with a stable income. The latter would help to strengthen a low-income family’s financial position. Assuming a scenario where the foreign spouse finds a low-skilled job as a stall helper, the pay can range from about $800 to $1,000 per month. The sum of money will significantly enhance the family’s income and bring more benefit than our usual PA assistance which would have been likely in a single-income source family.

Madam, marriage is sacred. It has to be a union between two consenting individuals. It is a personal choice. Against a backdrop of strengthening Singaporean core, I hope the Government will consider this favourably.

*Article first appeared on


The reason why you should get yourself a copy of 联合早报 (Lianhe Zaobao) even when you don’t read Mandarin - a full page feature of yours truly! I’m extremely honoured and thankful for this opportunity!😙

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Enjoying my pineapple juice after shoot with Lianhe Zaobao, thanks for this opportunity and look out for my feature!😉 (at Blackbird Bistro & Bar)