ST's correspondents keep readers plugged in to developments in key cities

Meet our correspondents who have recently been deployed to Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taiwan - part of The Straits Times’ growing network of 18 foreign correspondents in 12 cities.
Clockwise from above left: Straits Times US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh, China bureau chief Goh Sui Noi, China correspondent Chong Koh Ping, Japan correspondent Walter Sim, Hong Kong correspondent Joyce Lim and Taiwan correspondent Jermyn Chow.
Clockwise from above left: Straits Times US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh, China bureau chief Goh Sui Noi, China correspondent Chong Koh Ping, Japan correspondent Walter Sim, Hong Kong correspondent Joyce Lim and Taiwan correspondent Jermyn Chow.

In less than a fortnight, Mr Donald Trump will take his oath of office as the 45th President of the United States.

The Straits Times' new US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh will be there to cover the inauguration, an event causing much trepidation around the world because of Mr Trump's promises to ditch treaties, start trade wars and generally put an end to business as usual. His election victory comes at a time of growing agitation among voters in the US and elsewhere for change.

As ST covers these upheavals around the world, its network of foreign bureaus, too, is undergoing changes. Six correspondents have been deployed to new postings in the past half-year, bringing with them a diverse set of skills and experiences to the paper's network of 21 correspondents in 12 cities. In addition, ST also taps on contributors from countries such as Australia and Germany.

A mix of veterans and first-timers, the six - in Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taiwan - share a common goal: to carry out ST's longstanding mission of covering the latest news and developments around the world and interpreting their significance for its readers.

Crucially, as events occur at an increasingly rapid clip and with greater complexity, this blending of expertise and experience strengthens ST's ability to deliver the news with speed, across platforms as well as across issues and borders.

One of the six, Mr Ghosh, was ST's Indochina bureau chief. The 57-year-old veteran has reported from India, the Philippines and Thailand, among other countries.

For Mr Ghosh, who took over at the US bureau this month, the US election has been a reminder of how quickly the status quo can be overturned. "The election laid bare both new and underlying divisions", he said.

Another veteran is China bureau chief Goh Sui Noi, who is taking up her posting at a critical juncture - China's leader, President Xi Jinping, has to deal decisively with internal challenges this year in order to secure his legacy at a pivotal ruling party congress. Prior to her posting, Ms Goh, 57, was ST's East Asia editor, overseeing the bureaus in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. She is no stranger to China. After a stint in Taiwan from 1999 to 2002, she was a correspondent in Beijing from 2002 to 2005.

On her return to the front lines, she said: "It's exciting to be back reporting from the field and to be back in China at a time when the country is at a new inflexion point, not just domestically but also internationally, where its growing clout, while welcomed by some, also has some nervous about its intentions."

Helping her in Beijing is Ms Chong Koh Ping, 38, who brings to ST's coverage an important asset - an economics background and business reporting experience.

No coverage of China - or indeed Asia - is adequate without a gauge of the state of the economy.

ST's focus has always been on Asia, the neighbourhood in which Singapore resides and also a region undergoing massive change politically, socially and economically. As China asserts its growing influence in the region, the coverage of news from places likely to be most affected has also grown in importance.

The new correspondents in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan each bring with them experience from years on other beats. For Mr Walter Sim, 29, now in Tokyo, it is politics; for Ms Joyce Lim, 42, in Hong Kong, it is local news, while Taiwan correspondent Jermyn Chow, 35, has a defence background.

Said ST editor Warren Fernandez, also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay and Tamil Media Group: "In addition to news as it breaks, readers want inputs and opinions from seasoned hands to help them make sense of the news and figure out what it means for them, their families, their business or their jobs. This is why we have invested heavily over the decades to build up our network of overseas correspondents and contributors, and will continue to do so.

"Our primary focus is our part of the world - South-east Asia and Asia more generally. But the wider story of the dynamic between the US, China, Japan, South Korea, and also India, is also an area which we have been watching closely, as how relations play out among them will have a major bearing on all of us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2017, with the headline 'Six new correspondents for ST's foreign network'. Print Edition | Subscribe