ST Asian Insider

Bringing you insights from across Asia

With our network of over 30 correspondents in almost every major Asian capital, as well as in the United States and Europe, The Straits Times has you covered.

Want to know Asia in detail? We bring you independent, insider insights on Asia through our vast network of overseas correspondents and veteran writers, who have been following the region for decades. 

We have been building this network of staff over the years - from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Indochina region in South-east Asia; to China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea in East Asia; and India in South Asia. Together with them, we have a team of correspondents and contributors stationed in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia to give you a complete perspective on happenings in this region. 

It is what has earned us a reputation for reporting and interpreting developments in an objective and insightful manner to allow readers to make sense of a fast-changing region and what this means to them. 

Don't miss out. Here's more about our writers. 

South-east Asia

Malaysia


Shannon Teoh, 
Malaysia Bureau Chief

Shannon Teoh cut his teeth in print, Web and wire agency journalism before joining The Straits Times in 2014, after a decade of covering everything from pop culture to politics, money to motoring. He took a one-year break from Malaysia news in 2009 after winning the Chevening scholarship to complete his postgraduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, focusing on political communication.

After returning to Malaysia, he spent two years as an assistant news editor at The Malaysian Insider before moving on to become a local correspondent for Agence France-Presse in 2012. He has loved football, food and fiction all his life, and is still trying to figure out a way to combine all three in a get-rich-quick scheme.



Trinna Leong, 
Malaysia Correspondent

Trinna Leong  joined The Straits Times as Malaysia Correspondent after working at The Malaysian Insider and Reuters. A graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she had been a varsity debater, chemist and copywriter, before venturing into the news industry to fill her daily quota of adrenaline rush. She covers a myriad of topics ranging from politics and economy to social issues.

She has covered two airplane accidents involving Malaysia Airlines, the sodomy trials of politician Anwar Ibrahim, the murder of North Korean Kim Jong Nam, the unraveling of misappropriation within state-fund 1MDB, and Malaysia’s historic general election in 2018. She was also a recipient of the IWMF African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative, which took her to Uganda, right before the country’s 2016 polls. Trinna is also part of a network of journalists collaborating with Google News Initiative to provide free training to peers. 



Nadirah H. Rodzi, 
Malaysia Correspondent

Nadirah H. Rodzi has a decade of experience in the Malaysian news industry, and has worked for various major English news publications, including The Star and The New Straits Times. Nadirah has a background in crime reporting, and her areas of expertise include covering counter-terrorism and graft.



Hazlin Hassan, Malaysia Correspondent

Hazlin Hassan has been a journalist since 2000, after graduating from King’s College, University of London, and has worked as a broadcast journalist for television as well as a foreign correspondent for Agence France-Presse. She served at the United Nations briefly in corporate communications before joining The Straits Times in 2007 but took a six-year break from journalism between 2012 and 2018 to become a freelance writer. She returned to The Straits Times just in time for the historic 2018 general election in Malaysia. An avid tea-drinker recovering from tsundoku, she is usually busy plotting her next travel adventure when she is not writing stories.


Indonesia


Francis Chan, 
Indonesia Bureau Chief

Francis cut his teeth as a journalist reporting on the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis. His coverage of how the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the United States wiped out the investments of Singaporeans in a series of credit-linked products linked to the bank, resulted in unprecedented reforms in the financial sector.

He also led The Straits Times’ coverage in crime and terrorism before he moved to Jakarta in 2015, where he now leads a team reporting on Indonesia’s political and economic developments, and its counter-terrorism and deradicalisation efforts, as well as the rise of religious intolerance in the country.

In 2017, he received the Gold Award for "Best Breaking News Report" from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) for his reporting on the first terrorist attack in Indonesia linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in January 2016. He was also the Securities Investors’ Association of Singapore Financial Journalist of the Year for 2009, and a recipient of an Excellence in Business Reporting Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa).



Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, 
Indonesia Correspondent

Wahyudi joined The Straits Times in July 2008 after seven years as a reporter with Bloomberg News in Jakarta, one year with financial newswire AFX-Asia and two years as a business reporter at The Jakarta Post. Prior to his switch to journalism, he worked for a Jakarta-based joint-venture bank for two years until Indonesia - and the bank he worked for - was hit hard by the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.

Now, Wahyudi keeps busy sussing out stories on the business front, in addition to covering terrorist trials and other breaking news stories. He has also covered disaster zones, including the tsunami-hit Mentawai islands and the mud-flow villages of East Java. Photography is a skill that he hones in his leisure hours - both for pleasure and to help him in his work..



Linda Yulisman, 
Indonesia Correspondent

Linda Yulisman joined The Straits Times in 2018 after working for more than eight years at Indonesia’s oldest English newspaper, The Jakarta Post, where she was a deputy business editor. She has covered a number of regional and international economic events and written stories about a wide range of economic issues, including industry, trade and investment. In her free time, Linda enjoys watching movies, reading books and travelling.



Nur Asyiqin Mohammad Salleh, Indonesia Correspondent

Asyiqin joined The Straits Times in 2013. After a few months covering crime and social affairs at the News Desk, she moved to the Political Desk. There, she wrote on issues such as terrorism, security, and developments in the region. She also spent a year at Life, focusing on books and the arts. She is now based in Jakarta, as Indonesia Correspondent.


Philippines


Raul Dancel, Philippines Correspondent

Raul Dancel has been in journalism for over two decades. He began his career as a reporter for The Manila Times, the Philippines’ oldest newspaper, in 1990. He later joined The Business Daily in 1994, and then the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippines’ biggest newspaper, in 1999. He is the recipient of prestigious awards from the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines. In 2003, he joined San Miguel Corp, the biggest food and beverage conglomerate, as a media relations officer. In August 2007, he joined The Straits Times in Singapore as a sub-editor. He has since assumed other positions within the newspaper, working as a page designer and then as a copytaster for both the Business and Foreign desks.

He also wrote stories for The Straits Times, the most notable of which have been his coverage of the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in November 2013 and the five-month siege by Muslim militants of the southern Islamic city of Marawi. In 2018, he was named a fellow for that year's Temasek-sponsored Asian Journalism Fellowship. A student of philosophy and letters from San Beda College, Raul dabbles in photography and plays the flute in his spare time.


Indochina


Tan Hui Yee, Indochina Bureau Chief

Tan Hui Yee is The Straits Times’ Indochina Bureau Chief, covering Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. She has been based in Bangkok since 2012. Prior to that, she was an enterprise writer, producing special reports on topics like social mobility, housing and the environment. Hui Yee’s explanatory work has won awards from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) as well as The Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa).

She is a 2016 US State Department IVLP fellow. Hui Yee graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in politics and international studies and has a master's degree in gender and international development from the same university. When not writing, she spends her time traipsing on mountains, or dreaming of them.


East Asia

China


Tan Dawn Wei, China Bureau Chief

Tan Dawn Wei has been China Bureau Chief since November 2018 after nearly two years as deputy foreign editor at The Straits Times. Previously, she was based in London, where she received her master's in digital journalism with distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2015. She has also been an assistant news editor at the News Desk; news editor for The Sunday Times; and a senior correspondent at The Sunday Times and Life. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys punching and kicking bags in gritty muay thai gyms.



Lim Yan Liang, China Correspondent

Yan Liang joined The Straits Times in 2011, and was a correspondent at the Political Desk before moving to the China bureau in February 2017. As political correspondent, he covered general and by-elections in Singapore and wrote features on topics such as crime, terrorism, technology and diplomacy. An honours graduate in communications, he also cut his teeth reporting on regional disasters, such as the MH17 crash and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.



Danson Cheong, China Correspondent

Danson Cheong joined The Straits Times in 2014 and was one of the broadsheet’s crime reporters, covering some of Singapore's biggest court cases, including the City Harvest megachurch scandal. Later, on the paper’s Political Desk, his reportage focused on critical issues, including security, terrorism and opposition politics. He moved to Beijing to join ST's China bureau in March 2018, where he has developed a keen interest in watching how a developing China deals with its environmental and urban issues. In his spare time in Beijing, and when it is not too cold outside, he enjoys hiking on the Great Wall.


Hong Kong


Claire Huang, Hong Kong Correspondent

Claire Huang joined The Straits Times in January 2018 and is based in Hong Kong as a correspondent where she mostly analyses macroeconomics, politics and domestic policies as the city finds its way in the world. From time to time, she also writes about the city's changing culture and quirks. Previously, she was a correspondent at sister publication The Business Times where she carved a niche in the fields of insurance, healthcare, legal and markets.

A journalism graduate, Claire has presented her work on multi-platforms, from online and radio to television and print. She learnt the ropes of the trade in court and crime reporting before moving to broadcast journalism where she covered local news and some of Singapore's biggest legal trials.


South Korea


Chang May Choon, South Korea Correspondent

Chang May Choon has been a journalist with Singapore Press Holdings since 2000, starting with The New Paper where she became known as the paper's Korea guru. The Nanyang Technological University alumna then explored multimedia reporting with The Straits Times RazorTV from 2008, before returning to print reporting in 2014. In May 2015, she moved to Seoul to start The Straits Times' first overseas bureau in South Korea.

Life has been stranger than a Korean drama for her since, as she covered the country’s biggest presidential scandal involving its first female leader Park Geun-hye and her confidante, Samsung’s exploding Note7 phablet, Lotte’s patriarch-versus-son feud, and the Trump-Kim crossfire leading to dialogue. In her free time, she coaches her half-Korean daughter Chinese and meets other Singaporean wives of Korean men to make sense of Korean madness.


Japan


Walter Sim, Japan Correspondent

Walter Sim joined The Straits Times in 2012 fresh out of Nanyang Technological University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. He first cut his teeth on the crime beat, before moving on to the Political Desk. It was during his first trip to Japan – a solo trip to Tokyo – in 2012 that he fell in love with the country and decided to pick up the language.

Since relocating to Tokyo as ST’s Japan Correspondent in June 2016, he has reported on a wide range of stories - from politics and economics to disaster recovery and other social issues - covering the span of the country from Hokkaido to Okinawa.


South Asia


Nirmala Ganapathy, India Bureau Chief

Nirmala Ganapathy, who is based in New Delhi, joined The Straits Times in 2010. The scope of her coverage in India, home to 1.2 billion people, has been extensive, ranging from diplomacy and foreign policy to local politics and social trends. She has been in journalism for 21 years after graduating from Delhi University in 1996. She also has a diploma in journalism from Strathclyde University in Scotland. A healthy curiosity brought her into journalism and keeps her going. During her free time, Nirmala likes catching up on the latest Bollywood films and likes nothing better than to explore India by road.



Debarshi Dasgupta, India Correspondent

Currently based in New Delhi, Debarshi Dasgupta has worked as a reporter in India for more than a decade. Some of the issues he has covered extensively include the country's marginalised languages and cultures, environment, ethnic affairs, as well as science and technology. His work has won him the National Media Award 2014 from the National Foundation for India and the Laadli Media Award 2011-12 from Population First/UNFPA. Debarshi holds a postgraduate degree in political science from Sciences Po in Paris. He enjoys learning new languages and often daydreams he is a successful morna singer in Cape Verde.


Australia


Jonathan Pearlman

Jonathan Pearlman was born in Sydney and studied at the University of New South Wales and Oxford University. He has been a correspondent for The Telegraph (UK) and worked at the Sydney Morning Herald, covering foreign affairs, defence and politics from Canberra and Sydney. He is the editor of Australian Foreign Affairs, a publication which looks at Australia’s foreign policy and regional ties.

He has worked as a correspondent in the Middle East, and has also covered the 2008 US election and the violence in eastern Congo. His work has appeared in numerous publications around the world. He has been a Walkley Award finalist and a United Nations Media Award winner. 


United States


Nirmal Ghosh, US Bureau Chief

Nirmal Ghosh is The Straits Times’ US Bureau Chief, based in Washington DC. He has been a foreign correspondent for the paper since 1994 in Manila, New Delhi and Bangkok, covering politics, elections, conflicts and coups d’etat, natural disasters, and social and environmental issues across a dozen Asian countries.

His stories have won Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa) Advertising and Marketing Awards, Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) awards. He was a Jefferson Fellow of the East West Center in the summer of 2015, and a Presidential Election Reporting Fellow in the fall of 2016. He is also an author, photographer and film-maker and is deeply involved in wildlife conservation. His fourth and most recent book, Unquiet Kingdom: Thailand In Transition was published in April 2017.  




Charissa Yong, US Correspondent

 Charissa Yong was posted to the United States as The Straits Times' US Correspondent in October 2018. Based in Washington DC, she has a keen interest in national politics, US-China relations and geopolitical shifts. She joined the paper in August 2012 and spent most of the subsequent six years reporting on the Singapore political scene, with three elections and countless parliamentary debates under her belt.

As a regional correspondent in 2018, she covered Asean meetings and South-east Asian trends. She has a BSc in International Relations and an MSc in Comparative Politics, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is particularly fond of languages and escape rooms.


Regional Affairs 


Goh Sui Noi, East Asia Editor

 Goh Sui Noi is East Asia Editor at the Foreign Desk of The Straits Times. Prior to the appointment, she was the China bureau chief of the paper, based in Beijing. She has also spent three years in Taipei from 1999 to 2002 as a correspondent.



Leslie Lopez, Regional Correspondent

Leslie has reported extensively on political and economic affairs in the region since the mid-1980s for several international news organisations. During his 10-year career with The Asian Wall Street Journal, Leslie won awards for his reporting on the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the aftermath of Asia’s deadly tsunami. He also led the paper’s regional coverage on the threat of militant Islam.

During his first stint with The Straits Times, Leslie’s coverage on regional issues won him the Best Story Award for three years running, and in 2009, he was named Singapore Press Holdings (EMND) Journalist of the Year. He is back with The Straits Times as the paper’s regional correspondent.



Arlina Arshad, Regional Correspondent

Arlina has been a journalist since 2000, writing breaking news and features for The Straits Times and international wire service Agence-France Presse. She has covered various topics, from politics and economy to religion and social trends in Singapore, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She takes special interest in Indonesia, where she had lived for nine years. A travel fanatic and an adventure seeker, when not too busy chasing stories on erupting mountains, she climbs them. 



Jeffrey Hutton, Regional Correspondent

Originally from Canada, Jeff started his journalism career with Bloomberg in Tokyo covering the automotive and consumer electronics sectors just as Apple was disrupting the hold Japanese makers had on the latter sector. In 2005, he moved to Sydney where he worked for Fairfax Media on publications such as business weekly BRW and the Australian Financial Review where he covered utilities and mining.

To fulfill his dream of being a foreign correspondent, he moved to Jakarta in 2012 where he freelanced for publications, including The Business Times, The Straits Times and The New York Times, as well as for the Economist Group. Jeff joined The Straits Times in July 2018 with specialities in Indonesian politics as well as business, economics, and commodities. He lives in Jakarta with his partner and practises muay thai kick-boxing.


Global Affairs


Jonathan Eyal, Global Affairs Correspondent

Jonathan Eyal was born in Romania, but has lived most of his life in Britain. Educated at Oxford and London universities, his initial training was in international law and relations, in which he obtained both his first degree and his master's with a distinction. His doctorate, completed at Oxford in 1987, analysed relations between ethnic minorities in Eastern Europe.

After teaching at Oxford for three years, Dr Eyal was appointed a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies in London. Since 1990, Dr Eyal has been Director of Studies at the institute. Dr Eyal has authored books on military relations in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, and became a regular commentator for The Guardian newspaper in London. He started writing for The Straits Times in 2001, and is currently the paper’s Global Affairs Correspondent based in London. He is fluent in French, Romanian, Italian, Hungarian and German.



Markus Ziener, Global Affairs Correspondent

Markus Ziener is The Straits Times' Global Affairs Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He is also a professor at HMKW, a media University in Berlin. From 2006 to 2012, he was Washington Bureau Chief for Handelsblatt, Germany's largest business daily. Prior to that he worked as a field reporter, covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has also served as correspondent in Moscow and Eastern Europe. From 1999 to 2001 he was Foreign Editor with the Financial Times Deutschland. Markus Ziener holds a doctorate in politics from Humboldt University, Berlin. 



Robin Chatterjee, Global Affairs Correspondent

A keen, inquisitive journalist with close to three decades of experience under his belt, Robin Chatterjee has honed his craft from the days of "cut and paste" journalism to the cutting-edge digital world of writing, production and multimedia. Currently based in Dubai, Robin was the Deputy Managing Editor and Senior Associate Editor of Gulf News. He has participated in three newspaper design overhauls, starting with broadsheet and finally ending with the Berliner format, and launched magazines. Apart from breaking stories and writing features, he has won close to 30 Society of Newspaper Design (SND) awards.

Robin has also been a guest at weekly radio shows in Dubai and has co-edited a book titled 30 Years Of The UAE. He also made a brief foray as a C-Suite executive in the corporate world of hospitality, sports and leisure before pressing the "reset" button on his professional compass to return to journalism. When Robin is not seeking out the latest global news developments, he immerses himself in watching sports on TV, seeking the best food in town, debating passionately on sub-continental affairs, or snooping the net for the best movies and documentaries.