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Happy 2012 everyone! I’m two days back from our jaunt around the eastern United States and the jet lag is kind of kicking my ass, but I need to get back on the blogging train asap or else I fear I’ll fall into another 3-month abyss of laziness. Don’t worry, I’ll be brief.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, a new web portal for expats called NotaTourist.sg has recently launched, and I’m thrilled to be one of the site’s contributors (along with a number of other expat bloggers listed on my blogroll — the Singapore expat blogging community is kind of hilariously small).

NotaTourist highlights a wide range of expat perspectives and covers popular categories like Food (such a no-brainer in Singapore), Relocation, the Arts, Music and Events. I’ve also written a couple travel-related articles that fall under the catch-all “Fun” section.

The site is sponsored by Singtel (as you may have gathered by the various Singtel-sponsored events that I’ve written about in the past few months, like the Grand Prix, the TV-themed fashion show at MBS and the kick-ass Makansutra Food Tour). However, in addition to the fact that most of the posts aren’t actually Singtel-related, we have complete editorial freedom to write (or not write) what we like. As a journalism school graduate with friends and classmates writing for many of the world’s top publications I feel a little uneasy about this relationship, but have tried to be as transparent about it as possible.

This is how I see it: Singapore is an exciting place with SO much cool stuff going on pretty much all the time. I consider this an opportunity to experience much more – and meet so many more interesting people – than I otherwise could on my own.

Case in point: NotaTourist’s Launch event, which occurred in early December. For starters, I had the opportunity to be shot by the incredibly talented photographer Danny Santos, who took pictures of all the site’s contributors at various locations around Singapore (mine was at a hawker center, natch). Giant blow-ups of the photos were displayed at the launch, and they were also beamed out over Orchard Road that evening. When I moved here in March, I certainly couldn’t have imagined that my picture would some day be flashed out over Orchard Road. I must admit, it gave me butterflies.

There were two discussion panels, the first featuring local Singapore celebrities including KF Seetoh, the hilarious blogger Mr Miyagi, and actors Hossan Leong and Irene Ang. I think I understood about 30% of their jokes (i.e. someone had to explain to me afterwards the veiled references to suicides at Bedok Reservoir).

The second panel featured two expat contributors to NotaTourist, as well as the site’s [American, woo!] editor Victoria Cheng and the author Neil Humphreys. I’d never before heard of Humphreys, a Brit who first moved here in 1996, but found his rants and observations to be somewhat hilarious (although I think his heavy London accent probably made him sound about 25% funnier, much like Russell Brand). I actually found Humphreys to be so funny that I picked up one of his books to give to my Dad for Christmas as preparation for his trip here in February. But I digress.

Please make sure to check out NotaTourist.sg and let me know what you think. Some content is re-posted and some will be original, but I really do think it’s a great resource for anyone living in or looking to move to Singapore.

Yours faithfully in not selling out,

Kate

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