For regular readers of SGE, this next person I want to highlight in our Faces of SGE series should be a very familiar face.
It has been quite a journey for SGE the last two years: Sometime in the middle, I went full-time and we brought on fresh grad, Terence Lee as an Assistant Editor, full-time as well. Since then, Terence’s face has been like the Microsoft virtual paperclip man, popping up everywhere – on Google searches and all – just without that annoyance factor.
I’ve been so privileged to have had him come to us via a referral from a friend, Shihan – who happens to be Terence’s co-founder in New Nation (a reader of theirs called the site “The Onion of Singapore”). And I’ve been even more privileged to have had the opportunity to work with him over the last 1.5 years.
Terence has being an awesome writer and assistant editor over the last 1.5 years, but that is changing now.
I am very happy to announce that Terence is now officially now stepping up to be Editor at SGE.
He will continue to help steer SGE forward in our plans and manage our growing editorial team. I look forward to the exciting times ahead, but first, I present to you Terence Lee, Editor, SGE:
Gwen: What are you passionate about?
Terence: My first and obvious love has always been writing. But not many people know that I was the IT Club in secondary school and that I actually picked up HTML to build a SimCity 3000 website on GeoCities. So SGE is the perfect fit for me in that I get to marry tech and writing. I’m also excited about online media. It’s dynamic and constantly shifting, and nobody knows what the future of media will look like. But it’s not often that I get to sit on the precipice of change and earn an opportunity to define my own path. It’s scary as hell, especially for a Singaporean who has been sheltered by the comforts of predictable school life. But at the same time, I don’t intend to miss the chance to be part of something great.
Gwen: Now has life brought you to what you are doing today?
Terence: I always say this: It all started with my English teacher. My Mandarin teacher wasn’t so great — and look where that led me. It was my English teacher that inspired me to develop my writing skills, and for a young boy still finding an identity, that meant a whole lot.
But things stayed quite stagnant until I went to university — the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at NTU. There my learning accelerated, thanks to a fantastic group of instructors — Hedwig Alfred, Cherian George, and Mark Cenite among them. I’m always in awe of their combined intelligence, and I’m hoping a little of it rubbed off on me.
It was also in university that I sunk my teeth into online journalism. I joined The Online Citizen as an editor while turning down the opportunity to be chief editor of the university newspaper. It was a wild ride, and again, I get to witness inspiring self-starters like Andrew Loh, Choo Zheng Xi, and Ravi Philemon, who turned TOC into one of the most-read citizen journalism sites in Singapore.
I next started New Nation with Belmont Lay and Fang Shihan. We struggled to find our identity for a while, but soon settled on becoming a satirical news blog — sort of like The Onion of Singapore. One highlight for me was having our website crashed multiple times by Mr Brown, a famous Singapore blogger whose retweets are as potent as a DDOS attack.
And then I came to SGE. Not exactly an obvious career choice, since tech journalism wasn’t on my radar. But I thought it was worth a shot. It wasn’t a difficult decision anyway, as my application to Singapore Press Holdings was ignored, and working with a blank slate at a young media company sounded more enticing.
I must say that I feel privileged to be a part of the SGE family. They’re great company, and I feel inspired and challenged by each and every one of them.
Gwen: Tell us about the projects you are doing now.
Terence: SGE takes up most of my time really. I’m still involved with New Nation in a small capacity — we all need to let loose sometimes. Thinking long-term, I think the media space is ripe for disruption, and I hope to position myself to be part of the solution. That means growing beyond just being a “writer” and becoming a “maker”.
And that requires learning a whole different language.
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