Three S’porean sisters married to three Indian brothers

Mrs Jaya Lakshmi Kanniyappan, a Singaporean mother of five children (four daughters and a son), had nurtured the hope that her three eldest children – all girls – would get married to boys from one family, like her mother and two aunts had done in the ’60s.

Little did she know that it would become reality.

“For many years I did prayers and made vows to see my daughters marry into the same family. If they married separately, I was afraid that they might get separated over time,” she said. “I also felt that too many problems could arise if they got married into separate families.”

Now, Mrs Jaya Lakshmi, 50 and her husband Suppiah Manikam, 57, are happy parents. Their eldest daughters – Raynuga, 30, Jayanthi, 27, and Gowri, 25 – have married three brothers – Arun, 31, Balaji, 30, and Hariharasudan, 29, respectively – who hail from the Ramalingam family with origins in Sirkazhi, a town in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, India.

“Now my eldest three daughters have the same in-laws. They are very nice and supportive. I am sure that no matter what issues arise, they will be able to tackle it together as one family. My daughters are in safe hands,” said a beaming Mrs Jaya Lakshmi.

The wedding ceremonies involving the three couples took place almost at the same time on Nov 24 last year at the Singapore Khalsa Association.

The couples recently celebrated their first Pongal (an Indian harvest festival celebrated by Tamils) together.

The first Pongal celebrated after marriage is called “Thalai Pongal” and is considered auspicious as it symbolises the joy they will receive for the rest of their lives.

All three couples live together in a four-room rental flat in Compassvale, a neighbourhood in Sengkang New Town. The three couples share the cost of the rental flat equally.

The sisters are Singaporeans and hold decent-paying jobs in private companies. Only Arun, among the brothers, is working here as a landscaper. The other brothers, who have long-term visit passes, are seeking jobs .


Destiny played a role in all three couples coming together.

It all started in June 2015 when the Suppiah family decided to go on a 10-day sightseeing trip to Tamil Nadu.

Their tour guide was Arun, who was based in Chennai along with his other family members and had eight years’ experience taking people around cities and towns in the state .

“I used to work at Changi airport and my colleagues recommended Arun to me,” said Raynuga. “It was important to have a reputed guide who could be trusted as we were travelling overseas for the first time.

“Arun treated us like his own family. Once we returned to the hotel late because of an accident on the way and we couldn’t find dinner. The eateries and shops in India close early. Arun found food and brought it to us. It may have seemed like a small gesture, but I was very touched by it.”

Raynuga was 28 then and her parents were keen to see her get married.

The family decided to pray at the Sri Kalyanasundareswarar Temple in Thiruvelvikudi, Nagapattinam district, which is famous as a place where singles seek divine intervention to find suitable spouses. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Raynuga received a hint of who her future husband would be after she circled the deity nine times.

“ I ended up seeing his (Arun’s) face,” she said. “I already knew that destiny had something in store for us. I began developing feelings for him, but I didn’t explicitly express them.”

After the family returned to Singapore, she continued to be in touch with Arun through video calls and messages. Soon, they openly expressed their love for each other.

“I missed Raynuga and her family. It was like being separated from a very important relationship when they left,” said Arun.

In October 2015, Arun and his family came to Singapore to discuss and confirm the marriage. The couple held their solemnisation ceremony on Aug 19, 2016.

During the ceremony, Arun’s younger brothers – Balaji and Hariharasudan – met Raynuga’s sisters Jayanthi and Gowri. They became friendly and soon deeper relationships developed.

“After the ceremony, when Balaji’s family were heading back to India, I had no heart to see them leave,” said Jayanthi.

Added Gowri: “During our trip to the airport, I was driving the car and Hariharasudan was in it. He played the song “Mane Mane” from the movie Uriyadi on his phone . He wanted to dedicate the song to me indirectly. My family and I eventually found out that he was trying his best to confess his love to me.”

A month later, Hariharasudan and Balaji returned to Singapore. They stayed for a month and professed their love for Gowri and Jayanthi respectively.

“I am a soft-spoken person and speak only when necessary. I found that Balaji had a similar character and was attracted to him,” said Jayanthi.

The couples kept in touch via messages and video calls even after the brothers left for India.

Subsequently, both families decided to hold all three weddings on the same day at the same time.


“Many friends and relatives told me that it was not advisable for all the couples to get married at the same time. But we spoke to different Hindu priests and they all said there was nothing wrong with it. So we decided to do what we thought was right,” said Mrs Jaya Lakshmi.

According to Raynuga, most people refrain from marrying at the same event along with their siblings because they will have to share the spotlight with another couple and costs for such ceremonies and celebrations could get high.

“But we knew that with the support of our strong families, we can overcome them,” she said.

Raynuga and her husband Arun. Source: Khalid Baba

The weddings took place nearly two years after she met Arun. It gave the family enough time to properly plan and prepare the finances.

Another concern was where the couple were going to stay – Singapore or India – after the weddings. Both families agreed that the brothers will move over to Singapore after they got married.

“I don’t think I can live apart from my daughters. I was very happy when their husbands agreed to stay in Singapore,” said Mrs Jaya Lakshmi.

For the couples, living together provides communal joy. But they face challenges as well.

“We split the costs among the the three couples. These include the rental and household bills,” said Raynuga.

They take turns to cook, either as couples, sisters or brothers. They also try their best to eat together to maintain the family unity.

However, a big challenge is the use of the toilet. The rental flat has two toilets, one in the master bedroom and the other in the kitchen.

Arun and Raynuga use the master bedroom toilet. The rest have to share the common toilet.

“We have to adjust our timings to use the toilet in the morning or when everyone needs to go somewhere at the same time. It can get frustrating, especially when we are in a rush. A lot of compromises are required,” said Raynuga.

They also sometimes travel together in Arun’s lorry, which can seat only three people at the front.

“Having our own transport doesn’t always make it convenient. In the morning when everyone needs to go to different places, it takes longer. Also because Arun has tons of items like blowers and pipes in his lorry, it can be inconvenient at times,” said Raynuga.

Balaji also pointed out that there will be challenges in finding a job here. But he is confident that he can overcome them. “With the strong support of my wife and her family, I am certain I can find a way around it,” he said.

Added Hariharasudan: “My wife is my support and backbone and I intend to live in Singapore for the long term. In the future, I hope to buy a big house, and live happily and peacefully.”

This story by Vengadeshwaran Subramaniam was originally published by Tamil Murasu on Jan 20, 2019.

As surprising as it sounds, this is not the first marriage of its kind in the girls’ family. Mrs Jaya Lakshmi’s mother, Mrs Kasiyammal Manikam, and two of her sisters also married three brothers. Mrs Kasiyammal had seven siblings and her family used to live in a house opposite a rehabilitation centre where Mr Kanniyappan Kaliyappan worked. They met and fell in love and decided to get married. But they faced resistance from their families who would approve only arranged marriages. The families soon realised that the pair were adamant on getting married and finally relented. Mrs Kasiyammal and Mr Kanniyappan got married in 1965. They are no longer alive. Subsequently, Mrs Kasiyammal’s two sisters also got married to two brothers of Mr Kanniyappan– one was a love marriage while the other was match-made. “Now it feels like deja vu,” said Mrs Jaya Lakshmi.

Securing the future of quality journalism

The poster boy for robust health in the media industry used to have decidedly Indian features.

Even as their counterparts elsewhere languished, Indian media houses were once busy launching new titles, snapping up journalists and boosting orders for newsprint, bucking global trends several years ago.

Today, sadly, a pall appears to have settled over many of these newsrooms.

“We need to change… we are playing catch-up now,” one top Indian editor told me at a dinner on the sidelines of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ (Wan-Ifra) India Conference last Wednesday.

Lacklustre advertising during recent festive seasons has taken a toll on print advertising revenues, as circulations slide, he says.

Like many others, he laments how copies of most papers are sold for a few rupees at news-stands, with prices held down by the industry’s market leaders’ strategy to maintain their dominance.

Worse, hardly anyone charges for content online, while digital advertising is small and mostly soaked up by the technology giants, so there is scarcely any revenue coming in from online operations despite growing audiences.

The result: Newsrooms feeling starved of editorial resources and facing mounting commercial pressures from advertisers, sponsors as well as governments not averse to withholding advertising to focus editorial minds. Media credibility ends up being hit, even amid a growing proliferation of fake news all round.

“Sooner or later, we are going to have to find a new revenue model,” added another editor, pointing to tentative talk of experimenting with paywalls at some publications, just as media organisations around the world have been doing in recent years.

These Indian anxieties are symptomatic of a global phenomenon, with the impact of disruption in the media industry coming lately to this country.

Elsewhere, media leaders at similar events have long lamented the triple challenges facing the industry: growing threats to media freedom, the existential question of media viability and the pressing need for innovation in newsrooms.

All three issues are now inextricably linked, equal sides of a trilemma that have to be tackled together.

Without a viable plan to sustain their newsrooms into the future, fervent debates on media freedoms will be academic discussions. And clearly, any plan to ensure the survival and continued growth of the media entails a need for innovation and transformation, both on the editorial and business fronts.

These challenges were summed up starkly by Mr Juan Senor, president of Innovation Media Consulting, at a Wan-Ifra conference held in Singapore in May.

He pointed to the phenomenon of newsrooms repenting for the folly of their “original sin” of giving away costly-to-produce content for free, in the vain hope that doing so would draw audiences – and advertisers would follow. New digital revenues might then make up for the decline in print readerships and revenues.

It did not happen – or rather, did not happen fast and far enough. While some news groups – including this newspaper – have seen significant growth in both digital readership and revenues, these increases have come off a low base and so are not quite enough to make up for the print shortfall.

Besides, the bulk of digital advertising has been hoovered up by the likes of Facebook and Google, riding on the backs on media groups which produce the content they amalgamate to draw audiences, while insisting they bear no responsibility for the content on their platforms.

Today, just about every media group is dabbling with paywalls and digital subscriptions, moving from “advertising revenue to reader revenue”, notes Mr Senor.

“If you are not producing content you can charge for, you should get out of this business,” he declares, adding “if you have no digital business, you have no future” and “money is made where content is viewed”.

Despite the stark warnings, he insists he is optimistic about the future of journalism. Fake news, he contends, “will save journalism”. Declines in trust amid the welter of fake content will drive audiences to seek out credible voices for reliable content and they will pay for quality content they can count on.

“Newsrooms will have to move from the idea of being print or digital first, to journalism first,” he concludes, arguing that paying audiences will gravitate to those news organisations that are able to offer engaging, quality and insightful content, as well as
value-added services, from events, business intelligence or investment tips, memberships, customised newsletters, books and even customer references and retail services.

A study on media viability published in May by the DW Akademie, a German media-related think-tank, draws a similar conclusion: “Media outlets are confronted with a sobering truth: They can no longer sustain themselves on advertising revenue alone.”

Instead, they will have to have a range of revenues, spread across a variety of sources, to prevent over-reliance on any particular source of funds.

“The financial constraints are affecting the overall quality of journalism and the independence of journalists,” the report says.

“In short, independent, high- quality journalism depends on a viable media sector. It requires a variety of sources – from money and infrastructure, to community support and strategic alliances.

“Those who wish to impose restrictions on free media and manipulate the public debate often prey on imbalances or weaknesses in the media system. They often use economic means to set their agendas or limit access to information. Therefore, viable media are crucial players in the protection of freedom of expression as a whole.”

Perhaps the most comprehensive study done to date on how best to secure the future of quality journalism was that undertaken recently by an independent commission in the United Kingdom, led by the former journalist-turned-academic, Dame Frances Cairncross. It published a 160-page report titled The Cairncross Review: A Sustainable Future For Journalism in February.

In a recent interview over the phone, she told me that her commission began by asking themselves some fundamental questions: Why should anyone care if media organisations survive? What would happen if they did not? Why should public funds be used to support them?

They figured that there was no compelling reason taxpayers’ money should be used to fund gossip and lifestyle columns, concert reviews or sports reports. “If people want these, they will have to pay for them,” she says.

But, she is quick to add: “It is very important that a healthy democracy has ways in which individuals can follow what their elected representatives are doing on their behalf. And have trained intermediaries, which we call journalists, who can question those representatives and the institutions that they stand for, so that we have questions being aired and their replies made available for people to read.”

She sums this up as “public interest journalism”, namely, the reporting on the “machinery of government and how well it is working”, from the courts and legislature, to local and state councils, to school and statutory boards.

The public submissions and research her commission compiled make clear that “a dearth of public interest news and information, especially reporting of public authorities, can have dire democratic consequences”.

There was a “clear link between the disappearance of local journalists and a local newspaper, and a decline in civic and democratic activities, such as voter turnout and well-managed public finances”.

Indeed, the presence of a printed newspaper widely available to the community, backed by a professional newsroom, often helps to focus minds on the need to be open and above board in public affairs, she notes, calling for further studies into this.

Without societal support, public interest news risks being crowded out by reports that draw wider audiences for their ability to shock and awe. Fake news also tends to spread faster and further for similar reasons, studies show.

How best to support public interest journalism? The commission made nine proposals in its report, submitted to the British government then led by Prime Minister Theresa May. Whether the new government under PM Boris Johnson, a former journalist himself, will pursue them remains to be seen, she says.

Yet, the ideas are of wider interest, since they might apply to other countries as well. The commission proposed: Rebalancing the relationship between publishers and online platforms, with codes of conduct drawn up and overseen by media regulators to govern the commercial relationships between media publishers and technology platforms.

Investigating the online advertising market to study if it is working competitively and, if not, what should be done about it.

Setting up a news quality obligation that would require and regulate online platforms’ commitment to delivering quality news.

Boosting media literacy, with government agencies working with media players to help audiences navigate the increasingly complex information landscape, especially amid the proliferation of fake news.

Helping local publishers which are most vulnerable, for example, through the state-funded BBC sharing some of its local content as well as technical expertise.

Setting up an innovation fund with government support to boost innovation within media organisations.

Offering new forms of tax relief to media organisations, such as by extending zero-rating for value-added taxes to digital newspapers and magazines, or tax reliefs similar to those given to charities or film and other creative industries.

Funding public interest news with grants and sponsorship for local reporting and quality journalism projects.

Setting up an independent Institute for Public Interest News with a mission and mandate to ensure the sustainability of public interest news, including the implementation of the above proposals.

The report concluded: “Ultimately, the biggest challenge facing the sustainability of high-quality journalism, and the press, may be the same as that facing the sustainability of many areas of life: The digital revolution means that people have more claims on their attention than ever before.

“Moreover, the stories that they want to read may not always be the ones that they ought to read in order to ensure that a democracy can hold its public servants to account.

“This review has therefore dwelt on what it considers to be the most significant functions of journalism – ensuring public accountability and investigating possible
wrongdoing. And whereas new business models may continue to support good journalism in many forms, they may not always support public interest news… so, this review proposes that most energy be given to the provision of public interest news.

“This will require new sources of funding, removed from government control. It will need institutional and financial structures that combine a guarantee of independence with adequate support.

“That will be a difficult combination to secure, but the future of a healthy democracy depends on it.”

The writer is also president of the World Editors Forum.

Reunited after 37 years

Angelle Burrus (nee Udo) was just months old in her mother’s womb when her father Ndubuisi Dele Udo, a Nigerian-American athlete, was killed in Lagos.

With the help of The Nation, Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper, Angelle reunited with her long lost kin 37 years later.

An interior decoration professional who lives in St Louis, Missouri, United States, Angelle grew up and married without knowing her father or any of his Nigerian -based family.
An international sprinter, her father was in Lagos for a tournament when he was shot by a policeman during an argument in traffic.

Based on all she heard about her father from her mother and what she read from a collection of 32 newspaper articles, stories and pictures, Angelle’s desire had always been to reconnect with her father’s relatives, especially the Udo family back in Nigeria.

Late Udo on the track. Source: The Nation File Photo

A chance meeting in St. Louis Missouri last December with Taiwo Abiodun a US-based journalist who writes for The Nation presented Angelle the opportunity she had been looking for.

Expressing her desire to the paper, she told her story well enough to get what she had always wanted.

“My name is Angelle Burrus (nee Udo). I am 37 years old, please I want to come to Nigeria to locate my father’s family and see where he was buried,” she said in the report titled ‘I Want To Know My Father’s Family in Nigeria, says late Dele Udo’s daughter’ that was published on Dec 30, 2018. “Please write my story. All I want is to meet my father’s siblings and see my father’s grave in Nigeria,” Angelle declared.

Within hours of the publication’s release, the hitherto hard to find Udo family members who read about Angelle reached out to her on Facebook.

In her Facebook post, an excited Angelle wrote about the link she had looked forward to finding for years:
Dec-7th met Taiwo Abiodun in Missouri
Dec-9th interview conducted about the death of my father 37 years ago.
Dec-30th article published in Nigeria.
Jan-3rd FaceTimed w/her, uncle Luke Udo and cousin Oke ( Nkechi’s brother).
On this day I find out Oke lives 1hr away
Jan-5 First in person meeting with cousin Oke and his wife Dami. He’s the first person EVER to meet me in person from my Nigerian family.
God is amazing I am so blessed and happy!”

To help Angelle accomplish her dream, The Nation’s correspondent in South-Eastern Nigeria where the late Udoh hailed from, Okechukwu Nwankwo ,was briefed by the Lagos headquarters and went in search of her family members back home.

After a series of enquiries, he found Angelle’s stepmother, younger brother, close friend and other acquaintances who were glad to know that the baby Angelle’s mother was carrying when she attended her husband’s burial was indeed alive and keen on meeting them.

A second story was published on Jan 13 titled ‘Late Dele Udo: We are eager to receive his American daughter, wife – Family members’.

“When the news about Angelle trying to reconnect with the father’s family members surfaced in your newspaper, we were very happy. You know at that time, it was only Dele that was the breadwinner, but now, his siblings are doing well in their endeavours. We will be happy to receive her,” said the late Udo’s step mother, Joy Okechukwu.

“Please write my story. All I want is to meet my father’s siblings and see my father’s grave in Nigeria,” Angelle declared.

Udo’s younger brother also spoke about Angelle’s interest in meeting the family: “I think her quest to meet with her father’s family is genuine. 36 years of not knowing any members of her father’s family is long. We had expected this to happen before now, but we are happy she is alive and willing to reunite with her family”

Angelle’s mother, Angella who was initially reluctant to speak with Abiodun about her late husband, was eventually convinced to do so. Her interview titled ‘My lasting memories of Dele Udoh’ was published on Aug 25.

She is happy that her daughter eventually found her father’s family. She had always told Angelle that it was up to her to look for her father’s family and she (Angella) could not do that for her daughter.

Angella, Angelle’s mother with the newspaper publication on the late husband’s death. Source: Taiwo Abiodun

While she would be happy to come to Nigeria if invited by the government, Angella who still retains her marriage name, said emotionally “I was (a) bride, a woman, mum and a widow in one year. I am going to write a book on it.”

Comments on Angelle’s social media post on finding her Nigerian family incited excitement amongst relatives and friends as well as highlighted the impact the publication had made on her life.

Some of the comments included:
Janet Burrus: Wow. Angelle this is awesome …exactly what you have been seeking. You know you are part of our family, but now you know your roots, have blood relatives, you can talk with and answers.
Gail Feldman: I cried when I read this article. Finally after all these years- answers, stories, connections- your dad is alive through you and through your relatives. Beautiful
Luke Udo: We’re all excited my dear, it’s just the beginning, you definitely going to Nigeria soon with me to meet the rest, can’t wait for the trip
Lilian Ify Udo: Can’t wait to meet U and your lovely family. Thanks to all my family member’s for their effort and response to the search/media. Y’all did amazing beautiful in reaching out to Angelle. This is the Lord’s doing.

This story is a compilation of articles by Taiwo Abiodun and Okechukwu Nwankwo that was originally published by The Nation from Dec 30, 2018 to Aug 25.

Angelle’s re-connection with her father’s family would not have been possible if not for US-based Journalist Taiwo Abiodun’s article, which enabled the first contact between both parties in 37 years to happen within twenty four hours of publishing the first story. The Nation correspondent, Okechukwu Nwankwo, also aided the reunion’s success as he spent the last days of 2018 searching for Angelle’s family through various contacts.Nation journalist Abiodun had gone with his wife to the African Palace Restaurant in St Louis owned by a Nigerian when she was introduced to Angelle, daughter of late Udo, who was also visiting the restaurant at that time.
With the support of a friend, Lobo Agaun and his wife, Abiodun was able to book an interview with Angelle at a Mcdonald’s eatery after several phone calls.
Convincing Angella, Angelle’s mother, to speak was much more difficult as she initially declined. With his persistence and support of his wife, Ronnie, Abiodun was finally able to get the 74-year-old woman to eventually open up and talk about her late husband. Through the effort of these reporters, Angelle was able to understand the family she had always longed to meet.

Reporting the truth, no matter how painful

One journalist spent her birthday at a morgue, watching as plastic bags filled with the limbs of victims in Sri Lanka’s bomb attacks on churches in April were brought in. It was so horrific, she could not report it.

Another witnessed the lifeless body of a youth, shot by Philippine police in the country’s war against drugs, transported to a hearse. He was only 17 – the same age as the journalist’s sister.

Faced with at times senseless and cruel violence, journalists who report from the front lines of conflict do some of the profession’s most important work, and some of its most exacting, and potentially lethal, as well.

Speaking on a panel at the Real News Matters forum yesterday, three participants from this year’s Asia Journalism Fellowship highlighted broadly the same crucial challenge in reporting conflict: getting accurate information.

Mr Maran Htoi Aung, editor of Myanmar’s Kachin Waves, shared the difficulties of covering the ongoing conflict in Kachin state between the country’s military and the Kachin ethnic armed group.

The United Nations and other groups have found several gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the military.

“It is very difficult to get information from all sides… Especially for an ethnic (minority) person, there is the danger of being arrested, and it is difficult to get anything from government officials, who are Burmese,” he said.

It is the same for GMA Network senior news correspondent Victoria Tulad covering Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Her exclusive in August 2017 on 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was killed in Caloocan city, north of Manila, had differing accounts.

While the police said he had been firing a gun, closed-circuit television footage showed they had taken him to an alley and, according to eyewitnesses, shot him for suspected possession of drugs.

For Ms Kalani Kumarasinghe, features editor at Sri Lanka’s The Daily Mirror, the initial chaos after the Easter Sunday bombings was compounded by the government and military’s lack of response.

The media would later find out that the government had known about, but not acted on, information of the attacks for at least two weeks.

“Social media caused a lot of problems for us as well,” she said. At one point, there were even rumours that Muslims were using pills to sterilise Sinhalese people, which “spread like fire”.

And the effects of covering such violence up close takes a toll on one’s mental and emotional health, they told The Sunday Times.

Ms Kalani said she nearly broke down at one point: “When I was spending that day in the morgue, that was a time when I really questioned what I was doing.”

But they carry on.

“You can’t avoid getting traumatised, so you have to be strong, you have to move on,” said Ms Tulad. “We continue to hope that our stories can bring about change.”

In Ms Tulad’s case, her story did spark change. The public outcry it created eventually led to the cops who killed Kian being jailed.

In the end, the motivation for all three journalists was the same.

As Mr Htoi Aung put it: “Why am I still here? Because I think, I have to tell the truth.”

ST live show highlights stories that made a difference

Exciting. Honest. Dangerous. Freedom. Bias. Propaganda. Truth.

These were some of the answers from people asked to describe journalism in one word for a live video show by The Straits Times to mark World News Day yesterday, which celebrates the work of professional news organisations and aims to raise public awareness of the role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news and views.

The thoughts of ordinary folk kicked off the clip, which took a behind-the-scenes peek at how journalists cover everything from breaking news to exposing corruption in official bodies.

“It was about celebrating journalism, showcasing the lengths and hardships journalists go through to deliver stories,” said Mr Zia-ul Raushan, who produced the clip with his colleague Irshad M.

Much thought went into the set design, which included items like a typewriter, an old camera and a TV set to trace journalism through the decades, said Mr Irshad. The ST show was aired on YouTube at 3pm for a global audience and can be viewed on

The paper’s multimedia journalists Alyssa Woo and Hairianto Diman spoke to some of the newsrooms participating in World News Day 2019 about their stories. These included the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s stories that exposed corruption in the state insurer, and India’s The Quint, which shone a light on bonded labour in Tamil Nadu.

Another was the South China Morning Post for its coverage on the Hong Kong protests. Chief news editor Yonden Lhatoo said: “We bring out the legitimate grievances of the protesters but, at the same time, we don’t gloss over the excesses and the carnage they are causing.”

Also featured in the video was ST senior health correspondent Salma Khalik’s story on how Singapore’s MediShield Life healthcare insurance scheme paid only $4.50 of a senior’s post-subsidy bill.

There were also lighthearted moments. ST’s Rachel Au-Yong and Rohit Brijnath joked about their generation gap – while the former took up journalism six years ago and called her phone her “all-in-one” work device, the latter has about 30 years under his belt and remembers using a typewriter.

News reporting may have evolved but its purpose remains. Said a reader: “Keep up the good work, keep informing us. If we’re not informed, the world is a poorer place.”