Alan John is director of the Asia Journalism Fellowship, an annual programme of Temasek Foundation International that brings seasoned journalists from across Asia to Singapore for a three-month visit. The fellowship allows journalists to get to know Singapore and life on the Little Red Dot, and also enables Singapore to build bridges with communities across this vast continent. Eight batches of Fellows attended the programme while it was hosted at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at the Nanyang Technological University until 2016. From 2017 the programme is being hosted by the Institute of Policy Studies, which is part of the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. See http://www.ajf.sg for news about the fellowship programme.
Alan retired as deputy editor of The Straits Times in September 2015 after 35 years at the paper as a writer and editor. He was in charge of various sections of the paper over the years, with stints heading the Political Desk, News Desk, Enterprise Desk and night operations. He was most recently supervising editor of The Sunday Times. He regularly directed The Straits Times’ coverage of major news events, and worked closely with talented writers, photographers, artists and designers who produced several award-winning special reports.
As an in-house trainer, Alan designed and conducted the long-running Being an Editor programme for new newsroom supervisors in Singapore Press Holdings publications and was well-regarded as a mentor to younger editors and journalists. He was also a regular speaker at events organised for newsmakers, advertisers, schools and other groups. He has published two books: Unholy Trinity (1981 and 2016, Marshall Cavendish), an account of the tricks and cruelty of child killer Adrian Lim; and Good Grief! Everything I Know About Love, Life & Loss I Wish Somebody Had Told Me Sooner, (2016, Straits Times Press), a collection of his personal columns.
Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1953, Alan attended St John’s Institution and is an Arts graduate of the University of Malaya. He has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Work from the National University of Singapore. He worked for four years at The New Straits Times in KL before moving to Singapore in 1980 to join The Straits Times. He has been a Singapore citizen since 1989.
Alan has been drawn to voluntary work throughout his life and spent several years as a telephone helpline counsellor, first at the Befrienders in Kuala Lumpur and then at the Samaritans of Singapore. A life member of Action for AIDS, he was a volunteer with AfA’s anonymous testing centre and, as a member of the Catholic group Care, befriended patients with HIV and AIDS at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Communicable Disease Centre for several years.
He is on the management committee of PAVE, Singapore’s pioneer domestic violence agency, and gets to see some of the most dedicated social workers in action. He has co-facilitated group work for men who abuse and hopes to play a role in getting boys and men to keep violence out of their relationships.
Alan is married to journalism lecturer Hedwig Alfred, Assistant Chair of Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School for Communication and Information, and they have two children.