Without FEER or Favour

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An obituary to the Far Eastern Economic Review, one of Asia’s most influential publications.


An obituary to the Far Eastern Economic Review, one of Asia’s most influential publications.

This month marked a sad day for quality Asian journalism, as the closure of the Far Eastern Economic Review was announced. In a region where fair and unbiased news is the exception rather than the rule, the FEER truly stood out amongst its peers.

I remember that I was hooked on the review thanks to its Asian centric reporting, when other magazines were American or Euro-centric. As it was edited and printed in Hong Kong, it provided a very good link to the city after I had moved away from it, in a time when internet connections were still crawling at modem rates and news was still primarily printed on paper. It helped me to feel reconnected to Hong Kong when I had sorely missed it.

I especially loved how the FEER would show no quarter, and kow tow to no government. It was strong and willing to report on the truth, not the government’s version of it to sell copy. It upped the game through the quality of its investigative journalism, and challenged the hermit kingdom of North Korea, took on the Chinese government’s censors, the litigious government of Singapore and yet still survived and thrived.

In addition, I always enjoyed Nury Vittachi’s Traveller’s Tales column, which would always be the first page to read. It provided funny anecdotes and observations of life in the Far East and was the highlight of the magazine, which was missed after he moved from the Lai See column in the South China Morning Post. I would always share it with my friends and all of them got a big, needed laugh out of it, back in the days of the Asian Economic crisis.

Another reason I was so fond of the magazine was because it gave me my first taste of being published in a professional publication. I once wrote comments for the FEER, which ended up being published in its millennium edition. Although I had been published before, it hadn’t been in such an esteemed magazine, which helped to give me the confidence to continue writing. I haven’t looked back since.

So as we say adieu to the distinctive yellow and black logo, which for over 60 years had been a staple of shakers and movers in Asia, I’d like to say thank you for all those who had made it possible. It made a difference in Asia, and it made a difference in my life. Far Eastern Economic Review, you will be dearly missed.

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Without FEER or Favour
Without FEER or Favour
An obituary to the Far Eastern Economic Review, one of Asia’s most influential publications.
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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