5 Great Independent Online Magazines from Singapore

4 minutes reading time (887 words)

The magazines highlighted here are some of my favourite online reads. For these magazines, profit is not their main motivation, their love for writing is. They are usually formed by a group of friends who become the owners themselves, who have decided to create an outlet to express themselves and their passion. Writers are typically volunteers. I like that they provide an alternative view to mainstream media. 

With this independence, the writers are accorded a degree of freedom of expression not present in most media publishers where certain topics are taboo and fall outside OB markers. For this reason, these magazines have been getting a lot of attention lately with an increasingly disgruntled Singaporean population smothered by media regulation. They are able to blog about things Singaporeans want to read which government owned companies can't.

These magazines are personal, relatable and people pick up on that immediately. This is unlike other incidents of drain clogging and crowd waving which people maybe not be so inclined to believe.

I predict that those magazines with business savvy who are able to monetize well and become sustainable may some day end up becoming big respected media properties. As long as they don't go *too* far as that turns off advertisers. At the moment popspoken seems closest to this. Anyway, this selection is geared towards magazines that produce hilarious Singaporean pop culture content.

Mothership

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The new kid on the block, mothership just started in July 2013. They aim to be the leading online lifestyle and news magazine for Singaporeans. They raise awareness for important issues and also have a good dose of humor in their articles. My favorite writer of theirs is Belmont Lay who is also involved in another site below.

Although its clear where their political allegiance lies, (hey, most 'educated' Singaporeans are on the same team) they are never irreverent in their blog posts and they are backed by a very talented writing team.

Some choice selections.

Poached

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Poached is by far the most active of these magazines, generating new content up to 4-5 days DAILY. These volunteers contributors (i think) have insane work ethic, passion and soul and they display a level of commitment you can't replicate in your employees even on paid salary. 

They write about everything they are interested about from arts to fashion to start-ups and for the content they are producing they should be receiving so much more traffic than they get! Their political stance appears to be completely neutral and I hope they continue doing well. 

Some choice selections.

NewNation

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Remember Belmont from Mothership above? Well he and Terence Lee are the founders of New Nation, a satire site that has been around since 2011. They have by far the most readership of all the media in this list. Both founders write exceptional humorous pieces which makes New Nation so entertaining to read.

In his other life, Terence is Editor at SGE and despite his complete disinterest in TheSmartLocal, he remains my favourite local tech writer in Singapore. He does his research and adds his own insights and commentary to news pieces, which makes SGE refreshing to read since most 'tech writers' usually only bother to rewrite pitches and post them as 'news.'

New Nation posts 50% real news though sometimes they have been known to post 100% real news or collated list of things Singaporeans would find interesting. They are more of a news site than a magazine and they are kinda like a local version of The Onion. For some reason, Terence was singled out in mainstream media with a bunch of activists and online bloggers presumably for his alternative political views. Cmon guys get a sense of humor!

Some choice selections.

PopSpoken

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PopSpoken is a Singapore pop-culture website and they kinda have a collaboration with Straits Times. This doesn't mean their articles aren't fun to read, they most recently gained attention for their very clever article on MP Baey Yam Keng selfies. Now that is how you create great creative traffic driving content!

Some choice selections.

Lastly, I know I said 5 magazines but I've only listed 4. Unfortunately I cannot find a final magazine that fits this pop culture theme well like they do. And having a "best of 4" list just sounds lame. I did come across a few other online magazines but they were a bit too serious for my liking.

Have a suggestion? Let me know in the comments below and help complete this list!


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