2017 Fellows


Mazadul Noyon is a special correspondent with Banglanews24.com in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He started in print journalism before moving to the online-only Banglanews24.com in 2011. He has won awards for reporting on a case of child murders in 2016 and on Bangladeshi migrant workers. While in Singapore, Noyon wants to develop a set of media guidelines for reporting terrorism.


Sophia Huang Xueqin is a special correspondent for Southern Metropolis Weekly in Guangzhou and has distinguished herself reporting on social issues and disadvantaged groups in China and abroad. She has written about children with autism, the illegal ivory trade’s toll on elephants in Africa and Cambodians living with the menace of landmines. She wants to research Singapore’s approach to dealing with garbage and draw lessons for China.

Jing Jiang is a journalist for Science & Technology Daily, Beijing. She remembers the SARS outbreak of 2003 as a period when fake news and rumours swirled in China as the death toll rose and people grew desperate. That moved her to become a science journalist dedicated to getting the facts to the public. The award-winning writer has covered the environment, pollution and the push for new-energy vehicles. While in Singapore she wants to examine the latest developments in autonomous vehicles.


Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed is based in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and is a senior assistant editor with Frontline, a fortnightly news magazine published in India that celebrates long-form enterprise journalism. He writes regularly about class, caste, gender and religion and travels to rural areas to unearth powerful stories about ignored communities. Vikhar, who has a master’s degree in history, will spend the AJF doing research on Indian soldiers in Singapore during World War II.

Chaitanya Marpakwar is a senior correspondent covering the civics and politics beat for the Mumbai Mirror in Mumbai. He has made an impact with campaign reporting to keep city parks open longer, to improve footpaths for pedestrians, upgrade street lighting and provide more public toilets. He will research Singapore’s “clean and green” efforts to create more livable community spaces. He also hopes to practise his Mandarin.


Damar Harsanto is an editor with The Jakarta Post in Jakarta, playing a key role in the paper’s convergence efforts. He is also an enthusiastic digital trainer and mentor for students and others. During the AJF he wants to work on finding ways to link up Indonesia’s large number of community news portals so that they can exchange local news and information.


Patithin Phetmeuangphuan is a reporter with the Vientiane Times in Vientiane. Patithin grew up in a rural farming community and never dreamed he would become a journalist one day. He has a keen interest in education and literacy issues. While in Singapore, he hopes to find out about the education system and ways to keep students motivated.


Koh Chiew Heong is a senior reporter with Sin Chew Daily in Kuala Lumpur and she covers controversy, politics and social issues. She is a reporter, columnist and regular video presenter on issues of the day. During the AJF she wants to understand how academics and politicians from Singapore view the upcoming general election in Malaysia.

Sharmilla Ganesan is a former chief reporter of The Star in Kuala Lumpur. Cutting her teeth in journalism, she covered everything from fashion and food to education, environment and gender issues. Along the way she developed a passion for arts and culture, and believes there is a need to encourage and develop culture journalism in Southeast Asia. That will be her AJF project, with a special focus on the arts, literature and film.


Bolor Zaankhuu is a producer and journalist with Eagle Broadcasting in Ulaanbaatar and the first Mongolian participant in the Asia Journalism Fellowship. She was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine’s Mongolia edition before deciding to challenge herself with a switch to covering serious socio-economic issues as a TV journalist. While in Singapore she wants to find out how tripartism – which brings together government, employers and unions – can work for the economy.


Girish Giri started out in print but is now a correspondent with Setopati Sanchar, an online newspaper in Katmandu. He made his mark covering social issues and rural communities, and found time to make documentary films and publish a well-received book on his hometown of Birgunj, in southern Nepal. He wants to research the ways in which multi-religious, multi-racial Singapore maintains harmony.

The Philippines

Dennis Jay Santos is a veteran reporter from Davao, Mindanao, one of the most dangerous places in the Philippines to be a journalist. Now a contributor to Agence France-Presse, he has covered the long-running armed conflict in Mindanao, violation of human rights and extra-judicial killings. While in Singapore he wants to develop a set of guidelines for the safety of journalists in conflict zones.


Say Xiangyu is a current affairs and documentary producer with MediaCorp’s Channel News Asia. For her award-winning 2016 documentary on the haze, she spent 10 days in Kalimantan, Indonesia, one of the areas worst-affected areas by the man-made calamity. Her 2017 hit is a series on trash and reducing wastage. For her AJF project Xiangyu wants to find out what it’s like to be a teenager in 2017. Stay tuned.

Sri Lanka

Shanika Sriyananda is a freelance correspondent for the Daily Financial Times in Colombo. Shanika has covered the war in northern Sri Lanka, published two books about women prisoners and the people of war-torn Jaffna, and won awards for her health and environment reporting. She wants to interview Singaporeans of Sri Lankan descent to extract lessons on racial and religious harmony she can take home.


Kanlayawee Waewklayhong is a reporter with Thai News Network, Bangkok. She has stayed passionate about covering education despite having dealt with unenthusiastic editors and readers. She believes this is a beat that deserves to be covered in depth, with numerous issues that need to be explored, exposed and explained. While in Singapore she wants to learn about education for groups such as the poor and those with special needs.


Hoang Mi worked as a writer and editor with Science and Technology Information Magazine in Ho Chi Minh City before switching to being a freelance contributor and editor in 2016. She was a researcher in the food industry before making a switch to journalism in 2009 and remains excited about the science and tech beat. Her AJF project will focus on how universities and R&D centres in Singapore transfer technology to companies.