There’s No Place Like Home

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May 1996

Urban protest is a fascinating subject in large part because it very easily unmasks relationships of collusion between the rich, the powerful, state apparatus against the city’s have nots. Activists have tried to decriminalise the language used by the media in describing the city’s poor who occupy land, often on the promise of titles, by coining the expression “urban pioneers”. The cruel reality of many of these urban protests and struggles is its asymmetry with developers a powerful lobby setting the terms of any fight. Reporting from the frontlines of this struggle for a lifestyle magazine wasn’t an easy sell to my editor, but it leant the magazine a grittiness that a men’s magazine allowed. Women’s magazines only belatedly embraced politics and gritty reportage – perhaps only Marie Claire in the Malaysian context that stepped beyond fashion, advice on love, health and make-up, as far as I remember, before magazines themselves, regardless of style, went into distress as a business.

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