Recently I was detained by the Singapore Immigration Authority when re-entering Singapore.
It was an unpleasant experience and I was kept and questioned for about 45 minutes.
I was asked who I’m with and said I’m with my partner who I pointed to waiting for me to come through immigration. I was asked for my flight details to and from Ireland. I submitted this but my return to Ireland was still 6 months away. I was held in a back office while my partner was being questioned. I was able to tell my partner that I will be telling the truth of the situation, knowing full well that I may be deported. It was a risk I was prepared to take because for too many years I have been treated differently to heterosexual married couples.
In the meantime, I was sitting and waiting. Eventually, a different person came to question me. I was allowed to enter shortly after this.
What I told immigration:
“We are a legally married couple and have been married for 10 years. My spouse works in Singapore and for the past couple of years, I only get to see my spouse for 5 months of the year.”
This situation put a strain on our marriage and we came to the decision to stay together immaterial of the risk. As a lesbian married couple, our marriage is not recognized by the Singapore government. Year one I made certain that I left Singapore before my 3 months was up. I told immigration they can check my passport and see that I have entry stamps, showing what I have had to do to remain with my spouse legally, albeit is a tourist.
I was asked where I live if I work in Ireland and what I do to occupy my time.
I’m retired, I’m a housewife and I work with the stray cats in Singapore. I was asked if I get paid to work with the stray cats to which I responded does anyone get paid to work with stray cats.
This situation made me feel less than human, my privacy was violated, and my human rights were violated.
I’m not asking for special treatment, I’m only asking for my human rights!
Written by: FEMI