From otter splashes to relationship ashes: Here’s a Taylor Swift song for some of Singapore’s biggest recent events

From otter splashes to relationship ashes: Here’s a Taylor Swift song for some of Singapore’s biggest recent events


Explore Singapore’s recent headlines through the lens of Taylor Swift’s music

The beauty of pop icon Taylor Swift is that she seems to have a song for everything — from the stirring of the heart with a new hot connection (Sparks Fly), to heart wrenching breakups (Dear John), to friends falling out (Bad Blood), and even friends having a good time (22).


With the global superstar set to perform on our shores real soon, we figured it might be an opportune time to take a look down Singapore’s memory lane (and Mother’s discography) and dedicate a song from her expansive work to some of our country’s recent biggest events.

A track that took on a different life of its own since The Eras Tour with Swift’s anguished belting of its bridge, Illicit Affair — as is clear by the name — is about someone wanting to maintain their affair.

In July 2023, news broke that Workers’ Party members Leon Perera (former MP of Aljunied GRC) and Nicole Seah had an affair after a viral grainy video clip of them holding hands at a restaurant surfaced.

Though the song speaks of starting out in “beautiful rooms” and eventually ending with “meetings in parking lots”, Perera’s driver alleged that the duo had met in hotels in the Orchard and Tanglin area.


Fun fact: many Swifties believe that this song is inspired by the hit television show Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw was engaging in an affair with Big.

After all, Swift is known to be a big television fan and named two of her cats after television characters Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy) and Olivia Benson (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).

At the same time the bombshell of Perera and Seah was dropped, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) released a statement over the resignation of politicians Tan Chuan-Jin (former Speaker of Parliament) and Cheng Li Hui (former MP of Tampines GRC).

It was later revealed that they had engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” and continued it despite counselling from PM Lee.

Of course, TikTok content creators worked swiftly, stitching photos of the news and both politicians in reels set to the tune of I Can See You. It’s not clear why they immediately attributed the song to the affair, but the lyrics might provide a hint.

The song’s narrator sings about their desire for someone they’ve “been watching for ages” and how they “spend my time trying not to feel it”. There’s also talk of “watchful eyes” on them as the song questions what would happen “if they never found us out”.

However, we never got as much detail about Tan and Cheng’s affair (compared to Perera and Seah’s), so the question remains – who was the “addiction” and who was the “secret mission”?

A transition that has been years in the making was shelved after public outcry over problems faced in attempting to upgrade the card, and the inability to see your balance at the fare gate.


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