You can say one thing for Singaporeans. They have long memories. And if you think the place is loosening up, think again. In 1988 — 21 years ago — my projected three-year stint as the Asian Wall Street Journal's correspondent in Singapore ended two years early when the Singaporeans refused to grant me another work visa, and I was forced to leave the island republic to its own devices. Singapore does not now take kindly to the practice of independent journalism, and it didn't then. The media watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders ranks Singapore 140th out of 167 countries surveyed in terms of freedom of the press. The country has been kicking foreign journalists out for writing critical articles about the republic since the early 1970s.