Journalists generally prefer registered cars, because it makes things easier for us, in terms of identification and convenience.
However, we obviously don't have it our way all the time, so we'll make do with trade plates sometimes.
We do get quite a lot of stares from people when we drive around a car on trade plates, even for a rather standard, run-of-the-mill car. The effect is amplified if we get a somewhat nice-looking car, because it gives people double the reason to stare.
I can understand people's curiosity and bewilderment when they see an unregistered car running around, but come on. That doesn't mean one should glare at us like we've committed a crime or anything. The look that some people give us is like we've done a cardinal sin and should repent.
Besides, it's not like one would have never seen a car on trade plates before (unless they've never been to Ubi or Leng Kee in their lives, ever).
So, the next time you see an unregistered car on the expressway, or somewhere out of those car belts, don't be too surprised. It's just one of us.