From the Editor’s Desk: Plans For the Year


BY LIONEL OH & WONG SHI LE

Dear readers,

As we pick up where we left off before our summer hiatus, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in recent history. The global effects of COVID-19 have served as a visceral reminder of Singapore’s vulnerabilities, and accentuated many of our nation’s existing challenges. In the months ahead, our country will continue to grapple with the public health threat, the economic fallout, and the societal inequalities worsened by the pandemic.

Yet, with every crisis comes its own set of opportunities for improvement, change, and innovation. We have seen Singaporeans participating earnestly in public discourse and advocating for their vision of a better tomorrow, especially in the wake of our recent General Election. Now is a time for collective action, and the Singapore Policy Journal (SPJ) will continue to facilitate the conversation as a non-partisan platform for constructive and thoughtful policy discussions to drive Singapore forward.

In that same spirit, we are also proud to introduce our new logo. The motif, a pen drawing an as-yet-unfinished square, serves to encapsulate the Journal’s fundamental purpose—to contribute, in our own small way, to the shaping of Singapore’s future through the deliberation of new ideas. We hope it sets the tone and direction of SPJ for the years to come.

 

Who are we and what do we do

SPJ has come a long way since it was founded in 2014 as the first student-run, country-specific journal at the Harvard Kennedy School. We have evolved from primarily publishing academic papers and reports on Singapore policy to include opinion pieces that offer succinct and timely policy analyses.

Since 2015, we have also expanded our national focus by partnering with the Singapore and Southeast Asia Forum (SSEAF, formerly the Stakeholders and Changemakers Panel Series) to host distinguished commentators on local and regional issues at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). These panel discussions are also often live-streamed for audiences back home. We organize smaller dialogue sessions for Singaporeans in the Greater Boston area as well, to discuss issues as diverse as fake news, mental health, technology policy, and effective governance, among others. More recently, we have organized a series of virtual webinars to keep in touch with the issue foremost on everyone’s minds—understanding and working through the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Plans for the year

This year, we will continue our core business of publishing op-eds, explainers, series articles, solution toolkits, and research papers on Singapore policy. This includes accepting bilingual pieces in Chinese, Malay, or Tamil to make our content more inclusive (English translations will also be provided). In retaining our policy-oriented emphasis, we will keep striving to make sure our articles provide balanced, tangible, and useful ideas. In a similar vein, we encourage submission of letters to the editor as well, because we believe that responding to the ideas featured on SPJ is critical for advancing the conversation. The Journal aims to serve as a bridge across academic, government, and civic stakeholders to enable productive policy discussion. 

We will also be focusing on increasing our outreach efforts beyond Boston. We plan to expand our editorial team to include non-Boston based individuals, position ourselves to give students and their work a greater voice, and strengthen engagement with local universities and other stakeholders—all with a view towards creating more areas for collaboration. 

We will explore leveraging the virtual modality made prevalent by this new normal to encourage accessibility and overcome our traditional geographical boundaries. We have tried this with our “We the Citizens” webinars over the summer, and we hope to incorporate more of these events into our calendar moving forward.

Lastly, we are working to strengthen our internal structures and processes to improve the quality of the Journal. We are proud of the role SPJ has played in the national conversation, and want to ensure that we continue to contribute at a level that empowers and inspires.

To these ends, we welcome submissions from all writers who feel passionately towards Singapore issues and have a viewpoint to be heard. If you want to comment on, propose, or critique any policies that interest you, please do not hesitate to submit your piece to us for review!

 

How do I get involved?

If you’re interested in our content or events, check out the links below so you can get updates for upcoming events and publications:

 

Image Credit: © Singapore Policy Journal, 2020

Logo Designer: Michael Lee Jing Long