The Case For Incorporating Social Analysis Into Policy Design

Paul argues that policymakers need to move beyond numbers-driven, utilitarian logics of decision-making and incorporate a human-centered approach to policy-making. Drawing from Teo You Yenn’s seminal work on the need to understand issues like inequality as lived experiences rather than just statistical data, Paul considers the benefits of a social analysis approach and examines the ways in which it can be implemented in Singapore.

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The Management of Threats in Singapore: Civil-Military Integration

In this paper, Isaac Neo explores why Singapore’s historical experience with high levels of internal and external threat have not resulted in degraded civilian control over the military, despite existing Civil-Military Relations models predicting such an outcome. He argues this is due to the effective demarcation of responsibility between civilian institutions and the Singapore Armed Forces, along the lines of internal and external threat management. This is reinforced by the subordination of the military to a broader notion of security through the Total Defence framework. Lastly, there is a sustained effort to civilianise the military sphere, through National Service and other administrative structures.

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Imagining Utopias: The Importance of Moral Idealism in Singapore

“It is tempting to believe that the cynic is, somehow, more intelligent than the dreamer. But in truth, pragmatism is no smarter than idealism.” Lee Chin Wee argues that, in discussions about Singapore’s future, we should leave room at the table for idealists and dreamers. In his view, it is a mistake to treat the government’s growth-oriented and metrics-focused narrative of pragmatism as gospel truth. When Singaporeans present and grapple with competing visions of the ‘good’, this strengthens social inclusion and improves policy-making.

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Measuring with the Heart: How We See and Speak About Inequality

Amidst the ongoing debate on how Singapore’s Government responds to inequality-related issues, Theophilus Kwek points to misalignments between the policy lens of the technocratic state, and the naked human eye through which its constituents must view the same issues. He argues that we must go beyond purely data-driven perspectives of inequality, and include street-view perspectives in policy considerations too.

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