Citizenship in Crisis

What happens to citizenship when crisis disrupts the state’s ability to fulfil its obligations to its citizens, or when citizens find themselves unable to depend on their states for a meaningful guarantee of protection in times of need? Using the emergent COVID-19 pandemic as a lens, Theophilius Kwek considers how states, including Singapore, can do better in caring equally for their citizens – and how citizens can also support each other.

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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 Legitimization of Inequality

Meritocracy is generally celebrated as an ideology that promotes equality of opportunity, and hence, seen as just. Xuan Yee interrogates this view by exploring the moral, psychological, and intellectual ramifications of meritocracy when taken to its extreme. He argues that an unquestioned belief in meritocracy is dangerous, for it encourages the successful to justify their own moral deservingness of their position in society, and thus, legitimizes inequality.

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The Limitations of Subject-Based Banding: What About Single-Stream Schools?

Much of the debate on MOE’s recent moves to integrate schoolmates of different academic streams via Subject-Based Banding (SBB) has focused on whether SBB will be effective, or what the implementation of SBB will look like. However, one underdiscussed aspect of MOE’s policy change is its lack of impact on single-stream schools. Izzah Haziqah Haris explores why this is a problem, and potential policy options to deal with this issue.

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Love, Labour, and Loss: Decoding the ‘Migrant Worker’

‘Migrant workers’ is the typical term used to describe migrants who work in Singapore. But they are far more than just workers defined by their labour. Theophilus Kwek argues that we should move beyond the simple trope of ‘migrant workers’ in our discourse on migrant issues, as a first step to seeing them as people whose lives are just as full and fraught as our own, and treating them accordingly.

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“Elite” and “Neighbourhood” Schools: Exploring School Names and Social Hierarchies

Tay Hong Yi examines the psychology behind the “elite” and “neighbourhood” school labels, exploring the link between school names and the prestige associated with “elite” schools. He argues that school names play a role in entrenching educational stratification and have become an indicator of social hierarchy – and that reframing the discussion this way can facilitate more targeted education policy design.

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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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