[Discussion Event] The Ties That Bind: Unpacking the Social Compact

On December 5th, SPJ hosted its final virtual discussion of the Fall semester. The discussion centered around Singapore’s social compact — specifically, its underlying principles, current state, and future trajectories; topics which have become increasingly salient in the wake of GE 2020 and the inequities exposed by COVID-19 in Singapore. Read on for a summary of the discussion.

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A Growing Government-Ground Divide

Kwan Jin Yao analyzes the perceived deficiencies in the government’s engagement with youth. In this piece, he provides an overview of the trends that have facilitated youth civic and political engagement in Singapore, and the ideological bases that underlie this government-ground divide. He ends off on a hopeful note — with concrete ways that this divide can be bridged.

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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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In Defence of Protest Culture

Protests have a bad rep in Singapore. Framed by the state as violent, divisive, and a threat to stability, protests are deliberately discouraged, largely disallowed, and when permitted, heavily controlled. Poh Yong Han make a case for encouraging “protest culture” in Singapore by responding to common criticisms of protest culture, and outlining the ways in which protests might actually serve to strengthen Singapore.

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