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.Read more
In Singapore, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on Work Permits are subject to various bio-political restrictions: namely, restrictions that govern who they can marry and whether they can be pregnant.
What explains these restrictions, and why is the state so invested in policing the private intimacies of foreign domestic workers? Poh Yong Han traces through parliamentary debates and newspaper articles to show how these restrictions are informed by a neoliberal philosophy that informs how we view citizenship, and unpacks its consequences.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
Singapore practices a brand of “accommodationist secularism” that is premised on the assumption that a separation between religion and politics is possible. Yong Han Poh argues that this assumption is flawed, and unpacks its implications on policy, political representation and religious harmony.Read more
Drawing on her undergraduate research on mainland Chinese students’ perception of the Singaporean-Chinese identity, Shu Min Chong finds that misperceptions result in mainland Chinese having unrealistic expectations of Singaporeans and Singapore. While it is easy to put blame on China, Shu Min argues that Singapore needs to do more to articulate what a unique Singaporean-Chinese identity looks like.Read more