Jolene Tan is author of “After the Inquiry”, a new novel on censorship, propaganda, idealism, and everyday authoritarianism in Singapore. She discusses the novel with PJ Thum, and they go into detail in particular about the protagonist, Teck, and what the novel might reveal about Singapore. In the non-spoiler discussion, they delve into depth about the unseen forces which shape how Singaporeans think and act; how certain values are replicated by the incentive structures of the system; and her authorial process.

This interview has been edited for clarity. Please watch the Youtube video above for the full version, which includes the spoiler discussion, where they dive deeper into the plot and ending.

You can purchase the novel at

Learn more about Jolene at

Thum Ping Tjin

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and founding director of Project Southeast Asia, an interdisciplinary research centre on Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent work is Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos: 2017, co-edited with Loh Kah Seng and Jack Chia). He is creator of “The History of Singapore” podcast, available on iTunes. Reach him at