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Political Agenda — Singapore’s Gloriously Ageing Population

Singapore has an ageing population. It’s a situation often described in anxious, alarmist tones, with the growing number of senior citizens framed as dependent on a shrinking pool of able-bodied working adults. Yet the country is doing well in terms of health life expectancies, indicating that Singapore’s elderly aren’t as helpless or infirm as they are often portrayed as being. Is it time for a fundamental overhaul of the way we think about ageing?

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Political Agenda — Singapore’s Invisible Population

There are almost a million low-wage migrant workers in Singapore, but they often face physical and social segregation, and are excluded from data on Singapore’s resident population. We talk to Dr Stephanie Chok of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) and Debbie Fordyce of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) about the issues this invisible population face.

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Southeast Asia Dispatches — Episode 6

This week, Tehmina Kaoosji takes a look at the sustainability of the palm oil industry in Malaysia, Adam Bemma speaks to young Thai rappers pushing boundaries, Kirsten Han interviews a Singaporean performance artist upon his release from prison, and Stanley Widianto reflects on co-writing a piece about Indonesia’s notorious blasphemy law. Hosted by PJ Thum.

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Political Agenda — Are Singapore’s Hawker Centres Dying Out?

Singapore’s hawker centres have been described as a “cultural institution”, a source of pride as much as a source of good eats. Yet the hawker industry is in crisis today, with rents and overhead costs rising even as hawkers are pressured to keep their prices down. In this episode, PJ Thum heads to Chinatown Food Complex to speak to three hawkers about the difficulty of surviving, not as cultural symbols, but viable businesses.

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Southeast Asia Dispatches — Episode 5

This week, Adam Bemma speaks to the wife of a community worker disappeared in Laos six years ago, Mark Tilly talks to architects about the development and urbanisation of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, Calum Stuart interviews Edmund Bon on the likelihood of Malaysia legalising medical marijuana and Aisyah Llewellyn looks at why it’s so difficult to sort out Indonesia’s violent football culture.

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Political Agenda — #Ready4Repeal and the fight for LGBT equality

On 6 September, the Indian Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality when it ruled on Section 377 of its penal code. The historic ruling on this colonial-era law gave a boost to Singapore’s LGBT movement, prompting a renewed push to repeal Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code. New Naratif sits down with Ready4Repeal co-author Johannes Hadi, Clement Tan of Pink Dot and PhD candidate Pamela Devan to talk about the anti-gay law and other LGBT issues in Singapore.

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Southeast Asia Dispatches — Episode 4

This week, Adam Bemma speaks with a Syrian refugee stuck in the transit lounge of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Victoria Milko visits churches in Yangon trying to keep ethnic languages alive, Calum Stuart talks to Michael Tatarski about online freedom and the cybersecurity law in Vietnam and Teguh Harahap reflects on his experience writing about LGBT “exorcisms”.

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Political Agenda — Representation, Inequality and Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians opened in the US a week-and-a-half ago and was welcomed as a milestone, a “moment” and a win for representation. But how does it portray Singapore, in which the story is set? We sit down with Ruby Thiagarajan of Mynah Magazine, Aisyah Amir of The Local Rebel and Yale-NUS undergraduate Faris Joraimi to talk about representation, inequality and Crazy Rich Asians from a Singaporean perspective.