Elections allow voters to pass judgement and express their will on the government. How elections are designed and how their results are determined are fundamental to any country’s democracy. Thus, it should be regularly and carefully debated through a democratic process, with the design updated as flaws become apparent.
Democracy is the rule of the people, for the people, and by the people. But what happens when the people disagree? The majority can easily tyrannise the minority, hence it must be balanced by minority rights. Just as democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse its power.
As Southeast Asians, we all agree that we should have rule of the people, but we disagree on whether it is actually occurring. Thus, what is in dispute is not whether we should be democracies but what democracy is, and how it should be defined and practised in Southeast Asia. What, then, is Southeast Asian democracy? What should it be?
A common false dichotomy argues that there is a trade-off between self-determination for individuals and self-determination for the country as a whole. But these are not mutually exclusive—on the contrary, they are one and the same: Self-determination for the collective is achieved through seeking self-determination for each and every individual within the collective.
Singapore’s PAP government is gambling that unrestrained economic growth can outpace the rising cost of living. Its policy is thus to subsidise incomes in the short term while waiting for prices to stabilise. But this strategy rests on flawed assumptions, exacerbated by its questionable calculation of the Consumer Price Index, creating a self-reinforcing blind spot.
In this episode, Bonnibel Rambatan and PJ Thum will be talking about New Naratif’s upcoming Principles of Democracy project and what it takes to build a democracy.
Inequality is a growing problem in Singapore, threatening the country’s social stability. The government’s focus on economic growth and individual accountability in tackling inequality, however, means that their policies may not reflect peoples’ actual experiences.
In Stage 2 of The Citizens’ Agenda, we asked Singaporeans to pick the top 5 biggest issues facing their country. They responded loudly and clearly. Here’s what they said!
In Stage 2 of The Citizens’ Agenda, we asked Malaysian to pick the top 5 biggest issues facing their country. They responded loudly and clearly. Here’s what they said!
Blogger and researcher Roy Ngerng had his life destroyed by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation lawsuit. Seven years on, he talks to PJ Thum about the injustice of his case, politics in Singapore, his new life in Taiwan, and what Taiwan is like compared to Singapore.