Singapore has experienced one of the most rapid capitalist transformations in Asia. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, this was accompanied by remarkable material and social improvements for the vast bulk of Singaporeans, and sustained political support for the People’s Action Party (PAP). However, its economic model is now generating uneven social impacts, heightened social contradictions and thus new political challenges for the ruling party.

The PAP suffered a combined loss of 15% support at the 2006 and 2011 general elections, amid widespread concerns about inequalities, living costs, declining social mobility, immigration and public infrastructure. In 2011, its vote share dipped to its lowest level since independence in 1965.[1]

Members only

Log in or

Join New Naratif as a member to continue reading

We are independent, ad-free and pro-democracy. Our operations are member-funded. Membership starts from just US$5/month! Alternatively, write to to request a free sponsored membership. As a member, you are supporting fair payment of freelancers, and a movement for democracy and transnational community building in Southeast Asia.

Garry Rodan is an Emeritus Professor of Murdoch University and an Honorary Professor of The University of Queensland. His most recent books are the sole-authored Participation without Democracy (2018) and the co-authored The Politics of Accountability in Southeast Asia (2014).

Originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire in the north of England, Tom is currently based in Singapore where he works as a freelance photographer. His photography has been published and exhibited internationally. Editorial clients include The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, The Guardian U.K, Thompson Reuters and The European Press Photo Agency.