YouTube video

Mysara Aljaru talks to PJ Thum about her research into narratives about Singapore’s Malay community in the mainstream media in Singapore. They discuss racial stereotypes, the challenges facing the Malay community, the systemic and historical underpinnings of racism, and how racism can be overcome.

In particular, they argue about whether racism is a cause or a symptom of the oppression of Malays in Singapore, the role of neoliberal capitalism and nationalism in that oppression, and whether it is possible to end discrimination over identity.

Mysara Aljaru is a writer, researcher and lens-based practitioner. Working on the intersections of art and academia, she explores the politics of space and power structures in the process of narrative making. She has also showcased and performed at The Substation, Objectifs and ArtScience Museum. Mysara’s writing has been published in Growing Up Perempuan (2018), Budi Kritik (2018) and online/print publication Karyawan. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram.

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and a historian 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). Reach him at