New Naratif

This article presents an overview of Singapore’s electoral system, how it works, how and why it has been altered over the years, and the challenges it presents for representative democracy in Singapore.

Thum Ping Tjin

Singapore's long history of elections is characterised by a tension between, on the one hand, a demand by the broader electorate for a responsive, accountable, government; and on the other, the desire of the government of the day to restrict the choice available to the electorate in order to achieve its desired outcomes while still retaining a veneer of popular legitimacy.

Robbie Peters, Anh Thư

Taking the example of a particular Vietnamese woman’s life, this article explores the links between motorbike use and the work and living conditions of young migrant women in Ho Chi Minh City. Highlighting the social and economic consequences of migration-assisted economic development in Southeast Asia, it details the political economy of marginalisation that situates the migrant saleswoman, and shows how she struggles within it to free herself from imposed social categories, both old and new.

Vedi Hadiz, Chuan Ming Ong

A new form of Islamic populism in Indonesia and other parts of the Muslim world articulates the rising ambitions and growing frustrations and anxieties of urban middle classes, urban poor and the periphery of the bourgeoisie, by aiming to provide access to power and tangible resources to an ummah conceived to be both downtrodden and homogeneous.

Garry Rodan, Tom White

Even if the People’s Action Party proves less able to manage and contain conflict under this new phase in Singapore’s political economy, its diminished ideological hegemony will not necessarily translate into diminished political domination by the PAP.

Garry Rodan, Tom White

According to the People’s Action Party’s moral ideology of accountability, personal behaviour is seen as core to the critique of a public official’s performance. But two examples highlight growing questions about this line of thinking.

Garry Rodan, Tom White

Singapore’s People’s Action Party has long opposed “Western welfarism”, preferring to emphasise self-reliance. However, this core ideology has been challenged in recent years as concerns have mounted over the cost of living, inflation, and the adequacy of Singaporeans’ retirement funds.

Garry Rodan, Tom White

Part one of a series of four articles on capitalism, inequality and ideology in Singapore. With widening inequalities and issues with increasing productivity for economic growth, Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party has sought to make policy adjustments—such as boosting healthcare subsidies and bringing in housing reform—to address its citizens’ concerns. But over the past decade, there’s been an increase in questioning of the party’s core ideologies.

Gareth Knapman, Debra Rengga

After a successful career as a colonial administrator, John Crawfurd forged a second career as a staunch anti-colonial activist, in particular in opposition to Sarawak’s “White Raja”, James Brooke.

Christie Cheng

“Low crime doesn’t mean no crime.” This hackneyed slogan, plastered across public spaces, effectively captures the Singapore state’s attitude towards law enforcement. The dominant consensus, echoed across mainstream media and official narratives, views lawbreakers as threats to the greater good of society. Yet in 2016, two independent local films—"A Yellow Bird" and "Apprentice"—brought to the surface different views of society, crime and those who commit it.

Thum Ping Tjin


Thum Ping Tjin

Di Fasa 1 Agenda Rakyat, New Naratif meminta pandangan daripada para pembaca kami di Singapura tentang isu-isu paling penting yang dihadapi di Singapura, dan apakah yang mereka ingin melihat calon-calon pilihanraya bicarakan di pilihanraya umum yang akan datang. Di sini adalah jawapan mereka (di samping pendapat yang tidak disuarakan).

Thum Ping Tjin

In Stage 1 of The Citizens' Agenda, New Naratif asked Singaporeans readers what they think are the most important issues facing Singapore, and what they'd like political candidates to talk about in the next general election. Here's what our readers said (and didn't say).

Gregory Ng Yong He

Marketed as picturesque, up-market “heritage” experiences, Singapore’s colonial-style restaurants—whether knowingly or unknowingly—end up enforcing a racial hierarchy inherited from the British colonial era and maintained by Singapore’s ruling elite.