Research

Amrita Malhi

Amrita Malhi traces the historical roots of the 3Rs of Malaysian politics—”race, religion and royalty”—to 19th-century colonial contests between Siam and Britain.

Thum Ping Tjin

Nearly a year ago, we embarked on the Citizens’ Agenda: our quest to find out what our Singaporean community thinks are the most important issues facing Singapore, and then to write and commission articles on those subjects. Now, with Singapore’s General Election looming, we complete our journey by telling you how the political parties responded to the issues.

Meerabelle Jesuthasan, Anngee Neo

It’s been 8 months since Singapore’s first climate action rally at Hong Lim Park, an event that mobilised 1,700 citizens and permanent residents. But what exactly is driving climate change, what are its effects, and how can such a small country do anything effective about it?

Sayoni, Esther Lim

Research by Singapore LBTQ women’s NGO Sayoni reveals experiences of violence and discrimination at home, in schools and in public spaces—casting doubt on the government’s claims to protect all people from violence regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. [Content Warning: violence, sexual assault, suicide, homophobia and transphobia]

Jolene Tan, Esther Lim

Discrimination, bias and inequality of many kinds present problems in Singapore—just as they do in every society. Its laws, policies and practices should be based on recognising this fact, not denying it.

Michael Barr

The ruling elite of Singapore sees its healthcare system as the epitome of a rational, technocratic state, governed by impartial, objective criteria. A close examination of the healthcare funding system, however, reveals the limitations of applying purist technocratic premises and methodologies to governance.

Ngiam Shih Tung

Singapore’s elections are deeply unfair. Singapore’s system of electoral redelineation is one reason why - it creates constituencies which are unrepresentative, arbitrary, and lacking in voter equality; and the process lacks transparency, is extremely arbitrary, and heavily disadvantages non-governing parties.

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.