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The Substation, Singapore’s foremost experimental arts space, is due to be evicted from its building. Its board consequently and controversially decided to close the space. T. Sasitharan, former Artistic Director of The Substation (1996-2000) joins PJ Thum and Sean Francis Han to talk about The Substation, its importance, and the problem with how the arts are funded and censored in Singapore. They address the disingenuous nature of how the National Arts Council represented the Substation issue, and more broadly exchange thoughts about why the arts are important to Singapore’s future.

This episode is a collaboration with Wake Up, Singapore. You can find out more about them online on their website, Facebook and 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