With Joshua Wong, secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō. We were both speaking at The Economist’s Open Future Festival in Hong Kong on Oct 5th 2019.
Dear friends, I just published a piece on Rice Media where I compare Hong Kong and Singapore, the “socio-economic twins but political opposites”. Click to read it there. Or, for a preview, first few paragraphs below.
Just don’t wear black. In early October that was the pre-arrival instruction I received from friends enmeshed in that modern urban war zone, Hong Kong.
“Don’t worry, you can wear black, nobody will think you are a protestor,” rebutted Tang, the jovial cabby in his fifties who picked me up from the airport, gesturing at my brown skin. But for Cantonese locals like him, wardrobe options have indeed become limited.
Continue reading “a longform on Hong Kong vs Singapore”
Dear friends, click below to watch my ten-minute talk on identity and multiculturalism in Asia at The Economist’s Open Future Festival in Hong Kong on October 5th. I cite the different approaches to ethnic/cultural identity that we find in China, India and Singapore, and give my reasons why we all need to think a bit harder about our identity choices, given current larger forces at … Continue reading The Economist’s Open Future Festival: Video of my talk on identity
This article was first published by Yahoo! See here.
Will Singaporeans be happy living in a country comprised of economic ghettoes? That was my enduring thought as I reviewed the animated rebuttals, common and official, to last week’s revelation by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU, my former employer) that Singapore is the world’s most expensive city.
These sorts of surveys should be taken with a pinch of salt. Many subjective decisions influence the methodology. So it shouldn’t really matter that much who is Number 1, 2 or 5. Rather, they should be seen simply as indicative of a larger issue.
However, as we nationalistic Singaporeans tend to do, rather than asking “How can we raise wages (and hence spending power)?” or “How can we make Singapore more affordable?”, many rose in a spirited defence of our apparent affordability, seeking to poke holes in a survey that approximates and compares middle- to upper-income price baskets across major cities.
Continue reading “Will Singaporeans live in economic ghettoes?”
This is Part 2 of 2. To read Part 1, click here.
The Singapore model—why it struggles to produce knowledge workers
If we accept the argument that the average Singaporean worker will, compared to his/her paper credentials, underperform in a knowledge-based role, it is worth discussing some of the environmental and institutional reasons why.
This essay points to several factors: the nature of meritocracy in Singapore, the country’s pedagogical approach, the socio-political climate, and materialism.
Meritocracy Continue reading “Why has Singapore failed to prepare its citizens adequately for the knowledge economy? Part 2”
Dear friends, I appeared on CNA earlier this morning to talk about a transsexual being allowed to marry in Hong Kong (yay!), Nawaz Sharif’s election as PM of Pakistan, and Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Click here to watch. Continue reading CNA – Views on the News May 14th 2013
Dear friends, I published an Op-ed on Yahoo! today about the arrest of a Singaporean cartoonist last week. It’s depressing that the authorities continue to resort to harsh action to suppress commentary they dislike. Click here to read the article on Yahoo!
Or I have reproduced it below:
In order for Singaporean society to deal with race, religion and other sensitive issues in a mature way, they have to be discussed and debated publicly, not suppressed. Singapore needs to learn to talk honestly about race.
In that light, the most disturbing thing about the arrest last week of Leslie Chew, a Singaporean cartoonist, is that he appears to have been targeted for asking, through his cartoons, a very pertinent question: is there institutionalised discrimination against Malays in Singapore? Continue reading “Talking honestly about race”