Dear friends, I’ll be speaking at this event. Join us!
When: 5pm-7pm, Nov 5th 2015
Where: Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS) Harvard, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Singapore is a small city-state often lauded for its economic transformation over the last 50 years. Less attention has been paid to the social integration policies that brought a racially divided nation together, and the unique approaches and principles that produced them. Today, as Singapore celebrates her golden jubilee, new cracks in the social fabric are starting to emerge: class, immigration and race relations. This panel discussion series focuses on how Singapore has confronted social integration challenges in the past, and the challenges and solutions to social faultlines on the horizon.
Continue reading “Nov 5th: Speaking in Cambridge, MA”
At the top of “6 o’clock”, a main street in Black Rock City, Nevada
The folks at UC Berkeley’s library have just kindly dug out my Geography Undergraduate Honours Thesis from 2002 and scanned it. I had somehow lost every single copy, a depressing combination of hard-drive crashes and absent-minded post-graduation packing.
It was interesting for me to reread it now, both for reminiscence sake and to ponder how my writing has changed over the years.
The Burning Man is a yearly festival in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Dessert that I have now attended thrice: in 2002 when I was walking around with a notebook interviewing people; in 2003, sans notebook, to partake in all the art, joy and partying that I had missed the year before; and in 2009 when my sister, brother-in-law, cousins and very good friend wanted to go for the very first time.
The Burning Man is very close to my heart, partly because of the great art on offer and partly because by living for a week in “the gift economy”, where money can’t buy you anything, one learns to appreciate labour and human interaction outside the mental confines of commerce. (One also learns to appreciate just how long the human body can go without a shower.)
Continue reading “The Burning Man: A geographical analysis of a new-age pilgrimage”
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
Singapore’s national security policies are outdated and in dire need of revision. These policies are heavily influenced by the paranoias of the 1960s, when a vulnerability fetish gave rise to a siege mentality amongst Singaporean leaders that persists today. But Singapore’s main security threats now are not other states but non-state actors, specifically pirates and terrorists. Continue reading “Singapore’s outdated national security policies”
Dear friends, as long as there are significant information asymmetries in the government-citizen relationship, Singapore will never be able to have a completely fair and open national conversation. What information asymmetries exist? Simply, the government has all the data and information, and we, the people, are given only selective access to it. Whenever people talk about the “lack of information” or the need for a … Continue reading The problem with the national conversation: information asymmetries