02 September 2015

Nomination day observations

PAP supporters arriving at a nomination centre via chartered bus
Picture courtesy of The Online Citizen

Up close and personal, the proceedings of Nomination Day are no less theatrical and farcical than the edited version you watch on television: all sound and fury, with candidates and their supporters behaving as though they were at a pro-wrestling event.

31 August 2015

Modelling the 2015 Singapore general election I

How much of a swing in the electorate would the opposition need
to dethrone the PAP in 2015?

In a very accessible article, Jeraldine Phneah writes about the advantages the People's Action Party has over the opposition in Singapore. Note that several of the advantages are institutional and arise from the PAP's position as the dominant party in Singapore politics.

In PolSci speak, Singapore belongs to a subset of democracies that are called dominant party states: these are countries whose political landscape are overwhelmingly dominated by a single ruling party, often for decades. As it turns out, a phenomenon like the PAP is not that unique to history or politics. And as it turns out, phenomena like the PAP do come and go.

24 August 2015

Living with Myths X: Singaporean words and images

Being a review of the final in a long, year-long series of seminars

Singapore's Literary Myths

Is a national literature a reflection of national ideology?
Is the development of a national literature a reflection of competing national ideologies?
Who gets a say?
Which question did Gwee Li Sui ask, and answer?

18 August 2015

PAP upgrades its own Upgrading Carrot

Uniquely Singapore inception

Minilee is expected to dissolve parliament some time after the NDRS. Nevertheless, campaign season has already begun: the opposition has resolved its coalition talks to great success, and all parties have begun unveiling their candidates.

Trust the PAP to trot out more upgrading carrots. They've already begun in Sembawang, Tanjong Pagar, Jalan Besar, and Bishan-Toa Payoh. Presumably, some MPs did not got the party memo, which upgrades the HDB upgrading carrot into the GRC master plan carrot (see media reports on Tanjong Pagar and Jalan Besar).

27 July 2015

Living with Myths IX: Cultural medallions, poverty, histories

Being a review of the 9th in a year-long series of seminars

Poor people don't like oats either

Teo You Yenn is a sociologist who studies Singapore's social welfare ecosystem. What happens after the cabinet fixes a policy stand on social welfare? How does policy get enacted by ministries, semi-government bodies, and social organisation? What does social welfare look like when it is delivered to the poor?

18 May 2015

Living with myths: Singapore pastoral

Taiwan Review has published a few excerpts from Loh Kah Seng's new book, Squatters into Citizens. Followers of the Living with Myths reviews on this blog may remember the good doctor had based his presentation in Living with Myths VI on his new book.

Back then, we noted that sociologist Chua Beng Huat (an outspoken critic of the establishment for the past 30 years) took Loh to task for mythologising life in Singapore's rural kampungs and squatter settlements as ideal, free, and nobleand levelled the charge of academic irresponsibility at Loh.

Because Loh had presented a new myth: the Singapore pastoral.

Life by the River by Liu Kang