The Curious Case of Buddhist Activism in Singapore

Buddhist activism has been a subject of considerable discussion among academics, policy makers, and practitioners in recent years. 1 Buddhist activists, consist of both the Sangha and laity, have sought to promote social justice, campaign for political reforms, propagate environmentalism, and defend their faith against threats and heterodox teachings. In the Southeast Asian context, Buddhist [...]

REVIEW: Kampong Boy

Kampong Boy is the journey of a freethinker and empathetic spirit who has made the choice to live by his own terms despite external hurdles. [...]

Review: Corridor (12 short stories)

Corridor (12 short stories)Alfian Sa’atSingapore: Ethos Books, 2015 (second edition) “Behind these fantastic stories however, was the faint hope that somehow, I had found someone who shared something in common with me.” (“Duel” in Corridor 68) In his collection of short stories, Corridor (first published in 1999), Singaporean writer Alfian Sa’at 1 captures his characters’ hopes and [...]

Activism to Decriminalise Homosexuality in Singapore

On 28 October 2014 Singapore’s highest court ruled that the law criminalising sexual relations between men, Section 377A of the Penal Code, was constitutionally valid. This disappointing ruling nonetheless marked a vibrant phase of queer activism directed at decriminalisation in a Southeast Asian state known for its conservatism and legal control of social mores and civil-political liberties. [...]

Mobilizing around Inequality in Malaysia and Singapore

Survey data and pundits alike located the root of pivotal opposition gains in the most recent elections in Singapore (2011) and Malaysia (2013) in economics—specifically, rising costs of living, fear of declining opportunities, and awareness of a growing chasm between those with ample abundance and those with not enough. While electoral returns in both states reflected this economic anxiety, it [...]

Where Are My Country(wo)men? The Lack of Singaporean Academics in Singapore’s Universities

Earlier in March, Seah Kian Peng, a Member of Parliament in Singapore, “expressed shock” at the overwhelming number of foreign faculty members in Singapore’s universities. Seah pointed out the need for more Singaporean academics in “context-sensitive subjects like political science.” In fact, he was flabbergasted that Singaporean faculty members made up the minority (28% of the 25 [...]

Prioritising social growth for Singapore

The second Young Academic’s Voice article is by Alex Tham. He casts a critical gaze at his home country, Singapore, and sees the threads that bind the country together slowly pulling apart. Singapore’s development hasn’t been met with the same level of social growth and this will not bode well for society if relationships are always measured in just economic terms. [...]

REVIEW: Gone Case, A Graphic Novel

Gone Case, A Graphic NovelStory by Dave Chua. Art by Koh Hong Teng. Edited by Joyce Sim.Singapore. Book 1 (2010), Book 2 (2011) Popular culture provides a way for us to understand Southeast Asia and comics gives that insight into the experience of living in this region. Malaysia’s Lat is a classic example. His Kampong Boy, Town Boy and Mat Som are snapshots of what it is like growing up in a [...]

Said Zahari’s Long Nights

Said ZahariDark Clouds at Dawn: A Political MemoirKuala Lumpur / Insan / 2001 Said ZahariMeniti Lautan Gelora: Sebuah Memoir PolitikKuala Lumpur / Utusan / 2001 Translated and adapted from the remarks of Abdul Rahman Embong at the book launch of Said Zahari’s memoir in Kuala Lumpur in April 2001. Editor’s Note: Said Zahari was a journalist in the 1950s and 60s, crucial years in which the [...]

Review— Absent History: The Untold Story of Special Branch Operations in Singapore 1915-1942

Absent History: The Untold Story of Special Branch Operations in Singapore 1915-1942Ban Kah ChoonSingapore / SNP Media Asia / 2001 Writing a history of British political intelligence activity in East and Southeast Asia is an extremely difficult task given the limited materials and sources available. Absent History is the first book to attempt to do so for the Special Branch in Singapore before [...]