Invisible Diversity: Lived Experiences of Malay Rental Flat Occupants

Most Singaporeans desire a home to call their own, however, there are inevitably marginal segments of society who encounter obstacles to having access to home ownership and, require assistance with this. For them, the government has provided schemes that offer affordable rental housing options, with rental rates that start from as low as $26 a month. The rates are heavily subsidised and tiered according to household income so that they remain accessible to the lower-income households. (more…)

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The Sting of Stigma

Stigma – the very first time I ever knew of this word was when I was a student in a primary school science class. Stigma – (in a flower) the part of a pistil that receives the pollen during pollination. Today, there exists a different kind of stigma – stigma of divorce, stigma of having gone to jail, stigma of mental illness and stigma of a loved one lost to suicide. (more…)

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From Matrimony to Acrimony – What Happens to the Home upon Divorce?

The number of divorces in Singapore has been on the rise: a total of 7,344 marriages ended in divorce or annulment in 2018, compared to 1,721 in 19801.

In 1980, there were 505 divorces under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), or what will be referred to as ‘Muslim divorces’ in this article. The figure increased more than threefold to 1,682 in 2018. (more…)

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Opposites Attract: Experiences of Muslim-Non-Muslim Couples Seeking Civil Union

“You can’t choose who you want to fall in love with.” An interviewee shared this to reflect the realities of love and marriage. Nonetheless, this ‘absence’ of choice may cause some issues due to differing expectations and requirements in a relationship and marriage, for example, when couples from different religious and cultural backgrounds come together. (more…)

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Challenges of a Child Born Out of Wedlock

Between 2006 and 2016, there were 10,000 children in Singapore born out of wedlock1. Their statuses are distinguished by government policies, laws and in particular and in some instances, Islamic law. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) states that the legal and policy distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children are meant to reflect the government’s desire to promote strong marriages. (more…)

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A Pedagogical Approach to Race Talk and Racism

We have much to be proud of in how our forefathers dealt with race relations. There is little doubt that the country successfully navigated through the tumultuous post-independence period marred by deep tensions, distrust and riots. Much of the violence was kept at bay through public order, legislation and community leadership. For the last 54 years, the Singapore government has taken firm measures to promote racial harmony and social integration through a slew of policies and public campaigns. These measures account for much of the improvement in communal relations. (more…)

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South Korea: Second Time’s A Charm

My recent trip to South Korea was my second after 2013. The first trip was not a memorable one. I wasn’t able to fully explore Seoul as I met with a minor accident in Cheongdam-dong which left me with a swollen foot and a pair of crutches. Cheongdam-dong is a district in Seoul where all the major K-pop entertainment agencies like JYP, SM and FNC are located. After the accident happened, I vowed to return to South Korea. (more…)

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Home in a Great Big World – Life as a Student Abroad

“The perks of being a wallflower, huh?”, quipped an acquaintance. I responded with a wry smile. She was referring to an observation I made about the cliques I joked would form as the party – one of many we had during orientation week – progressed. (more…)

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution & Artificial Intelligence

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production – mainly supporting the agricultural economy. The Second utilised electric power to create mass production in which factories flourished. The Third focused on electronic and Information Technology (IT) to automate production. (more…)

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A Budget 2020 Wish List for Social Development

The difficulty in coming up with a budget wish list when one is in the social service sector is that it would almost certainly entail proposals that would add to government expenditure. It would be ingenious to achieve the goal of uplifting the quality of life of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable through saving. (more…)

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Singaporean Malays’ Lifestyle Habits and Health Outcomes: A Gendered Perspective

The health issues of the Malay community in Singapore are often painted through ethnicised lenses by local mainstream media as compared to those of other ethnic communities. Citing statistics from the National Disease Registry, reports from mainstream media frequently reveal that the Malay community suffers from the highest incidence of chronic diseases including strokes, kidney failures and heart attacks. (more…)

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Discerning the Future of our Asatizah

The paths of Singapore’s asatizah (Islamic teachers) have improved over the past 50 years1. Our early asatizah, such as former Mufti Sheikh Syed Isa Semait, struggled to finance their higher education at Al-Azhar University and opportunities were rare. For prospective asatizah today, a bachelor’s degree from Al-Azhar or a renowned university in the Middle East is expected. Notwithstanding individual effort, a scholarship to pursue post-graduate studies at prestigious secular universities around the world would not be a daydream. (more…)

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Book Review: Hard at Work: Life in Singapore

At first glance, I was intimidated by the sheer volume of the book. It’s Hard at Work: Life in Singapore published under the Ridge Books Imprint by NUS Press. Was this a university textbook, or one of those academic anthologies that usually never see beyond the walls of the university library? I expected it to be covered in MLA or APA citations, chapters of analyses and referencing other academics. (more…)

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