September 2021
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Commentaries

The coming culture contest
by

Signs are that questions of culture are returning to Singapore, albeit differently. The Government is continuing and growing programmes for the arts, sports and heritage, and each of their intrinsic worth must be recognised. But these are also important components of a larger picture about what...

Japanese companies must adapt to a changed Asia
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Japanese interest in South and Southeast Asia is surging for both economic and political reasons. Yet, while welcome by many in the region, the reasons for this renewed focus must be considered. There are also new factors that the Japanese must look at and adapt...

What makes a S’porean? A debate returns
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Debate has returned, for both the Government and citizens, about what it means to be Singaporean. The issues do not relate only to culture and the arts, but have broader implications for the political and economic paradigms in Singapore as well. What spurs this resurgence of a...

The 4Rs our Singapore Conversation needs
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In the midst of our Singapore Conversation, the debates on the Population White Paper and now the Committee of Supply debates, I would like to raise a few points that I feel have not been sufficiently discussed. This is especially critical at a time when...

Does Sabah merit ASEAN’s attention?
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The ongoing conflict in Sabah at first seemed something of a farce when followers of the Sultan of Sulu landed with claims to the territory. But the situation has quickly developed into tragedy. The death toll has passed 60, with losses on both sides. Kuala Lumpur’s...

The False Divide
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The projections in the Government’s White Paper have raised concerns among Singaporeans, in particular the estimates that say the country’s population could hit 6.9 million in 2030, with almost half of these foreigners. There have been calls for more efforts to ensure that Singaporeans are not...

Reframe the Great Population Conversation
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Controversy followed the Government’s White Paper on Population, from its introduction to the last day of Parliamentary debate, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed Parliament. Even after the clear Parliamentary majority in favour, that public debate continues, a fact Mr Lee welcomed. But from...

What Asians hope Abe will say to Obama
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Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his first overseas visit to South-east Asian countries. Very soon he will make the more usual pilgrimage from Tokyo to Washington DC, to meet the American President. What should he say to President Barack Obama as both begin...

Legal process, political mess?
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The legal process begun by the Philippines to challenge claims by China to the South China Sea surprised the region. International arbitration is allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), but the move adds urgency and new elements to...

The right balance
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Everyone’s pivoting to Asia, even Asians. After the Barack Obama administration’s rebalancing and Australia’s white-paper pledge to give more emphasis to the region, here comes Japan. The recent visit to Southeast Asia by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe underscores this. Rather than heading to Washington, his...