That two of the best explanations justifying the S$20 million Singapore spent for hosting the historic summit between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was published on Facebook (offering six reasons, from geopolitics to fiscal perspectives) and Twitter (on most of the expenditure staying within Singapore) – both non-government sources – speaks to the extent to which the government can improve how it talks about expenses for such events. And in the process too, encourage more productive discourse on these events. Continue reading
Any lingering doubts that socio-economic inequality is – or will be – a problem in Singapore were probably laid to rest in the past week, when President Halimah Yacob, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made inequality and social mobility key themes in their speeches in parliament.
Yet the speeches of Mr. Ong and Mr. Lee (in fact, the IPS study too) were scant on substantive policy solutions. Continue reading
Knee-jerk opposition to the admission of international students in Singapore’s autonomous universities revolve around familiar themes, yet the counter-arguments thus far are problematic too: First, that besides top-level figures on the proportion of permanent residents and foreigners at the local universities, little is actually known about the distribution within the universities and their schools or departments, as well as funding amounts; and second, that the aforementioned benefits accrue most directly to those within the university, and not necessarily to those beyond it or those who might have been denied admission.
Without offering greater transparency on the distribution of international students and their funding amounts, and without broadening the discourse to include socio-economic issues relating to admissions to and financial support within the local universities – such as that of the class divide – the government will continue to confront the same scepticism, entrenching the same minds on both sides. Continue reading