This tag is associated with 5 posts

The Weekly Global Roundup: Theresa May’s Solid Speech, As Brexit Nears (October 1 to 6, 2018)

As Brexit nears, and as the Conservative party in the United Kingdom (UK) concluded its party conference, Prime Minister Theresa May delivered one of her most effective speeches of her tenure. Earlier in the week – following the persistent Brexit disagreements between the European Union (EU) and the UK, the prime minister had said that a “no-deal Brexit would be preferable to the EU proposals that would risk breaking up the UK”. Following these Brexit developments, however, was a report that the rate of child poverty has increased in the country: About 600,000 children have fallen back into “relative poverty” since 2012, and the number of children who seek food handouts from the country’s largest network of food banks has more than tripled from 127,000 to 484,000. Continue reading

The Inequality Debate: More Research And Narratives Needed To Advance Discourse On Solutions

Despite the anxiety to moot solutions so as to advance the inequality debate (and I am guilty as charged), what has instead emerged in the past few months is a research and narrative gap, across which interlocutors draw from their own work, personal experiences, or even anecdotes, without necessarily engaging one another substantively or agreeing on the fundamental questions or problems. The research gap persists, because beyond broad statistical indicators such as the Gini coefficient or intergenerational mobility, we still do not know enough about the needs and challenges of low-income Singaporeans. And the narrative gap emerges, because the low-income are rarely directly involved in the face-to-face discussions, discursive forums, and opinion pieces. Instead, they are represented through proxies: Researchers, politicians, and journalists. Continue reading

Our Problematic “SES” Responses Reveal More Than The Guidebook Itself

Yet our collective response reveals a poor understanding (or perhaps wilful disregard) of SES as a comparative measure to understand structural, socio-economic policy problems in Singapore, and the response is especially problematic when the “lower SES” label – either erroneously taken on by individuals who do not belong to that level or foisted upon different activities or behaviours – is somehow perceived as a badge of honour. Instead of acknowledging that there are Singaporeans who struggle to get by and for whom “lower SES” or poverty is an everyday reality, the disbelief and the memes have not translated into substantive discourse. In fact commentaries such as “So what if I’m of a lower SES?”, published by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), epitomise our complicity and apathy. Continue reading