Finding Compromise in Divided Times

“But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.” Theresa May paused to survey the crowd, her gentle manner belying the savage attack she was launching on globalist values. “You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.” Across the Atlantic, then-Republican nominee Donald Trump had chosen to dispense …

The Protection of Administration (Justice) Bill

It is wryly appropriate that during a recent trip to China, I was thumbing through Jothie Rajah's excellent book – Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse, and Legitimacy in Singapore. By examining case studies ranging from the Vandalism Act to the Public Order Act, Rajah forcefully argues her thesis that "the Singapore state (has reconfigured) …

Should we keep the death penalty? There are no easy answers.

I'm surprised at how almost everyone on my social media feed has come out so firmly against the death penalty. I respect this view, but I feel that there are no easy answers. Despite my liberal bent, it's hard to justify why someone like mass murderer Anders Breivik deserves a second chance. There exists a certain …

How Should We Develop Potential and Broaden Aspirations?

Education is such a thorny issue. Ask any three Singaporeans what they think about the current system, and you’ll walk away with four opinions. It’s easy to rehash platitudes like “every school is a good school”, but does “good” even mean? Does it mean “every school is good, but some schools are better”? Or “every …

My Thoughts on Reviewing the Elected Presidency

Last month, a Constitutional Commission was appointed to review the Elected Presidency scheme. As part of the ongoing process of evaluation and deliberation, members of the public have been invited to provide written submissions to the Secretariat. There were three areas of particular interest: (i)       The qualifying process for candidacy for the Elected …

On Public Morality, Political Capital, and Adultery

Let’s begin from an obvious premise: that despite its experience and political adroitness, the PAP has a limited amount of political capital. Both the 2011 General Election and the Punggol East by-election demonstrated that the PAP cannot simply bulldoze unpopular legislation like laissez-faire immigration policy without expecting significant pushback from the silent majority. However, because …