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The politics of language: How can we mainstream social justice vocabularies?


How might we mainstream social justice ideas and language, beginning a national conversation that extends beyond more recognised civil society actors? Reflecting on the discourse surrounding migrant rights, Quah Say Jye draws upon philosopher Miranda Fricker’s concept of “epistemic injustice” to propose a shared vocabulary that might allow migrant workers into our linguistic community. He suggests that our semantic choices need to accurately represent the lived experiences of migrant workers, be accessible to them and the general public, and have the potential to pivot towards broader structural critiques.

Social Policy

What could a fairer migrant worker policy look like?


Poh Yong Han argues that while addressing poor dormitory and food standards for migrant workers are important, they merely represent the tip of the iceberg. Unless we tackle the underlying structural issues that explain why migrant workers “consent” to such poor standards (low wages, high agency fees) in the first place, we are not addressing the root cause of the problem. To address them, she proposes setting a Minimum Income Threshold, and enforcing fair recruitment practices. She further suggests reconsidering whether the Work Permit scheme as it stands is even ethical, and asks if current restrictions (such as tying workers to specific employers) need to be loosened, and whether a fairer migrant worker policy would entail providing them with pathways to citizenship or residency.


Il/licit Intimacies: Why The State Regulates FDW’s Intimate Lives


In Singapore, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) on Work Permits are subject to various bio-political restrictions: namely, restrictions that govern who they can marry and whether they can be pregnant.

What explains these restrictions, and why is the state so invested in policing the private intimacies of foreign domestic workers? Poh Yong Han traces through parliamentary debates and newspaper articles to show how these restrictions are informed by a neoliberal philosophy that informs how we view citizenship, and unpacks its consequences.

Interview of Dr. Albert Zeufack, World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa


Dr. Albert Zeufack sat with our lead interview editor, Mez Belo-Osagie.  Dr. Zeufack answered questions on a wide variety of topics including his career path in academia and policy-making, digitization, Africa’s infrastructure gap, and Chinese engagement with the African continent.


There is More to the Transatlantic Freeze than Donald Trump


Even at Harvard, a liberal Atlanticist bubble where the Marshall Plan was first announced, events to celebrate NATO’s 70th Anniversary celebration were sparsely attended by American students, unlike Europeans who were excited to attend. Expectations for the NATO summit scheduled this month in London were low, and organizers hoped at best to avoid new tensions […]

A Quest for Relevance: The United Nations’ Tryst with Youth


It was an ordinary Monday afternoon when some of my colleagues and I at the United Nations Women’s Headquarters in New York suddenly disappeared from our offices in unison. We rushed to a small conference room at lunch with determination in our pace and long lists of ideas and demands in our notepads. After many […]

Should We Abolish SAP Schools?


Since 1979, the Special Assistance Plan (SAP) program has promoted the study of Chinese language and cultural values at 26 primary and secondary schools. By tracing the history of the program, Shaun Loh makes a case for why the SAP program in its current form is problematic, and argues that it should either be abolished or significantly reformed.

Women in Peacekeeping: Moving from Numbers to Leadership


BY ESTHER BRITO In 1993, women represented only 1% of all UN uniformed personnel deployed in peacekeeping missions. In 2017, women peacekeepers remained at 4%, far from the UN target of 15%. The role of women in peacekeeping operations (PKOs)—not only as a matter of principle, but as a necessary condition for their success—has only […]

A Migrant Worker’s Perspective: The Issues We Face


Migrant workers are all too often shut out from avenues to express their issues and concerns for public discussion. In this op-ed, Zakir Hossain Khokan tells us about the issues he has faced as a migrant working in Singapore, and what solutions might look like.

Social Policy

Golden Mile Complex: Not Just Another Space


Golden Mile Complex is a Brutalist building facing potential demolition after its owners agreed to a collective sale attempt – much to the dismay of many in Singapore. Most news coverage, however, focuses on its architectural importance to Singapore’s heritage. But it plays an important social role, too, for Thai migrants. In this long-form research paper, Al Lim explores Golden Mile, and investigates the effect of its potential destruction on the Thai migrant community in Singapore.

Development and Economic Growth

Can the Migrant Speak?: Migrant Worker Poetry and the Art of Advocacy in Singapore


A humane society cares for all of its members, whether they are citizens or not. But in today’s world, rights are often tied to citizenship. Poh Yong Han explores the options for migrant worker advocacy in Singapore, focusing on the potential power of the arts in bringing about positive change.

Turkey’s Kidnappings Abroad Defy International Law


BY YASIR GÖKÇE “Our life was turned upside down. In one night, we were declared ‘terrorists,’” said Sevval, a 13-year-old who was among the victims of a massive crackdown on dissidents conducted by Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan. The crackdown continues today and impacts people who identify as critical of the Erdogan regime. Since a failed […]

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