To Tackle Inequality, Stop Expecting The Same Rules To Make A Difference —an interview I did with RICE Media, together with my research collaborator Ng Kok Hoe, for the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty on 17 October:
I think if poverty was not seen as inevitable in 1960s Singapore, with all our plans and dreams of development, certainly we should not see it as inevitable today. And if we think of IDEP as an international goal, shared by humanity in all its different contexts, we are in a very good position to make more headway on this as a small and wealthy country.
Neither extreme wealth nor extreme poverty are natural phenomena. We know from looking at trends around the world that much of it has to do with laws and policies. Poverty and inequality come about through specific decisions about our societies: what we reward and what we punish, who gets to make decisions on behalf of the collective, and so on.
Many of us interested in gender come to it with a sense of personal investment—a personal cost in inequality and therefore a personal stake in gender equality. But this is not, and does not have to be, everyone’s experience. I have found, from teaching the sociology of gender over the past decade, that many young people come to my course without a strong sense that this has anything to do with them and leave seeing all the ways in which it does. Whatever your journey, I hope this list and the above questions enrich your knowledge and empower you to partake in the ongoing public conversations about the state of gender (in)equality in Singapore today.
A newsletter that I wrote for Ethos Books:
If I don’t write, I don’t know what I think. But if there is no shape to my thinking, no shadow of a thread or arc, I cannot write. For the past few months, this is where I’ve been. Thoughts fly about in my head all day long but there’s not a single wire on which to land. It’s like the freezer’s malfunctioned and the water won’t freeze; worse, there’s no cup or bowl or any kind of receptacle in sight and it’s just puddle. I’m all water but feel no zen.