Final-year PhD candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of History Edgar Liao studies the history of youth in Singapore. His work is informed both by his archival work and his previous experience as a volunteer and youth leader in the youth work scene in the country. After helping us understand the theoretical (Foucauldian) concepts he employs, Edgar explains how Singapore’s youth policies as well as patterns of inclusion and exclusion inform the history of the present. He describes a dualistic discourse: Of the Singapore state empowering youths with resources for development, while scrutinising and policing their activity and activism at the same time.
“Hard at Work: Life in Singapore” is a collection of 60 stories, of people in contemporary Singapore talking about their work and life. With author Prof. Gerard Sasges, we discussed how he conceptualised the book and discussed the important elements of interviewing and ethnography. We also explored significant themes which emerged. “Hard at Work” was shortlisted for the 2020 Singapore Literature Prize and was a finalist for “Best Non-Fiction Title” at the 2020 Singapore Book Awards.
This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last two weeks (January 2021).
These are the discussion prompts and notes from the January 2021 book club, when we discussed Michael J. Sandel’s “The Tyranny of Merit”.
I am a huge fan of the “Saga” (https://aware.org.sg/saga/) podcast, which documents the saga surrounding gender-equality group AWARE, the Association of Women for Action and Research. Themes from the 2009 saga, poignantly highlighted across the 12 episodes, are still relevant in 2021 Singapore. Because I am a podcast junkie, speaking with Kelly Ng and Jasmine Ng, writers and producers of “Saga”, was my chance to learn about how they conceptualised and produced the podcast as well as the many challenges they faced.