On this podcast, I’ve traditionally featured the research and social work and projects of others. I make a small exception today, because I want to share about two recent research journal articles I’ve published, which, I think, in an interesting fashion, draws from earlier episodes I produced for past seasons of this socialservice.sg podcast.
“Jom” (Malay for “let’s”) is Singapore’s new weekly digital magazine covering the arts, culture, politics, business, technology, and more in the country. With co-founders Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, Charmaine Poh, and Tsen-Waye Tay, we ask them about how they got started, their plans to cover civic issues that are somewhat controversial or contested in society, and navigating long-term journalistic integrity and financial sustainability.
“Seeking Shelter: Homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore” is the country’s second nationwide street count of its unhoused and homeless, conducted in 2021. With its authors Dr. Ng Kok Hoe and Jeyda Simren Sekhon Atac, we begin by reviewing the first street count and report in 2019. Thereafter, we dive deeper into their most recent report, to understand the state of homelessness during COVID-19, explore the role of social policy, and discuss volunteer engagement and ethical priorities.
With Edward Yee of Givfunds, a non-profit which lends low-cost funds at scale to South Asian social enterprises, and Masref, a Swiss fintech which seeks to increase the accessibility of safe and secure saving accounts, we chat about his three big ideas on finance and leaving nobody behind. First, the removal of persistent biases; second, the reduction of servicing costs; and third, the incentives for impact in the financial sector.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, the living conditions and well-being of migrant workers have received increased attention. At the same time, and consequently too, during the country’s first circuit-breaker in 2020, there was an intense flurry of volunteerism and donations among concerned Singaporeans. However, since then, over the past two years, public attention on both migrant workers and voluntary contributions has waxed and waned. With Michael Cheah of Healthserve, we discuss these phenomena and explore future advocacy and strategies.