Hallway of a HDB flat in Singapore

“HDB home buyers don’t want public rental blocks in vicinity”: The challenge of research methodology and social integration in Singapore

Although the journal article was ostensibly focused on Singaporean perceptions of the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) – and how this housing policy may influence the decisions of home-owners when choosing a flat – the ST article zoomed in on the preferences of home-owners to not live close to HDB public rental blocks (ST, Mar. 22). It cited the lead researcher, Associate Professor Leong Chan-Hoong of the Singapore University of Social Sciences, who concluded: “After price and location, proximity to public rental flats would be the variable that discourages a person from buying a unit”.

Mental health

Tackling mental health issues: Improved data collection, presentation, and collaboration

Even though a survey conducted by nominated MP Anthea Ong and her team of volunteers yielded some useful insights about the accessibility and affordability of mental health treatment in Singapore, from a research perspective more data is still needed to better understand the state of mental health in the country. In fact, the concession that the survey was “not an official study aligned to rigorous standards of academic research” (ST, Mar. 5) should bring attention to the need for improved data collection, presentation, and collaboration.

Man holding hand with child standing beside railing

Stay-at-home fathering and the promotion of active fathering in Singapore

Following a study of stay-at-home fathers in Singapore by the Institute of Policy Studies – focusing on their roles and responsibilities as well as their perceptions of fatherhood, parenthood, and household work – the proposals for more paternity leave and additional measures to reduce the stigma of stay-at-home fathering appear anchored by a broader desire to get more Singaporean fathers more actively involved in the home. And while these exceptional cases of 21 fathers and nine of their spouses are a good starting point, future research should include more diverse family types and demographics and the perspectives of different family members.

Detail of two intertwined zippers, with blue and red teeth, like male and female, on white background

Singapore’s married women having less sex than desired: Studying couples and controlling for childbearing preferences

As a result of stress and fatigue, married women in Singapore between 25 and 34 years old – said to be in their “peak childbearing age” (ST, Jan. 5) – are reported to have less sex than desired, which consequently affects how long they take to get pregnant (a phenomenon with fertility implications). Even though this study of 657 married women is the first in the country to examine the coital frequency or sex lives of this population, it could have studied couples as dyads and could have controlled for childbearing preferences, since sex is not just for procreation and can affect marital quality and satisfaction.

Classified newspaper page

“Reluctant Editor”: More answers, but even more questions

Whereas Cheong Yip Seng’s “OB Markers: My Straits Times Story” was a more extensive account of “The Straits Times” (ST) – from the perspective of its former editor-in-chief – P. N. Balji offers a more succinct account of his stints as chief editor of “The New Paper” (TNP) and “TODAY”. His interesting editorial, journalistic, and political nuggets which shed light on the five different newspaper newsrooms of which he was a part were made even more readable by the fact that “Reluctant Editor” is explicitly not a self-aggrandising memoir.