Young children waving behind a staircase

The history of the making of youth – and the history of the present – in youth-conscious, youth-centred Singapore: PhD candidate Edgar Liao

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.

Mental health

Move beyond peer support to tackle mental health issues

Peer support alone is not the panacea to mental health issues among young Singaporeans. In fact, if the panel “has [already] received feedback that the waiting time for young people to see a counsellor can be very long, as there are not enough counsellors” (ST, Jan. 28), then instead of focusing disproportionately on building peer support networks on the ground per se the more impactful and sustainable solutions should revolve around increasing the number of trained counsellors or therapists in Singapore.

Classroom in Brazil

“Interprofessional collaboration between social workers and school counsellors in tackling youth at-risk behaviour”: Of social service mandates and definitions of “at-risk”

The collaboration (and conflicts) between social workers and school counsellors – in the school context, working with and for “at-risk” students – is (are) the focus of Lim and Wong’s (2018) study, which has the potential to offer practical recommendations for such professionals across Singapore. While some of the dynamics are well-documented, three limitations should be highlighted: First, the focus on inter-professional collaboration at the individual level ignores more structural mandates dictating the roles of the counsellors and social workers (and is thus a missed opportunity to interrogate how the professionals perceive their responsibilities); second, there was only one counsellor-social worker dyad in the sample of nine, which means professional interactions were not adequately captured; and third, persistent reliance on the label “at-risk”, in my opinion, continues to be problematic.