It has been more than 18 months since Singapore’s first climate rally at Hong Lim Park in September 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as we have documented time and time again in this podcast, has only highlighted and exacerbated existing socio-economic inequalities in the country. With one of SG Climate Rally’s founding members, Estella Ho, we talk about intersectional climate justice and the unequal effect of climate change. In addition, we also learn more about her activist and advocacy work with the movement, in terms of her experience working with government agencies, working with other groups and organisations in the same space, and dealing with burnout.
In a commentary on climate governance for academia.sg, Belicia Teo made the case that the impact of climate change is not equal, and that, as a consequence, identifying and addressing these risks “should be up for debate and public scrutiny”. This was important, she added, so as to address differences in norms and values in Singapore. Her research was based on 10 interviewees from six climate groups, and we invited her to elaborate how the Singaporean state and climate groups framed climate change, as well as the differences in these framings. In addition, what should we expect from the state and the climate groups in the future?
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.
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.
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.