7 July 2014

Social Issues in Singapore

On Day 5 of our fieldschool, we visited the National University of Singapore where we participated in a presentation on social issues surrounding Singaporean housing. The presentation was given by a doctor from the Asia Research Institute and revealed sharp insights into the realities of the heavily government mandated housing market of Singapore. The discussion surrounded lack of support for divorcees and non-nuclear families and formed a more pragmatic version to the strongly promoted view of the HDB scheme from government agencies we had visited earlier. Issues covered included difficulties of relocation, social stigmas surrounding divorces and a lack of acknowledgment of progressive trends like LGBT rights and alternate families.

As we engaged in an eye-opening discussion of these trends, it became clear that at the crux of the issues was a trade-off between economic efficiency and social flexibility and freedom that differed greatly to what we have in Australia. While Singapore has catapulted to economic superiority in the space of just 50 years, its hardline policies have disadvantaged marginalized groups and the country currently faces deep problems of income inequality and living affordability for most citizens. As we increasingly garnered the impression of the HDB scheme being used as a tool by the state to exert its desired goals, I started to understand the reality in every story having two sides to it.

In the afternoon, we summarized our findings and notes throughout the week and finalized our research questions in our interdisciplinary groups. My knowledge of this small country has quadrupled in the past week and I have developed important teamwork, research and presentation skills. I believe this is beneficial to my future as it will help me engage with our regional neighbours in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world.

Discussing social issues in Singapore and finalising our research questions
This blog was originially published on Sydney Life: Student experiences at the University of Sydney.

Tim Le
Current student at the University of Sydney Business School and participant in the New Combo Plan, a short-term interdisciplinary field school in Singapore where students work together to understand and analyse the Singapore government’s housing policy 

No comments:

Post a Comment