Conversing with our cosmopolitan past: Applying history to the present

BY GLENN K.H. ONG “Knowing where you are going,” declared Minister for Foreign Affairs S. Rajaratnam in the 1970s, “is more important than knowing where you came from” (Tarulevicz 2009, 415). So convinced was he by this maxim that he echoed this exact sentiment a decade later in an article for The Straits Times, where he extolled the merits of forward-thinking leadership which “sees history … Continue reading Conversing with our cosmopolitan past: Applying history to the present

How Immigrants Don’t Want Other Immigrants

We’ve been extraordinary in economic development. We can be as good at defeating xenophobia. BY ROYCE QUEK Rome wasn’t built in a day: and it also wasn’t built by the people and riches of its own lands. Instead, its armies conquered Greece, North Africa and Asia Minor through the manpower of not just Romans, but the many Roman allies: fellow Italian cities which had been subjugated by Rome and were forced to give soldiers to the Roman war machine. With this strategy of co-opting other cities into its growing dominion, Rome swept all before it. But the Italians weren’t happy …

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Sea Levels are Rising, and so will Social Anxieties

BY HOE JIA WEN Climate change has arrived.

It is no longer simply a threat for the hypothetical future generations, but a problem for our generation, and particularly, our children’s generation. For the first time, 2015 saw the global average temperature hit 1°C above than the pre-industrial era, moving perilously closer to the 1.5°C limit that countries committed to Paris only the year before. Singapore’s own annual mean temperature has risen by 1.7°C since 1972, from 26.6°C to 28.3°C in 2015 (NCCS). …

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On the Ground, In our Minds

Relooking Cultural Integration and Cosmopolitanism in Singapore BY Z.H. From the rash of online sentiments directed against foreigners during the 2011 General Elections through the Anton Casey, Ello Ed Munsel Bello, and Sun Xu incidents, it might appear to some observers that xenophobia has finally taken root in Singaporean society. Is the apparent level of antipathy some citizens hold for immigrants truly fuelled by irrational … Continue reading On the Ground, In our Minds

Why aren’t we all “Cosmopolitan”?

BY POH YONG HAN For a young city-state, Singaporeans celebrate our “cosmopolitanism” and “global outlook” as ingredients for economic success. Yet, celebration of cosmopolitanism has also been met with pushback. Whether in sporadic bursts of public xenophobic sentiment or undertones of disapproval and mistrust in our day-to-day conversations, this apparent dichotomy requires us to examine our perceptions of cosmopolitanism itself – what is cosmopolitanism, how … Continue reading Why aren’t we all “Cosmopolitan”?