Singapore's Opposition Community - Grassroots Activists in the Concrete Jungle

Kyoto University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Southeast Asian Studies, 2013, 18 pp. 3 - 24 (22)
Issue Date:
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Based on data gained from qualitative research techniques, this paper presents and discusses the opinions of leading Singaporean oppositional grassroots activists about the state of play in Singaporean politics and civil society and likely developments over the next ten years. Our interviewees show that the Singaporean grassroots opposition activist community, while small, is passionate and committed to taking its country away from the right-wing authoritarian pathway. Those activists more interested in civil society and NGOs than contesting elections are eager to expand and deepen the civil society in Singapore. We also find that certain school-age opposition activists have already decided that the official establishment ideology, as taught in school textbooks, is not the reality of Singapore¿s history as they understand it. Activists will continue to focus on the income-inequality problem and human rights issues surrounding Article 377A of the Penal Code (which continues to make homosexual sexual acts between males illegal), the Internal Security Act (which allows detention without trial), and use of defamation suits by ruling-party politicians to bankrupt opposition party politicians and activists.
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