Resource Bank: Race Relations in Singapore
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Update #1: The wonderful Shem Maleriado has converted this resource bank into a simple website for easier access and viewing. You can find it at: :-)
Update #2: I am also in the midst of exploring opening up a separate tab for resources that are more theoretical/ centered globally for further reading. Please bear with me as I try to get this list up in the coming days/weeks.
Update #3: The team at has helped convert the weblink into:
Last updated: 1 July 2020, 11:05pm

[Please take note that I will be updating the resource bank as suggestions roll in so I do apologise in advance if it gets a bit messy.]

Hello there,

This document is intended to serve as a resource bank for us to deepen our knowledge about race relations in Singapore. It was inspired by the compilation of Anti-Racism Resources document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein which you can find here:

The resources have been separated into different categories namely, articles, books, social media accounts, videos, websites and others. Some resources may not be about race entirely but are still important in highlighting how race can intersect with other identities (nationality, religion, gender etc.) to perpetuate double and/or triple discrimination in Singapore.

In the course of my research, I have also come across useful scholarly articles and books that have been compiled and shared beforehand by Academia SG and @ikansumbat, and have included them in this list for ease of reference.

Disclaimer: While I do work in this field, I am compiling this resource bank on my own accord. I have always been passionate about issues of inequality in Singapore and as a minority, issues surrounding race in Singapore are close to my heart. It is important for all of us to educate ourselves and to continue establishing (safe) spaces to have conversations about the realities of race relations in Singapore.

In assembling this resource bank, one of the growing concerns I had was that people would treat the resources listed as gospel, when that was not my intention. Each resource certainly has their merits, but they may also contain certain shortfalls and biases. I would like to stress that it remains vital that we continue to be critical when assessing these resources, and reflect thoughtfully on the different perspectives and arguments being presented.

Special thanks to the following people for their contribution and inputs (in alphabetical order): AC, Carolyn Oei, Corrie Tan for the arts-related resources, Lakshmi Ganapathi, Mohamed Salihin Subhan, Naufal Zahin, @nonfirqtion, Nur Friday, @pagesofelly, Sense Hofstede, Syed Muhd Hafiz, Victoria, Yogesh, Zul, and many others who have chosen to remain anonymous. :-)

Please feel free to share this with your friends and family. The shortened link is:

If you have any suggestions to add to the list or any feedback, please fill in the form here: (I also appreciate people who are coming forward to share 'illegal' copies of resources they have obtained. But I would like to uphold academic integrity and respect the hard work of the writers/ scholars so I will not be sharing these links in the resource bank.)

Thank you!

- Adila
S/NCategoryResourceDescription/ AbstractLink
1ArticleAbidin, C. (2019). Minahs and minority celebrity: parody youtube influencers and minority politics in Singapore. Celebrity Studies, 1–20.Many YouTube Influencers have intentionally shaped their content and channels into ‘sites of resistance’ that produce critical commentary about social issues, politics, and the state. When performed through the vehicle of parody and satire videos, such contents double up as entertainment and displays of insubordination against the hegemony. This paper takes seriously one instance of such YouTube Influencers: Singaporean duo MunahHirziOfficial (MHO), who borrow from the cultural scripts of international popular culture to create parodies that double up as socio-political commentaries on the condition of minority groups in Singapore. Specifically, the paper focuses on their employment of drag and the trope of the minah – a Malay subculture, considered to be low brow, and consisting of feminine uncouthness – to propagate awareness on intersectional minority politics. As marginalised figures themselves both in Singapore society and the local Influencer industry, MHO constitutes ‘minority celebrity’, wherein fame and recognition is founded on commodifying and representing a usually marginalised and stigmatised demographic of society, built upon the validation and celebration of minoritarian values, with the political agenda of making public and critiquing the systemic and personal challenges experienced by the minority group in everyday life.
2ArticleAlatas, Syed Hussein. (1977). The Myth of the Lazy Native: A Study of the Image of the Malays, Filipinos and Javanese from the 16th to the 20th Century and Its Function in the Ideology of Colonial Capitalism. Routledge. The Myth of the Lazy Native is Syed Hussein Alatas' widely acknowledged critique of the colonial construction of Malay, Filipino and Javanese natives from the 16th to the 20th century. Drawing on the work of Karl Mannheim and the sociology of knowledge, Alatas analyses the origins and functions of such myths in the creation and reinforcement of colonial ideology and capitalism. The book constitutes in his own words: 'an effort to correct a one-sided colonial view of the Asian native and his society' and will be of interest to students and scholars of colonialism, post-colonialism, sociology and South East Asian Studies.
3ArticleAljunied, S. M. K. (2010). Ethnic Resurgence, Minority Communities, and State Policies in a Network Society: The Dynamics of Malay Identity Formation in Postcolonial Singapore. Identities, 17(2-3), 304–326.While much has been written about identity formation and the politics of ethnicity among minority communities in various parts of modern-day Southeast Asia, the same cannot be said regarding the Malay community of Singapore. This article seeks to address this scholarly neglect by bringing into sharp focus the dynamics, processes, and circumstances that shaped Malay identity in postcolonial Singapore during the 1980s. By interweaving historical data with theoretical insights derived from the works of Andrew Willford, Manuel Castells, and Richard Jenkins, among others, this article provides an analytical reading of the global, regional, and local developments that brought about an ethnic resurgence within one of the largest minority groups in this island city-state. Such developments prompted the Singapore government to devise new laws and employ multi-faceted strategies to regain its legitimacy in the eyes of a certain segment of the population, and to enhance its ruling capacity. The problematics embedded within the state's interpretation of Malay identity and the effects of citizen resistance against state policies are considered in detail in the final sections of this article.
4ArticleAljunied, S. M. K. (2011). Micro-history and the study of minorities: working-class Sikhs in Singapore and Malaya*. Social History, 36(1), 22–35.This article provides a narrative analysis of a widely publicized murder case in Singapore in 1929 and, in so doing, develops the argument for the need to recover uncharted aspects of the social history of working-class Sikhs in Malaya through the methodology of micro-history and the employment of previously neglected sources, such as legal records and coroners' records. The circumstances which led to the brutal murder of Jewa Singh, as will be shown, reflect the extent of personal animosities, everyday rivalry and occasional acts of violence among the Sikhs in Singapore and Malaya at that time. Additionally, by unravelling the occupational pursuits, the state and position of women, the domestic environment, modes of communication as well as networks of social acquaintances of multiple actors that were implicated in the murder, and by framing the homicide case against larger historical processes in colonial Malaya, I will demonstrate the ways in which such a fateful episode provides us with a prism for understanding the social worlds and daily life of a segment of the minority population, and the tribulations they faced as migrants in a multicultural setting.
5ArticleAng, Sylvia. (2017). I am More Chinese than You: Online Narratives of Locals and Migrants in Singapore. Cultural Studies Review. 23. 102.Migrants from mainland China now make up nearly a million of Singapore’s total population of 5.4 million, an influx unprecedented since the nineteenth century. This has compelled both locals and migrants to (re)think their Chinese-ness. Simultaneously, the state produces its hegemonic version of Chinese-ness with Mandarin as an important signifier. This discourse has been increasingly challenged by residents with the advent of the internet as a platform for alternative views. This article suggests that by endorsing Singaporean state discourse that defines Chinese authenticity as Mandarin proficiency, Chinese migrants deride Chinese-Singaporeans as less Chinese, and therein less Singaporean. In defence, Chinese-Singaporeans appear to present a united front by deriding Chinese migrants’ deficiency in the English language. I argue that, to the contrary, Chinese-Singaporeans’ online narratives show fragmentation within the group.
6ArticleBarr, Michael & Low, Jevon. (2005). Assimilation as multiracialism: The case of Singapore's Malays. Asian Ethnicity. 6(3).The myths of meritocracy and multiracialism ‘explain’ between them both the ‘fairness’ of the Singapore system and the subordinate role of the non-Chinese minority races. They also purport to assure the minorities that they enjoy full status as members of the nation-building project and that their cultural and religious mores are embraced and protected within its framework. Using the Malay minority as its case study, and arguing from archival, oral, official government and secondary sources, this paper argues that the Singapore systems of meritocracy and multiracialism have not been concerned primarily with intercommunal tolerance since the 1970s, but are now programmes of assimilation of the racial minorities into a Chinese-dominated society.'s_Malays
7ArticleBarr, Michael. (2006). Racialised Education in Singapore. Educational Research for Policy and Practice. 5. 15-31. The Singapore education system plays a central role in the mythology of the young country’s nation building project. The education system is portrayed as the cradle of Singapore’s multiracialism, fostering racial harmony and understanding. Yet this historical study of primary school English textbooks from the 1970s to the present reveals that since the beginning of the 1980s they have been systemically designed in such a way that they evoke high levels of racial consciousness, and at their worst have displayed a pro-Chinese bias that has deprived non-Chinese children of inspiring role models. This study helps to explain the results of recent sociological research that has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Singapore education system as an instrument for promoting racial harmony.
8ArticleBenjamin, G. (1976). The Cultural Logic of Singapore’s “Multiracialism” in J. H. Ong, C. K. Tong, and E. S. Tan (eds.), Understanding Singapore Society. Times Academic Press. 67-95.
9ArticleChew, Peter & Young, Jessica & Tan, Gerald. (2019). Racism and the Pinkerton syndrome in Singapore: effects of race on hiring decisions. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology. 13. The aim of the study was to examine racism and the Pinkerton syndrome in Singapore. Specifically, the study examined the effects of race on hiring decisions in a simulated hiring decision task. Participants were 171 (61% males) Singaporean Chinese undergraduates from a private university in Singapore. They were randomly assigned into one of nine groups and asked to review a resume of a job applicant. The study used a 3 (Academic qualifications: strong, moderate, or weak) × 3 (Race: White, Chinese, or Malay) between-subjects design with perceived warmth, competence, applicant suitability and recommended salary as the dependent variables. The results showed that while Chinese participants discriminated against Malay applicants (racism), they discriminated in favor of White applicants (the Pinkerton syndrome). The results provided a potential explanation to the economic disparities between Malays and the other races, and first experimental evidence for racism and the Pinkerton syndrome in Singapore.
10ArticleChua, Vincent & Ng, Irene. (2015). Unequal returns to social capital: the study of Malays in Singapore through a network lens. Asian Ethnicity. 16. 1-18.Using the concepts of ‘social capital deficit’ and ‘return deficit’, this study considers the social network aspects of social disadvantage among Malays in Singapore, as compared to Singaporean Chinese. Analysing a 2005 representative survey, we find Malays have less social capital than Chinese, a social capital deficit partly explained by their lower educational attainment. We find no return deficit in earnings: that is, every additional unit of social capital increases earnings equally for Chinese and Malays. However, we find return deficits in education: every additional unit of social capital (e.g. ties to educated parents) increases educational attainment more for Chinese than Malays. In all, this study offers a social capital explanation for Malay ‘plight’, complementing the more conventional explanations of human and economic capital.
11ArticleGoh, Daniel. (2008). From Colonial Pluralism to Postcolonial Multiculturalism: Race, State Formation and the Question of Cultural Diversity in Malaysia and Singapore. Sociology Compass. 2. 232 - 252.In postcolonial societies, multiculturalism is a historical problem conditioned by colonial racial knowledge and state formation on the one hand, and by the ethnic conflicts of decolonization on the other. The reality and legacy of colonial racisms in colonized societies were not straightforward affairs. Anthropological knowledge was crucial for the construction of colonial state institutions, where racial ethnography determined the way each native ethnic group was ruled. In turn, nationalist consciousness developed along communitarian ethnic lines. The inheritance of the colonial racial state by nationalists created the conditions for postcolonial ethnic conflict. Drawing on the acclaimed Malaysia and Singapore cases of successful postcolonial management of ethnic conflict, I show the transition from colonial pluralism to postcolonial multiculturalism, in which nationalist leaders tapped into communitarian practices, scripted cultural identities and transformed themselves into a transcultural elite to maintain authoritarian rule through state multiracialism. However, globalization today is creating a new pluralism that threatens this multiracialism and presenting opportunities for democratization.
12ArticleGomes, Catherine. (2014). Xenophobia online: Unmasking Singaporean attitudes towards 'foreign talent' migrants. Asian Ethnicity. 15. 21-40. In recent years, Singaporeans have become highly anxious about the future of their country and their own personal livelihood due to the influx of educated and professional migrants known as 'foreign talent' and express their ire at the presence of these migrants through xenophobic posts online. This article suggests that such comments, however, are indicative of the feelings of disillusionment and abandonment Singaporeans have towards the People's Action Party - the only government Singaporeans have ever known. While Singaporeans have been critical of their government on economic issues that impact their lifestyle and existence, it is the presence of foreign talent migrants that have pushed Singaporeans into using the migrant situation to emotively express their opinions of disappointment in the government and its policies online like no other issue, functioning as the unlikely glue that has galvanised and united an ethnically disparate Singaporean population.'foreign_talent'_migrants
13ArticleIsmail, R., & Shaw, B. J. (2006). Singapores Malay-Muslim minority: Social identification in a post-‘9/11’ world. Asian Ethnicity, 7(1), 37–51.Fundamental within Singapore's modernisation push ‘From Third World to First’ was the long-term strategy of establishing a Singapore identity based on multiracialism, multilingualism, multiculturalism and multireligiousity (the ‘4Ms’). But while wholesale landscape changes have largely removed earlier associations between ethnicity and residence, government promotion of a shared Singapore identity has been frustrated by the lagging educational and socio-economic achievements of Singapore's Malay minority. Prior to the events of ‘9/11’ government concern had centred on the growing popularity of private Islamic schools, or madrasahs, which in the government's view could affect educational standards in the city-state. However, following the destruction of the World Trade Center government attention was quickly shifted to the promotion of ‘racial harmony’ and Singaporeans were urged to ‘get to know your neighbours’ in a tacit admission that 40 years of ‘racial’ assimilation had yet to produce ethnically integrated, cross-cultural community spirit. Subsequent events, particularly the arrest of local Jemaah Islamiyah operatives and the destruction in Iraq, have impacted most strongly upon Singapore's Malay-Muslim community and posed challenges to its identity within a multicultural society.'s_Malay-Muslim_minority_Social_identification_in_a_post-'911'_world
14ArticleJamil, N. (2016). “You Are My Garment”: Muslim Women, Religious Education and Self-Transformation in Contemporary Singapore. Asian Studies Review, 40(4), 545–563.Since 2007, Singaporean graduates of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University have offered a new type of religious class that incorporates self-help rhetoric with the Quran and Hadith (prophetic traditions). Like their counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen and Egypt, the returnees market their costly lessons as opportunities for young ethnic and religious minority Muslim graduates of Singapore’s secular universities to apply new understandings of their faith to everyday spheres. These new preachers utilise social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to proselytise and market their lessons. Although their seminars attract male participants, the vast majority of students are professional women seeking to fashion ideal Muslim selves while pursuing their careers. In this paper, I interrogate the following questions: How do women preachers and students perform their authority in interpreting Islam? How do male preachers, in turn, conceptualise and negotiate women’s religious authority? Although professedly apolitical, how does the women’s embrace of globally commodified Islam, social media and eclectic pedagogical incentives reframe conventional notions of Islamic “piety” and “education” and affect dominant male religious authority and interpretation?
15ArticleKathiravelu, Laavanya. (2017). Rethinking race: beyond the CMIO categorisations in Loh Kah Seng, Ping Tjin Thum and Jack Meng-Tat Chia (eds.), Living with Myths in Singapore. Ethos Books.This work was first published in “Living with Myths in Singapore” (Ethos Books, 2017).
16ArticleKwen Fee Lian. (2006). Race and Racialization in Malaysia and Singapore In Race, Race, Ethnicity and The State in Malaysia and Singapore. Leiden: Brill. 219-234.When the British decided to extend colonial rule and established a permanent presence throughout the Malay peninsula in 1874, it marked the beginning of the construction of a plural society, by bringing into contact subsequently significant numbers of people from different historical and cultural origins. This is collectively referred to in the local social sciences as indigenous (Malay) and migrant (Chinese and Indian) communities. These two communities, particularly the Malays and the Chinese, are regarded as the major protagonists that have dominated the political stage of Malaysia since decolonization began with the ill-fated Malayan Union proposal in 1946. In the language of racialization, the protagonists have been variously described as ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) and bumiputera (prince of the soil) with reference to indigenes and kaum pendatang (migrant community or newcomers). The terms bumiputera and kaum pendatang have been coined by the Malays, as the political majority, to ascribe and exclude the Chinese (and by default Indians) from a society they perceived to be increasingly appropriated by the latter in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These words have been quickly embedded in the language of racialization, in both public and private discourses, as the protagonists sought to assert themselves in the post-independence era. It comes as no surprise to even the most casual of observers of these two societies that race and ethnicity have been and continue to influence how Malaysians and Singaporeans conduct themselves at all levels—from the public and political discourse of racial politicking, decision-making …
17ArticleLi, Tanya Murray. (1998). Constituting Capitalist Culture: The Singapore Malay Problem and Entrepreneurship Reconsidered in Market cultures: society and morality in the new Asian capitalisms. In the popular imagination, Singapore Chinese are quintessential “economic men,” natural entrepreneurs predisposed to seek profit at every opportunity. 1 By contrast, Singapore Malays are imagined to be incapable of, or uninterested in, entrepreneurial endeavors. So pervasive are these views that they form part of the unexamined common knowledge of all Singaporeans. Building upon this popular knowledge base, state officials and community leaders concerned with national unity and progress have asserted that the Chinese have a business culture, whereas the Malays, if they are to compete in the national economy, need to acquire one. 2
18ArticleMohamad, Maznah & Aljunied, Khairudin. (2011). Melayu: Politics, poetics and paradoxes of malayness. Melayu: Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness. 1-370. People within the Malay world hold strong but diverse opinions about the meaning of the word Melayu, which can be loosely translated as Malayness. Questions over whether Filipinos or Mon-Khmer speaking orang asli in Malaysia are to be properly called "Malay" can generate controversy and heated debate. So too can the question of whether it is appropriate to speak of a kebangsaan Melayu (Malay as nationality) as the basis of membership within an aspiring postcolonial nation-state - as a political rather than a cultural community embracing all residents of the Malay states, including the immigrant Chinese and Indian population. In Melayu: Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness, the contributors examine the checkered, wavering and changeable understanding of the word Melayu by considering hitherto unexplored case studies dealing with use of the term in connection with origins, nations, minority-majority politics, Filipino Malays, Riau Malays, orang asli, Straits Chinese literature, women's veiling, vernacular television, social dissent, literary women, and modern Sufism. Taken as a whole, this volume offers a creative approach to the study of Malayness while providing new perspectives to the studies of identity formation and politics of ethnicity that have wider implications beyond the Southeast Asian region.
19ArticleMoore, R. (2000). Multiracialism and Meritocracy: Singapore's Approach to Race and Inequality. Review of Social Economy, 58(3), 339-360. This paper characterizes Singapore's efforts to tackle the problem of persistent racial inequality in terms of the notion of fair meritocracy. Singapore's race policy attempts to level the playing field through its unique race-based self-help organizations and a comprehensive, racially integrated, public housing program. Individuals are then sorted by the ostensibly objective mechanism of a standardized test based educational system. The social and economic implications of this policy are examined and, using summary data from the 1980 and 1990 censuses, the extent to which Singapore has been successful in creating a fair multiracial meritocracy is assessed.
20ArticleMutalib, H. (2011). The Singapore Minority Dilemma: between malay persistence and state resistance. Asian Survey, 51(6), 1156–1171.This article addresses two areas that have received little attention in discussions about Singapore's Malay dilemma: (1) the numerous and persistent Malay public seminars and conventions calling attention to their plight, and (2) the government's similarly persistent resistance to such calls, seen as inimical to the national interest.
21ArticleMutalib, H. (2012). The Quest for Leadership Legitimacy among Singapore Malays. Asian Journal of Political Science, 20(1), 70–85.Much has been written about the problems and concerns affecting the Malay ethnic minority in Singapore. These include issues such as their socio-economic situation, relatively low educational performance, and increasing incidences of social ailments like high rates of drug addiction, divorce and youth delinquency. In the context of Singapore's multiracial and multi-religious fabric, little has been articulated about what is here argued to be a core issue of the ‘Malay plight’, namely, the legitimacy of the Malay political leadership. Apparently both the ruling-party-affiliated Malay politicians and their Malay opposition counterpart have been at odds with their perceptions and predispositions towards this particular issue. It is here that a bold, albeit controversial, alternative model called the ‘collective leadership’, was publicly goaded by the Association of Malay/Muslim Professionals in both their 1990 and 2000 National Conventions, which requires due consideration. Perhaps at a time of a changing Singapore society, this alternative or its variant could go some way towards mitigating, if not resolving, the long-standing Malay plight, and thus, benefit not only the Malay minority itself, but Singapore as a whole.
22ArticleMutalib, Hussin. (2012). Singapore Malays: Being Ethnic Minority and Muslim in a Global City-State. Routledge. The Malay population makes up Singapore's three largest ethnic groups. This book presents holistic and extensive analysis of the 'Malay Muslim story' in Singapore. Comprehensively and convincingly argued, the author examines their challenging circumstances in the fields of politics, education, social mobility, economy, leadership, and freedom of religious expression. The book makes a significant contribution to the understanding of Muslims in Singapore, and the politics of a Malay-Muslim minority in a global city-state. It is of interest to researchers and students in the field of Singaporean studies, Southeast Asian Studies and Islam in Asia.
23ArticleNair, Marc. (2017). These Places Are Equally Ours: An Interview With Melissa and Samantha De Silva. Mackerel.Who is a Eurasian? And why have they been lumped under 'Others' in Singapore's convenient racial CMIO (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others) categories? Broadly defined as Asian with some European ancestry or heritage, Eurasians in Singapore have been linked to various ports in the region, including Malacca, Ceylon, Macau and Penang. They've been around a long time, and yet, Eurasians in Singapore are often treated like they've arrived (recently) from somewhere else.
The De Silva sisters are of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and Indian descent. They are writers who grapple with being Eurasian in a supposedly egalitarian Singaporean society. And quite tellingly, themes of identity, place and voice weave their way across the various genres they write in.
24ArticleNarayanan, G., & Fee, L. K. (2015). Race, reintegration, and social capital in Singapore. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 40(1), 1–23.Social capital, or the lack of, has variously been acknowledged as contributing to criminal and delinquent behavior among certain groups in society. It has rarely been employed to explain why ex-offenders are unable to break free from recalcitrant behavior and reintegrate into society. We argue that Indians and Malays, as racial minorities in Singapore and disproportionately represented in the prison and re-offending population, are significantly less likely to achieve reintegration than those who belong to the Chinese majority. Because Singapore is a highly racialized society, the effect of race on recidivism and rehabilitation is clearly identifiable. Understanding racial structuration by taking into account the differential impact of a hierarchically organized network of social relationships is central to this argument. For such vulnerable groups, social capital plays a critical role. The uneven distribution of ethnic capital restricts the ability of the Indians and Malays and enables the Chinese to achieve acceptance into the mainstream.
25ArticleOutcry over “offensive” video stirs Singapore race debate by Global-Is-Asian, LKYSPP
26ArticleSetoh, Peipei & Lee, Kristy & Zhang, Lijun & Qian, Miao & Quinn, Paul & Heyman, Gail & Lee, Kang. (2017). Racial Categorization Predicts Implicit Racial Bias in Preschool Children. Child development. 90.This research investigated the relation between racial categorization and implicit racial bias in majority and minority children. Chinese and Indian 3- to 7-year-olds from Singapore (N = 158) categorized Chinese and Indian faces by race and had their implicit and explicit racial biases measured. Majority Chinese children, but not minority Indian children, showed implicit bias favoring own race. Regardless of ethnicity, children's racial categorization performance correlated positively with implicit racial bias. Also, Chinese children, but not Indian children, displayed explicit bias favoring own race. Furthermore, children's explicit bias was unrelated to racial categorization performance and implicit bias. The findings support a perceptual-social linkage in the emergence of implicit racial bias and have implications for designing programs to promote interracial harmony.
27ArticleSubhan, Mohamed Salihin. (2018). The perception of political representation of the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore. In 2016, the Singapore government reserved the Presidential Elections for the Malay-Muslim community ostensibly to ensure the representation of minority ethnic groups, sparking debate on the political representation of the Malay-Muslim community. This dissertation puts forth the argument that the Singapore government’s policy of multiculturalism has negatively affected the perception of political representation of the Malay-Muslim community. Instead of empowering the community via descriptive representation, the government’s top-down approach has led to resentment. This negative perception within the community is analysed via the historical construction and contestation of Malay identity, with the Singapore government’s actions signifying a repeat of history. Looking forward, this dissertation identifies adaptive governance as a promising policy approach towards tackling the variegated nature of ethnic relations in Singapore.
28ArticleSuratman, S. (2011). Tudung Girls: Unveiling Muslim Women's Identity in Singapore. In M. Mohamad & S. M. Aljunied (Eds.), Melayu: The Politics, Poetics, and Paradoxes of Malayness (pp. 168-194). Singapore: NUS Press.In contemporary multicultural Singapore society, the wearing of the tudung (head covering) among Malay women is very visible. Very often, this is read by both Malays and non-Malays as an expression of Malay Muslim women's identity.2 This is not surprising. In the implementation of Singapore's "multiracial policy," the Singapore population is categorized as Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others (CMIO) which are distinguished by language, culture and religion.3 At the everyday level, markers are used to identify people that will fit into these categories. The tudung identifies the woman to be Muslim, hence Malay. The topic of Malay women wearing the tudung became an interest to me when I began noticing that a few Malay female students in my class had stopped wearing it. I was curious about what might have prompted them to stop wearing the tudung and the kinds of experiences they would have gone through in removing it. For these students to have removed the tudung is an interesting phenomenon as it raises some important questions for me: "What does it say about the tudung as a symbol for Malay/Muslim women's identity?" and "What does the tudung mean to these women?" My study is based on the narrations of five young Malay Muslim women. Their experiences reveal veiling practices and the self conflicts involved. Initially, wearing the tudung was a way for them to express their Malay Muslim woman identity. Later, these women found the head covering "inhibiting." They relate how their everyday life experiences as "tudung girls" (young Malay Muslim women who put on the head covering) in new contexts such as university and at work, made them raise questions about the need to wear the tudung as a Muslim woman as well as about the meaning of the tudung for them. These women relate their removing of the tudung as an expression of their distinctive self. To this extent, this study is an exploration of how these women situate the tudung in their everyday lives as they search for a distinctive self. That the tudung is not just a piece of cloth worn over women's heads can be seen in terms of how the tudung is a signifier of Malay Muslim identity. But the tudung with regard to women's behaviors also comes with a set of expectations that have potential conflicts. I argue that the experiences of the women in my study show that expressions of identity, in this case, Malay Muslim identity in Singapore, are not necessarily shared by all members of the ethnic community. The social positioning of the informants in my study as women has generated contexts where these women faced conflicts and chose to assert their self-identity rather than their collective Malay Muslim identity.'s_identity_in_Singapore
29ArticleTam Wai Jia. (2020). Before Singapore exits circuit breaker, let’s reflect on our biases against migrant workers. Today Online.
An opinion piece on migrant workers
30ArticleTam, W. (2019). Political representation of racial minorities in the parliament of Singapore. Japanese Journal of Political Science, 20(4), 225–239.This research note studies the political representation of racial minorities in Singapore. Specifically, it analyzes whether racial minority members of parliament (MPs) are more likely than Chinese MPs to represent the interests of racial minorities in the Parliament. I answer this question through conducting content analyses of the parliamentary questions raised during the plenary meetings of the 10th–12th Parliament of Singapore (2002–2015). In total, 6,678 questions were asked. Our results show that racial minority MPs were significantly more likely (21.79 times) than Chinese MPs to ask questions related to racial minorities. While this study shows that racial minority MPs were significantly more likely than Chinese MPs to ask questions related to racial minorities, it also highlights the inadequacy of representation of racial minority interests in the Parliament of Singapore. During our period of study, only 1.2% of the total number of parliamentary questions focused on racial minorities. Besides MPs' race, this study finds that partisan affiliation crucially influenced the likelihood of MPs to represent racial minority interests. Political parties played an important role in shaping MPs' representational behavior. Compared to the People's Action Party (PAP) MPs, opposition MPs were significantly more likely to raise racial minority-related questions. One possible explanation could be that opposition MPs used parliamentary questions as an important tool to challenge and criticize the governing party's policies on racial minorities. Another explanation could be that PAP racial minority MPs' first loyalty has to be to the party and government rather than their co-ethnics, given that they are beholden to party elites for their seats.
31ArticleThiagarajan, Ruby. (2019). Brownface and Racism in Singapore. New Naratif. An overview of the reactions prompted by the E-Pay ad featuring actor Dennis Chew in brownface last year, and a critique of institutional, wide-spread racism in Singapore -- particularly how "the backlash against calling out racism turned out to be worse than the backlash against racism".
32ArticleVelayutham, Selvaraj. (2016). Races without Racism?: everyday race relations in Singapore. Identities. 24. 1-19. In Singapore, race has a prominent place in the city state’s national policies. Its political ideology of multiracialism proclaims racial equality and protection for minority groups from racial discrimination. However, despite official rhetoric and policies aimed at managing and integrating the different ethnic groups, some scholars have argued that institutional racism does exist in Singapore. While it is public knowledge, with few exceptions, racist provocations and experiences of racism are not publicly discussed. In recent years, the advent of social media has made it possible for Singaporeans oftentimes unwittingly to express racially derogatory remarks. This has highlighted that racism is much more deep rooted. Yet, it still remains the white elephant in the room. This paper examines the sociopolitical context that has contributed to everyday racial discrimination and calls for a public acknowledgement of racism so as to combat racist practices.
33ArticleYe, J. (2013). Migrant masculinities: Bangladeshi men in Singapores labour force. Gender, Place & Culture, 21(8), 1012–1028.Although there is a growing body of scholars who have examined the reproduction and experiences of masculinities, research on the experiences of migrant men remains relatively limited. While I continue to draw upon insights from these scholars of both migration and gender, my data show that there remains considerable potential to contribute to this research field, in particular, analysing the reproduction of masculinity through a class lens. Drawing upon migrants' own narratives and notions of class by Bourdieu, I examine how Bangladeshi men make sense of their labour migration to Singapore, particularly after they fall out of work. Their responses are not only based upon instrumental calculation, but are also powerfully shaped by a complex set of normative gendered formations that can further constrain them.'s_labour_force
34ArticleYue, A., Zubillaga-Pow, J., & Phillips, R. (2012). “Singaporean by birth, Singaporean by faith” Queer Indians, Internet Technology, and the Reconfiguration of Sexual and National Identity. In Queer Singapore: Illiberal Citzenship and Mediated Cultures (pp. 187–196). Hongkong: Hongkong University Press.Interrogating racialised discourses in Singapore, the writer offers an analysis of queer Indian-Singaporeans’ use of new and emerging communications technologies, outlining how these facilities have impacted upon developments in sexual and national identity. The ‘double minority status of queer Indian men in Singapore’ perspective allows the writer to shed light upon both sexual and national identity in Singapore. He also investigates the role of internet as an alternative public sphere for the ‘minorities’.
35ArticleZainal, H., & Abdullah, W. J. (2019). Chinese privilege in politics: a case study of Singapore’s ruling elites. Asian Ethnicity, 1–17.This article contributes to a more nuanced understanding of privilege as a conceptual category through the case study of Chinese privilege in Singapore politics. It does so through two main ways. First, at the theoretical level, we emphasise the importance of foregrounding the salience of political hegemony in the analysis of privilege. Second, at the empirical level, we interrogate the concept in an Asian context, with specific reference to Singapore. We argue that the existing focus on class privilege within the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) should go hand-in-hand with the study of Chinese privilege since PAP hegemony has significant implications on how race is constructed, understood and implicated in Singapore politics and society. Furthermore, PAP’s race-based approach to politics inadvertently perpetuates Chinese privilege, as exemplified by contradictions in minority representation in parliament and the clash between Chinese privilege and the government’s system of meritocracy.'s_ruling_elites
36ArticleZainal, H., & Wong, G. (2017). Voices behind the veil: Unraveling the hijab debate in Singapore South East Asia Research, 25(2), 107–121.This article critically examines the hijab debate in Singapore by drawing upon the lived experiences of Singaporean Malay-Muslim women whose daily lives are fraught with a constant negotiation between their identities as veiled women and the institutionalized constraints that impede their social mobility and voices in the public arena. Drawing upon publicly accessible data and findings from in-depth interviews with Malay-Muslim nurses, the article explores the everyday lived struggles of women working in Singapore’s public healthcare sector organizations. These struggles illustrate a decade-old public debate on the hijab. We show how these women’s narratives reflect their intersectional subjectivities, which unravel dominant state discourses on multiracialism that claim the incompatibility of the hijab with secularism. We argue that a re-positioning of the existing debate beyond its dominant association with race is crucial in overcoming the political inertia that continues to plague the hijab issue in Singapore.
37Article Law, Kam. (2003). The myth of multiracialism in post-9/11 Singapore: The tudung incident. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies. 5. Sixteen years ago, several girls in southern Thailand insisted on wearing the Muslim hijab at school in defiance of school rules on uniforms. Consequently, they were expelled by the school authorities. This seemingly insignificant dispute led to a protest by more than ten thousand people. As a result, even the high level of the military was startled and decided to intervene. 2 Since the beginning of 2002, when the United States began its anti-terrorism campaign after the 9/11 attacks, Singapore has been undergoing a dispute quite similar to the hijab crisis in Thailand. The dispute, the tudung (headscarf) dispute, has driven public attention beyond the country's economy, which has been in the doldrums since the Asian economic crisis of 1997, and has given rise to a continuous debate involving several cabinet ministers and even the Prime Minister. Members of Parliament (MPs), ministers, political parties, non- government organizations, and radicals in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei have also become involved. Fiery debates have taken place in the other East Asian societies: e.g., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. As a result of this dispute the Singaporean government is likely to be sued for allegedly violating the Constitution and infringing the religious freedom of Muslims.
38Article Lee, William. (2004). The economic marginality of ethnic minorities: an analysis of ethnic income inequality in Singapore. Asian Ethnicity. 5. 27-41.This paper examines ethnic income inequality in Singapore from the perspectives of labour‐market segmentation and human capital. The findings of this study show that neither perspective is useful in explaining ethnic income inequality in Singapore. Further, the analysis shows that educational differences among the Chinese, Indians and Malays account for very little of the income gap. Much of the income difference is due to discrimination. The source of this discrimination lies in the segregation of ethnic minorities in lower‐paying jobs and occupations across all industries, reflecting Chinese domination in the economic and political spheres.
39Article Miharja, Nurhidayahti. (2014). On Orientalist Terms: Malays in Singapore and Textbook Prescriptions. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. 14. This article examines the influence of Orientalism on Singaporean historiography, specifically on textbook representations of the indigenous Malay population and the implications for the wider historical imagination. Central to analysing such Orientalist influence is a critical reflection on changes in the way the minority Malays have been portrayed from pre-separation to National Education textbook narratives. The article finds that Orientalist portrayals of the Malays that started during colonial times have been sustained through an increasingly Sinocentric national narrative. Common to both colonial and postcolonial history is the reliance on Orientalism as the dominant mode of discourse.
40Article Saharudin, Hydar. Confronting 'Chinese Privilege' in Singapore. A condensed version of this essay was first published on The Reading Group.
41Article Walid, Jumblatt. (2016). Managing minorities in competitive authoritarian states: multiracialism and the hijab issue in Singapore. Indonesia and the Malay World. 44. 1-18. This article assesses the Singapore state's approach towards multiracialism by focusing on the hijab issue. I argue that a combination of elite ideology and regime type can explain the state's overall stances on religion, including the hijab issue. Previously, when the state was hegemonic, its policies were determined solely by the ideologies held by its key elites. However, as the state moves towards competitive authoritarianism with increased electoral competition, the dominant party will no longer be able to act solely based on its ideological predispositions. This explains why a staunch no-hijab stand was held by the state in the past, whereas in recent years, there appears to be a softening of this stance.
42Article Wu, Claire and Chandramohan, Chand. (2020). Chand Chandramohan on Building Solidarity through Collectives, Decolonisation, and a Horizontal Approach to Dismantling Exploitation. Object Lessons Space. Visual artist Chand Chandramohan discusses her own practices of collaboration, collective action and decolonization in Singapore and the challenges faced by brown femmes in this context.
43Book Balli Kaur Jaswal. (2016). Inheritance. In 1971, a teenage girl briefly disappears from her house in the middle of the night, only to return a different person, causing fissures that threaten to fracture her Punjabi Sikh family. As Singapore’s political and social landscapes evolve, the family must cope with shifting attitudes toward castes, youth culture, sex and gender roles, identity and belonging. Inheritance examines each family member’s struggles to either preserve or buck tradition in the face of an ever-changing nation.
44BookBalli Kaur Jaswal. (2015). Sugarbread. Pin must not become like her mother, but nobody will tell her why. She seeks clues in Ma’s cooking when she’s not fighting other battles—being a bursary girl at an elite school and facing racial taunts from the bus uncle. Then her meddlesome grandmother moves in, installing a portrait of a watchful Sikh guru and a new set of house rules. Old secrets begin to surface but can Pin handle learning the truth?
45BookBarr, Michael and Skrbis, Zlatko. (2008). Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-building Project. Singapore has few natural resources, but, in a relatively short history, its economic and social development and transformation are nothing short of remarkable. Today Singapore is by far the most successful exemplar of material development in Southeast Asia and it often finds itself the envy of developed countries. Furthermore, over the last three and a half decades the ruling party has presided over the formation of a thriving community of Singaporeans who love and are proud of their country.

Nothing about these processes has been 'natural' in any sense of the word. Much of the country's investment in nation building has in fact gone into the selection, training nd formation of a ruling and administrative elite that reflects and will perpetuate its vision of the nation. The government ownership of the nation-building project, its micromanagement of everyday life and the role played by the elite are three fundamental elements in this complex and continuing process of construction of a nation. The intense triangulation of these elements and the pace of change they produce make Singapore one of the most intriguing specimens of nation building in the region.

In a critical study of the politics of ethnicity and elitism in Singapore,Constructing Singapore looks inside the supposedly 'meritocratic' system, from nursery school to university and beyond, that produces Singapore's political and administrative elite. Focusing on two processes - elite formation and elite selection - it gives primary attention to the role that ethno-racial ascription plays in these processes, but also considers the input of personal connections, personal power, class, and gender. The result is a study revealing much about how Singapore's elite-led nation-building project has reached its current state whereby a Singaporean version of Chinese ethno-nationalism has overwhelmed the discourse on national and Singaporean identity.
46BookClammer, John. (1998). Race and State in Independent Singapore, 1965-1990: The Cultural Politics of Pluralism in a Multiethnic Society.First published in 1998, this volume explores Singapore as an ideal case study for the examination of the management of postcoloniality, social diversity and the pursuit of economic growth with ethnic harmony. Singapore has, since independence, evolved a unique mix of state directed capitalism, revamped Confucianism and a social order based on an ideology of multiracialism. The result has been a State with enormous sociological diversity held together by the need to create a unified political order out of a population of immigrants of very diverse origins. This has placed the management of multiethnicity at the heart of political discourse and social policy. This book examines critically the operation of ethnicity in post-independence Singapore, the social policies that have been evolved to manage it, and the implications of the Singapore experiment for other plural societies in Asia and elsewhere.
47BookDaniel PS Goh, Matilda Gabrielpillai and Gaik Keng Choo. (2009). Race and Multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore. Routledge.This book explores race and multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore from a range of different disciplinary perspectives, showing how race and multiculturalism are represented, how multiculturalism works out in practice, and how attitudes towards race and multiculturalism – and multicultural practices – have developed over time. Going beyond existing studies – which concentrate on the politics and public aspects of multiculturalism – this book burrows deeper into the cultural underpinnings of multicultural politics, relating the subject to the theoretical angles of cultural studies and post-colonial theory; and discussing a range of empirical examples (drawn from extensive original research, covering diverse practices such as films, weblogs, music subcultures, art, policy discourse, textbooks, novels, poetry) which demonstrate overall how the identity politics of race and intercultural interaction are being shaped today. It concentrates on two key Asian countries particularly noted for their relatively successful record in managing ethnic differences, at a time when many fast-developing Asian countries increasingly have to come to terms with cultural pluralism and migrant diversity.
48BookEspanola, R.O, Hossain, Z. and Ip, J. (2018). Call and Response: A Migrant/ Local Poetry Anthology. Singapore is a migrant nation.

Who truly deserves the title 'local', and how far removed is your average 'local poet' from the term 'migrant worker'?

The anthology Call and Response gathers the voices of more than thirty 'migrant' poets, and pairs them with a creative response from the same number of 'local' writers in this initiative. Metaphors and memories are reflected and refracted through each poet's unique prism of language, but the light catches the page, whether harsh or warm, to illuminate. The editors Rolinda Onates Espanola, Zakir Hossain and Joshua Ip call you into the reader's space – we hope you respond.
49BookMohamed Taib, Mohamed Imran and Johari, Nurul Fadiah. (2019). Budi Kritik (Expanded Edition). Math Paper Press. Why is it important to imbibe a thinking culture? What can contemporary Malays contribute by way of an active intellectual and social life towards reform and progress? Where are the loci of critical thought in Malay public life?

In a revealing book of essays edited by Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib and Nurul Fadiah Johari, writers from various backgrounds—academics, researchers, community organisers, and social activists—offer insights and critical reflections into contemporary Malay society. These essays span wide-ranging fields—from culture to religion, identity to literature, faith to sociopolitics—with a shared objective: to promote the will to think and challenge dominant perspectives.

By actively engaging in the identification of problems in society, defining and diagnosing them, ​Budi Kritik offers ways to overcome these problems through deep thinking, cogent analysis, perceptive insights, and an unwavering commitment to lasting peace and progress. This is a necessary and urgent book for anyone asking where the Malay voices are in public discourse.
50BookPuruShotam, Nirmala. (1998). Disciplining Difference: "Race" in Singapore in Southeast Asian Identities, by Joel S. Khan. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. 51-94.
51BookRahim, Lily Zubaidah Rahim. (1998). The Singapore dilemma: the political and educational marginality of the Malay community. Oxford University Press.This study examines the factors that have contributed to the persisting socio-economic marginality of the Singapore Malay Community. It proposes that this problem requires a national solution as it is organically connected to the social, economic, and political challenges confronting the multiethnic island republic.
52BookRasheed, Zainul Abidin and Saat, Norshahril. (2016). Majulah!: 50 Years of Malay/ Muslim in Singapore. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing The Malay/Muslim community, comprising approximately 13% of Singapore's population, is an integral part of modern Singapore's formative years. The community has come a long way and accomplished plenty. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong lauded the community's growth and its efforts in nation-building in the 2015 National Day Rally,

"The Malay/Muslim community is an integral part of Singapore ... and they have contributed significantly to our nation's harmony and progress."
50 Years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore highlights the progress, the contributions and the challenges of the community for the past 50 years since Singapore's independence in 1965. While progress is significant, challenges remain an uphill battle towards a comprehensive community development. As the book narrates stories from the past — the successes and the challenges — it is also important for the community to reflect and to look ahead — Majulah!

For access to the chapter "Visual Art Developments within the Malay Community", please contact Syed Muhd Hafiz at
53BookSa'at, Alfian. (2012). Malay Sketches. Malay Sketches is a collection of stories that borrows its name from a book of anecdotes by colonial governor Frank Swettenham, describing Malay life on the Peninsula. In Alfian Sa’at’s hands, these sketches are reimagined as flash fictions that record the lives of members of the Malay community in Singapore. With precise and incisive prose, Malay Sketches offers the reader profound insights into the realities of life as an ethnic minority.
54BookSeng, Loh & Tjin, Thum & Chia, Jack. (2017). Living with Myths in Singapore. Singapore is a mythic nation, where our ‘reality’ and ‘common sense’ are conditioned by a group of influential myths. Our main myths are examined in this collection of essays and thoughts on the social ramifications of myth-making: The Singapore Story (that our nation has a singular story), From Third World to First (our story of success), Vulnerability and Faultlines (the threats we still face despite success) and A Deficient People (the threats exist because people remain immature). Myths build social consensus but also marginalise crucial stories, perspectives and possibilities that don’t fit the main narrative. Should we teach our students to be good citizens by telling them one unifying narrative of Singapore, or many varied narratives? Have we always said no to social welfare, or to the casino? Is liberal democracy necessarily a threat to social stability? Have Singaporeans historically been apathetic, ignorant or irrational? The contributors to this book believe that knowing, and debating, how we live with myths will help us to better understand Singapore today, and to imagine its future. Here they share the robust discussions and debates which took place from 2014 to 2015 even as Singapore celebrated 50 years of full independence.,%2C%20and%20well%2Dwritten%20chapters.
55BookSolomon, J. (2019). A Subaltern History of the Indian Diaspora in Singapore: The gradual disappearance of untouchability 1872-1965. Routledge.Untouchable migrants made up a substantial proportion of Indian labour migration into Singapore in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During this period, they were subject to forms of caste prejudice and discrimination that powerfully reinforced their identities as untouchables overseas. Today, however, untouchability has disappeared from the public sphere and has been replaced by other notions of identity, leaving unanswered questions as to how and when this occurred. The untouchable migrant is also largely absent from popular narratives of the past.

This book takes the "disappearance" as a starting point to examine a history of untouchable migration amongst Indians who arrived in Singapore from its modern founding as a British colony in the early nineteenth century through to its independence in 1965. Using oral history records, archival sources, colonial ethnography, newspapers and interviews, this book examines the lives of untouchable migrants through their everyday experience in an overseas multi-ethnic environment. It examines how these migrants who in many ways occupied the bottom rungs of their communities and colonial society, framed transnational issues of identity and social justice in relation to their experiences within the broader Indian diaspora in Singapore. The book trances the manner in which untouchable identities evolved and then receded in response to the dramatic social changes brought about by colonialism, war and post-colonial nationhood.

By focusing on a subaltern group from the past, this study provides an alternative history of Indian migration to Singapore and a different perspective on the cultural conversations that have taken place between India and Singapore for much of the island's modern history.
56BookSumartono, Filzah and Thomas, Margaret. (2018). Growing Up Perempuan. AWARE Singapore.Growing up as a woman is hard.
Growing up as a woman in the Muslim community is harder.

In a world still filled with superstitions, if you die during childbirth you become a vampiric ghost and if you survive you might get attacked by a flying ghost. You collect experiences in the workplace that should be office satire but aren’t. You face constant judgement, try to live up to endless expectations, and somehow…still fall short.

Growing Up Perempuan is a collection of stories written by women, for women. This book offers stories of love and loss, strength and endurance, confidence and courage—stories that inspire and empower. This is a book about challenging the status quo and learning to chart our own paths instead of having the world define them for us.
57BookSuratman, Suriani. (2004). 'Problematic Singapore Malays' – The Making of a Portrayal. Singapore: Leftwrite Center in collaboration with the Reading Group Singapore.This monograph is about the portrayal of the Malays by the government, as found in the mainstream media. The dominant feature of this portrayal is what the author describes as the ‘problematic Singapore Malays’. Two main characteristics emerged: that the Malays are “lagging behind” despite visible progress, and portrayal of their “doubtful loyalty”. Through a survey of newspaper reports from the period of the 1960s to the 1990s, this paper argues that the sustained reproduction of ‘the problematic Malays’ occurs through (1) continuous identifying of new areas requiring attention, and (2) making comparisons of progress between ethnic groups at a given point of time instead of looking at longitudinal progress. Overall, it is a clear indication of the consistent gazing upon the Malays.
58BookTeo, Terri-Anne. (2019). Civic Multiculturalism in Singapore: Revisiting Citizenship, Rights and Recognition. Palgrave Macmillan. This book is about multiculturalism, broadly defined as the recognition, respect and accommodation of cultural differences. Teo proposes a framework of multicultural denizenship that includes group-specific rights and intercultural dialogue, by problematising three issues: a) the unacknowledged misrecognition of non-citizens within the scholarship of multiculturalism; b) uncritical treatment of citizens and non-citizens as binary categories and; c) problematic parcelling of group-specific rights with citizenship rights.

Drawing on the case of Singapore as an illustrative example, where temporary labour migrants are culturally stereotyped, socioeconomically disenfranchised and denied access to rights accorded only to citizens, Teo argues that understandings of multiculturalism need to be expanded and adjusted to include a fluidity of identities, spectrum of rights and shared experiences of marginalisation among citizens and non-citizens. Civic Multiculturalism in Singapore will be of interest to students and scholars of multiculturalism, critical citizenship studies, migration studies, political theory and postcolonial studies.
59BookTschacher, T. (2019). Race, religion, and the Indian Muslim predicament in Singapore. Routledge.Indian Muslims form the largest ethnic minority within Singapore’s otherwise largely Malay Muslim community. Despite its size and historic importance, however, Singaporean Indian Muslims have received little attention by scholarship and have also felt side-lined by Singapore’s Malay-dominated Muslim institutions. Since the 1980s, demands for a better representation of Indian Muslims and access to religious services have intensified, while there has been a concomitant debate over who has the right to speak for Indian Muslims. This book traces the negotiations and contestations over Indian Muslim difference in Singapore and examines the conditions that have given rise to these debates.

Despite considerable differences existing within the putative Indian Muslim community, the way this community is imagined is surprisingly uniform. Through discussions of the importance of ethnic difference for social and religious divisions among Singaporean Indian Muslims, the role of ‘culture’ and ‘race’ in debates about popular religion, the invocation of language and history in negotiations with the wider Malay-Muslim context, and the institutional setting in which contestations of Indian Muslim difference take place, this book argues that these debates emerge from the structural tensions resulting from the intersection of race and religion in the public organization of Islam in Singapore.
60BookUdin, Md Sharif. (2017). Stranger to Myself: The Diary of a Bangaldeshi in SingaporeThe sacrifices of migrant workers are written in every inch of Singapore – in the bricks of buildings, ship irons, under the floor of houses. Thousands of years later, someone may hear the story of our pain and sacrifice from the walls of this city.
61BookWee, Vivienne and Sumartono, Filzah. (2016). Perempuan: Muslim Women Speak Out. AWARE Singapore.Perempuan is meant to provide a space for Muslim women to tell their stories and to present their complex lives and identities that defy stereotypes. Although no one book can fully capture all the voices and perspectives within society, we hope that this book can start conversations within families and between communities about similarities and differences between people.
62OthersCAPE Essential Reads on Race, Minority and Malay IssuesA compiled list of essential reads on race, minority, and Malay issues
63OthersCNA-IPS Survey on Ethnic Identity in Singapore
68 Indicators of Racial and Religious Harmony: Comparing Results from 2018 and 2013
65OthersNg, Yi-Sheng, Frese, Sharon and Kasban, Irfan. (2019). Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore.

Written by Ng Yi-Sheng
Performed by Sharon Frese, and Ng Yi-Sheng
Directed by Irfan Kasban
Designed by Irfan Kasban
"Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore" (2019) a play by Ng Yi-Sheng, Sharon Frese and Irfan Kasban.

In this lecture performance, actress Sharon Frese explores the history and influence of the African diaspora in Singapore. Dredging the archives, she shares images and documents relating to slavery, colonialism, jazz and nationalist struggle, reaffirming the value of black culture as part of our shared heritage.

This event is both a history lesson and a theatrical ritual. The creators commemorate the untold numbers of black men and women—enslaved, indentured and expatriate—who crossed the oceans into unknown territory. They draw strength from these tides, which Indian convicts called the “black water”—in Hindi “kala pani”, or in Malay “ayer hitam”.

For re-staging enquiries, please email

This video is from the first staging of the work as part of M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2019.

This play is only available for viewing until JUNE 14 2020:

The script will be published later this year with Math Paper Press, in a collection titled "Black Waters, Pink Sands".
66OthersResource on brownface, racism, and racial discourse by CAPEAn infographic on racism and racial discourse in Singapore
67OthersSa'at, Alfian. (2019). Collected Plays Three: Nadirah, Parah, Your Sister's Husband and Geng Rebut Cabinet. Alfian Sa’at explores the Malay identity and racial relations in this third volume of the Collected Plays series. This volume collects plays written and staged in Malay, and translated to English for the very first time. In Nadirah, a young woman is shocked to find out her mother wants to marry a non-Muslim. In Parah, a group of students can no longer ignore the stereotypes and prejudices that divide the races, and the strain it puts on their friendship. In Geng Rebut Cabinet (GRC), we’re transported to an alternate reality where the Chinese are the minority in Singapore. And in Your Sister’s Husband, five sisters try their hardest to reckon with their superstitious, old-fashioned eldest to farcical ends, raising questions about black sheep, outcasts and sociopaths.
68OthersSharma, Haresh. (2014). Best Of. Specially created for award-winning actress Siti Khalijah Zainal by Alvin Tan and Haresh Sharma, Best Of looks at issues of the day through collective stories and personal reflection as told by the protagonist, a young Malay-Muslim woman in Singapore. In Best Of, a young Malay-Muslim woman describes a day in her life — starting with a visit to the prison in the morning to see her cousin, and ending at the hospital to be with her mother who is undergoing chemotherapy. She shares her most immediate concerns, such as her attempts to settle a divorce with her husband through the Syariah laws in Singapore.
69OthersZulkhairi Zulkiflee. (2019). MAT Catalogue. The vernacular term “Mat” is often used as a shorthand for Malay males with the first name “Muhammad”. It may also be used to describe Malay males characterised as delinquent or disobedient.

Using this term as a point of departure, this exhibition seeks to challenge common assumptions about Malay identity by presenting artistic responses that unpack gender relations, class affiliations and cultural politics through the works of three emerging artists: Norah Lea, Farizi Noorfauzi and Zulkhairi Zulkiflee.

This exhibition curated by Sikap is the recipient of the inaugural Objectifs Curator Open Call, part of our ongoing effort to broaden perspectives by supporting curatorial research and innovative ways of presenting image-based work.
70PodcastForeseeable Podcast: Racial Integration in Singapore by Global-Is-Asian, LKYSPPIn conversation with Dr Mathew Mathews - Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Social Lab at the Institute of Policy Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy where, among other things, he conducts research in race, religion, immigrant integration, family ageing, and poverty.
71PodcastNew Naratif's Political AgendaNew Naratif is a movement for democracy, freedom of information, and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia. We aim to make Southeast Asians proud of our region, our shared culture, and our shared history. We fight for the dignity and freedom of the Southeast Asian people by building a community of people across the region to imagine and articulate a better Southeast Asia.

Also on Spotify
72PodcastPower, Privilege and Race in Singapore from the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne Is the playing field truly level in Singapore, which touts itself as the ultimate meritocracy? Or are the ethnic Chinese making up the majority privileged over the other sizeable ethnic groups? Seasoned Asia watchers Assoc Prof Michael Barr and Dr Lewis Mayo join host Ali Moore to examine the politics of race in Singapore.
73Podcast Racial Dynamics in Singapore - Are we racist? by LifeHugger Podcast
74Social Media (Facebook) Alfian Sa'atAlfian Sa'at is a prominent Singaporean writer, poet and playwright.
75Social Media (Instagram) on InstagramProvides safe, facilitated spaces for self-identified Muslims to discuss taboos and their unique
76Social Media (Instagram)@curvesbecomeher on InstagramMental health therapist, activist and advocate who also speaks about issues on
77Social Media (Instagram)@mahoganyjournal on InstagramAn online literary journal for South Asians in
78Social Media (Instagram)@minorityvoices on InstagramProvides a safe space for minorities to share about their experiences of racism and discrimination
79Social Media (Instagram)@nonfirqtion on InstagramCo-founder of @noreadgretsbookclub, but also shares about a lot of books on a wide variety of
80Social Media (Instagram)@noreadgretsbookclub on InstagramExplores issues impacting our culture, identity, and society
81Social Media (Instagram)@notoksg on InstagramHighlights what's not ok in the context of racism in
82Social Media (Instagram)@pagesofelly on InstagramFounder of @noreadgretsbookclub, she also shares about a lot of books on a wide variety of
83Social Media (Instagram)@penawarsg on InstagramBrings together Muslim-raised women and non-men to give each other community
84Social Media (Instagram)@preetipls on InstagramPreetipls (Singapore’s TOP everything), has made waves as a viral internet sensation with videos ranging from her parody of 'Orchard Road’s Fashion Police' to videos poking fun at more serious topics such as 'racial harmony' in
85Social Media (Instagram)@proustzac on
86Social Media (Instagram)@wakeupuridea on InstagramLearning and resource hub on Instagram - highlights other issues in Singapore as well
87Social Media (Instagram)@wares.notwarehouses on InstagramAn infoshop library
88Social Media (Twitter)@ikansumbat on TwitterHas a lot of useful threads on different political issues in Singapore including that of race
89Social Media/ WebsiteBeyond the Hijab

@beyondhijabsg on Instagram
Beyond the Hijab was created by a group of women who were brought together by the simple idea that women should have a platform to share stories about their experiences as women reconciling the demands of their religion and the pressures of the modern world.
90Social Media/ WebsiteCommunity for Advocacy and Political Education (CAPE) on Instagram
CAPE, or the Community for Advocacy & Political Education – a student organisation based in Yale-NUS College – was founded in 2017 by students from Yale-NUS College and the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Since then, we have grown to a large, cohesive collective of students from various faculties and colleges across NUS with a diverse range of interests and civic causes.
91Social Media/ WebsiteKali and Kalki by Sangeetha Thanapal

@kaliandkalki on Twitter and Instagram

Coming to national prominence as Singapore’s foremost anti-racism advocate and writer, Sangeetha is known for coining the term “Chinese Privilege” and explicating the theory behind the term in order to analyse institutionalized racism in Singapore. She has written extensively on the topic and is currently working on a PhD on Chinese Privilege and racism in the Global South.

Along the way, her interests have expanded to include issues of gender, the body and colourism, colonialism and the Global South, all topics she continues to write on. While she is most known for her political writing, her first love is fiction and she brings these themes and issues into her fiction as well.
92Social Media/ WebsiteYour Head Lah Magazine

@yourheadlahmagazine on Instagram
A mental health collective in Singapore that held healing sessions for the brown community post brownface saga. They work actively to address racist structures and how they affect mental health.
93Social Media (Instagram)@beingbravelywoman on InstagramAn online safe community for women that explores identity and self-worth run by Noor
94VideoCasual Racism in Singapore | ZULA ChickChats What is casual racism? In Singapore we proclaim we're a '"racially harmonious" nation, but does casual racism exist on our sunny shores? In this episode of ZULA ChickChats, we share how casual racism manifests in the everyday life of a Singaporean, with our cast sharing their first-hand experiences with it.
95VideoFacing Racism in Singapore | by Millenials of Singapore "In Primary school, you have to hold hands while walking around and sometimes some girls wouldn’t hold my hand, so I felt really bad because I felt like I was being ostracized. Sometimes I felt helpless because no matter how hard I would try, there would be some people I couldn’t please or there would always be a reason why people wouldn’t appreciate me as much or give me as much of a chance as I would need.

The first step to solving racism is acknowledging that it exists, and the second step is to have an open discussion about it. Because if we’re not going to have these discussions, and we’re not going to acknowledge it, it’s going to be very hard to create an inclusive society."
96Video(Insert Race Here) Conversations | by SG NarrativesHave you ever wondered what makes you, you? How much of racial identity is ingrained in our upbringing, social dynamics, and experiences in Singapore?

In this four-part series, we reached out to people of different races in Singapore to have a conversation about what race meant to them, what their experiences were being of a certain race and what racial harmony meant. Join us for the first SG Narratives workshop to talk about national identities and how race influences on our daily lives.