Sep 17, 2014

Two new SEARC working papers

There are two new working papers released today.

The political opposition in Singapore: Challenges in its work towards a two-party system

Jason Lim

In a celebratory statement issued in 1983, the Central Executive Committee of the PAP declared that ‘if there were no PAP there would be no Singapore as we know it today’. The historiography of Singapore remains overwhelmingly about the social, economic and political achievements of the PAP. Little is known about the opposition parties in Singapore over the last 50 years. Officially, there are 29 registered political parties in Singapore with the PAP at the apex of the country’s political system.
In a political system with the PAP as the dominant party, the opposition has accused the PAP of constantly changing the rules through detention without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA), gerrymandering, creation of Group Representation Constituencies (GRC), control of the print and broadcast media, and filing of lawsuits against opposition party members. The opposition has demanded greater transparency in government decisions, greater respect for human rights and the need to care for less well-off Singaporeans. There are calls for a more democratic political system with some parties advocating a two-party system. Singaporeans have consistently returned the ruling party to power in every General Election (GE) since 1959. The opposition parties were largely ineffective. However, fifty years after independence, the opposition parties have made themselves an indispensible part of the Singapore political scene.

Migration and Family Relationships: The Case of “Gay Indonesia” in Paris

Wisnu Adihartono

State and national identity are formed on the basis of mutual unification of thoughts and ideas through the process of representation and social imagination. Through these two processes, people determine what is good and not good, including the issue of homosexuality. There is a “sexual script” in which sexuality is produced, shared, and enforced as a social norm and made a blueprint for correct behaviour. Many Indonesians consider homosexuality abnormal and against religion. Homosexuals in Indonesia have little or no power and limited legal access to fight for their rights. In the end, in order to survive, they are forced to hide their sexual orientation, or in extreme cases, they move to other countries. As long as these push factors do not change, migration will become the “natural way” for them to avoid being mistreated. Because the Indonesian state has been unwilling or unable to ensure and protect the basic human rights of its citizens, I consider the migration of Indonesian gays to be a state failure. Drawing on face-to-face interviews with Indonesian gays who live in Paris, this paper examines why they decided to migrate to there.. It also looks into whether they maintain relationships with their family back in Indonesia and the main features of such relationships. Using qualitative methodology, this paper will introduce some of their narratives.


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