A collection of academic essays written for the masses. This is how academic essays should be written. A collection of eleven essays on inequality and poverty in Singapore. Granted this book is written in a socialistic perspective whereby it inherently suggests the government has to do something, I truly believe it was as balanced and unbiased as possible. The author addressed both schools of thoughts, those who believe the onus is on the individual vs those who believe the onus is on the government.

The author does push for the latter, which given her arguments, I’d argue is the right stand.

The author talks about various issues regarding the practices in Singapore as well. She talks about meritocracy.

‘.. meritocracy is a system that legitimises those who end up its victors, casting them as individuals who have succeeded on their own hard work and intelligence rather than on any inherited unfair advantages.

She talks about class privileges, about dignity, about the problems social workers face, about conflicting rhetorics:

National day is around the corner… songs about our nation, our pride, play over the radio. Singaporeans are reminded, in ways big and small, that we are one nation, one people, one Singapore…our shared discourse includes this claim that in Singapore, we are not as individualistic as in ‘The West’… But. This ideal… is everyday challenged by the other ethos we face living in Singapore: no one owes you anything and it’s everyone for themselves.

This is an amazing read. It has really opened up my mind not just on a particular group of people but of our Singaporean society, about the policies we have in place to further a specific agenda of those in power.

Good read. Very good. Her arguments are clean and easy to follow. The eleven essays are well-placed. It’s the kind of work that makes me wish I’d pursued a degree in Sociology instead.


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