IPS Closed-Door Discussion on Social Capital and Inclusion


In December 2017, IPS released survey data that indicated that social ties across people of different housing and education background are relatively few in number – suggesting that there is a class divide in social mixing among Singaporeans.

Among other findings of note were first, that diversity in social networks strengthens collective identities of national pride, identity and trust across society; and second, that the platforms that robustly foster diversity in social networks are education, sporting and cultural activities, and volunteerism.

This discussion will invite expert and stakeholder views on the study as well as gather suggestions on how we can foster and strengthen social networks that can generate pro-social outcomes to benefit individuals, community and broader Singaporean society.

Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser and Vincent Chua, both of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, and two of the three researchers behind the IPS study as well as Ms Lydia Lim of The Straits Times will speak to kick-off the discussion.

The report on the study can be found at this link: http://lkyspp2.nus.edu.sg/ips/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/Study-of-Social-Capital-in-Singapore_281217.pdf and an opinion essay by Ms Lim on the topic of social mixing can be found here: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/class-divide-and-inequality-make-for-poor-mix.

Please click here to view the programme. 


Vincent CHUA is an Associate Professor from the Department of Sociology at National University of Singapore (NUS). He researches social networks, paying special attention to how social capital (“who you know”) shapes the life chances of individuals and groups. His work on social ties can be found in a variety of journals and chapters: Social Networks, Social Science Research, Sociological Perspectives, Current Sociology, Comparative Sociology, American Behavioral Scientist, International Studies in the Sociology of Education, Environment and Planning C, Research in Transportation Economics, Asian Ethnicity, and the Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis.

Lydia LIM is Head, Training and Talent Development at The Straits Times (ST). She is a career journalist who has specialised in reporting and writing on Singapore politics and policy. Before moving to head training at the end of 2017, she was the paper’s Associate Opinion Editor. She curated and edited the commentary and analysis pieces published in the Opinion section in ST. She writes a regular column in The Sunday Times Insight section on socio-economic issues, culture and matters related to learning and development in which she has a particular interest. She spent 14 years on ST’s Political Desk prior to that, and was a current affairs producer and broadcast journalist at Channel NewsAsia before joining ST. She is a co-author of two books, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going and Struck by Lightning: Singapore Voices Post-1965, and editor of Vintage Lee, a collection of 33 landmark speeches by Lee Kuan Yew.

TAN Ern Ser is an Associate Professor, Department of Sociology; Academic Convener, Singapore Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; and Academic Adviser, Social Lab, Institute of Policy Studies, at the National University of Singapore.  He received his PhD in Sociology from Cornell University, United States of America.  He is author of “Does Class Matter?” (2004) and “Class and Social Orientations” (2015).  He is co-investigator of Asian Barometer-Singapore and World Values Survey-Singapore.  Dr Tan (with Dr Gillian Koh and Dr Vincent Chua) has recently completed a commissioned project on social capital in Singapore, and (with A/P Chan Wing Cheong and Dr Jack Lee) an academic research surveying public opinion on the death penalty in Singapore.  He has served as research consultant to several government ministries.  He is a Research Adviser, Ministry of Social and Family Development; Chairman, Research Advisory Panel, Housing & Development Board; and Chairman, Programme Advisory Panel (Sociology and Social Science Core), Singapore University of Social Sciences.   He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 2013.


By invitation only.

For Enquiries:

For enquiries, please contact Ms Vani Gunasilan at tel: 6516-8377, or email:

Friday, 09 February 2018
3.00 pm to 5.00 pm