IPS Update Issue Dec 2014

Come next year, Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence. On 26 January, the IPS flagship event Singapore Perspectives 2015 will contemplate the critical decisions made in Singapore’s past so as to envision strategic paths for its future. Carrying the conference’s theme of “Choices”, Guests-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing will engage in a dialogue that explores the security of Singapore’s future in the context of continuous choice making.
As we celebrate the festive season and usher in 2015, the IPS e-newsletter team would like to express our appreciation for your support and interest in reading about IPS research projects and events. As we continue to bring you updates on the research endeavours at IPS, we look forward to receiving your feedback too.
A closed-door discussion was recently organised for the authors of an IPS Working Paper to present their findings on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme’s investment risks and returns. Issues such as fair returns and longevity risks dominated the discussion; also raised was a suggestion to study the risk preferences of CPF members.
Amidst a global trend of increasing job insecurity, long-term unemployment and income stagnation, the traditional notion of a self-reliant, secure and satisfied middle class is being questioned. In a half-day workshop organised by IPS Social Lab, the emergent issues of healthcare, politics and welfare affecting the middle class were discussed. These concerns potentially carry wider implications on the structure and stability of society at large.
In his second lecture as the S R Nathan Fellow, Mr Ho Kwon Ping discussed the threats facing Singapore and the possible responses through the strategic uses of location, land and labour. He also suggested more holistic indices for measuring progress and economic well-being, and nurturing a culture of inclusivity and diversity to attract top-notch global talent.
Both opportunities and challenges lie ahead for Asia, with the outcome predicated on the region’s ability to forge deeper political and economic integration. While differing views on the developments in Asia exist between Singapore and Japan, the two countries fundamentally share a common world-view of maintaining peace in Asia, which is exemplified in the showing of solid bilateral ties.
Arts and cultural policies may not have been accorded a prominent place in the Singapore Story. Yet, when contextualised as responses to particular needs in specific time periods, arts and cultural policies serve as a window to learning about Singapore society and policymaking. During a recent IPS conference on Singapore’s arts and cultural policies, participants and presenters engaged in a nuanced discussion, thereby deepening our understanding of this neglected narrative.
China’s foreign policy could be seen as belligerent and provocative. However, from Beijing’s perspective, its actions over territorial sovereignty are imbued with a sense of righteousness stemming from a history of injustice that the country has endured. Future strategies that incorporate measures to appeal to Beijing’s sensitivities might be more successful in managing diplomacy with the Middle Kingdom.
Does the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others (CMIO) framework hinder the formation of a national identity and the integration of migrants? While the CMIO framework is employed to guide policies, it allows Singaporeans and migrants to practise their cultures, and to adopt different identities for specific contexts. Such adaptation to diversity is what makes us Singaporean.