09. Winter is here


This essay cites several examples of government restrictions on independent and critical activity in various sectors of Singapore society. Details of most if not all the named cases can be easily found via a Google search. The arts censorship cases have been reported in the mainstream media. It is much harder to provide evidence of the tightening within the press and academia, as insiders who know the details are often reluctant to go on the record. However, none of the examples I’ve given would be considered new within those circles. They are best described as open secrets.

Other commentaries on the current mood:

Tan Tarn How: Are artists and activists being locked out of academia? and Oh change, how it will it come?

Kirsten Han: The silhouette of oppression


Going deeper

  • The idea that Singapore’s democratisation has gone into reverse gear will not surprise scholars of comparative politics. For some years, they have been noting similar trends around the world, which they have termed a “democratic recession” (see this collection of articles in the Journal of Democracy) or “authoritarian resilience”.
  • To keep track of the Singapore government’s more authoritarian moves, a useful resource is blogger Martyn See’s listing.


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