Contents and Notes

The links take you the chapters’ Notes. > Selected essays are available in full online.


  1. Accidental citizens: It’s time we cultivated deeper appreciation for our diversity
  2. Justice and equality: There’s more to handling race and religion than avoiding riots > Download this chapter for free here
  3. The power of symbols: The 2017 presidential turnover was a missed opportunity > Download this chapter for free here
  4. 391 Orchard Road: Xenophobia turned a commercial space into a national icon
  5. Morality police: Conservative values needn’t restrict adults’ cultural choices
  6. Infamous Amos: His provocation was wrong, but that doesn’t make the law right
  7. Demophobic society: Singapore’s allergy to the D-word weakens us
  8. From 2011 to 2015: The PAP corrected its policies, but not its policymaking style
  9. Winter is here: Since the 2011 general election, a chill has descended on political debate
  10. Freak elections: Elites underestimate the sophistication of the electorate
  11. Open government: An ombudsman can relieve pressure for government accountability
  12. 6.9 million: The Population White Paper revealed a lack of internal debate
  13. The fog of fear: If the rules are going to stay, they should at least be clarified > Download this chapter for free here
  14. Elite cohesion: The Lee family feud tested Singapore’s unique establishment unity
  15. Disturbing the peace: Singaporeans have peculiarly low tolerance for troublemakers
  16. Political sweet spot: The lack of protest results from an exceptional balancing act
  17. Calibrated coercion: The state has grown in power by moderating its use of force > Download this chapter for free here
  18. Freedom of speech: Singapore can strike a better balance between tyranny and anarchy
  19. Dreaded defamation: It’s time to rethink Singapore’s most chilling speech law > Download this chapter for free here
  20. Holding the press: The media are free to earn profits, but not popular support > Download this chapter for free here
  21. The digital gap: Our vibrant internet space still lacks independent journalism
  22. Academic interests: Our universities have arrived globally, but left the local behind > Published in Times Higher Education
  23. Reputational risk: NTU gave me a personal tutorial in how the system works > Download this chapter for free here
  24. Active citizens: We shouldn’t silence civil society’ voices of conscience
  25. The LKY legacy: Lee Kuan Yew isn’t to blame if Singapore can’t let go of him > Published in New Mandala
  26. A PAP wish list: I can imagine becoming a PAP fan if its leaders can imagine reforms
  27. Reforming the PAP: Future leaders must make changes their predecessors resisted > Download this chapter for free here
  28. Accidental losers: Our future completeness requires reconciliation with our past