Category: Nationally Speaking

Voice for the Dead: Unearthing the Stories of Bukit Brown

By Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A) and Kuang Shane Qi (19A13A)
Photos courtesy of Alyssa Marie Loo (19A13A)

Home to around 100,000 graves since its opening in 1922, Bukit Brown became the epicentre of heated debate in Singapore in 2011 when the Land Transport Authority announced plans to exhume the Chinese cemetery for a highway. Now in 2019, 4000 exhumed graves and a completed Lornie Highway later, Bukit Brown’s area space and grave numbers may indeed have shrunk, but public interest in conserving its history, stories and inhabitants have only grown.

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Bazaars: Are They Worth the Buzz?

By Chloe Wong (19S07C), Isabelle Tan (19S03S), and Vanessa Lur (19S06Q)
Photograph courtesy of eatbook.sg

It is a regular hot afternoon in Singapore and I find myself doing something not-so-regular—visiting the bazaar. The crowd is overwhelming and I find myself being shoved around by people all around me. As I wipe away the sweat trickling down my neck, I can’t help but wonder how bizarre it is that more and more teenagers are willing to endure a good few hours pushing through crowds just for a bazaar. This brings me to the question at hand – what exactly is so enticing about these bazaars?

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It’s the Simple Things We Forget

By Mr. Christopher Selvaraj from the KS Department
Cover photo by Differantly, a Paris/Berlin-based artist duo

These can be challenging times to think through the state of race relations in Singapore. Growing sensitivities to micro-aggressions and unconscious biases, racial privilege and cultural appropriation, reductive representations and linguistic assault, among other things, have made for a brew of simmering discontent that periodically spills out into our collective consciousness. These are complicated times – and it can seem simpler to sit and watch the waters swell.

So it was with great interest that I read Is Appreciation Enough?” by Phang Yeu Yeou and Loh Lin, and On Racism and Chinese Privilege” by Soh Ying Qi, a couplet of two recent thoughtful commentaries that set out to carefully consider racial harmony and race relations in Singapore. Both pieces reflect authors keen and willing to lay out the depth, complexity, and nuance of race relations. Both pieces reflect authors grappling with an important question: Are we doing enough to weave solidarity and community from the threads of diversity in which we find ourselves entangled? In both pieces, the answer to this question is “no”.

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What’s in a Home?

By Sarah Chen (19S03C)

Without fail, every 9th of August brings with it a sudden burst of patriotism in Singaporeans, me included. It’s both heartwarming and odd — something that can only be witnessed on this one day. As suddenly as this pride arrives, it leaves, and I am left questioning how genuine all this patriotism really is.

A while back, I watched a film called Ladybird. The protagonist of the film in question was a girl in high school, on the cusp of young adulthood, dreaming of leaving her hometown for greater places. As she spent the majority of the film cursing every single aspect of her hometown, I saw in her not just myself, but many other Singaporean teenagers.

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On Racism and Chinese Privilege

By Soh Ying Qi (18A01C)

It’s safe to say that this is not a safe topic.

(The preceding sentence, ironically, may be the only one in this article that’s truly uncontroversial.)

It’s nebulous and complicated and resistant to simplification. It’s hard to discuss sensitively, and even harder to discuss meaningfully. Basically: the odds were stacked against it from the beginning.

So this article won’t change the world. It might not even change your mind. But at the very least, it’ll probably change the way you view “race”, for better or for worse.

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