alexa Sexing Up Singapore


Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs

Author(s): Kenneth Paul Tan

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At least two significant obstacles today prevent Singapore from progressing economically: a population unable to reproduce itself; and a people that generally lack creativity and entrepreneurship. Both are unintended consequences of earlier authoritarian policies of a paternalistic and patriarchal postcolonial government. Singaporeans were industrialized, militarized, disciplined by a system of punishment and reward, and administered according to a technocratic rationality seeking to eliminate ‘irrational’ desires and the chaos of erotic instincts. Subsequently, an Asian values campaign helped to form a conservative, censorious and electorally significant moral majority. Today, Singaporean society is described as sexually repressed and repressive. Singapore’s ‘new economy’, however, requires not only a large enough workforce, but also a stimulating, non-repressive climate conducive to imagination, innovation and adventure, one that can also attract and retain globally mobile talent. This article explores the complications surrounding the government’s ‘sexing up’ policies relating to procreation, creative talent and the new economy.

This article was published in International Journal of Cultural Studies and referenced in Occupational Medicine & Health Affairs

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