Friday Forum: Derek Heng

Pre-modern port-cities of the Melaka Straits region were one of the most diverse places in Southeast Asia. The range of networks, the openness of the economy, the free movement of people, as well as the small population base in the region, has meant that from the inception of a port-city, the nature of the settlement and its population would reflect the multi-cultural influences that flow through the port…

Friday Forum: Kurt W. Kuehne

A remarkable statistic about Singapore is that 1 in 9 residents of the city-state is a low-wage, temporary migrant worker—authorized on a tenuous two-year contract to perform either construction/marine work (if a man), or live-in domestic work (if a woman). Though largely hidden away from the public eye, these precarious South and Southeast migrants are essential to the country’s economic and political model. However, while the Singaporean state aggressively oversees many facets of low-wage labor migration, subjecting foreign workers to careful surveillance and control, it selectively abdicates other oversight roles on the grounds that it is “not practical to regulate specific aspects” of the labor market…