Honours Seminar, Semester 1 AY2016-2017

Chairperson: Assoc Prof Goh Beng Lan
Date: Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Venue: AS8, Level 6, Conference Room (06-46)


Of Ports and Starboards: Rethinking Women’s Integration in the Singapore Navy 

Speaker: Audrey Yong Hui Ling

The advocacy for gender equality in the world as well as in Singapore, has seen traditionally male-dominated organisations such as the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), reinventing itself as gender-neutral in order to facilitate the process of injecting women into the current inter-gendered organisation. In reinventing itself as gender-neutral, the RSN has put in place policies that firstly, ensure equal career opportunities for women, and secondly, ensure that the modesty of women are protected. However, while these policies attempt to portray the RSN as gender-neutral, the reality is that underlying gender inequalities continue to exist within the organisation due to the socialisation of gender norms. By examining everyday interactions between men and women in the RSN, gendered division of labour, and the tension women face between their aspirations and their expected gender role in society, this thesis argues that it takes more than just the reinvention of policies to achieve gender equality in the organisation. With that, this thesis also shows the limitations of policy-oriented studies which often engage in a top-down approach, overlooking the realities in practice.


Reproduction of Racial Inequality in Singapore 

Speaker: Lok Weng Seng

Discussion of racial relations in Singapore might have just moved beyond the usual discourse of vigilance and fragile harmony to a bolder confrontation of matters. Despite talk of Chinese privilege in Singapore society, some Singaporeans are still in denial that there is a serious problem of racial inequality in Singapore when the issue is all too real for others. The thesis uses the ethnographic approach to analyse how racial inequality is perpetuated at the micro or individual level. With the rich secondary material on how racial inequality is produced at the structural level, the thesis will then examine the link between these levels to provide a clearer understanding of how the contradictions of meritocracy and multi-racialism in Singapore can persist.