Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew |

Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew

Book Launch


How has governance in Singapore evolved since independence to become what it is today? What are Singapore’s prospects in a post-Lee Kuan Yew future when the state will have to struggle, in increasingly complex conditions, to maintain its hegemony while securing a pre-eminent position in the global economic order? To answer these questions, one needs to consider, among other things, what role political leadership, electoral dominance, and legislative monopoly have played and will play in the maintenance and success of Singapore’s one-party dominant system. One needs to track developments in Singapore’s public administration, critically analyzing the formation and transformation of meritocracy and pragmatism as two key components of the state ideology. One also needs to observe developments within culture and civil society, and the contest over history and national narratives. Kenneth Paul Tan will discuss key arguments in his new book that relate to many of these concerns. Donald Low, Gillian Koh, and Shiao-Yin Kuik will present their thoughts on policies, state-society relations, and cultural transformation.

Assoc Prof Kenneth Paul Tan

Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) & Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Assoc Prof Kenneth Paul TAN is Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He has written widely on (1) principles of public policy and administration (focusing on meritocracy, pragmatism, and public engagement); (2) liberalization, democracy, and civil society; (3) Asian creative cities and the culture industry (focusing on film, television, popular culture, and theatre); (4) race, gender, and sexuality; and (5) politics, society, and culture in Singapore. His books include Renaissance Singapore? Economy, Culture, and Politics (NUS Press, 2007), Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension (Brill, 2008), and Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew (Routledge, 2017). He is a member of the Arts Advisory Panel of the National Arts Council (Singapore) and served on the committee of Our Singapore Conversation, a year-long national-level public engagement exercise that began in 2012. He is the founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s board of directors and sits on the board of directors of theatre company The Necessary Stage.

Dr Gillian Koh

Deputy Director (Research), Institute of Policy Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Dr Gillian Koh is Deputy Director (Research) at the Institute of Policy Studies and Senior Research Fellow and Head of its Politics and Governance research cluster which focuses on analysis of electoral politics, the development of civil society, state-society relations, citizen engagement in Singapore.


Dr Koh has led the research teams that generated the IPS Presidential Election Survey (POPS5, 2011), three IPS Post-Election Surveys (2006, 2011, 2015). Other surveys she has conducted to focus on Singaporeans’ sense of identity, rootedness and resilience. She has published and co-published articles on civil society, governance and political development in Singapore. She was co-editor of Migration and Integration in Singapore. Policies and Practice (Routledge, 2015), State-Society Relations in Singapore (2000) and Civil Society and the State in Singapore (2017). She co-authored Singapore Chronicles: Civil Society (2016)


Dr Koh gained her PhD in Sociological Studies from the University of Sheffield (UK) in 1995 where she also obtained her Master of Arts in Third World Studies in 1989. She has been at IPS since.

Assoc Prof Donald Low

Associate Dean (Research and Executive Education) & Associate Professor (Practice), Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Mr Donald Low is the Associate Dean for Executive Education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Besides leading the School’s executive education efforts, he also heads its case study unit. His research interests at the School include economics in public policy, inequality and social spending, behavioural economics, organisational change, and governance and politics in Singapore.

Prior to his current appointment, Donald served fifteen years in the Singapore government. He held various senior positions, including the director of fiscal policy at the Ministry of Finance and the director of the Strategic Policy Office at the Public Service Division. He also established the Centre for Public Economics at the Civil Service College of Singapore to advance economics literacy in the Singapore public service.

Donald is the editor of Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore (2011), a pioneering book which details how the Singapore government has applied ideas from behavioural economics in the design of public policies. His 2014 book, Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus, raises searching questions about the long-term viability of many aspects of governance in Singapore, and argues that a far-reaching rethinking of the country’s policies and institutions is necessary, even if it weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first 50 years.

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin

Nominated Member of Parliament & Director and Co-Founder, The Thought Collective

Together with co-founders Tong Yee and Elizabeth Kon, Shiao Yin runs a group of social businesses known as The Thought Collective whose mission is to build up the social and emotional capital of Singapore. They work with public, private and people sector partners to design impactful media, events and programmes that help communities grow braver, kinder and stronger.

Outside, she served as a Nominated Member of Parliament in the 12th and current 13th Parliament of Singapore. She helps the boards and committees she sits on shape their strategy on developing youth
talent (SCAPE*), nurturing cross-cultural harmony ( and strengthening national identity (Founder’s Memorial Committee).

She speaks on social innovation and entrepreneurship, leadership and the power of narrative.

Chair Person:


Wednesday, 03 May 2017

6:15 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


The Pod, Level 16,

National Library Board,

100 Victoria Street,

Singapore 188064


This is a closed-door event. Entrance is by invite only.


There will be a book signing after the event where copies of Governing Global-City Singapore: Legacies and Futures After Lee Kuan Yew will be sold at a promotional price of S$117.20 with GST (usual price S$167.40). Payment will be by cash or credit card.

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