Has Singapore Killed Art? And then Propping it up through the Management of Art?

By Ranger Mills and Lishan Chan (printed in Because of the Night zine) Alongside with the disciplines of philosophy and the sciences, art is a generative activity, from which ideas and new ways of thinking can originate. In recent times, however, there has been a change from the perspective of art as generative to art …

Why is there a government? Can civil disobedience be justified?

A government is a system by which the community is being organised and run. According to one tradition in political philosophy, we have a government because it is necessary to prevent us from harming each other and as such to enable us to live together as a community. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes held that in …

Why does Singapore not have a global brand?

The question of why Singapore has no global brand can be explained by way of Singapore’s small population, or by way of America’s domination of the global brands board. But it can also be rephrased as a question of why Singaporeans lack the creativity, innovation, passion and ambition to create, develop and market products and …

Philosophy and the Arts in Singapore

Discussions on the arts in Singapore have not, to my knowledge, touched upon the subject of philosophy. Philosophy is thought to be a subject only for academic pursuit. Alternatively, philosophy is thought of as a topic intertwined with religion- Buddhism, say, is a philosophy. Consequently, the idea of philosophy, as being in relation to the …

Are there colours in things?

Democritus argued that if seeing is dependent on our psychological and physiological condition, there are no colours in things, since colours exist by virtue of our faculties of perception. The Kanizsa triangle supports his argument. There is no triangle overlapping the entire image, but it appears to us that there is one. So the existence …

Is Science compatible with Religion?

At first glance, it is difficult to see that science is compatible with religion. Too often, the Church has opposed scientific advancement, seeing it as a threat to its power. But Herbert Spencer argued that if science recognises the unknowable, then science and religion are compatible, since religion is about the unknowable. In this way, …

Philosophy of Madness

There are many questions that can be asked in the philosophy of mental illness. For example, is mental illness a disease/ illness or is it a culturally determined label? Thomas Szasz (1961) famously argued that mental illness is simply a deviation from societal norms. According to Szasz, mental illness is a metaphor and not a …

Three questions about poetry in Singapore

(1) The institutionalisation of poets. The fact is that many poets now have stable incomes from either teaching poetry in schools/universities or else from administrative jobs in the arts. How does this affect the kind of poetry that is being written? Does it in any way imply a loss of freedom or autonomy in what …