Things to Experience in Singapore

Learn about the interaction of ICTs and marginalized populations in Singapore, and the research done by the host institutions, Singapore Internet Research Centre, Wee Kim School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University

Singapore is a nation built historically on migration, resulting in a harmonious multi-cultural mix of races with 40% of the population being migrants. Concomitant with global trends, recent tensions have disturbed the ethnic peace and cosmopolitan aspirations of Singaporeans. See for yourself how these oppositional forces are playing out – there are numerous opportunities to observe ethnic enclaves, see historic sights, and engage in cultural experiences with both locals and migrants who call this island home. A selection of academic articles supported by the Singapore Internet Research Centre and the WKW School are provided in this section.

Arul Chib – Chair, ICTD2015

Everyday communications

11188305_839608486087286_1727046636966727856_nSingapore has a vibrant and advanced information technology sector, with communication devices prevalent – note the hunched shoulders of users immersed in their screens at hawker centres, on the train, and often walking straight into you.  As you marvel at the addicted natives, muse about the relationship between marginalized communities in digitally advanced societies, and ICTs for development.

Related research:

Jussawalla, M., Heng, T.M. and Low, L. 1992. Singapore: an intelligent city-state. Asian Journal of Communication, 2(3), pp.31-54

Ang, P.H. 2007. Singapore Media. [accessed on May 5, 2015].

Zhang, W. and Chib, A. 2014. Internet studies and development discourses: the cases of China and India. Information Technology for Development, 20(4), pp.324-338.

Lucky Plaza

luckyLucky Plaza is a remittance and communication hub for migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia, particularly foreign domestic workers to unwind on their days off. Brush up on your Pinoy skills and indulge in Karaoke – if you can! Care enough to learn about these migrant women’s struggles and their appropriation of mobile technologies.

Related research

Chib, A., Malik, S., Aricat, R.G. and Kadir, S.Z. 2014. Migrant mothering and mobile phones: negotiations of transnational identity. Mobile Media & Communication, 2(1), pp.73-93.

Chib, A., Wilkin, H.A. and Hua, S.R.M. 2013. International migrant workers’ use of mobile phones to seek social support in Singapore. Information Technologies & International Development, 9(4), pp.19-34.

Little India

little indiaMigrant workers from South Asia congregate in huge numbers on the weekends around Little India to socialize, shop, send money home, and select phones and accessories, voice and data plans, and international calling cards from a vast array of choices. Head over to jostle shoulders with the hordes, jaywalk on the streets, get the best bargains on the island, and learn how to eat with your fingers!

Related research

Chib, A. and Aricat, R.G. 2012. Seeking the non-developmental within the developmental: mobile phones in the globalized migration context. In R. Parker and R. P. Appelbaum (Eds.). Emerging Economies, Emerging Technologies: Can Technology Make a Difference in Development? pp. 153-167. New York: Routledge.

Aricat, R.G. 2015. Mobile ecosystems among low-skilled migrants in singapore: an investigation into mobile usage practices. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 68.

Population challenges

population changesWith an aging population and a birth-rate below the replacement rate, Singapore is a rapidly greying industrialized nation. In sharp contrast to the success story, Singaporeans too suffer from a host of structural and social challenges, such as disabilities and lack of skills for gainful employment by those left behind in the rush for economic growth. ICTs play a critical role in improved social inclusion for marginalized Singaporeans, with grassroots initiatives from organizations such as e2i and spd offering technologies and training.

Related research

Foo, S., Pang, N. and Zhang, X. 2014. UbiCuts: wearable communication and surveillance aids. Gerontechnology, 13(2), pp.196-196.

Chib, A. and Jiang, Q. 2014. Investigating modern-day Talaria: mobile phones and the mobility-impaired in Singapore. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19, pp.695-711.

Jung, Y., Peng, W., Moran, M., Jin, S.A., McLaughlin, M., Cody, M., Jordan-Marsh, M., Albright, J. and Silverstein, M. 2010. Low-income minority seniors’ enrollment in a cybercafé: psychological barriers to crossing the digital divide. Education Gerontology, 36, pp.193-212

LGBT community

lgbtGay? Lesbian? While Section 377A of the penal code, a legacy of Colonial Britain, criminalizes homosexual acts, the law is rarely enforced. Instead, the annual Pink Dot event is celebrated by the LGBT community, and a host of well-wishers, to support the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love. Ask around, and you’ll be guided to the thriving underground community celebrating their lifestyles. Banish the myth of the oppression and obedience and learn about the active and engaging online debates about citizenship and participation in a rapidly evolving society balancing tradition with modernity.

Related research

Deternber, B.H., Cenite JD, M., Shuhua, Z., Malik, S. and Neo, R.L. 2014. Rights versus morality: online debate about decriminalization of gay sex in Singapore. Journal of Homosexuality, 61(9), pp.1313-1333.

Xiaoming, H., Nainan, W. and George, C. 2014. The impact of online news consumption on young people’s political participation. International Journal of E-Politics, 5(2), pp.16-31.

Chen, V. and Wong, Q. 2014. Playing video games to become an active citizen? The influence of learning prosocial behaviors on real life civic engagement. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, England, June 2014.


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