18 April 2016
Government can pre-empt political agitation and terrorist activities by imported workers and local militants by monitoring them via the lens of Biopolitics and networked surveillance.
It is a given that Singapore’s strength – its open economy – is also its greatest weakness in an era of increasingly porous borders and competitive labour markets. Singapore attracts both high and low skilled foreign workers. Leaving aside the possible reactionary rise of xenophobia amongst some Singaporeans, there is a logical expectation that foreign nationals who are granted permission to work in Singapore may carry their diasporic politics here. It is even more alarming that they may engage in diasporic activities directed at their countries of origin while in Singapore.
One must surely be concerned about sit-ins by workers from South Asia at the Ministry of Manpower in the early 2000s. Then came the SMRT strike by bus workers from China. The Little India Riot of 2013 raised the curtain on the fact that certain segments of South Asian workers tended to assume that meting out ‘street justice’ was the norm when an outrage was perpetrated against their co-nationals. Increasingly Singaporeans have to be concerned that what they read in world news about complex relationships between government and society in many labour-sending countries may find its way here.
… Alan Chong is Associate Professor at the Centre for Multilateralism Studies and Tamara Nair is Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, both at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
CMS / GPO / NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 19/04/2016