Dear reader,

What a tragic week. Our thoughts are with those on that Singapore Airlines flight from London, as well as their loved ones who have had to live through the horror and uncertainty.

In Singapore This Week, we look at another tragedy, this time just across the border—the killing of two Malaysian policemen—and the way the Singapore establishment has talked about it. Elsewhere, we discuss the imagery of Singapore’s MRT popping up in India’s election; the latest development in the long-standing debate over co-ed versus single-sex schools; recent archaeological discoveries in Bukit Choras, Kedah; exhibitions by winners of the 2023 Objectifs Documentary Award; Doctor Ivan Heng; and much more.

Our essay of the week, The Singapore Dream fades for the ‘sandwich’ class, is by Reeta Raman, a former deputy editor at CNA and current associate lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

In most discussions about inequality, we tend to focus, rightly so, on those at the bottom. But what about the segment just above them? Living in one of the world’s costliest cities, those Singaporeans face a different kind of financial precarity, one in which they can rarely afford to take a break, never mind have another kid or contend with a health calamity. 

“The segment of middle-class Singaporeans caring for their children and ageing parents are referred to as ‘the Sandwich Generation’, a term coined by sociologists Dorothy Miller and Elaine Brody in 1981,” writes Reeta. “While there’s been some debate by experts over the finer points of the definition, the Sandwich Generation is broadly understood to be those supporting themselves, their children and their parents at the same time. They earn too much to qualify for significant government assistance or other forms of financial aid, but not enough to comfortably afford private housing and other higher-end services.”

It’s not easy writing about this group because there’s very little about them out there. From my own personal interactions with these Singaporeans, many are a little embarrassed to even talk about their plight; it almost feels wrong, given that there are others even poorer than them. But they have to endure a different kind of emotional trauma, and in our bid to understand the breadth of the human condition in this little red dot, contributions like Reeta’s are invaluable. 

Read the essay now. And also check out the distinctive artwork by Dan Wong of A Good Citizen fame. I’ve known both Dan and Reeta for a while, and it’s great that they’ve now got bylines at Jom.

Finally, for any of you attending the New.Now.Next Media Conference this weekend at SMU, come say hi! I’m on a panel at 3pm today titled “Media Entrepreneurship: How to Make a New Media Brand Attractive to Young Subscribers...and Young Journalists”. And Waye, our co-founder, is on a panel tomorrow at 2pm titled “Advancing News Diversity: Concrete Tips for Producing More Empathic and Inclusive Journalism”.

It’s Waye’s last weekend in Singapore, before she moves to Spain to be with her mum. (She’ll continue to work a three-day week for Jom.) Catch her while you can!

Jom merenung,
Sudhir Vadaketh
Editor-in-chief, Jom

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