By Pavan Mano
Common sense is an interesting thing. Particularly in those not infrequent moments when it becomes clear that it isn’t, in fact, all that commonly distributed and, quite often, doesn’t actually make very much sense. These moments offer an opportunity – even if quite often missed – to unwind, untangle, and unmake some of these articulations of common sense – hopefully in favour of something better. This is one such moment. After all, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew” (Roy 2020). We’ve been forced, collectively, to confront the question of care and the various conditions under which it’s extended to different degrees, to particular categories of people, in particular circumstances, and so on – the contingencies of care, in other words. In the face of the conspicuous insufficiencies that have been brutally exposed over the course of the past year and a half, it would be awfully remiss of us to eschew reimagining how our world and societies are arranged and organized.
Continue reading 17 days of June: on COVID-19, prescriptions and proscriptions, and the contingencies of care
by Pavan Mano
PhD candidate Pavan Mano explores how the seeming reticence of Singapore’s biggest queer movement to openly challenge the status-quo is in fact its key organising strength.
Singapore can be a strange country in many ways. And one of those ways is how it projects an image of a modern, forward-looking metropolis whilst remaining home to a backward (albeit unenforced) law in the form of Section 377A – a legislative hangover from British coloniality – that criminalizes sex between men. Section 377A isn’t an anomaly in the Singaporean landscape – it’s merely the most visible symptom of the primacy of place that heterosexuality retains in the country. Which, amongst other things, means that there’s plenty of work for queer movements to do in terms of advocacy and activism. And one of these movements is Pink Dot.
Continue reading On dissent; or, learning how to say no
By Dr Alvin Eng Hui Lim, department alumnus and postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Singapore.
I’m on a British Airways flight from Changi airport, Singapore to Heathrow, London. The cabin crew, a mix of ethnicities, leaves me alone after the initial smiles and courtesies with the inflight entertainment, only punctuating my viewing experience a couple of times to serve me microwaved food – mostly chicken, or vaguely tasting like it.
I’m at Heathrow. A Chinese custom officer chides me in impeccable English for not completing the landing card before I join the queue. I do as told, and my voice struggles to complete a sentence when another custom officer addresses me and stamps my passport.
“What are you here for? What are you studying?”
“PhD. Theatre. At King’s College London.”
Maybe it is my face and how I sound. An inner joke seems to flash across his face as it changes. I am free to go.
Continue reading London is my East: A Reflection on Travel