CHANGES IN SINGAPORE POLITICAL ECONOMY
2014/2015, Semester 1
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
An overview of opportunities taken and strengths obtained in the face of threats in the political economy of Singapore in the last two centuries. Through this course, students will appreciate how Singapore how it survived as it changed from an East India Company settlement to being part of a Straits Settlements British colony. After the Japanese occupied Singapore for 2 1/2 years from 1942-45, it changed its status to that of a British colony by itself, obtaining full internal self-government in 1959. An important learning outcome is how institutions were laid which continued during its merger into the federation of Malaysia in 1963-5 from which it separated in 1965 as an independent republic. Another learning outcome is the discernment of whether Singapore can yet go through further future changes.
Students should read up on the history of the British Empire to which Singapore belonged to, through much of its history. Students should also be aware of post-World War II developments in Asia as Singapore was very much affected by them.
The course is conducted on a seminar format during which students are expected to participate when discussing the topics raised. The questions that will be raised during class will be circulated the week before. Reference will be made during class to extra readings which will be uploaded into the IVLE workbin. There is a textbook for the course which can be bought at the bookstore.
As the first instructional week is shopping week, there are only 9 teaching sessions, the last two being devoted to student presentations. The teaching material will be compressed into the 9 sessions as follows:
Wednesday 20 August
The first fifty years of Singapore
Wednesday 27 August
The next fifty years which saw a government-issued currency becoming money
Wednesday 3 September
How Singapore as part of the Straits Settlemens acquired a hinterland
Wednesday 10 September
How Singapore acquired a population of its own, only to be occupied by the Japanese
Wednesday 17 September
How the people of Singapore came to administer themselves
Wednesday 1 October
How the people of Singapore came to see themselves as a nation
Wednesday 8 October
How did Singapore become a manufacturing centre and have its own currency
Monday 13 October
Combined class with master's of social work students on asset building
Wednesday 22 October
How Singapore became short of manpower and had to reshape its education
Wednesday 29 October
How did incomes become unequal amidst economic volatility
Wednesday 5 & 12 November
Presentations by students
The structure used to organise the module is through that of the broad periods in which Singapore was organised differently:
1. Singapore as part of the East India Company (EIC)
2. Singapore as part of the Straits Settlements, initially a part of the EIC and later as a colony called the Straits Settlements.
3. Singapore as a colony by itself.
4. Singapore as internally self-governing and as part of the federation of Malaysia.
5. Singapore as an independent republic.
Each of these periods has its unique governance and economic aspects, hence the political economy changes at least 5 times.
The outline of the course is as given in the assignment folder of the workbin. Each of the 9 teaching sessions cover the major developments taking place in Singapore in its 5 different periods:
1. The EIC and Singapore: the growth of the Straits Settlements in the EIC.
2. The Straits Settlements as a British colony and how commercial interests led to the introduction of the straits dollar.
3. How Singapore was impacted by rubber and tin, and how oil and timber brought in an even larger hinterland as British S.E.Asia.
4. The people who make up Singapore first ruled by the British and after its fall to the Japanese, as Synonan-to.
5. Why Singapore was governed as a separate colony which gave rise to nationalism.
6. How rising domestic aspirations led to the building up of Singapore national institutions.
7. How manufacturing was transformed by MNCs and the education system changed to cope with population changes.
8. How the economy though rich, became highly volatile
9. How income inequality is now a major issue in Singapore today and the danger it poses to Singapore becoming merely a place
There is no practical work
Each student must write one essay about 1,500 and 2000 words on a topic to be allocated by balloting. Its weightage is 30%.
Each student must also do a presentation, but this can be done in groups of up to 4 persons, on a topic also allocated by ballot. Its weightage is 30%.
There is a final exam which is open-book, in which any 3 questions have to be answered out of 5. It is to be typed out in the computer room. Its weightage is 40%.
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week