A global pandemic, a general election and corporate blow-ups have turned 2020 into a year of transition for Singapore.
A spike in coronavirus infections earlier this year drew attention to Singapore’s migrant worker community, while the election yielded encouraging results for the opposition. Some high-profile corporate collapses raised questions about the country’s regulatory framework.
“When you’re battling this pandemic crisis, the key thing is to also be reflective of all things that may cause a sea change in the way we are living,” says Kevin Tan, adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS). “What Singapore has done well in the past, and hopefully will continue to do well, is responding in a sensible and practical manner to whatever developments.”
The city was initially lauded for its swift response to Covid-19, only to see an outbreak occur in migrant worker dormitories in April. It prompted regulatory reforms around dormitories as well as sparking debate about the living conditions for a fundamental part of Singapore’s labour force.
Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s prime minister, called elections in July — nine months ahead of the…