Regarding Racism: a virtual roundtable

REGARDING RACISM – a virtual roundtable

Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Lai Ah-Eng, Nazry Bahrawi, Anju Mary Paul and Jerrine Tan in conversation with Kenneth Paul Tan

Wednesday, 16 June 2021, 8pm Singapore time (GMT +8), via Zoom

Race, a permanent feature of Singapore’s social relations, has stepped out from the shadows, demanding the nation’s attention. A string of social media videos exposing people’s intolerance and hate has sparked widespread revulsion. But there is much less agreement about what these incidents mean. Can they be dismissed as extreme outliers or are they representative of wider rifts? Does the problem start and end with errant individuals, or is it time to refine Singapore’s approaches to ethnic identity? Do they reveal the need for more open conversations — or that the less said, the better? This roundtable gathers scholars of anthropology, sociology, politics and literature for a multidisciplinary conversation about how concerned citizens might think about race and respond to racism.


Kenneth Paul Tan (roundtable chair) is a Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University. His most recent books include Singapore: Identity, Brand, Power (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and Governing Global-City Singapore (Routledge, 2017). He chairs the Board of Directors of The Necessary Stage and was founding chair of the Asian Film Archive’s Board of Directors.
Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College. She is an international migration scholar, studying emergent migrations to, from and within Asia. She is especially interested in how gender, race, as well as class intersect at the migration moment and the post-migration experience.
Jerrine Tan received her BA in Economics and English from UC Berkeley and her MA and PhD in English from Brown University. She teaches Global Anglophone Literature. Her essays have been published or are forthcoming in Modern Fiction Studies and The Cambridge Companion to Kazuo Ishiguro. She also writes regularly for popular platforms such as WIREDLit Hub, Contemporaries at Post45, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop.
Nazry Bahrawi is senior lecturer of comparative and world literature at Singapore University of Technology and Design. His research explores Malay-Indonesian textual and non-material cultures in maritime Southeast Asia in light of race and ethnicity, poetics and literary theory as well as translation and adaptation studies.
Lai Ah-Eng is currently Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore where she teaches two modules: “Multiculturalism and Its Contested Meanings” and “Religious Issues in the Contemporary World”.  She has published various books, chapters and articles on ethnicity, religion, multiculturalism and heritage.
Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib is founding Board member of Centre for Interfaith Understanding (CIFU), and director of intercultural consultancy, Budhi Pte Ltd. He is co-editor of Budi Kritik (2019), an anthology of essays on issues concerning Malay society in Singapore and the region. He writes and researches on issues of religion and society, multiculturalism and interfaith relations.