Publication Details

Lyons, LT & Gomez, J, Moving beyond the OB markers: Rethinking the space of civil society in Singapore, Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 2005, 20(2), 119-131. Original journal available here.


In January 2004, prior to his appointment as Singapore’s third Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong gave a landmark speech to the Harvard Club of Singapore in which he outlined a new style of statesociety relations. Claiming that “I have no doubt that our society must open up further”, Lee emphasized that one of the important tasks facing the government was to “promote further civic participation, and continue to progressively widen the limits of openness” (Lee 2004). In his comments, Lee sought to signal a break between the ruling style of former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, and himself.1 In light of Lee Hsien Loong’s claims that under his leadership Singapore will experience greater ‘openness’, it is timely to reflect back on the nature of civil society under his predecessor. This collection of paper contributes to that understanding by bringing together a diverse number of case studies of civil society activism in Singapore during the latter years of Goh Chok Tong’s rule.



Link to publisher version (DOI)