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Constance Singam & Margaret Thomas

We Are Not The Enemy: The Practice of Advocacy in Singapore

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Edited by Constance Singam & Margaret Thomas

A collection of essays, interviews, and strategies behind the practice of advocacy across a spectrum of causes

Format: Paperback
Pages: 300

Advocates and activists in Singapore contribute to policy discussions and positive
change through a combination of deft manoeuvres and patient politics. Yet civil
society is often unacknowledged, their skill and labour instead frequently
misunderstood, even earning them the label of “troublemakers” or “enemies of the

This collection of essays and interviews is a candid reflection on the intentions, beliefs and strategies behind the practice of advocacy across a spectrum of causes. The contributors come from varying backgrounds and include academics, artists, lawyers, journalists, non-profit and advocacy organisations, student and community organisers.

They share practical insights into their aims and community-building work, and the tactics they employ to overcome obstacles, shedding light on how to navigate a city-
state with shifting socio-political fault lines and out-of-bound markers.

With an introduction, “It is Time to Trim the Banyan Tree”, by Constance Singam, and a conclusion, “Their Struggle is Ours to Continue”, by Suraendher Kumarr.

About the Editors
CONSTANCE SINGAM is a writer and civil society activist. Constance has led
women’s organisations, co-founded civil society groups, been a columnist in national
publications, and co-edited several books. Her nonfiction works include Re-Presenting Singapore Women (2004) and The Art of Advocacy in Singapore (2017). She has written two memoirs, Never Leave Home Without Your Chilli Sauce (2016) and Where I Was: A Memoir About Forgetting and Remembering (2022), and three children’s books including Porter the Adventurous Otter (2021). She was inducted to the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.

After two years of trying to be useful as an investment analyst in the Monetary
Authority of Singapore in the mid-1970s, MARGARET THOMAS found her calling
in journalism. She spent some 25 years in the newsrooms of The Business Times, The Singapore Monitor, and TODAY, mostly in senior editing positions, and was also in the founding team of Singapore Press Holding’s Internet arm, Asiaone. She now works on book and related projects. Having inherited her father’s do-gooder genes, she is active in civil society. She was, in 1985, a founder member of AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) and in 2003 of TWC2, which promotes equitable treatment of migrant workers in Singapore.