Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


NUS Business Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of the School’s Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations, weighed in on the assessment and critical concerns of the Singapore Governance and Transparency Index 2018 in the new corporate governance landscape when the Code of Corporate Governance and Singapore’s Exchange Listing Rules are revised. Penning his views in a commentary in The Business Times on 7 August, Assoc Prof Loh opined that Singapore’s corporate governance has progressed well but remains weak in terms of stakeholder engagement. To solve this problem, he said that special attention should be paid to challenges of director tenure and board independence, since findings revealed an inverse relationship between director tenure and proportion of independent directors, as well as a positive relationship between the proportion of independent directors and stakeholder engagement scores.

Providing a commentary on the confrontation between Grab and the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) in The Straits Times on 7 August, Associate Professor Burton Ong from NUS Law said that there are legitimate reasons why CCCS might restrict a dominant firm’s freedom to engage in certain conduct that would otherwise not be objectionable if carried out by a smaller player. He said that ultimately competition law is concerned with ensuring markets are open to competition, prohibiting conduct or imposing necessary remedial measures to ensure such a scenario. Such measures, he added, may be revised, relaxed or removed as the degree of market power changes, as the goal is not to produce a single ideal state of affairs but to steer the behaviour of market players within a zone of palatable outcomes.

In a TODAY report on 12 August NUS Sociology Lecturer Dr Joshua Kurz and Visiting Graduate Researcher at the NUS Asia Research Institute Sherman Tan spoke about the rise of the hipster subculture among youth in Singapore, which is broadly defined as a movement of individuals looking for originality, outside mainstream interests and lifestyles. They touched on the origins of the hipster culture and the unwillingness of hipsters to define themselves as such, and suggested that in the Singapore context, it could be seen as a clamour for a sense of identity among a large middle class in a densely populated city. They also noted that unlike some other countries, the label does not carry negative connotations and is more about aesthetics, fashion and trends.

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