Unclean subject(s) of depression within the singaporean state

Hannah Ming Yit Ho

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction In Singapore, any threat to the family structure is taken seriously. With its well-documented moral crises (Kuah 2018, 63), the government has taken to systematically administering its interventionist approaches to counteract any damage to the nation’s carefully constructed image as a “clean state.” (Trocki 2006, 137) This cleanliness translates across domains that are not limited to physical environs, but also bureaucracy, health, family and personal life. As one of Asia’s “Four Tigers,” (Chia et al. 2007) Singapore enjoys great economic wealth that supports a world-class health care system. To instantiate, the Institute of Mental Health offers a broad range of clinical services, including treating depression (“Clinical Services”). With the nation’s industry at preserving cleanliness through its committed focus on first-rate services for the family, it is no wonder that its reputation has preceded it. Praise has been heaped on the Singaporean state for its “miracle [systems]” (Klein 2017; Zarina 2015) that ensure effective politics, economics, and health services. Ultimately, the nation’s focus on sustaining cleanliness is aimed at fully supporting the unit of the happy family-“an anchor [that is firmly] situated in the nation’s development narrative.” (Teo 2010, 329) However, a social crisis has recently begun to reveal itself through the city-state’s increased rates of depression and suicide, thus upsetting the public narrative of a clean state. Between….

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Faces of Depression in Literature
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781433165986
ISBN (Print)9781433165979
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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