Writer Of The Week

Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib writes to correct misinterpretations of Islam and the Muslim world and on issues that touch on local politics, governance and race relations.
Associate Professor Hussin Mutalib writes to correct misinterpretations of Islam and the Muslim world and on issues that touch on local politics, governance and race relations.PHOTO: COURTESY OF HUSSIN MUTALIB

Who: Hussin Mutalib, in his 60s, associate professor in the Political Science Department of the National University of Singapore.


My family: Married to child development consultant Salimah A. Samad, with three children: Iza Riana, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge; Abdullah Luqman, a manager at Shell; and Nurul Aziah, a corporate lawyer.


My home: A corner terrace in Kembangan.


My passions: Reading, gardening, travelling and being perpetually concerned about issues of justice, environment, and other governmental abuses the world over.


I started writing to the Forum page in...: The 1980s, when, during my years pursuing my doctorate, saw our Malay/Muslim community being singled out by the Government for its lack of socio-economic progress vis-a-vis other Singaporeans.
It was also a time when there was a dearth of effective voices articulating the challenges and grievances of the community, making it a much misunderstood one.


What I write about: Local politics, especially on issues of governance; forging better race relations; Malay/Muslim concerns; and correcting misinterpretations about Islam and the Muslim world.


Why I write: To contribute alternative ideas for a better Singapore. Also, as one of the earliest local Malay-Muslims to receive a PhD, and having had the privilege of being an academic with NUS, I saw it as a calling to do my part for society.


I read the Forum page because...: It's a useful mirror to understand Singapore's very own image over the years - from writers conditioned by the narratives of an authoritarian island-state in the past to the manifestations of their increasing liberties today, pushing for new, bold ideas that are much needed in a global city-state.


My wish for Singapore: Economically, bridging the class and racial gaps and mitigating the high cost of living; politically, a greater flourishing of civil society, leading towards a functioning two-party political system; and socially, a kinder, cultured and less materialistic, truly multi-cultural Republic that we can all be really proud of.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2015, with the headline 'WriterOf TheWeek'. Print Edition | Subscribe