Thursday, Sep 18, 2014Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Opinion
 
Mathew Mathews For The Straits Times

Whose 'community norms' are policies based on?

Surveys show that younger Singaporeans have more liberal views on sexuality and family. When policies are based on 'community norms', then policymakers must prepare for generational shifts in attitudes.

Published on Aug 4, 2014 6:53 PM
 
Three books, And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express and Who Is In My Family, will be taken off the shelves and be pulped by the National Library Board (NLB) following complaints from the public and reviews by NLB. Prevailing community norms have often played a part in defining morality in Singapore and other traditional societies. Even those who may not subscribe to such norms privately may strive for consensus in issues of morality in the public domain. They may value community ties and accept that community norms should prescribe appropriate and publicly acceptable behaviour. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Prevailing community norms have often played a part in defining morality in Singapore and other traditional societies. Even those who may not subscribe to such norms privately may strive for consensus in issues of morality in the public domain. They may value community ties and accept that community norms should prescribe appropriate and publicly acceptable behaviour.

But traditional notions of sexuality and marriage are shifting on a much larger scale, if we go by the outcome of public opinion surveys routinely conducted in many developed societies. What impact will these changes have on community norms in Singapore?

World Values Survey

THE World Values Survey (WVS), which is conducted in nearly 100 countries, provides one such platform to analyse these attitudinal shifts. Two waves of the survey have been done in Singapore - once in 2002 with about 1,500 respondents and the second, a decade later in 2012 with nearly 2,000 respondents.

 
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