The Capacity to be Content: Aspirations and Young Adult Catholics in Singapore

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

Drawing from interviews with young adult Catholics in Singapore, this article discusses aspirations in terms of the capacity to be content. For my informants, the capacity to be content has three aspects: the pursuit of happiness, the questioning of Singapore’s incessant drive for economic growth, and the neglect of those left-behind. Taken collectively, these nuances show that the aspirations of young adult Catholics are effectively a moral critique of the social and economic state of affairs in the city-state. The capacity to be content also informs these young adults’ decision to be involved in welfare activities or even be employed in social work altogether. However, such moral critique’s potential to contest the political status quo is tempered by the resounding opinion that religion and politics do not mix in Singapore. It is precisely by interrogating this tension between their aspirations and their views of the moral state of Singapore that this article is a contribution to this special issue on Christianity and the nation in Southeast Asia.


Keywords

Catholicism, religion and politics, Singapore, urban aspirations, young adulthood

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)