"The capacity to be content: Aspirations and young adult Catholics in Singapore"

Religious Diversity Colloquium Winter 2013/14

  • Date: Dec 10, 2013
  • Time: 15:30 - 17:00
  • Speaker: Jayeel Serrano Cornelio (MPI-MMG)
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 12, Göttingen
  • Room: Conference Room
"The capacity to be content: Aspirations and young adult Catholics in Singapore"

For more details please contact vdvoffice(at)mmg.mpg.de.

Drawing from interviews with young adult Catholics (in their 20s) 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 the 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. However, such moral critique’s potential to contest the political status quo that makes economic decisions is tempered by their resounding opinion that religion and politics do not mix in Singapore. Nevertheless, the capacity to be content may still inform their decision to be involved in welfare activities or even be employed in social work altogether. This paper shows that aspirations are not simply about social mobility as they are often discussed in the literature. This paper also contributes to studies on Christianity in Singapore, which have generally overlooked the presence of Catholics in favor of more dominant Protestant denominations or Evangelical megachurches.


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