Class of 2018. "Urban Political Ecology"
Since my youth, I have always been in close contact with nature. On hot, humid summer nights in China, the sky would be covered with glittering stars that mirrored the countless fireflies lighting up the dark path in front of me. As a toddler, I loved catching these tiny lights in my hands and putting them into a small tinted glass bottle. They could barely light up a room, but the orange glow enchanted my young mind. Those were the days when I dug earthworms to feed my tortoises, and when I caught grasshoppers and dragonflies with my bare hands. After coming to Singapore, I was always the Science kid who buffed up her portfolio with boring lab work, until an opportunity to train with the Singapore International Biology Olympiad team in Junior College opened my eyes to the beauty of local biodiversity. I had an existential crisis sometime between then and now, and college sort of made me rebel against my roots, so I took a long detour to flirt with more “artsy” subjects, until I ended up back here again.
Area of Specialisation
Urban Political Ecology (UPE). UPE is an interdisciplinary framework of studying environmental policy, decision, conflict, and cooperation, combining the historical, political, cultural, and ecological perspectives into a holistic exploration of how humans as political beings have made decisions with regards to resource and land in cities. This framework especially focuses on unravelling the language, ideologies and power relations that manifest in historical events, leading to the biophysical landscape we see today. In my research, I use a Foucauldian focus to uncover uneven power relations among different actors like the state, private firms, civil society, and academics. I see UPE as a means to explore coexisting ideologies that govern environment management in cities and apply theory into practice in order to advance progressive societal agenda for social equality and justice.