Although a form of compromise has been reached in the NLB pulping controversy, the issue remains what type of society does Singapore wish to be? A Singapore open to alternatives, tolerant and inclusive, a place where the majority respects the right of minorities to co-exist and the rule of law prevails? Or a community where the wishes of an 'offended', militant, populist mob determine the agenda and squash any deviation from 'community norms'. Cherian George discusses these issues here.
The tendency towards nationalism and a rigid, authoritarian vision for society will increase as economic challenges arise and the gap between rich and poor widens. This will lead to reactionary forces importing more culture wars - with governments continuing to demonstrate they have neither the ability, nor the desire, to hold in check such conflicts arising from alternative visions of society.
Suchen Christine Lim's speech at the Asia Pacific Writers Translators conference on 17 July 2014 is important in this context. Her wonderful speech covers the NLB book pulping issue and the important role of literature in a multicultural society. You can read the speech here.