July 30, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Constance Singam’s memoir: Making the personal political

1 min read
Constance Singam
Constance Singam

The feminist rallying cry – “the personal is political” – rings on every page of this memoir by a distinguished citizen whose ideas and ideals galvanised the women’s movement in Singapore.

The word “margins” in the title refers to the multiple ways in which Constance Singam found herself marginalised: as a woman, an ethnic Indian, a widow and a civil society activist.

Her answer to each kind of marginality was to rewrite the prevailing terms of discourse so that her femininity, her Malayalee-Indian culture, and her political disquiet became sources of self-empowerment, not of self-denial.

“I am who I think I am,” she declares defiantly. “I am what I believe. I am what I do.” The personal could not be more political.

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