Singapore, 2022. (Photo: Julia Lau)

A Pause for the Holidays…


Fulcrum ends 2022 on a high note. Our team is taking a pause to reflect and retune as we approach the new year. The Fulcrum team wants to thank all our readers for helping us reach all-time records in viewership.

Dear Fulcrum readers,

There will be a publishing break for Fulcrum between Christmas and the New Year. We will resume publication on 3 January 2023.

Fulcrum has experienced strong growth since its launch in November 2020. In 2022, Fulcrum published a record number of commentaries (362 versus 321 in 2021). Compared to 2021, 2022 saw a near-tripling of views (631,022 versus 215,696). In the year, ISEAS researchers and external contributors wrote prolifically on pressing issues, on topics ranging from the regional implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the elections in Malaysia and the Philippines, and various ASEAN and other major regional summits.

The new records set for our readership numbers would not have been possible without you, our loyal readers. In 2022, Fulcrum’s most ardent readers hailed from five countries (ranked in order of views): Singapore, the United States, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Countries such as Australia, Thailand, Japan and the United Kingdom also saw significant numbers of readers.

To give a sense of the breadth and depth of our coverage, we attach a list of the top 10 commentaries which attracted the most attention in 2022.

We wish all Fulcrum readers a restful and reflective Christmas and New Year!

The Editors and the Fulcrum team

Hwee Leng, Hwok Aun, Julia, Lydia, Nadirah

Poh Onn, Sue-Ann, William, Xuan Dung

1. Stronger Social Media Influence in the 2022 Philippine Elections (Aries. A. Arugay)

Social media will play a prominent role in the campaign strategy of candidates in the upcoming 2022 elections. This is due to the increasing reliance of Filipinos on social media and restrictions associated with the pandemic.

2. Sexism in the 2022 Philippine Elections: A Problem with No Name (Jean Encinas-Franco)

Vice President Leni Robredo and Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, are running for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, respectively. Though both are under different tickets, their candidacies underscore the complex journey of women in Philippine politics.

3. Talk is Cheap: The 2022 Philippine Elections’ Climate Implications (Ruth Lusterio-Rico)

President Duterte’s approach to environmental issues has been inconsistent. His strong declarations about solving environmental problems were not followed by concrete actions. The next President must strike a tough balance between fostering a business climate conducive to economic recovery, whilst moving ahead with climate action and environmental commitments.

4. The Russia-Ukraine War: Parallels and Lessons for Vietnam (Hoang Thi Ha)

Vietnam’s nuanced approach to the Russia-Ukraine war and its refusal to single out Russia’s invasion suggest introspection in Hanoi over its foreign and defence policy calculations.

5. Malaysia’s 15th General Election: Considering the Chessboard (Liew Chin Tong and Dzulkefly Ahmad)

Pakatan Harapan has to win at least 80 seats in peninsular Malaysia in order to safeguard Malaysian democracy and move the country forward.

6. Malaysia’s Anti-hopping Law: Some Loopholes to Mull Over (Sze Fung Ng)

Malaysia’s new anti-hopping law took effect on 5 October, five days before it was announced that the country’s Parliament would be dissolved. The law seeks to respect the mandate of voters, but it is not without fault.

7. Will Vietnam’s Richest Man Be Safe? (Le Hong Hiep)

Recent speculation that Vietnam’s richest man, Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, might get in trouble with the authorities is probably overwrought. Nevertheless, Hanoi’s anti-corruption campaign means Vietnam’s business owners must tread carefully in their search for profit.

8. Malaysia’s GE15: Not All Youth Voters Are Equal (James Chai)

Malaysia’s Undi18 Bill, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, was supposed to empower a new generation of voters. But not all youth votes have the same weight.

9. Cambodia’s Education System: Looking Back to Move Forward (Kimkong Heng)

Cambodia has set ambitious goals to become an upper middle income country by 2030. To achieve this, it needs to rethink its education system so the country can become a knowledge-intensive society.

10. Abdul Somad Denied Entry into Singapore: Islamophobic? Far from It (Norshahril Saat)

The followers of Indonesian religious teacher Abdul Somad have decried Islamophobia after he was denied entry to Singapore. This cannot be farther from the truth.

William Choong is Senior Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Managing Editor at Fulcrum.