This review of Commentary: Civil Society Vol.11, No.1 notes that the journal was attempting to fill a gap while staying clear on speculating on why such a gap existed in the first place. It noted the varied registers in which the essays were written, from the highly accessible to denser, more elliptical writing perhaps downright impenetrable one. The unevenness was, I believe, a function of necessity. A nation with few readers produces far fewer writers. We were many steps away from evening out the tone and style of writing.
If I am completely honest, and my contributions to Commentary, The City, Vol.10 attest to the simple fact that I too was enthralled by a certain pretentious and convoluted style.
Looking back at the reproduction of Philip Jeyaratam’s essay above the review, replete with the pull quote – “The true subject for an artist working in Singapore today is fear” – which was chosen by the student editors of The Ridge, perhaps signalled that they too wanted to promote independent thinking.