Lead Author: FARADILLA, Saza
Published by: YaleNUSCollege
Year published: 2018

Female genital cutting (FGC) is prevalent amongst the Singaporean Malay community. While FGC is well researched in the East African and Middle East regions, there has been comparatively little academic attention on this practice in Southeast Asia. This capstone explores the reasons for FGC in Singapore. It begins by contextualising FGC in Singapore, in terms of the small amount of skin removed, FGC’s medicalization in recent years, its hiddenness, and its political implications. Based on interviews with twenty interlocutors of varying demographics, I argue that the reasons behind the practice of FGC in Singapore are complex and multifactorial, and include notions of cleanliness, religion, tradition, control of female sexuality within patriarchy, and child rights and consent. In recent years, there has been increasing critical discourse on FGC in Singapore, which has reduced the prevalence of this practice. Nonetheless, it is important for the Malay community to have clarity from religious and health authorities as to their stances on FGC.