"What lies beneath the surface of Singapore’s polish and sheen? Who is asking these questions with an ear to Singapore’s history and soul? The Thought Collective are. This ingenious, empathetic and proudly Singaporean social business is asking the difficult questions with Singaporeans old and new. The series of Ben & Jerry’s trails (Little India, Toa Payoh & Jalan Besar) are less about tours of the city-state than participatory social anthropology with a serious social design sensibility. TTC are enjoining Singaporeans and others to help them empathize with those left behind and at the margins of its society who may not be entirely comfortable, or seen, by the march to hyper-modernity. Why? Because these people are Singapore too. Equity and racial harmony that are at the core of the late Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy have served the city-state with peace and prosperity, they remain as important now as they ever were.
The trails are an invitation to immerse in the living Singapore as a place of people and stories, not stale histories. With stories as a gateway to lives and experience, the tours engage what we know and how we know. As an outsider it was rewarding to listen to Singaporeans challenge their biases and engage with lives unlike theirs. TTC run these tours as anthropological research working with the participants to look beyond the symptoms of social marginalization and probe the causes. Working with these causes there is hope in building new, inclusive futures together. This single-minded commitment to Singapore defined LKY and the Pioneer generation. TTC has grabbed the torch and invited you to join them … Go on the trails! See the Singapore that lives its life in front of you unseen, befriend it, engage with it, and together craft a shared future."