Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life
Aihwa Ong is Robert H. Lowie Distinguished Chair in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, the author of Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty and Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality, and the coeditor of Asian Biotech: Ethics and Communities of Fate, all also published by Duke University Press.
An Atlas of Asian Diseases
This chapter provides information on the streamlining of Singapore’s public health system as an institutional foundation for the rise of Biopolis. The rapid introduction of a bioethics committee and op-out organs law installed international best practices for stem cell research and medical tourism. The timing also coincided with growing Asian concerns about biopiracy and interest in controlling the flow of samples overseas. Biopolis emerges as an Asian center that can mediate the need for international scientific protocols on the one hand, and the need to recruit samples and data from China and other Asian sites on the other. The chapter then describes the cataloging of “Asian” diseases in the light of the high rate of often fatal maladies that take different forms in Asian populations. The focus on Asian types of cancers focuses on ethnic Chinese samples mainly because of the size of the afflicted population and of the potential for a China drug market for what is increasingly viewed as a chronic illness. Besides, the dominance of an ethnic Chinese disease-type and samples gives a flexible scalability to the disease and patient data. By mapping this ethnic disease empire, Singapore has become an important site for clinical trials for novel therapies, potentially customizable for a wide swath of Asian patients.