Monday, January 27, 2020
How Will Singapore Effect Globalization Of National Identity Cultural Studies Essay
How Will Singapore Effect Globalization Of National Identity Cultural Studies Essay Singapore, one of the most globalized nations in the world today, had undergone a series of political and economic crises in the past forcing its leaders to take on a proactive stance to the formation of national identity . One stance the government took was forging a national myth of progress that depicted Singapores transformation from a third world fishing village to a first world republic. The catalyze of this metamorphosis was globalization, through globalizing strategies such as: establishing English as the countrys first language; building Singapores economy through partnerships with multinational corporations; importing popular culture from over the world; advocating and sending Singaporeans to study abroad; encouraging the immigration of foreign talent; and stressing a global orientation rather than a local identity. The embracement of globalization through these strategies has led Singapore to acquire political stability and economic growth. However, they have weakened the countrys social bonds with are critical for pursuing the quest for national identity in Singapore. Although there are other aspects of Singapores national identity, this discussion will focus on the national identity of economic progress because it has a direct correlation with the Republics embrace of globalization. This paper will firstly study the terms globalization and national identity in the context of Singapore. After which, address five issues derived from Singapores embracement of globalization that has an ill effect on the republics national identity quest. Firstly, the way in which Singapore practices selective globalization that has led to an antagonistic relationship between local identities and global identities of the people. Secondly, the recognition of Singapore as a global nation state and how that loses national identity for future generations. Thirdly, how the influences of popular culture affects Singapores national identity adversely. Fourthly, how issues of emigration and immigration have undermined national identity. Fifthly, how Singapores declaration as a global city has led to the debilitation of Singapores national identity from which the problem of commitment arose. And sixthly, how Singapores success story, as a result of globalization, thwarts efforts of cementing the Republics national identity. Singapores National Identity Before we discuss Singapores national identity, this paper defines the concept of a nation, in relation to Singapore, as imagined and as a purposeful construct . This is because Singapore does not have a long history. Furthermore, it is populated by a myriad of different ethnicities. Since independence, the Singaporean government has tried to foster a national identity in Singapore. The aim of this was to unite the heterogeneous immigrant population under the nation-state; in the hope that a uniquely Singaporean identity, which the people could identify with, would emerge. The Singapore government has placed strong emphasis on creating a material-based national identity through the presence and availability of economic development, home-ownership, asset-enhancement, a high standard of living and modern facilities. This has created a social modernity that evokes a sense of Singapores national identity in practical and material terms . Hence, the cleanliness of the environment and the efficiency in the background of everyday Singaporean living are qualities the government promotes as Singapores national identity and national symbols. Singaporeans high quality of life as a resultant of globalization and commercial development reemphasizes the national identity of economic progress. Globalization in the context of Singapore Many scholars view globalization as a force, which would bring about the decline , erosion or the end of the nation-state. True to this definition, Singapores embrace for globalization has created problems by weakening emotional ties and the national identity of the nation. This is demonstrated by: a crippling of social cohesion within the community; a pragmatic attitude of Singaporeans; and an increase number of talented Singaporeans choosing to emigrate. Although the Singapore government attempts to connect the people under the notion of a national identity that is based on the myth of overcoming adversity, this paper posits that the process of globalization undermines Singapores territorial boundaries, the nations sovereignty, and its traditional roles, hence undermining the Republics national identity quest. Singapores practice of selective globalization Globalization exposes nation-states to both opportunities and challenges. Singapore has moved from the process of building a nation-state to becoming a global city. The government practices selective globalization where certain forms are encouraged and others are discouraged . While, they champion for the synchronization of regulations and policies with international standards, they protect their society from unwholesome global commodities such as pornographic magazines. On one hand, Singapore enjoys its status as one of the most globalized countries in the world in terms of finance and telecommunications. On the other hand, Singapore regularly gets criticized from international human rights institutions for insisting to practice its own label of politics . The issue of Singapore practicing selective globalization portrays the need to remain globally connected for the sole purpose of survival, while the retention of certain traditional ideals expresses the necessity to protect specif ic interest. Long suggests, that the act of cultures globalizing and de-globalizing within localities at the same time is synchronized through local practices; and ideals generated symbols transmitted through the media, whether global or local, are at the forefront of forming a contemporary culture . This would mean that globalization weakens the building blocks of national identity because of the reinforcement of social relations through messages, images and symbols that would connect individuals to what Anderson referred to as imagined communities . To explain further, these imagined communities are created through the process of media-related visual cues. An influx of these cues from globalization and localization causes Singapores national identity to be continually contested and negotiated. Singapore as a globalizing nation state Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew once said: if more Singaporeans worked abroad and their children forgot their rootsThey dissolve and disappear and there is no SingaporeÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã ¦ They become citizens of the world. What does that mean? Lost! . As Singapores leaders continue to drive Singapore to become a globalized entity, global influences, such as international education and marriage to foreigners, result in the diminishing of Singapores nation identity. The main issue here is the loss of Singapores future generations of globalized young citizens who were never exposed to the fear of regional hostility or global alienation . Ironically, these generations of Singaporeans have been exposed to the very setting created by the government Singapores global environment that have in turn caused them to diminish their sense of national identity. The influence of popular culture on youths in Singapore The lack of national identity of Singapores most globalized segment of the population, the socially and politically apathetic younger generation, is a pivotal political issue in Singapore. Singapore leaders have tried to combat the social and political consequence of embracing globalization by recounting Singapores difficult past to the future generations as an answer to Singapores shortfall . However, the attraction of globalization presents itself as a strong deterrence to the Republics vision for its citizens. This deterrence can be explained by Bergers proposition of an emerging global culture distinguished by individuation . The embracement of globalization and its exposure to the people has achieved Individuation, which in Singapores context suggests the ability of citizens to form a stronger sense of self or individuality over the nations collectiveness; hence a weakening of national identity. To add on to the peoples sense of individuation, constrains in freedom of criticism of the government have led to demonstration of social trends such as the appropriation of immigration and emigration, as well as a general apathy towards national issues. The latter is best expressed as an attitude of indifference toward defending the nation, as well as, an attitude of dispassion towards Singapores national identity. Globalization issues of emigration and immigration in Singapore To nurture their only resource, people, Singapore sends its people abroad for higher education and training, and to hone their human resources, Singapore induces foreign talent to immigrate to Singapore. Even though these strategies have been successful, in championing objectives of increasing Singapores human talent pool, they weaken the national identity of the nation. Most Singaporeans sent overseas find more opportunities abroad and do not return. By the same token, new immigrants have a greater attachment to their home countries and would leave Singapore eventually. It is clear that although globalization helps Singapore thrive successfully, it undermines a deep attachment to the nation, hence undermining national identity. Furthermore, talented Singaporeans also feel that they will have more professional opportunities if they left Singapore to become a foreign talent. In responds to this, the leaders of Singapore indicated that they are aware of the double-edge sword of globalization, and included that emigration of talented Singaporeans would cause the core of the nation to unravel . It is important to note that the matters raised above, within the quitter-stayer debate, do not entirely point to issues pertaining to loyalty. Rather it points to issues that have emerged from the establishment of a national identity in conjunction with the Republics efforts to embrace globalization Meritocracy. Meritocracy, Singapores national value, has aptly associated talent to success and reward. It was strategically propagated to put Singapore on the global economy map . Today, this very ideal that helped achieve Singapores global status also diminishes the Republics national identity by ingraining an opportunistic mindset into the people, hence indirectly telling Singapores talent to go where opportunities exist. Commitment issues in Singapore as a result of globalization Another repercussion to Singapores embracement of globalization has been a sabotaging of commitment to Singapores well being, where the future generations are unwilling to sacrifice for the nation. One letter in the Straits Times forum page read, What do we have in Singapore that are worth dying for? This paper suggests that Singapore only really offers economic gain. Unfortunately, that could be attained elsewhere, hence there is nothing that compels Singaporeans to stay here, let alone die for their country . Although Singapores myth of economic progress is seen by the nation as a firm foundation of its national identity, it is being undermined because of globalization. In relation to the point above, Anderson puts, the imaginings of a nation are limited to the extent of elastic boundaries . Economic progress is not something exclusive to Singapore and therefore its usage as a national identity by the state is undermined. Through globalization, people identity themselves with an international community, and hence marginalize Singapores national identity of economic progress. Studies have shown that while Singaporeans indicate that they experience a national identity through materiality and achievements of the nation, this form of identity does not conjure up a feeling of allegiance. Neither does it evoke a passion that people may fight and die for, nor does it arouse a sense of differentiation between other cultures. Singapores success story as a national identity Very similarly to the point above, Singapores success story of economic progress, which led the Republic to achieving a worldwide identity, could diminish Singapores national identity. In what this paper views as the Singapore paradox, the goals of the state, which is to sustain the nation, could be threatened by the successful integration of its people into a de-nationalizing globalized identity. This is because globalization propagates factors like transnational migration that undermines the national identity of the Singapore. Conclusion This discussion of globalizations effects on Singapores national identity raises several conclusions that are relevant not only to Singaporeans but to other nations undergoing processes of globalization. Singapores government has embraced globalization as a vital means of not only economic growth but also the Republics survival. This paper has portrayed how the embracement of globalization exerts pressure on Singapores difficulty to construct an effective connection between the nation and its citizens through a quest for national identity. The very tactics of globalization that have led to the rise of Singapores economy have compromised the nations shared identity and opportunities; and as a result of the rise of Singapores affluence through globalization, it is difficult to minimize the negative factors of globalization and maximize the positive factors of localization in establishing a national identity.