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Singaporean Identity...

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Barnsley
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Singaporean Identity...

Postby Barnsley » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:30 pm

What is it?

I just read the PM mentioned it again over the weekend in an interview.
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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby JR8 » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 1:39 pm

Interesting :) Some time ago I was struck by how much SG goes on about what it's identity is, like a low-key but perpetual national discussion... despite which here you are asking the 1.01 question.

Perhaps visit the STB website, I expect they have a decent go at encapsulating it.

p.s. That said, I expect a politician would define it differently for an inward-facing domestic audience.
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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby Sporkin » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 1:59 pm

I thought we were a sleepy fishing village...perhaps a lifetime ago. I was born here, I served my duties as a glorified rotund nurse with a rifle for 2 years, we were drilled routinely about our loyalty to our home, our way of life, our identity, yet I am nowhere nearer to finding what that means. The Singapore identity seems as fluid and malleable as the needs arises, the places I grew up playing at no longer exists, everything gets demolished and rebuilt every 10 years or so. The ties that bind are fading, and possibly I will be cast adrift, the economic currents bring me where they may.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby rajagainstthemachine » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 5:09 pm

eating char kway teow at a hawker shopping sipping teh tarik while wearing flip flops eyes glued to smartphone while holding a red plastic bag containing styrofoam takeaway for the family
wearing a singlet and shorts with cap at a ridiculous angle?
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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby menudown » Tue, 04 Aug 2015 4:45 pm

the country the people are neither here nor there... is the question even valid in this era of global citizenship?

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby Barnsley » Wed, 05 Aug 2015 9:55 am

menudown wrote:the country the people are neither here nor there... is the question even valid in this era of global citizenship?


Its the PM who is mentioning it.

I dont know what it is myself.

A lot of the folk here are very recent arrivals in the scheme of things so the "identity" whatever that may be would still be evolving.

A more pertinent question is do folk identify themselves as Singaporean for starters.
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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby x9200 » Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:15 am

Global citizenship concerns..how many? 1% of the world's population?
What Raj mentioned above was intended as a jest but I think it actually is a part of national identity. National identity is about sharing something within a large population. It may be about the language, true loyalty to some symbols or people from past, literature and music, any other form of art embedded in a shared historical context, but also trivial, everyday things, cuisine, what was on tv in mid 80s and what many people were excited about, specific products on the local market (as advertised), etc etc.

The language is often a very important part of the identity and if the first language is English you are somehow deprived of almost the whole world that is more local as it is not that extensively shared outside a specific group of the language users.

Singapore is a difficult case because it takes time to build up the identity and IMHO Singapore is at the early stages of it. One may only hope it will not turn too nationalistic.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 05 Aug 2015 11:25 am

Sporkin wrote:I thought we were a sleepy fishing village...perhaps a lifetime ago. I was born here, I served my duties as a glorified rotund nurse with a rifle for 2 years, we were drilled routinely about our loyalty to our home, our way of life, our identity, yet I am nowhere nearer to finding what that means. The Singapore identity seems as fluid and malleable as the needs arises, the places I grew up playing at no longer exists, everything gets demolished and rebuilt every 10 years or so. The ties that bind are fading, and possibly I will be cast adrift, the economic currents bring me where they may.


I appreciate this insight.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby singapore eagle » Wed, 05 Aug 2015 11:31 am

Mr Brown was contemplating this on Monday, with his five-word Singapore stories:

http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2015/08/5-w ... ories.html

My favourites were

What are we queuing for?
I love you. Let's BTO.
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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 3:39 am

I think as a leader, he is somehow trying to find a glue that binds the citizens together. It seems a bit archaic but maybe still relevent?

Not sure if this is typical for Singaporean families since I don't go round doing surveys of other families. Growing up, I have many fond memories of gatherings. Almost every month, extended families and friends come together to feast. Whenever someone visit, they would almost always bring some snacks for us. Sometimes homemade but usually snacks from hawker centers e.g. banana fritters, asian pancakes, bao, curry puffs etc....

And many nights, my own family would be enjoying supper together. Thanks to availability of affordable food at late hours at the hawker center.

According to Alton Brown's anthropology research. Two of the happiest activities for humans are eating and laughing. So that is quite universal in appeal, not restricted just to Singaporeans. However, the uniqueness here, if we absolutely need to search for one, is the pervasiveness of hawker centers in Singaporean lives. One American columnist once wrote that Singaporeans are the most culinarily homesick group of people he had ever met. People are quite into their hawker centers. So if you try to make any changes there, there will be a bit of public concern.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 6804456301

Another aspect I can think of is the multiculturism. Yes it sounds cliche. If I had been raised in a mono culture environment. I would have been a very different kind of person. Many (non-muslim) Singaporeans do not have unfavorable opinions of Islam. The recent xenophobia on social media took me by surprise. Just goes to show how quickly opinions can change. When people feel cornered.

If given another lifetime, Tommy Koh would like to be reborn in Singapore. Again. The article may not be entirely relevant to this discussion but you get some idea.

http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/let ... en-in-2065

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 4:01 am

He also mentioned meritocracy. Elitism is well and alive in SG (one evidence is how the well-to-do like to flock to certain schools), however, so does meritocracy. Seems a bit of a contradiction huh? As a girl growing up in SG, I was treated as well as my male counterparts. We were taught we could be in any profession we aspired to be. No barriers was placed specifically on females. It was a bit of a surprise when I live in the USA, where women had historically be treated differently then men e.g. voting rights, over-sexualization of the female identity. Hence the need to fight back giving rise to feminist movement. In SG, nothing to fight for. We have it all, as females.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 7:08 am

Image

All good Singaporeans carry at least a pack of tissue with them. 1. napkins are not offered at hawker centers 2. to chope a seat / table while you are placing your food order with your favoite hawker.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 7:13 am

Image

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby the lynx » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 4:02 pm

.Sounds like how USA tries to market itself for international identity. I know, different stuff but at least USA does a better job in defining it - although with many lash-outs on its immigration policy.

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Re: Singaporean Identity...

Postby JR8 » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 6:41 pm

Hawker centres, because many people don't have kitchens and/or can't cook? I don't think I buy the 'SGns are too busy to cook' line; not least in that typical working hours seem pretty ordinary, and that having domestic staff seems so common-place. The next step with that is why should youngsters learn to cook, when there is always someone there to do it for them?

You can get SGn food abroad, for example I cook it for my wife, incl from my SGn M-I-Ls recipes - hehe.

More seriously there are SGn restaurants abroad, but there seems little demand for them so they are scarce (IME). I know one in London that bills itself as such, but arguably it's SGn/Malay/Thai. On the flipside I know maybe 4-5 'pure' Malay retaurants in west London, and of course scores with various Indian cuisines. Plus how does one define 'SGn food', when an average SGn hawker centre is a blend of Chinese (or various kinds), Malay, Indian, Indon, Thai, western, etc foods. Back to that Bernie Ecclestone quote that his fav SGn dish is 'Singapore noodles', which of course is as British as 'Indian' chicken tikka masala is too.

Maybe the cuisine is like the national identity in being hard to pin down, as it draws influences from all around. Perhaps that alone is it's uniqueness?
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