Singapore, literature and identity

Wicks, Peter (1998) Singapore, literature and identity. Asian Culture Quarterly, 26 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 0378-8911

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[Introduction]: Ever since Singapore was abruptly ejected from the Federation of Malaysia in August, 1965, the leaders of the island state have been quick to offer metaphors and slogans as to its identity. Terms such as a “rugged society”, the “regional hub”, an “electronic entrepot for East Asia”, “the Boston of the East”, even “a city where dreams can be met” come readily to mind. Such pithy terms have a point. From a problem-plagued port and immigrant frontier just over a generation ago, Singapore’s status as the world’s premier city-state is hard-earned but assured. It is the purpose of this paper, however, to consider definitions of Singapore other than those offered by the governing elite, and specifically those offered by Singapore’s burgeoning literary community. It is, of course, acknowledged that the State provides a decisive role in the formulation of all public policy in contemporary Singapore, and further that creative writing in Singapore is subject to a very significant amount of self-censorship (by both authors and publishers), within the “OB” (out of bounds) criteria established but the State. Nevertheless, it is also assumed for the purpose of this analysis that there is a degree of civil society in contemporary Singapore, i.e. there is some space between State and society, in this case for creative authors, and that several prominent creative writers do give voice to issues of civil society in that country.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Publisher unable to be contacted.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2008 00:39
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: Singapore, Singaporean literature, fiction
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200522 Other Asian Literature (excl. South-East Asian)

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