chapter  9
18 Pages

Culture, multiracialism, and national identity in Singapore

If cultural hybridization and syncretism is a mark of postcoloniality, then the cultural sphere in Singapore may be said to be ‘postcolonial’. Yet, with slightly more than three decades of political independence, its political sphere is still firmly placed in the modernist trajectory of nation formation; whereas post-coloniality requires for its politics the deconstruction of the nation-state as a move to escape from Eurocentrism of the colonial masters.1 This chapter seeks to trace the path by which the processes of nationstate formation in Singapore reshape the cultural sphere; first, through the erection of racialized boundaries in an attempt to erase hybridity, and the subsequent homogenization of the racialized population to arrive at a definition of Singapore as an ‘Asian’ nation. However, this newly invented Asian identity appears to have little relevance to the culture of everyday life.