chapter  10
Regionalism, English Narrative, and Singapore as Home and Global City
ByShirley Geok-lin Lim
Pages 22

How do English-language writers in Singapore “conceive” of their city-state in relation to “elsewhere,” the rest of the world? How does the desired status of the “global” operate in the imagined national selves represented in Singaporean novels, and what emerges from the dominance of the global in Singapore imaginative literature? I will examine examples of Singapore’s English narratives to illustrate the asymmetrical relationship between the dominance of the desire for a Westernized global city and the lack of purchase on the power of regionalism as a component of the Singaporean city imaginary. The state-driven discourse of global and local, based on the oxymoron of appeal to a global culture that is simultaneously uniquely local, leads to the “forgetting” of the region as an important signature in Singapore’s city identity. Instead of the tree binary of local /global that appears to have ruled state paradigms for the city-state, the rhizome provides a different productive structure that admits multiple presences into the imagined community of Singapore, including the presence of regional signifiers in its historical and cultural formation.