ABSTRACT

Consumerism has been expanding rapidly in Singapore, a consequence of the relative affluence of the population, after more than three decades of continuous economic growth since mid1960s. This feeding frenzy has rendered Singaporeans open to the accusation of being 'materialistic' at the expense of other values; this criticism is often heard not only from foreigners but also among Singaporeans themselves. Yet, a very large part of the frenetic rate is the consequence of the releasing of frustrated desires imposed by decades of under-development. Consumption is thus one of the many avenues of catching-up with the modern world, symbolized by the owning of all forms of conceivable household and personal commodities; such as televisions, video tape-decks, refrigerators, telephones, cars and fashionable clothes. All these items are imported from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and America. Like other successful Asian economies, Singapore is driven by exporting as much of its industrial product as possible; however, unlike most of them, Singapore produces little of its own consumption goods.