The Singapore state emerged out of a political environment that was uncertain and unstable. Fresh from the racial riots and disagreements with the Malaysian counterparts over issues regarding racial policy and the common market, independence was thrusted onto Singapore on August 9th 1965. Forming the sovereign state was relatively quick, however forming the nation was more challenging.
45 years on, a common question among Singaporeans today is “What makes us Singaporean?”. What gives us our Singaporean identity? A report inthe Straits Times on December 25th 2010, reported that among the youth of Singaporeans, “95% of children who were as young as six were proud to be Singaporean”. They valued Singapore’s cultural diversity, meritocracy and racial and religious harmony and claimed these were the defining traits of Singapore, of a Singaporean.
Today’s economic climate requires the migration of many foreign talents into our shores to beef up our economy. Many of these foreigners stay long enough to acquire PR status and even citizenship. Can these new citizens be called Singaporeans? Or just simply Singapore citizens?
To be Singaporean, one can argue that there is a need to have a collective experience and knowledge of the country’s culture and a sense of History. Being born and bred here, naturalises us here as Singapore citizens We grow up picking up and learning Singapores culture and History. However, how far can this idea that “Singaporeans are people who are knowledeable about its History and culture” be supported? Are Singaporeans in tune with their History and culture? The videos below showcases snippets of Singaporeans within our society. In our global age, is it necessary to distinguish between the Singaporean and the Singapore citizen?