Singapore, Nationalism, Global City, Cosmopolitanism
The focus and aim of this term paper is to analyze and explore the concept of nationalism in Singapore with the help of exploring and analyzing different steps and measures on part of government including the promotion of its National Day Parade. In order to understand this phenomenon it is important to first define the concept of nationalism.
Nationalism was considered a historical concept since long and was ignored by the political philosophy. Its importance has revived in the political concept since last two decades. In the recent years the concerns for international justice have evolved greatly therefore the focus has shifted from nationalism to international justice. The issues of terrorism, clash of civilization and supremacy controls have centered the attraction of international political concerns and have created public attention. According to the Graham Evans and Jeffrey Newnham in the dictionary of International Relations the term 'nationalism' is defined as:
The term can be considered in two meanings. Initially it can be used as to identify a behavioral entity where the people pursue certain political and cultural goals. Secondly, it is also used as a sentiment of loyalty toward the nation shared by people with pride.
Thus the concept of 'nationalism' rivet attention towards the concept of nation and the people's behavior in response to the different attributes of the nation. This concept relates to the behavior and attitude of the member of nation towards their national identity and the actions taken by these members towards attainment of political, cultural and religious freedom. The concept of 'nationalism' despite of its numerous and conflicting definitions in the political context, still holds firm affirmation on the historical concept of 'nationalism'. This concept is built on the legitimacy of the nation's association and rights over claims of individual's loyalty and sovereignty in the political programs. The important component of the political program is the territorial sovereignty which is the constituent of power and authority of the state and considered as critical for nationhood. In the era of globalization, where nation is made up of people from diverse cultural background, ethnicity, geographical location, and demographical and psycho graphical patterns the control of financial resources and people's right in the territorial sovereignty is much talked about issue in the political science of nationalism. The classical nationalism views, which were prominent in the 19th century and later become an important jurisprudence in the Europe and Latin American nations, were that the territorial state as political unit is considered to be associated with people from same ethnic cultural group and are vigorously responsible for protecting and propagating their traditions.
The liberal nationalist Ernest Renan have defined the national identity as people forming association and getting together in order to lead independent lives with liberal democratic political needs and national identity to live a meaningful and organized lives (Lim, 2011).
The Concept of a Nation
The liberal nationalism has defined the nation as an organization and alliance of people who consider belonging to the nation with equal political rights and association with the similar political procedures. The civic nationalism has defined that the nation is not the one based on ethnic descent; rather it is a political entity whose fundamental identity is not ethnicity. The concept of nationalism and nation is illustrated in the Ernest Renan lecture in 1882 on 'What is nation?' By defining it as a 'daily referendum' and is dependent on the people desire of living together.
Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism
Nationalism is collectively described as the multifaceted set of attitudes, claims and directive action plan attributed to the fundamental political, moral and cultural values associated with the nation and national identity. Nationalism in its moderate sense can be described as the patriotism defining the loyalty to state. Nationalism is associated with the feelings of individuals belonging to a common nation and there exist unity among the members of the nation. On the other hand the concept of cosmopolitism is that the primary obligation of all people is the fulfillment of common goals irrespective of their geographical or cultural differences and political structure should demonstrate this universality of the moral obligation. Many political theorist and philosophers were confronted with the opposition and dilemma of nationalism and cosmopolitanism and they adopted the mixed philosophy of liberalism-cosmopolitanism and patriotism-nationalism. Charles Taylor said that "we have no choice but to be cosmopolitan and patriots" (ibid, 121).
According to Ernest Gellner, nations and nationalism is contingent that varies with various factors that include culture, religion, societal norms, unity, faith, discipline and morals. Every state can emerge as a nation only when people within a group have similar ideas for independence and dependence. Culture means a system of ideas expressed and practiced through generations and when these cultures are practiced consistently a nation is emerged that is recognized through shared attributes that are passed by the majority of the people. The representative of every nation holds great responsibility, because he is the mover of the nation. The direction set by any representative depicts the future of the nation and whenever a nation progresses or declines its responsibility is majorly upon the leader of the nation (Gellner, 1983).
The paper will explore the hypothesis that the Singapore government is keen to embrace the label of a 'global city' rather than a country -- a priority from promoting nationalism to persuading its citizens to welcome foreigners. The alternate hypothesis is that that Singapore will lack the courage to eventuate this nationalism.
In the term paper the both theories have been examined and produce evidence for the conclusion.
THE EVIDENCE FOR NATIONALISM
The Singapore's leaders have made active contribution towards the national progress and communicate the goals through their action, speeches and books. For them to manage the diverse segment of the global market was a challenging task. When the country has people from various backgrounds, each seeking their interest for betterment and long-term survival, national identity is at vulnerable state and its survival has many threats. Singapore through its political framework has always tried to create a mindset of 'national survival' among the people so that they are committed towards the national goal of progress and prosperity and design their actions according to these set goals.
The political leaders have always encouraged rational decision making process in profound intellectual capacity. They have always taken government as an instrument to promote national harmony on the foundation of 'national survival'. The senior leaders who possess necessary knowledge, skills and experience are considered to be the one taking rightful decisions and often the best possible solution towards solving a problem or national concern. Strategic policy measures have been adopted by the political system of Singapore. They have been devoted in designing policies, programs or campaigns to handle the problems and issues. On its way of expressing Singapore political culture, the young energetic and rising leader Brigadier General (Reserve) Lee Hsien Loong while discussing the threats to national survival due to the declining birth rates has said: "I don't think we should…passively watch ourselves going extinct." Positive attitude of the government policies have always encouraged national harmony and strengthen national unity (Nash, 2001).
Singapore Political Environment:
Singapore is an island stretched across 250 square-miles between Indian Ocean and South China Sea. It is the richest countries of the world. Singapore is the best example of the multiethnic society with the political influence from west and cultural adaptation from the east. Singapore's spirit of success has always been in the logical sequence of their action plan towards the economic development of the country. They believe that economic stability can only bring political authority in the region. Singapore has the honor of getting the rank of seventh among the world's most global cities. It is well-known for its port and trading acidities and is considered as the hub for international trade, business and finance. This region attracts lots of investment from multi-ethnic city as the government and political system is considered to be consistent, well-organized, resourceful and lucrative for business environment (Popke, 2011).
Simplicity with the adaptation in the cultural traits has allowed Singapore to emerge as a global economy with the divergent social structure. Ethnic harmony and religious tolerance are prevailing in the region which strengthens the economic framework. Singapore is confronted with few ethnic conflicts from the immigrants from China, Malaysia and South Asia. Singapore has been shrewd in formulating its ethnic policy to overcome these conflicts and let them be part of minor elements of the society. Since independence it has emerged as a 'global city' constituting population from diverse backgrounds and ethnic group. Singapore has always respected this diversity and encourages identification of Singapore as 'one country, one nation, and one fate'.
Singapore has always been confident and proud on its 'oriental democratic system' which is founded on the pillars of one-party system, emphasized on the political and social stability, transparency in government policy and programs and devoted citizenship all aimed towards economic development of the country. The primitive…