Singaporean Youth and No Sense of Belonging Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Singaporean Youth and No Sense of Belonging

With the entrance of foreigners, Singaporean youth claims to have lost their sense of belonging and ownership in Singapore, this was reported by a 23-year-old student at one convention when the guest speaker was saying something quite the opposite. The Singaporean youth doesn't know "what it is defending anymore" since the influx of foreigners in the country has caused fragmentation of nationalistic spirit. There is no single identity attached to being a Singaporean and hence the youth doesn't have the same sense of ownership that it once enjoyed because it no longer believes that Singapore belongs to any single national identity. What the youth is now experiencing is something that has long been felt in the political circles and argued in political discourse i.e. lack of sense of belonging and increased alienation.

It must be understood that the problem goes back to the time of Singapore's inception. When Singaporean was carved out of Malaysia out of fear of dominance by its massive Chinese population, it was a young almost hapless nation. In 1965, Singapore came into existence amid a strong fear that it might not be able to survive since it lacked natural resources and anything else to depend on. The only thing that it had was a vast pool of talented people and Singapore decided to use this resource to its advantage by becoming more global in its approach. It adopted English as the official language, sent many Singaporean abroad to study and imported many foreigners to complement the existing talent pool. These strategies worked for giving Singapore a much-needed sense of existence. It became an epitome of success and progress. However what the leaders like Lee had never imagined or envisioned as a possible by-product of success happened as well. This was the emerging sense of disconnect that occurred in the people of Singapore to their own country and their identity. Singapore had chosen to become intensely and extensively global even before the word globalization was in vogue. But this globalization took away its sense of nationalism and put its national identity at risk of going into oblivion.

This loss of national identity also took away the sense of belonging and ownership that Singaporean should have felt in their country. They were aliens in their own land and hence those who moved abroad never really wanted to come back. They did not feel any sentimental attachment to their nation, which was already too young to truly establish a national identity. The country has lost its ability to carve out a nation from a seemingly disparate group of people like Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. Who is a real Singaporean is a question worth pondering and it is sad that there is no real answer hitherto available to this very critical question. Globalization has not worked as well for Singapore in terms of nation building as it has for other countries especially United States. If there is any country that has managed to import people from all…

Sources Used in Document:


Kluver, R. & Weber I. Patriotism and the Limits of Globalization: Renegotiating Citizenship in Singapore. Journal of Communication Inquiry 27:4 (October 2003): 371-388

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