On 9 August 2015, Singapore celebrated its 50th year of national independence, a milestone for the nation as it has overcome major economic, social, cultural and political challenges in a short period of time. Whilst this was a celebratory event to acknowledge the role of the People’s Action Party (PAP) government, it was also marked by national remembrance as founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died in March 2015.
This book critically reflects on Singapore’s 50 years of independence. Contributors interrogate a selected range of topics on Singapore’s history, culture and society – including the constitution, education, religion and race – and thereby facilitate a better understanding of its shared national past. Central to this book is an examination of how Singaporeans have learnt to adapt and change through PAP government policies since independence in 1965. All chapters begin their histories from that point in time and each contribution focuses either on an area that has been neglected in Singapore’s modern history or offer new perspectives on the past. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, it presents an independent and critical take on Singapore’s post-1965 history.
A valuable assessment to students and researchers alike, Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965-2015 is of interest to specialists in Southeast Asian history and politics.
Table of Contents
1. Negotiating State and Society in Singapore: Rethinking Historical Narratives Jason Lim and Terence Lee 2. Constraint or Restraint? Singapore’s Constitution at 50 Jack Tsen-Ta Lee 3. The Political Opposition and Its Protracted Journey towards a Two-Party System Jason Lim 4. Race Rules in Singapore Geetha Reddy 5. The Changing Landscape of Politics and Language Use in Singaporean Theatre: Towards a Multilingual Praxis Wah Guan Lim 6. The Church and the State in Singapore Terence Chong 7. Hinduisms and Post-Independent Singapore Bittandra Chand Somaiah 8. The Deity Proposes, the State Disposes: The Vicissitudes of a Chinese Temple in Post-1965 Singapore Keng We Koh 9. Defending the Dharma: Buddhist Activism in a Global City-State Jack Meng-Tat Chia 10. The Role of Modern Islam in Singapore Rizwana Abdul Azeez 11. Arts, Aspiration and Anxieties: Cultural Policy in Singapore Terence Lee 12. Rock ‘n’ Roll & the Restringing and Resounding of the Singapore Story Kai Khiun Liew 13. Citizenship Education: 50 Years of Constructing and Promoting National Identity in Schools Christine Han
Jason Lim is Senior Lecturer in Asian History at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Terence Lee is Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Murdoch University, Australia. His recent publications by Routledge include The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore (2010) and Political Regimes and the Media in Asia (2008; co-edited with Krishna Sen). He is Thematic and Reviews Editor (Media and Culture) of the Asian Studies Review and Founding Associate Editor of Communication Research and Practice, both published by Routledge.
"This edited volume was published in part to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the founding of Singapore. However, the editors establish at the outset that they are seeking to look critically at Singapore’s history and culture, so the book is not supposed to serve merely as a celebratory volume of the city-state’s achievements. With this intent in mind, the contributions cohere very well and ultimately present a very useful picture of Singapore today. The 13 chapters cover a range of interesting issues, including such sensitive topics as the mechanics of single party rule, race, language, and religion. All the contributors know Singapore well, and though the chapters are relatively short, their analyses are knowledgeable and nuanced. Although Singapore is not generally a significant focus for teachers in the US, the book will be a reliable resource for university collections that cover religion and ethnicity in Asia, Southeast Asian politics, or other political science collections that might want to examine how Singapore’s somewhat idiosyncratic political system plays out in practice in people's lives."
S. Maxim, University of California, Berkeley
Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.