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Title: Alfian Sa'at : negotiating the inauthenticity of Singapore's identity
Authors: Yee, Kenneth Shaoyong
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::Singapore
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: In this essay, I will first be discussing how Alfian approaches each point with close readings of his poems. The first issue is that of the oversimplification of the different racial groups in Singapore, which is really an issue of the loss of individual identity. This is a very real concern to Alfian, and it has led to problems such as racial stereotyping and profiling. I will be using my analyses of “Minority Report”, and “The Marooned Island” from A History of Amnesia and One Fierce Hour respectively, to explain the problems, culturally speaking, with this issue. The second way in which authenticity can be assessed is the public housing of Singapore, where one policy set up because of this is the “Ethnic Integration Policy” that the Singapore government introduced in 1989, whose objective is to “foster racial tolerance and harmony” (Ooi 12). Essentially, the policy ensured that there would be a “good mix" (12) of different races in public housing estates, and these racial limits or quotas “maintain the racial mix within each block and neighbourhood” (12). This second approach deals with the multiracial aspect of the communal identity, living in multiracial Singapore. The works that I will be analysing are “The Last Kampung”, “Void Deck”, and “Neighbours”. The third way that Alfian’s works evaluate the authenticity of Singapore’s identity is in the way the Singapore government has created reified icons and symbols to represent Singapore. This matter is concerned with the national aspect of Singapore’s identity, how it has chosen to portray itself, and what it means for its citizens. To better understand this concept of Singapore creating representations of itself, I will be referring to “The Merlion” as well as “Singapore You Are Not My Country”. I expect to show, at the end of this essay, that Alfian does not accept the national identity as authentic and true representations, and that both the Singapore government and its citizens are responsible for this.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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