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Title: The awakening (1984) : producing a Chinese-Singaporean identity in multiracial Singapore
Authors: Chua, Qing Yan Heather
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: This thesis studies The Awakening (1984), Singapore’s first locally produced long-running drama series, and argues that it was the government’s tool to instil a common Chinese-Singaporean identity and past to its Chinese viewers. It further contends that this carefully curated Chinese-Singaporean image was a calculated race-based strategy to overcome the domestic and global challenges of the 1980s. Lastly, this paper posits that the varied responses towards the show demonstrate that spreading pedagogical discourse through television programmes was not simply a monolithic, one-directional process. The 53-episode long and four-part Mandarin historical fiction chronologically relates Singapore’s history from the 1920s to 1984. The first instalment covers the Chinese migrant workers’ humble beginnings and struggles. The second features the Japanese Occupation. The third highlights the tumultuous years leading to Independence, while the last conveys the country’s rapid industrialisation and economic development. Singapore Broadcasting Corporation, a statutory body, created the series, and the issues portrayed in it inevitably paralleled the government’s agenda. By examining the characters, plot, scripted dialogue, and visual symbols in the drama, this thesis hopes to highlight the salient themes from the government’s Chinese-centred interpretation of Singapore’s history, and investigate their key intentions of producing such a series.
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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