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Title: Reconstructing the history of National Service : confronting marginalisation from below
Authors: Tan, Chun Keong
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::History
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: This essay argues that social marginalisation has, in many ways, shaped subaltern servicemen and women’s experiences in national service, in which their experiences, consciousness and agency were undermined by the state’s construction of official history in a neoliberal authoritarian regime. It problematises the state’s utilisation of the belief that National Service was a social leveller that integrated Singaporeans from different racial, religious, and class backgrounds in the official narrative of Singapore’s history; and it seeks to provide a revisionist military history that unearths the memories and experiences of marginalised Singaporeans who had served in the Singapore Army in the early years of National Service. Through oral interviews with respondents who had experienced NS from 1967-80, this research attempts to illustrate how subaltern experiences have differed from hegemonic narratives. This research concludes that the divergence between hegemonic narratives and the respondents’ narratives is a result of the tendency for subalterns to be influenced by the state’s historiography of a linear poverty-to-wealth narrative. Hence, the study of “history from below” can be demonstrated to be the key to the emergence of a more diverse, plural, and discursive history.
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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