Article | National museums in a global world. NaMu III; Department of culture studies and oriental languages; University of Oslo; Norway; 19-21 November 2007 | ‘We need something of our own’: Representing Ethnicity; Diversity and‘National Heritage’ in Singapore

Title:
‘We need something of our own’: Representing Ethnicity; Diversity and‘National Heritage’ in Singapore
Author:
Emily Stokes-Rees: University of Oxford, UK
Download:
Full text (pdf)
Year:
2007
Conference:
National museums in a global world. NaMu III; Department of culture studies and oriental languages; University of Oslo; Norway; 19-21 November 2007
Issue:
031
Article no.:
002
Pages:
21-37
No. of pages:
17
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Published:
2008-07-16
Series:
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
1650-3686
ISSN (online):
1650-3740
Publisher:
Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet


Everywhere in Southeast Asia; the evidence of cultural diversity is overwhelming. Like many postcolonial states; Singapore encompasses a large number of disparate groups with different languages; religions and lifestyles. Over the past couple decades; government policies have attempted to portray Singapore as a ‘community of communities’; a nation of discrete heritages; united by their co-existence in the same geographical location; but made unique by the presence of an ‘indigenous’ Peranakan culture.

The focal point for this paper is the new national museum of Singapore which; interestingly; comprises a network of new museums representing the various cultural minorities that make up the Singaporean population (the Singapore History Museum and the two new wings of the Asian Civilizations Museum). In particular; I wish to explore the reasons why; and the processes through which a cultural phenomenon (in this case the culture of the Peranakans) becomes defined as ‘national heritage’ by the state. Relatedly; I will also consider how different definitions of heritage are interpreted by Singaporeans and how constructions of a multi-ethnic heritage may co-exist in harmony with the state’s hegemonic aims. To do so; I will focus first on the Singaporean museums’ attempt to invent a Peranakan heritage and appropriate a sense of ‘indigenousness’ in the project of nation building; and secondly on a recent exhibition on marriage which; I believe; attempts to put forward a Singaporean identity based on the portrayal of the nation as a multi-ethnic ‘community of communities’.

National museums in a global world. NaMu III; Department of culture studies and oriental languages; University of Oslo; Norway; 19-21 November 2007

Author:
Emily Stokes-Rees
Title:
‘We need something of our own’: Representing Ethnicity; Diversity and‘National Heritage’ in Singapore
References:

Anderson; Margaret and Reeves; Andrew 1994. ‘Contested Identities: Museums and the Nation in Australia’ in Flora Kaplan; ed. Museums and the Making of Ourselves: The Role of Objects in National Identity. London: Leicester University Press; 79–124.


Ashworth; G. J. 1994. ‘From History to Heritage: From Heritage to Identity: in Search of Concepts and Models’ in Ashworth; G. J and Larkham; P. J. Eds. Building a New Heritage: Tourism; Culture and Identity in the New Europe. London: Routledge; 13–30.


Ashworth; G. J and Larkham; P. J. Eds. 1994. Building a New Heritage: Tourism; Culture and Identity in the New Europe. London: Routledge.


Benjamin; G. 1976. ‘The cultural Logic of Singapore’s Multiracialism’ in R. Hassan; ed. Singapore: Society in Transition. Kuala Lumpur and New York: Oxford University Press; 115–133.


Brown; David. 1994. The State and Ethnic Politics in Southeast Asia. New York; Routledge.


Burgess. 1996. Ethnicity; Nationalism and Identity in Canada. Toronto: Macmillan.


Chang; T.C.; et al. 1996. ‘Urban Heritage Tourism: The global-local nexus’ Annals of Tourism Research. 23(2); 284–305.


Chen; Stephen. 2003. ‘Engineering a Nation: Singapore’s Development as Enclosure and Myth’ Unpublished paper; Singapore.


Chiew; Seen Kong. 1983. ‘Ethnicity and National Integration: The Evolution of a Multi-Ethnic Society’ in P. S. J. Chen. ed. Singapore Development Politics and Trends. Singapore; Oxford University Press.


Chua; B.H. and Kuo; E. 1990. ‘The Making of a New Nation: Cultural Construction and National Identity in Singapore’ (Working Paper #104). National University of Singapore; Department of Sociology.


Chun; Uck-lunn Allen. 1996. ‘Discourses of Identity in the Changing Spaces of Public Culture in Taiwan; Hong Kong and Singapore’ Theory; Culture and Society. 13(1); 51–75.


Clammer; John. 1985. Singapore: Ideology; Society and Culture. Singapore: Chopmen.


Clifford; James. 1988. The Predicament of Culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


Committee on Heritage. 1988. Report. Singapore: Committee on Heritage.


Coombes; Annie. 1988. ‘Museums and the Formation of National and Cultural Identities.’ Oxford Art Journal. 11; 57–68.


De Castro; J. 2002. ‘Mestizo Nations’: Culture; Race and Conformity in Latin American Literature. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.


Gillis; John R. 1994. Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Graburn; Nelson. 1997. ‘Tourism and cultural development in East Asia and Oceania’ in S. Yamashita; K. H. Din and J. S. Eades eds. Tourism and Cultural Development in East Asia and Oceania. Kuala Lumpur: University of Kebangsaam Malaysia; 194–214.


Granatstein; J. L. 1998. Who Killed Canadian History. Toronto: HarperCollins Ltd.


Hall; C. M. and Oehlers; A. L. 2000. ‘Tourism and Politics in South and Southeast Asia: political instability and policy. In Hall and Page; eds. Tourism in South and Southeast Asia. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann; 77–93.


Henderson; Joan C. 2003. ‘Ethnic Heritage as a Tourist Attraction: the Peranakans of Singapore’ International Journal of Heritage Studies. 9(1); 27–44.


_____. 2002. ‘Tourism and Colonial Heritage in Singapore’ Tourism; Culture & Communication. Vol.3; 117–129.


Hill; M. and Lian; K. F. 1995. The politics of nation building and citizenship in Singapore. London: Routledge.


Kaplan; Flora. Ed. 1994. Museums and the Making of Ourselves: The Role of Objects in National Identity. London: Leicester University Press.
Karp; I. and Lavine; S. Eds. 1991. Exhibiting Cultures. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution.


Kirshenblatt-Gimblett; Barbara. 1995. ‘Theorizing Heritage’ Ethnomusicology. 39(3); 367–380.


Kuo Pao Kun; 1994. ‘Commentary’ in Lee Weng Choy; ed. Art vs. Art: Conflict & Convergence. The Substation Conference 1993; Singapore.


Kwok; Kenson. 1999. ‘The New Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore’ in Archiv furVolkerkunde. Vol.50; 163–169.


Kwok; Kian Woon. 1998. ‘Reflections on Memory and Identity in Singapore’ in David Chan and Mary Chuah; eds. Memory and Identity. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press.


Lai; A.E. 1995. Meanings of Multiethnicity: A Case Study of Ethnicity and Ethnic relations in Singapore. Oxford and Singapore: Oxford University Press.


Lowenthal; David. 1994. ‘Identity; Heritage and History’ in John R Gillis; ed. Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 41–57.


MacCannell; Dean. 1992. Empty Meeting Grounds: The Tourist Papers. London: Routledge.


MacDonald; George. 1989. ‘Crossroads of Cultures: The New Canadian Museum of Civilisation’ in in Leslie Tupper; Ed. Towards the 21st Century: New Directions for Canada’s National Museums. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilisation; 30–40.


_____. and Alsford; Stephen. 1989. A Museum for a Global Community: The Canadian Museum of Civilization. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.


Massey; Doreen. 1993. ‘A global sense of place’. In A. Gray and J. McGuigan; eds. Studying Culture. London: Edward Arnold; 232–40.


Ministry of Culture; Singapore. 1984. Singapore 1984. Singapore: Information Division; Ministry of Culture (SHM museum clippings).


National Heritage Board. 2002a. Treasures of Time. Singapore: Times International Publishing.


_____. 2002b. Annual Report 2001–2002. Singapore: National Heritage Board.


_____. 1998. Singapore: journey into nationhood. Singapore: National Heritage Board and Landmark Books.


Ooi; Can-seng. 2001. ‘Tourist Historical Products: Packaged Pasts of Denmark and Singapore’ in Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. 1(2); 114–132.


Peet; R. J. 1989. ‘World Capitalism and the Destruction of Regional Cultures’ in R.J. Johnston and P.J. Taylor; eds. A World in Crisis? Oxford: Basil Blackwell; 175–199.


Robins; K. 1991. ‘Tradition and Translation: National Culture in its Global Context’ in J. Corner and S. Harvey; eds. Enterprise and Heritage: Crosscurrents of National Culture. London; Routledge: 21–44.


Rudolph; Jurgen. 1998. ‘Reconstructing Collective Identities: The Babas of Singapore’ Journal of Contemporary Asia. 28(2); 203–232.


Schildkrout; Enid. 1995. ‘Museums and Nationalism in Namibia’ Museum Anthropology. 19(2); 65–77.


Siddique; Sharon. 1989. ‘Singaporean Identity’ in Kernial Singh Sandhu and Paul Wheatley; eds. Management of Success: The Moulding of Modern Singapore. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies; 563–577.


Simpson; Moira G. 1996. Making Representations: Museums in the Postcolonial Era. London: Routledge.


Singapore Tourism Board. 1998. Riding the Asian tidal wave: Singapore tourism conference ’98. Singapore: Singapore Tourism Board.


Smith ; M. Estellie. 1997. ‘Hegemony and Elite Capital: The Tools of Tourism’ in E. Chambers; Ed. Tourism and Culture: An Applied Perspective. New York: State University of New York Press; 199 –214.


Stocking; George. Ed. 1985. Objects and Others: Essays on Museums and Material Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.


Tan; C.B. 1993. Chinese Peranakan Heritage in Malaysia and Singapore. Kuala Lumpur: Fajar Bakti.


Usner; D. et al. 2000. Creolization in the Americas (The Walter Prescott Wed Memorial Lectures; 32). Texas A&M University Press.


Wee; C.J.W-L. 1993. ‘Contending with Primordialism: The ‘Modern’ Construction of Postcolonial Singapore’ positions. 1(3): 715–744.


Wee; Lea. 2000. ‘The return of the Peranakan’ in The Straits Times. Singapore; December 6; L4.


Williams; R. 1961. The Long Revolution. London: Penguin.


Yeoh; Brenda S.A. 2001. ‘Postcolonial Cities’ Progress in Human Geography. 25(3): 456–468.


Yeoh; B. and Huang; S. 1996. ‘The Conservation-redevelopment dilemma in Singapore’ Cities. 13(6); 411–422.


Zedde; Kathryn. 1998. ‘Societies in Conflict: Museums and the Creation of ‘National Identity’’ (unpublished paper) University of Victoria; Canada.


Internet


Asian Civilsations Museum; http://www.acm.org.sg/home/home.asp


National Museum of Singapore; http://www.nationalmuseum.sg/

National museums in a global world. NaMu III; Department of culture studies and oriental languages; University of Oslo; Norway; 19-21 November 2007

Author:
Emily Stokes-Rees
Title:
‘We need something of our own’: Representing Ethnicity; Diversity and‘National Heritage’ in Singapore
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
No citations available at the moment