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Authors: Queenie Yeo Yuan Wen
Keywords: Singapore Day, Overseas Singaporeans, National belonging, Diaspora strategy, State-diaspora engagement
Issue Date: 2016
Citation: Queenie Yeo Yuan Wen (2016). THE QUEST FOR NATIONAL BELONGING: A CASE STUDY OF SINGAPORE DAY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Organised by the Overseas Singaporean Unit, Singapore Day is a single-day carnival held annually in cities with sizeable Overseas Singaporean communities since 2007. It is a diaspora strategy that has been engaged by the Singaporean state eight times since its inception to connect with the Singaporean overseas population, which has been burgeoning in size. This thesis utilises three research methods, namely discourse analysis, semi-structured interviews and secondary resources, to examine whether Overseas Singaporeans’ participation in Singapore Day fosters national belonging towards Singapore. Explicating and taking the divergence of understandings in national belonging as starting point, this thesis highlights that although the execution of Singapore Day was purposefully controlled by the state in order for the event to be underpinned by its understandings of national belonging, the execution simultaneously provided opportunities for OS to respond spontaneously in ways that enabled OS to foster national belonging in them according to their understandings. By reverting to the Singaporean way of life and establishing connection with their Singapore-based family and friends with technological use, OS were able to bridge the divergence in understandings of national belonging they have with the state. However, OS found the programming of Singapore Day by the state to be excessive and an area for improvement. Hence, I argue that Overseas Singaporeans’ participation in Singapore Day has potential to foster national belonging towards Singapore, despite the divergence in understandings of national belonging between the Singaporean state and Overseas Singaporeans. Yet, Singapore Day could be further improved on for more targeted and efficient execution in fostering national belonging in OS. Apart from filling conceptual lacunas in existing scholarship, I put forth the conclusion of this thesis as an important argument to consider in policymaking pertaining to OS in Singapore.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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