Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144886
Title: SEARCHING FOR A SINGAPOREAN IDENTITY: A STUDY OF KUO PAO KUN AND HIS LEGACY AS A MULTICULTURALIST
Authors: KOH YEE CHENG
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2018
Citation: KOH YEE CHENG (2018-04-23). SEARCHING FOR A SINGAPOREAN IDENTITY: A STUDY OF KUO PAO KUN AND HIS LEGACY AS A MULTICULTURALIST. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The notion of Kuo Pao Kun as an ideal multiculturalist has been used within some theatre and academic circles to advance certain discourses of multiculturalism within Singapore. This thesis thus seeks to complicate understandings of Kuo and show how his works and ideals have been appropriated to fit certain discourses. Through tracing how Kuo’s ideas and perceptions of identity had evolved, I argue that Kuo’s legacy as a multiculturalist is not entirely self-evident. Rather, his culturalist project initially stemmed from his pursuit of creating an alternative Singaporean identity which rejected the state’s policy on cultural homogenisation. He rejected the latter by elevating the cultural value of the individual. By the late 1980s, however, Kuo’s alternative Singaporean identity has also taken a multicultural and multilingual dimension which made for a strong contradistinction with statist racial categorisation. The cumulative effect of Kuo’s works and ideas on the inadequacy of the statist racial models have led him to be popularly remembered as a multiculturalist, which certain groups have used to challenge the state’s multiracial discourse of conflating and essentialising race and culture. Despite such popular perceptions of Kuo, I argue that Kuo’s self-identity should not be confined to the idea of a nation-state. Despite the fact that Kuo have been popularly remembered as a multiculturalist, his ability to locate his identity beyond the idea of a nation-state has also meant that he has transcended a nation-state-centric multiculturalism.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144886
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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