Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155607
Title: A GREAT NEW WORLD? THE WORLD AMUSEMENT PARKS AND THE SHAPING OF ORDER IN JAPANESE-OCCUPIED SINGAPORE, 1942 - 1945
Authors: GOH SENG CHUAN JOSHUA
Keywords: Great World
New World
Amusement Park
Japanese Occupation of Singapore
Spatial Governmentality
Issue Date: 22-Apr-2019
Citation: GOH SENG CHUAN JOSHUA (2019-04-22). A GREAT NEW WORLD? THE WORLD AMUSEMENT PARKS AND THE SHAPING OF ORDER IN JAPANESE-OCCUPIED SINGAPORE, 1942 - 1945. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Numerous works have attended to the historical, cultural, and business dimensions of the New World and Great World Amusement Parks, two of Singapore’s most prominent leisure complexes between the 1920s and 1970s. None, however, has explicitly assessed the parks’ operations with relation to the Japanese Occupation of 1942–1945. This lacunae stems in part from scholars’ preoccupation with evaluating the Worlds as emblems of colonial cosmopolitanism, and the perceived incongruence between the existence of leisure spaces and the harshness of Japanese rule. This thesis demonstrates, however, that the functioning of New World and Great World in Japanese-occupied Singapore constituted a means of spatial governmentality fully exploited by occupying authorities in their attempt to order life in the city. In fact, the space of the amusement park was imbricated in Japanese attempts to shape the political, moral, and economic order in occupied Singapore. The reopening of the Worlds in the first year of the Occupation projected a sense of normalcy, but it also functioned as a spatial manifestation of a cooperative relationship that had been established between Japanese authorities and the city’s influential Chinese community. Following the commencement of operations, attention shifted to how the Worlds could serve as crucibles for the pragmatic management of vices such as gambling and cabarets. Deteriorating economic conditions by 1943 and 1944 then resulted in the Worlds being deployed as exhibitionary spaces to articulate Japanese visions of an economic New World Order. An analysis of the wartime Worlds thus draws attention to how the operation of these parks constituted a means of social and spatial control, one that moreover proved malleable to serve the shifting priorities of occupying authorities over time.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155607
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