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|Title:||From Story to Reality: A Study of Selected Life Writing Narratives in Singapore||Authors:||KHOO LILIN||Keywords:||auto/biographies, nationalism, technologies of the self, Asian values, pioneer, discipline||Issue Date:||23-Jun-2009||Citation:||KHOO LILIN (2009-06-23). From Story to Reality: A Study of Selected Life Writing Narratives in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.||Abstract:||This thesis aims to study Singapore auto/biographies written since Independence, how they have shaped the 'social imaginary' , and their participation in processes of nation formation.
In this thesis, I will argue that Singapore auto/biographies can be found to reiterate and support the prevailing state ideology, especially during the 1980s when Asian Values were very much dominant in the social imaginary, although I will also show that there are cracks in and challenges to this script, which become more apparent in the 1990s and 2000s. This thesis is divided into two parts: Chapter One will look at auto/biographies written in the 1970s and 1980s and Chapter Two will look at auto/biographies written after the 1980s.
In Chapter One, I will focus on how many of the pioneer narratives rehearse nationalist tropes or scripts. Pioneer figures such as Yeo Tiam Siew, Wong Ah Fook, Tan Chin Tuan and Ho Rih Hwa took pride in identifying with and adhering to the national script: the narrative of attaining success through hard work, discipline, and caring for the family/community. I will show how these pioneer figures discipline both their lives and life stories to fit into the framework of Asian Values and how these pioneer figures reinforce internalized messages through what Foucault termed as technologies of the Self. These pioneer narratives therefore endorsed in a powerful way the Asian Values that were being championed by the state.
Chapter Two of this thesis will show how many of the narratives written in the 1990s and 2000s invariably pose a challenge to the uniformity of the national story laid out so seamlessly in the pioneer narratives. The hold that Asian Values had over the social imaginary was no longer as trenchant as there were many other new competing concerns in the 1990s/2000s, coupled with the disenchantment with Asian Values after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. This was also in part brought about by the acceleration of globalization, which meant that Singaporeans were exposed to more trans-national influences. These factors resulted in less coherent narratives, as compared to the narratives written earlier. The increase in auto/biographies written by people who are in the margins such as political opposition leaders, members of ethnic minorities, disabled people, and homosexuals in the 1990s and 2000s, can also be observed to negotiate with the main narrative.
|Appears in Collections:||Master's Theses (Open)|
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