Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/179823
Title: WHEN WEST IS BEST : EXPLORING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SINGAPOREAN WOMEN AND CAUCASIAN MEN
Authors: GWENDOLINE ANNE LIM SIU KIAO
Issue Date: 2000
Citation: GWENDOLINE ANNE LIM SIU KIAO (2000). WHEN WEST IS BEST : EXPLORING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SINGAPOREAN WOMEN AND CAUCASIAN MEN. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Singapore boasts of multi-racial harmony where people of various races live in peace side by side. It has a history of being a British colony where White men ruled and were seen as superior, an ideology shared by locals as well. Today, Singaporeans believe that they have come a long way since those days and are free from serving those old colonial masters. My thesis takes a look at an aspect of the ethnic relations in Singapore in the 21st century and how we have evolved since then. My work focuses on relationships between Singaporean women and Caucasian men within the context of a prejudiced local community. Orientalism is so prevalent that local Singaporeans bear much deep seated animosity towards the White expatriates despite increased interaction between the two groups. Locals have a representation of Caucasian men upon which they react in anger against. They also blacklist the women who get into relationships with Caucasian men as Sarong Party Girls: a stereotype heavily laden with negative connotations. The Caucasians and the women in relationship with them also make representations of each other, at the same time reacting to local perceptions. My findings are that not everyone who goes out with a Caucasian may be considered a Sarong Party Girl. Implicit throughout the thesis is the understanding of such a stereotype. However, although locals and Caucasians alike seem to know what the criteria is for describing such a woman, they are unable to categorize anyone as one. Locals explaining why Singaporean women are attracted to Caucasian men always make the women appear materialistic and self-derogatory by exchanging sex for a desirable lifestyle. I suggest that underlying the animosity towards the Singaporean women is a anger at being rejected as the choice group of identification. Caucasian expatriates do not fit snugly into the stereotype which locals have constructed of them. They give reasons different from local explanations as to why they get involved with Singaporean women. Although the reasons are not different from why locals themselves have relationships, the scrutiny of mixed relationships remains a problem from all parties because it is the center of conflicting beliefs and behaviours. The women in relationships with Caucasian men are the convergence of deviance, gender and ethnicity. They suffer dissonance as a result of religious beliefs and their behaviour in the mixed relationship. They also bear the brunt of prejudice on both Local and Caucasian fronts. Family, education, the mass media and religion play a part in socializing women into being attracted to the Western, male Other. However, as only a small percentage of Singaporean women actually end up in relationships with Caucasians, the conclusion is that an extra motivating factor might be at work which is a history of bad relationships with local men.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/179823
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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