Choosing What to Remember in Neoliberal Singapore: The Singapore Story, State Censorship and State-Sponsored Nostalgia

Kenneth Paul Tan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article interrogates the persistence of heavy-handed censorship of political films in Singapore at a time of cultural liberalisation when the state has generally shown greater tolerance for alternative political expression in theatre, the literary arts, academia and public events. Part of this has to do with the focus of these films on political dissidents and their greater capacity to present a fundamental challenge to The Singapore Story, which is the regime-legitimising official account of Singapore’s history. It also has to do with the power and outreach of relatively low-budget independent films and the documentary genre in particular to evoke alternative histories vividly, give voice to the silenced, and channel these voices digitally into the collective cinematic and social media experience of the present. With the jubilee celebrations of 2015, the ruling party has been working hard to regain hegemony after experiencing its worst electoral losses in the 2011 general elections. Its main approach for achieving this has been to sponsor widespread national nostalgia coupled with highly selective censorship of political films that challenge the dominant official discourse in ways that can erode the government’s electoral dominance and political authority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalAsian Studies Review
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Tan Pin Pin
  • Martyn See
  • neoliberal global city
  • creative economy
  • film censorship
  • Singapore politics
  • The Singapore Story
  • nostalgia

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