Singapore's National Day Rally speech: A site of ideological negotiation

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28 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the inaugural National Day Rally speeches of three Singapore prime ministers. It locates these speeches in the continuous ideological work that the People's Action Party (PAP) government has to do in order to maintain consensus and forge new alliances among classes and social forces that are being transformed by globalisation. Increasingly, these speeches have had to deal with the contradictions between nation-building and the tensions between the liberal and reactionary tendencies of the global city. It is argued that such a situation has made it futile for the government to attempt a straightforward ideological mobilisation of the people into a relatively homogeneous national community. The PAP government's ideological struggle to forge consensus has been balanced by a strategy of divide-and-rule. Ironically, the rally speeches have been as much about dividing as they have been about uniting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-308
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jul 2007
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

User-Defined Keywords

  • Singapore
  • People's Action Party
  • National Day
  • nation-building
  • political liberalization
  • hegemony


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