Term 2: Week 1 (22/03/2011)
Nation Building in Singapore: Ideological and Conceptual Considerations.

The failure of the merger to reconcile political differences between UMNO and the PAP mean that Singapore was obliged to leave Malaysia in 1965. But the resulting ideological grains of a ‘nation’ and its ‘people’ were however far more lasting for the PAP government and the newlyIndependent Singapore. At independence a new ‘nation’ had to be created and produced. This was achieved through the concept of “National Interest”, which lends substance to the abstract entity of a nation (Chua, p. 106).

In the previous section, Bonding Singapore was aimed at forging a Nation i.e. having a National Identity. So what is this Singaporean National Identity? According to one author (Prof. Chan Heng Chee from NUS) National identity is the, “creation of a tightly organized and highly disciplined citizenry all pulling in the same direction with the sense of public spiritedness and self sacrifice in the national interest” (Chan, cited in Chua, p. 106).

In order to understand this rather abstract concept, it may be imperative to understand the historical context in 1965. The failure of the merger agreement of 1963 meant that Singapore was legally obliged to leave the Federation of Malaysia on 9 Aug 1965. What problems did PM Lee face in 1965? Watch the video before updating your inputs by accessing this document.