Living with Myths in Singapore
Loh Kah Seng, Thom Ping Tjin, Jack Meng-Tat Chia
Singapore is a mythic nation, where our ‘reality’ and ‘common sense’ are conditioned by a group of influential myths. Our main myths are examined in this collection of essays and thoughts on the social ramifications of myth-making: The Singapore Story (that our nation has a singular story), From Third World to First (our story of success), Vulnerability and Faultlines (the threats we still face despite success) and A Deficient People (the threats exist because people remain immature).
Myths build social consensus but also marginalise crucial stories, perspectives and possibilities that don’t fit the main narrative. Should we teach our students to be good citizens by telling them one unifying narrative of Singapore, or many varied narratives? Have we always said no to social welfare, or to the casino? Is liberal democracy necessarily a threat to social stability? Have Singaporeans historically been apathetic, ignorant or irrational?
The contributors to this book believe that knowing, and debating, how we live with myths will help us to better understand Singapore today, and to imagine its future. Here they share the robust discussions and debates which took place from 2014 to 2015 even as Singapore celebrated 50 years of full independence.