Problematic Singapore Malays: The Making of a Portrayal
This monograph is about the portrayal of the Malays by the government, as found in the mainstream media in Singapore. The dominant feature of this portrayal is what the author describes as the ‘problematic Singapore Malays’. Two main characteristics emerged: that the Malays are “lagging behind” despite visible progress, and portrayal of their “doubtful loyalty”.
Through a survey of newspaper reports from the period of the 1960s to the 1990s, this paper argues that the sustained reproduction of ‘the problematic Malays’ occurs through (1) continuous identifying of new areas requiring attention, and (2) making comparisons of progress between ethnic groups at a given point of time instead of looking at longitudinal progress. Overall, it is a clear indication of the consistent gazing upon the Malays.