LIVING WITH MYTHS
A Project on Exploring Singapore’s Pasts and Futures
Claims that Singapore was a backward fishing village before the arrival of Raffles, or a dangerous place in the 1950s are commonplace today. These claims are made in discussions of the current state of affairs or future course of Singapore. They go beyond the past and reflect (and reinforce) our perspectives and identities. We call such claims ‘myths’ in the manner that they render history useful for non-historical pursuits.
This forum series unpacks the myths of Singapore history. By myths, we do not mean fabrications, but discursive devices that have become accepted as part of our ‘common sense’. Myths are a shorthand for official discourses and policies; they thus mask countervailing views of history and obscure other possibilities for the future. As Singapore celebrates 50 years of nationhood in 2015, being aware of myths is an important social project that will make us a more mature, self-reflexive and inclusive people.
The series explores the following questions:
What are the foundational myths of Singapore history?
What claims do these myths make about the past, present and future?
Who are the authors and audience?
What has been the social impact?
What other possibilities exist?
The Singapore Story
The myth that all Singaporeans have a shared history
The myth that Singapore is vulnerable, and young Singaporeans must not taken our security for granted
The myth that people’s life experiences mirrored the nation’s progress from Third to First World
The myth that Singaporeans are inert and require constant intervention from the government
Myths of race, religion and culture, both in framing dangerous faultiness and an encompassing multiculturalism
THE PEOPLE BEHIND LIVING WITH MYTHS
Chronicles Research and Education &
James Cook University
University of Oxford
Living with Myths
(Singapore: Ethos Books, 2017).
A PROJECT 50/100 PROJECT
Living with Myths is a core project of Project 50/100. By unpacking the myths of Singapore history, we share the same idea as 50/100 about uncovering new stories and perspectives of the past.