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‘Living with Myths’ kicks off with The Singapore Story, the government-sanctioned version of Singaporeans’ shared past.

Myths I: The Singapore Story 

Living with Myths’ kicks off with The Singapore Story, the government-sanctioned version of Singaporeans’ shared past. 

  • The myth that historical research can be a threat to national security or social cohesion - Hong Lysa

  • Active or apathetic? The ‘absence’ of student activism in the University of Malaya in Singapore - Edgar Liao


Myths II: Silent Spaces of History

Session 2 enters the silent spaces of The Singapore Story and brings to light fragments of other pasts. 

  • Imperium: Myths and the Nature of Governance in Singapore - Pingtjin Thum

  • Social Welfare in Singapore: Myth and History - Ho Chi Tim

  • Heritage in Singapore: Performance of Identities or Knowledge of the Past? - Wong Chee Meng


Myths III: Beginnings

Myths III considers what SG50 means by probing three issues on our birth as a nation.

Huang Jianli problematizes the popular rags-to-riches stories of our Chinese migrant community. Seng Guo-Quan scrutinizes the charges of communism in Lee Kuan Yew’s Battle for Merger talks. Lee Kah-Wee unravels the myths surrounding the 2005 casino debates, returning to earlier debates on Singapore and Las Vegas.


Myths IV: Multiculturalism

Myths IV explores multiculturalism, an important plank of Singapore’s policy and identity.


Imran Tajudeen complicates the idea of ‘racial enclaves’ in a walk through colonial Singapore’s culturally diverse spaces. Lai Ah Eng similarly takes us through the ‘maze and minefield’ of multiculturalism. Elaine Ho discusses the challenges facing multiculturalism as Singapore transforms into a cosmopolitan city.


Myths V: Linear Narratives

Myths V investigates three linear narratives.


Koh Keng We looks beyond Raffles at the historical forces behind the rise of modern Singapore. Liew Kai Khiun traces a mostly unknown history of civil society from the 19th century. Philip Holden unpacks the notion of our national development ‘from Third World to First’, and wonders if better myths exist.


Myths VI: Apathy

Myths VI unpacks the myth of apathy and backwardness in national history.


Loh Kah Seng looks at how Singaporeans, such as urban kampong dwellers, have expressed their historical agency. Jack Chia traces the social activism of the Singapore Buddhist Welfare Services. Jason Lim examines the social history of an extinct trade, the trishaw riders.


Myths VII: Discipline and Proscribe

Myths VII deals with the making of the nation, examining official efforts to shape the national identity and proscribe transgression. 


Christine Han explores the myth of Singaporeanness in citizenship education, while Teo Soh Lung traces the history of the Law Society in the 1980s, and Chua Beng Huat discusses the banning of the film, To Singapore, with Love.


Myths VIII: Danger and Development

Myths VIII throws light on dark areas and seductive buzzwords.


Ian Chong reconsiders Singapore’s external threats. Laavanya Kathiravelu rethinks our racial categories. Arthur Chia peers behind the new discourse of innovation.





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