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The Fun Pack Song. Let’s start with the bag That’s right, grab your bag It’s the Fun Pack Bag Attack the Fun Pack Hold up your flag, don’t you forget You can wave it, if you feel like it Let’s wave the flag, Wave, wave, wave, let’s wave the flag.

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The fun pack song
The Fun Pack Song

Let’s start with the bagThat’s right, grab your bagIt’s the Fun Pack BagAttack the Fun Pack

Hold up your flag, don’t you forgetYou can wave it, if you feel like itLet’s wave the flag,Wave, wave, wave, let’s wave the flag.

- Recorded live during a NDP dress rehearsal, 2011

Nationalism in singapore

Manufactured & Commercialized

Nationalism in Singapore

* Image composite, individual images from NDP 2011 website

Individual and Society in Asia-Pacific (ASIA1030)

Amy Ng (U4863460)Antony Crisp (U4845766) James Paton (U4675702)


* Boat Quay, 1930s (Singapore Heritage Board, Boat Quay, Present (, NDP 2010, (NDP 2010), Fun Packs (The Straits Times)

A brief history of singapore
A Brief History of Singapore


  • Founded in 1819

  • Conquered by Japanese in 1942

  • Reclaimed by British in 1945

  • Gained self-government in 1959

  • Merger with Malaysia in 1963

  • Split from Malaysia and gained independence in 1965

* Images of flags from Wikimedia Commons

A brief history of singapore1
A Brief History of Singapore


National Flag of Singapore

- National Heritage Board

Score for National Anthem

- National Heritage Board

National day parade ndp
National Day Parade (NDP)

Singapore’s first National Day Parade after independence: 9 Aug 1966

- National Heritage Board

National day parade ndp1
National Day Parade (NDP)

* Image composites from NDP image archives

The fun pack
The Fun Pack

Contents of Fun Pack 2011


The fun pack1
The Fun Pack

Contents of Fun Pack 2011


Nationalism in singapore a foreigner s insight
Nationalism in Singapore: A foreigner’s insight

‘… After 10 minutes in the afternoon heat, hurting feet and not really interested in a pair of plastic flags and old green tea, I asked if we could just pass and go in directly… we got stared at [like we were] the bigheaded, grey skinned alien from the X-Files, “No way!”’

‘We got the first stares after sitting down, unpacking our goodies, placing the Singapore tattoos on our foreheads and waving the little flags around the uncles and aunties to our sides. We thought it was time for celebration. The locals thought we were retards and continued to play on their PSPs.’

‘Through the whole event I couldn’t really spot any big excitement or enthusiasm around us. It looked like people were afraid to express any kind of joy. Maybe they did not have any.’

- Excerpts from

Nationalism in singapore1
Nationalism in Singapore

Bored National Serviceman


Nationalism in singapore the locals point of view
Nationalism in Singapore: The locals’ point of view

‘… My favourite is the Discount Coupons!!!’


‘I complain about not getting a long weekend becauseNational Day is falling on a Tuesday instead of a Monday or a Friday. … And I find myself too busy convincing myself on how the National Day celebration is probablygoing to be boring… ‘


How did this happen
How did this happen?

National development

Economic growth $$$

Economic growth vs national development

Stable nation vs political freedom

Interests of various ethnic groups vs Interests of country

Constructing a national identity
Constructing a National Identity


Language Management

Population management


  • The Manufactured and Commercialized Nature of Nationalism in Singapore

    • ‘Government Project’ (Ortmann, 2009, p. 24)

    • Based on civic symbols instead of ethnicities (Ortmann, 2009, p. 25)

    • Focus on economic development obstructs the forging of a strong Singaporean identity (Yeo, 2003, p. 250)

    • Loss of cultural diversity (Bell, 1997, pp. 6-9; Chang, 1968, p. 761; Maddox, 1962, p. 480)

The end
The End

Thank you for your attention.

Feel free to ask us any questions you may have.


  • Bell, D. (1997) “A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singapore” in Political Theory, vol. 25 no. 1, pp. 6 – 32.

  • Bellows, T. (1990) “Singapore in 1989: Progress in a Search for Roots” in Asian Survey, vol. 30 no. 2, pp. 201 – 209.

  • Cerulo, K. A. (1993) "Symbols and the World System: National Anthems and the Flag" in Sociological Forum, vol. 8 no. 2, pp. 243 – 271.

  • Chang, D.W. (1968) ‘Nation-Building in Singapore’ in Asian Survey, vol. 8 no. 9, pp. 761 – 773.

  • Chew, O. A. J. (1998) “Civics and Moral Education in Singapore: Lessons for Citizenship Education?” in Journal of Moral Education, vol. 27 no. 4, pp. 505-524.

  • Department of Statistics (2010) Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 3: Geographic Distribution and Transport, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore.

  • Hill, M. and Lian, K. F. (1995) The Politics of Nation Building and Citizenship in Singapore, Routledge, London.

  • Kong, L. (1995) ‘Music and Cultural Politics: Ideology and Resistance in Singapore’ in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, vol. 20 no.4, pp. 447 – 459.

  • Lepoer, B. L. (ed.) (1989) Singapore: A Country Study, Library of Congress, 1989, viewed 14 October 2011

  • Maddox, W.P. (1962) ‘Problem Child’ in Council on Foreign Relations, pp. 479 – 488.

  • Milne, R. S. (1966) “Singapore’s Exit from Malaysia; the Consequences of Ambiguity” in Asian Survey, no. 6 no. 3, pp. 175 – 184.

  • Mitchell, K. (2003) "Educating the National Citizens in Neoliberal Times: From the Multicultural Self to the Strategic Cosmopolitan" in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 1 no. 28, pp. 387 – 403.


  • Mutalib, H. (2002) “The Socio-economic Dimension in Singapore’s Quest for Security and Stability” in Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia, vol. 75 no. 1, pp. 39 - 56.NDP 2011 EXCO (2011) NDP 2011 Official Website, Singapore, viewed 19 September 2011, <>.

  • Ortmann, S. (2009) “Singapore: The Politics of Inventing National Identity” in Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, vol. 28 no. 4, pp. 23-46.

  • Richardson, M. (1999) “Youths Would Rather Be White or Japanese: Singapore Identity Crisis?” in The New York Times, viewed 14 October 2011, <>.

  • Yeo, W. W. (2003) “City as Theatre: Singapore, State of Distraction” in Bishop, R., Phillips, J. and Yeo, W. W. (eds.) Postcolonial Urban-ism: Southeast Asian Cities and Global Processes, Routledge, New York.

  • Yeoh, B. S. A., & Chang, T. C. (2003) "'The rise of the Merlion': Monument and myth in the making of the Singapore story" in Yeoh, B. S. A. & Goh, R. B. H. (Eds.), Theorizing the Southeast Asian city as text: Urban landscapes, cultural documents, and interpretive experiences (pp. 29 - 50). River Edge, N.J.: World Scientific.