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Heritage, hybridity, and the global city-state : Singapore’s Peranakan museum Lim, Sharon W.Q. 2014

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HERITAGE, HYBRIDITY AND THE GLOBAL CITY-STATE:  SINGAPORE’S PERANAKAN MUSEUM    by Sharon W.Q. Lim    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Asia Pacific Policy Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)     July 2014    © Sharon W.Q. Lim, 2014  ii   Abstract  This thesis will demonstrate how cultural policies in Singapore are informed by underlying political and socio-economic objectives. The topic addressed is the state’s use of material culture in the Peranakan Museum to meet the demands faced by the repositioning of Singapore as a global city-state without a natural hinterland. My study will make use of the tools offered by various disciplines, including anthropology, history and sociology. This will serve to address the themes of identity construction and nationhood from different angles, while applying these concerns to public policy. It is one of the main aims of this thesis to bring together interdisciplinary scholarship alongside my original research and personal experience at the Peranakan Museum. This thesis will be organized thematically into three chapters, followed by a brief conclusion. Chapter One will centre on two important, interrelated questions: What does the museum tell us about the past of the Peranakan? And how does the museum construct the idea of Peranakan at the present moment? Chapter Two focuses on the museum’s production of nostalgia, intended to anchor Singapore’s global citizens to the nation during times of change. This chapter will also discuss the regional and global uses of Peranakan culture for national branding purposes. Finally, Chapter Three explores why the state feels as if it needs to actively interfere in resolving tensions that have resulted from the reinvention of Singapore as a global city in the twenty-first century.         iii  Preface  This thesis is an original work by Sharon W.Q. Lim. No part of this thesis has been previously published.     iv  Table of Contents   Abstract................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................  ii  Preface  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .....................  iii  Table of Contents  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..  iv  List of Figures  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........  v i  Acknowled gements  ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................  v i i  Dedication  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............  vi i i  Introduction  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............  1  Chapter I: An Origin Story for the Nation  ................................ ................................ ....................  12  1 .1  Peranakan Chinese emphasis ..................................................................................................... 1 3  1 .2  A discourse of hybridity: Promoting a distinct national identity ................................. 15  1 .3  Constructing Peranakan culture as multiculturalism ....................................................... 17  1 .4  Curatorial strategies ...................................................................................................................... 19  Chapter II : Going local, regional and global  ................................ ................................ ...............  29  2 .1  An endangered past ....................................................................................................................... 29  2 .2  Establishing a regional cultural capital  .................................................................................. 3 4  2 .3  Cultural heritage and the "branding" of a global city -state ............................................ 39  Chapter III : In service of the global city - state  ................................ ................................ ...........  4 5  3 .1  Why immigration?  ......................................................................................................................... 4 5  3 .2  The ' Sinicization' of the city  ........................................................................................................ 4 7  3 .3  National identity and social tensions  ...................................................................................... 49  3 .4  Understanding the response from Chinese -Singaporeans  ............................................ 5 3  3 .5  Easing the tensions from the nation in -flux  ......................................................................... 5 4  v  3 .6  National identity and governmentality  .................................................................................. 5 6  3 .7  Learning to read the  national narrative ................................................................................. 58  Conclusion  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............  6 1  Bibliography  ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .........  69   vi  List of Figures  Figure 1    Recreation of a Tok Panjang (long table) setting, featuring the commissioned dinner service of the family of Kapitan Cina Yap Ah Loy .....................................................................20  Figure 2    The showcase of present-day and historic images of Peranakans and enclosed casing with highlighted Peranakan objects in the Origins Gallery  ..................................................2 1  Figure 3    Recreation of a wedding chamber that would have been  used by the bridal couple during the traditional 12 -day Peranakan wedding ceremony ...........................................2 2  Figure 4    The Weddings Gallery also features the largest known example of Peranakan beadwork, a visually striking tablecloth made during the early 20t h century ........................ ...24  Figure 5    Altar sideboard that was used by a Peranakan Chinese family ...................................2 6  Figure 6    Madam Kwa Geok -hoo’s barrister ™ig on display ..........................................................2 7  Figure 7    Next to the objects donated by Lim Kim -San’s famil›, curators have set aside a space in this section to highlight former Deputy Prime Ministe r Goh Keng -S™ee’s contributions ........................................................................................................................................................2 7  Figure 8    A section of the Public Life gallery features photographs of Peranakans in Western dress during the early twentieth century ...............................................................................6 4      vii  Acknowledgements  This thesis can be considered as a compilation of Dzreatest ȋesearchȌ itsdz over the course of my studies at UBC. It was a joy to complete this thesis as it allowed me to combine my academic pursuitsȄmuseums and identity construction, and apply these concerns to the realm of public policy. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor, Dr. Abidin Kusno for being extremely supportive and flexible throughout the entire thesis-writing process. Dr. Kusno played an instrumental role in developing this topic. I have also benefited from the wisdom of Dr. Tsering Shakya and Dr. Lynn Hyung -Gu.   In addition, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Anthony Shelton, Dir ector of the Museum of nthropolog›. r. Shelton’s course has pushed me to criticall› reflect on curatorial practices, something which I usually take for granted when I visit museums. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for supporting my studies in Canada.  It has been a dream come true.   viii  Dedication       To Alan     1   INTRO DU CTIO N    Dzo™ ™ere ™e to create a nation out of a pol›glot collection of migrants from hina, ndia, ala›sia, ndonesia and several other parts of siaǫdz - Lee Kuan -Yew, first Prime Minister of Singapore (195 9 -199 0 ) 1   Throughout its history as an independent nation-state, Singapore has grappled with issues of identity and belonging and how to address them in a post-colonial nationalism unique to the city-state’s contešt. Lee Kuan -Yew, often heralded as the founding father of Singapore, was reflecting on such concerns in the quotation above.  In a contribution to the T paper, drian uah penned an article entitled, Dz	acing up to identit› m›ths and politics in S’pore,dz thus evincing that these concerns remain relevant today. In twenty-first-century Singapore, the issues once considered by Lee Kuan -Yew are now inextricably linked to globalization, migration and the implied risk of a nation -state diminishing in importance. Kuah writes:  Whether the focus has been on the day-to-day issues of jobs, the  cost of living, transport, housing and the like, or on the longer-term ephemeral visions of a shared future, of grave concern has been the erosion of the Singaporean identity by the influx of immigrants brought on by deteriorating demographic trends. The fear is that this sense of Ǯ™e’ ™ill disintegrate, or at least alter irretrievabl›, in the face of Ǯthe›.’2   uah proceeds to consider the Dzdangersdz that toda› threaten the Dzm›thdz of the coherent unified nation-state.3  e sho™s ho™ Dzm›ths, not historical factsdz have formed the foundation for a mythic sense of collective social consciousness based on shared territory across time. 4  The distinction that Kuah makes between myths and historical facts speaks to the contra st                                                           1  Lee Kuan -Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew . (Singapore: Times, 19 98), p. 22.   2  drian . uah, Dz	acing up to identit›, m›ths and politics in S’pore,dz T O D AY, 6 March 2014, accessed 8 April 2014,  http://www.todayonline.com/commentary/facing -identity-myths-and-politics-spore  3  Ibid.  4  Ibid.  2   bet™een Dzhistor›dz and Dzheritagedz that this paper ™ill subse“uentl› address. lthough uahseeks to problematize the ahistorical construction of national identity, he states nevertheless that Dzthe most basic form of identification that people mae is ™ith their localit›,dz an assumption that implicitly naturalizes the nation as the principal site of identification. 5   In contrast to uah’s assumption, Kenneth Pomeranz contends that the tendency to imagine the nation as the primary unit of historical identification is an increasingly outdated legacy inherited from the nineteenth century. 6  Pomeranz suggests that, rather than the nation, categories such as class, ethnicity, and gender may be more important units of historical analysis. 7  While Pomeranz warns historians against what he terms Dzmethodological nationalism,dz8  when addressing global connections past and present, this paper will show how the Singaporean state has attempted to actively intervene amidst the effects of globalization by re-situating socio-cultural heritage as national Dzhistor›.dz  Heritage: its meanings and implications   eparting from this point, it is necessar› to situate the term Dzheritagedz and develop a clearer sense of how this term has been deployed and understood. Stuart Hall has w ritten that the term Dzheritagedz has Dzslipped so innocentl› into ever›da› speech.dz9  Hall attempts to interrogate this term, contending that it speas to the Dz™hole compleš of organisations, institutions and practices devoted to the preservation and presentation of culture and the                                                           5  Ibid.  6  enneth omeranœ, Dzistories for a ess ational ge,dz The American Historical Review 119:2 (April 2014), p. 2.  7  Ibid.  8  Ibid.  9  Stuart all, Dzhose eritageǫ n-settling ǮThe eritage,’ e-imagining the Post-nation,dz Third Text 1 3:49 (1999), p. 3    3   artsȄart galleries, specialist collections, public and private, museums of all kinds (general, survey or themed, historical or scientific, national or local) and sites of special historical interest.dz10  From this broad definition, almost anything related to the past or present of a culture ma› be fairl› regarded as Dzheritage.dz o™ever, not all aspects of a culture are identified in this manner. The process of classification is an active means of selection based on a subjectively deter mined range of criteria that may include aesthetic value, historical and national significance.11  Frequently utilized in determining heritage status, the last criterion is also the most revealing in terms of making evident the ideological aims of heritage preservation. While aesthetic value is subjective, historical significance, though it may be relative in different contexts, is generally more objectively determined. Meanwhile, national significance is contentious as it involves the implicit judgement of w hich perceived historical narratives are important and ™orth preserving as integral to the nation’s heritage. ere, it is important to consider ichael o™land’s observation that the Dzinvention of Ǯcultural heritage’ ™as bound to po™erful m›thologies ™hich seek to reclaim and repossess lost parts, return to imagined homelands and redeem the ™isdom of ancient olden ages.dz12  Thus, heritage is broadly connected to the construction of a national meta-narrative through the active process in determining which cultural elements will be included as part of the story the nation wishes to tell about itself to its own citizens as well as to the rest of world.                                                            1 0  Ibid.   1 1  I refer to the acquisition justification form used by state -run museums in Singapore. For curators to classify an artifactȀart™or as a Dzational Treasure,dz the follo™ing criteria have to be metǣ great national significance, unique and irreplaceable (rare ), great social, historical and aesthetic significance.   1 2  ichael o™lands, Dzeritage and ultural ropert›,dz in The Material Culture Reader, ed. Victor Buchli (Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers), p. 106.   4   As an instrument for telling the story of the nation, heritage operates at multiple levels of engagement. In the rather exceptional case of Singapore, the local context is also a national context. At this level, heritage is deployed mainly as an ideological tool, creating a vision of the nation for its citizens. A report on national museums coordinated by Linkopin g niversit› in S™eden concluded that Dzvisitors over™helmingl› agree that national museums of all inds, not just nationalistic ones, are e› institutions in representing national values.dz13  The report furthermore asserts that, Dznational museums remain essentialising institutions imbued ™ith ideological positions in relation to no™ledge, ethnicit›, lifest›le and histor›.dz14  This means that the narrative being told through such museums is limited and purposeful.  The key themes addressed in this paper are directly connected to my own experience interning at The eranaan useum’s curatorial department in ʹͲͳͳ. uring this brief stint, I began to wonder what the connection was between the historical Peranakans and the later Singaporean nation-stateȄwho was suggesting these linkages and why? Consequently, one of the major concerns addressed throughout this thesis is the Peranakan Museum and the pragmatic uses to which it has been put in the service of various aspects of government policy.  s il› ong has noted, DzSingapore’s economic development can be achieved onl› if Singaporeans are ™illing to support their political leaders and pla› their part in the countr›’s gro™th.dz15  Therefore, this thesis will show how cultural policy is closely intertwined with the government’s socio-cultural agendas and economic vision. lobaliœation and Singapore’s aspirational Dzglobaldz financial hub status have r sulted in changes in the everyday landscape                                                           1 3  P. Aronsson, National Museums Making History in a Diverse Europe , (Linkoping, Sweden: Linkoping University Electronic Press, 2012), p. 64.  1 4  Ibid.  1 5  il› ong, Dzultural polic› in Singaporeǣ negotiating economic and socio-cultural agendas,dz GeoForum 3 1:4 (2000), p. 418.   5   of the city. The material casualties of rapid infrastructural development led to a growing sense of nostalgia among long-time residents. The state has attempted to ease such anxieties, as well as use the collective sense of longing for a vanishing past, by positioning the remaining un-spoiled heritage traces as Dznational.dz t the same time, in order to meet the labour and technological demands of competition in the global economy, the Singaporean government seeks to encourage migration, particularly from Mainland China. As these policies have been met with some ambivalence among the populace, cultural institutions such as museums are utilized in order to achieve the state’s objectives. Sites such as the Peranakan Museum now play an important role in presenting a particular group, the colonial-era eranaans, as ešemplar› Dzmulticulturaldz proto-Singaporeans.  hat is Dzeranaanǫdz   At the outset of this paper, it is necessary to clarif› the term Dzeranaandz and ote its relation to other sometimes synonymous and historically contingent terms. Dzeranaandz refers to one’s indigenous relationship to the land as it comes from the ala› ™ord, anak, ™hich means Dzchild.dz This term is used to identify non-Malays of mixed origins born in Southeast Asia.16  Another term that appears frequently in my sources is DzStraits hinese.dz This term, in contrast to Peranakan, although sometimes used to describe the same people, tends to evoke a more colonial connotation. 1 7  After the end of British colonial rule, the use of term DzStraits hinesedz became increasingl› rare. For example, the Straits Chinese British                                                           1 6  hilip olden, Dzol nial 	iction, ›brid ivesǣ arl› Singaporean 	iction in The Straits hinese agaœine,dz The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 33:8 5 (1998),  p. 96.  1 7  Lee Kam -Hing and Neil Khor Jin -eong, Dzuest for elevanceǣ eranaan hinese olitical eadership in ala›sia,dz in Peranakan Chinese in a Globalizing Southeast Asia, ed. Leo Suryadinata (Singapore: Chinese Heritage Centre and Baba House, 20 10), p. 61.  6   Association which was founded in 1900 was renamed the Peranakan Association in 1966. 18  Given  the historical period ešamined in this paper, the usefulness of the term Dzeranaandz as opposed to DzStraits hinesedz is quite apparent. The former is not nominally tied to any specific racial group, while the latter is explicitly connected in name to the Chinese. In addition to the above terms, Dzabadz ȋfor malesȌ and Dz›on›adz ȋfor femalesȌ have also been used to more specifically distinguish residents with deeper roots in Singapore. While the different meanings and applications of these terms remain a source of some debate, this will not be the main focus of this paper.19  This thesis, focusing closely on the Peranakan Museum, ™ill lie™ise emplo› the term Dzeranaan.dz The first chapter will discuss in greater detail what exactly Dzeranaandz means in the contešt of this study.  Scholarship on Singapore’s museums  In 1993, the National Heritage Board was established as a statutory board under the Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA ). 20  This saw the merger of three separate organizations: the National Archives, National Museum and Oral History Department. 21  This mared a turning point in Singapore’s heritage sector, as ne™ museums began to open in the years that followedȄsuch as the Singapore Art Museum in 1996 and Asian Civilisations                                                           1 8 B onn› uliani Tan, DzStraits hinese ritish ssociation,dz Singapore Infopedia, accessed 8 April 201 4, http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_496 _200 4 -12 -20. html  1 9  Many scholars have deliberated on the terminological distinctions and specific definitions of the terms DzStraits hinese,dz DzStraits-born hinese,dz Dzeranaan,dz Dzaba,dz and Dz›on›adz. 	or example, see: Png Poh-Seng, DzThe Straits hinese in Singaporeǣ  ase of ocal dentit› and Socio-cultural ccommodationdz Journal of Southeast Asian History 10.1 (January 1969), pp. 95 ȂͳͳͶǢ urgen uldolph, Dzpproaching the abasdz in Reconstructing Identities: A social history of the Babas in Singapore.  (England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 19 98), pp. 25 Ȃ64; Tan Chee -eng, Dzntermarriage and the hinese eranaan in Southeast sia,dz in Peranakan Chinese in a Globalizing Southeast Asia, ed. Leo Suryadinata (Singapore: Chinese  Heritage Centre and Baba House, 2010), pp. 27 Ȃ41.  2 0  Tan Lay -uen, Dzational eritage oard,dz S ingapore Infopedia, accessed 8 April 20 14, http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_94_ 2005 -01 -27.html?s=national%20heritage%20board   2 1  Ibid.   7   Museum in 1997. 22  Therefore, scholarship on museums in Singapore is a relatively new area of inquiry that has begun to develop and expand over the past decade. Some of the more important works have been contributed by three scholars: Can-Seng Ooi, Joan Henderson and Emily Stokes -ees. oi’s ™or on cultural services management has focused mainly on the relationship bet™een Singapore’s museums and place-branding and identities. 23  Henderson has examined the way that heritage tourism has been used as a nation -building tool and economic resource in Singapore. 24  Stokes-Rees, an anthropol ogist, has looked at ho™ Singapore’s sian ivilisations useum and the eranaan useum have been used for the promotion of cultural citizenship among the populace. 25    Another significant contribution to this growing literature on museums in Singapore, specifically the Peranakan Museum, is acie oong’s thesis on ešhibitions that focus on Peranakan material culture from 1985 to 2008. 26  By studying the uses of Peranakan culture  in Singapore over three decades, oong sho™s ho™ the Dzperceived representativenessdz of Peranakan culture has expanded between the mid-1980s and the twenty -first-century. 27  Other academic works from the National University of Singapore have similarly examined                                                           2 2  Dzistor› Ƭ ilestones,dz National Heritage Board, accessed 8 April 201 4, http://www.nhb.gov.sg/NH BPortal/AboutUs/History&Milestones     2 3  See: Can-Seng oi, ̶dentities, museums and tourism in Singaporeǣ thin regionall›, act locall›,dz Indonesia and the Mala y World  31:2 (2 003) and Can -Seng Ooi, Tourist historical products: packaged past of Denmark and Singapore,dz Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism  1:2 (2001).     2 4  See: oan . enderson, Dzšhibiting ulturesǣ Singapore’s sian ivilisations useum,dz International Journal of Heritage Studies 11:3 (20 05 Ȍ and . enderson, DzEthnic Heritage as a Tourist Attraction: the Peranakans of Singapore,dz International Journal of Heritage Studies 9:1 ( 2003).   2 5  See: Emily Stokes -ees, Dzaing Sense of  ±langeǣ epresenting ultural itiœenship in Singapore’s sian ivilisations useum,dz Museum Anthropology 36:1 (2013 ) and Emily Stokes -ees, DzǮǮe need something of our o™n’ǣ epresenting thnicit›, iversit› and Ǯational eritage’ in Singapore,dz ȋaper presented at National Museums in a Global World, Department of culture studies and oriental languages, University of Oslo, Norway,  1 9 -21 November 2007).  2 6  acie oong, Dz istor› of eranaan useum šhibitions in Singapore ͳͻͺͷ-ʹͲͲͺ,dz  Thesis, ational University of Singapore, 20 0 9.  2 7  Jackie Yoong, p. 90.  8   the development of the National Museum, which also covers how Peranakan materi al culture has been displayed prior to the establishment of the Peranakan Museum. 28   Thesis contributions   On first glance, my arguments may appear similar to some of this literature, in particular the contributions of Stokes-Rees and Yoong. In addition to synthesizing interdisciplinary scholarship relating to the topic, I believe that this thesis has something new to add to the discussion. It is also important to acknowledge the things that I will not attempt to do in this paper. While museum exhibitions will be discussed, one will not find detailed analysis of these exhibitions through the lens of curatorial interviews and exhibition files. My study is informed both by my experience as an intern and museum visitor, as well as by a broader analysis of Singaporean political discourse and how it relates to the topic of cultural heritage, the Peranakan Museum in particular. Furthermore, this study will attempt to expand upon the scholarship described above, through a close examination of the museum’s narratives and how they are closely linked to government policy. Therefore, I will not be studying the museum in a vacuum, nor working directly from curatorial theories. Instead, I am situating the Peranakan Museum in a national space so as to better understand its complex implications for governing and living in a multi-racial, Dzglobaldz societ›.                                                            2 8  ajamogan, DzThe ational useum in historical perspective, ͳͺ͹Ͷ-ͳͻͺͳ,dz unpublished . onours Thesis, National University of Singapore, 19 87/ 1988, p. 59, notes that it was only in the late 1970s tha t the then-irector of the ational useum, hristopher ooi, started to build the museum’s collection of eranaan objects. Karen L o™, DzThe management of identit›ǣ a case stud› of the ational useum of Singapore,dz unpublished B.A Honours Thesis, National  University of Singapore, 199 3/ 1994, p. 19, posits that the National useum’s Dzliding the hoenišdz ešhibition in ͳͻͻ͵ ™as a ™atershed moment in the development of rene™ed interest in eranaan material culture. o™’s paper includes an interview with a curator who remarked, Dzever has an ešhibition on eranaan je™elr› been done beforeǥ the› mišed ever›thing local and came up ™ith their o™n h›brid st›le ™hich is “uite identifiable and never been highlighted.dz  9   State-run museums in Singapore can be considered as an extension of public policy. hile the government has been careful to acno™ledge Singapore’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious nature, the conceptualization of the nation has in recent years transitioned from the government’s hinese-Malay-Indian-Other ( CMIO) vision of multiculturalism towards an understanding of Singapore as a Dzh›briddz societ›.29  A hybrid society, although not seamlessly assimilated as in the merican Dzmelting potdz model, does impl› that there is a distinct national culture comprised from the mixing of different cultural entities evolving together under the auspices of the state.  Historically, in post -colonial Singapore, hybridization has not been Dzvernacular and organicdz in nature, but rather Dzmechanicall› structureddz according to the CMIO racial grid. 30  Singapore’s separation from the 	ederation of ala›sia in ͳͻ͸ͷ has led to the development of a Dzmultiracial ideolog›.dz Such an ideolog› has been mared less b› the kind of cultural blending that one associates with hybridity and more with racial separation.31  Yet, given the different economic and political stakes toda y, the government has sought to use the Peranakans as a contemporary ideal for a more seamless fusion and hybridity, while de-emphasizing essential differences among Singaporean citizens. 32  Haj Yazdiha  defines h›bridit› as a Dzmeans of reimagining an interconnected collective.dz33  This act of re-imagining is the work that the Peranakan Museum does on behalf of the state and                                                           2 9  In the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), Emily Stokes -ees, Dzaing Sense of  ±lange,dz p. 38, observes that DzSingapore’s cultures are compartmentaliœed and displa›ed ™ith clear boundaries.dz 	ounded in ͳͻͻ͹, ACM is the sister institution of the Peranakan Museum. There are four galleries at ACM which focus on the geographic areas of Southeast Asia, West Asia, South Asia and ChinaȄthe ancestral origins of Singaporeans.     3 0  aniel .S oh, Dzet™een istor› and eritageǣ ost-C lonialism, Globalisation, and  the Remaking of alacca, enang, and Singapore,dz T RaNS : Trans - Regional and - National Studies of Southeast Asia 2:1 (20 14), p. 95.  3 1  arine . ocha, Dzultiplicit› ™ithin Singularit›ǣ acial ategoriœation and ecogniœing Ǯišed ace’ in Singapore,dz Journ al of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 30:3 (2011), p. 103.  3 2  Zarine L. Rocha, p. 100.   3 3  Haj Yazdiha , Dzonceptualiœing ›bridit›ǣ econstructing oundaries through the ›brid,dz Formations 1:1 (2010), p. 36.  10   its current objectives.  This imaginative construction of a shared past and experience relates significantl› to the notion of Dzimagined com unitiesdz, a sociall› constructed concept of community where members maintain a strong sense of kinship despite the lack of personal interaction. 34  Shape of interdisciplinary thesis   My study will make use of the tools offered by various disciplines, including anthropology (museum studies) , history and sociology. This will serve to address the themes of identity construction and nationhood from different angles, while applying these concerns to public policy. It is one of the main aims of this thesis to bring together interdisciplinary scholarship alongside my original research and personal experience at the Peranakan Museum. In this thesis, I hope to show how numerous scholars and figures outside the academy, who many not presently know that they are speaking to one another’s points, are in fact contributing to a common conversation. By combining their works within the space of this thesis, I believe their arguments register more effectively than in disciplinary isolation.  This thesis will be organized thematically into three chapters, followed by a brief conclusion. Chapter One will centre on two important, interrelated questions: What does the museum tell us about the past of the Peranakan? And how does the museum construct the idea of eranaan at the present momentǫ hapter T™o focuses on the museum’s production of nostalgia, intended to anchor Singapore’s global citiœens to the nation during times of                                                           3 4  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Ref lections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, ( London: Verso, 1991), p. 6.    11   change. This chapter will also discuss the regional and global uses of Peranakan culture for national branding purposes. Finally, Chapter Three explores why the state feels as if it needs to actively interfere in resolving tensions that have resulted from the reinvention of Singapore as a global city. The contentious topic of immigration and the historical context of Chinese migration to Singapore will also be examined in this chapter.   hat this thesis aims to sho™ above all else is that Dzheritage is not a neutral conceptual tool. 35  The classification and presentation of obje cts, traditions and ideas as sites of Dzheritagedz is an active process of selection and omission. n his stud› of museums in ong ong, ohn . arroll has observed that Dzcommemoration is as much about forgetting as about remembering.dz36  What is being selected for Dzrememberingdz as national heritage in the case of Singapore’s Peranakan Museum cannot be separated from the active conceptualization of the nation as a coherent entity.                                                             3 5  Michael Rowlands, p. 10 8.   3 6  ohn . arroll, Dzispla›ing the ast to Serve the resentǣ useums and eritage reservation in ost-olonial ong ong,dz T wentieth - Century China 31:1 (November 2005), p. 97.   1 2   I. AN ORIGIN STO RY FOR THE NATION  Officially opened in April 2008 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien -Loong, the Peranakan useum is housed in a historic building designed in an Dzeclectic classicaldz st›le t›pical of Straits Chinese bungalows during the early twentieth century. The architectural elements on display are a mixture of Asian and Western aspects. This is not a coincidence, but is rather an illustration of how wealthy Peranakans sought to emulate the European style so as to publicly highlight their elite status. Their presentation is a telling reminder that the museum is an effective instrument of the state to collect and appropriate cultural objects as expressions of national identity.   rior to the museum’s opening, the building had been utilized by the Tao Nan School , an institution founded by a Peranakan, Tan Kim -Ching. 1  The colonial-era building’s histor› and association with this accomplished Peranakan lends an air of educational objectivity  to the museum’s ešhibitions. The perception of the museum as a neutral institution meant to educate its visitors is directly connected to its power and efficacy as a political institution. Carol Duncan  goes so far as to compare museums to temples and shrines in terms of the Dz™ordz that the› doǢ acknowledging that these institutions are not the Dzneutral and transparent sheltering space that ȏthe›Ȑ claim to be.dz2  The museum is a Dzritual site,dz a hallowed, albeit secular, cultural space wherein a particular vision and narrative of the past                                                           1  Tan Kim -Ching was recognized as an influential leader in colonial Singapore. He was also  knighted by King Chulalongkorn for cultivating good relations with Siam (Thailand) , see Dzeranaan Museum celebrates the 3 rd reunion of aba Tan Toc Seng’s 	amil›dz The Peranakan Museum, 28 July 2011, accessed 24 March 2014 , http://www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg/resources/pressRelease/20_doc1_TPM%20Celebrates%20Tan%20Tock%20Seng%203rd%20Reunion.pdf   2  arol uncan, Dzrt useums and the itual of itiœenship,dz in E xhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, ed. Ivan Karp and Steven D. Lavine (Washington DC: Smithsonian Books , 1991 ), p p. 90 -91.    1 3   is represented and performed. 3  As noted, the government provides support and funding to Singapore’s museums, necessitating that curators be sensitive and receptive to the state’s objectives.  Therefore, these points pertain to the Peranakan Museum, a state-run institution that aims to present a particular conception of the Dznationaldz past.  lthough the museum has a Dzublic ifedz galler› that allows visitors to learn about stories and contributions of prominent Peranakans, such as Tan Kim -Ching, the main purpose of the museum is to sho™case Dzever›da› objectsdz that local visitors ™ill be able to easily identify and resonate with in Singapore. 4  In this way, the museum functions as a Dzpo™erful transformer,dz re-situating what were once objects of domestic utility i n a carefully arranged heritage context by means of institutional authority. 5   Peranakan Chinese emphasis The term Dzeranaandz is further ešplored in the museum’s Dzriginsdz galler›, ™hich acknowledges the different Peranakan communities in Singapore. 6  Chitty Peranakan refers to descendants of South Indian Hindu merchants and local inhabitants while Jawi Peranakan are the descendants of South Indian Muslim traders and women of the local community. Although the Peranakan Museum acknowledges these nuances of Peranakan identity in Southeast Asia, a large section of their collection focuses on the Peranakan Chinese. The Peranakan Chinese were the descendants of early Chinese traders and local Malay women in                                                           3  Carol Duncan , p. 9 2 ,   4  Dzeranaan useum - Singapore’s e™est useum To pen n ʹ͸ prildz Asian Civ ilisations Museum, 1 7 April 2008, accessed 24 March 2014 , http://www.acm.org.sg/press_room/pressreleases/peranakan -museum-singapores-newest-museum-to-open-on-26 -april.html  5  Carol Duncan , p. 95 .   6  Wall text, Who are the Peranakans? , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore.   1 4   creolized Chinese settlements in Melaka, Penang and Singapore. 7  Despite the bans imposed by the Ming Emperor on private maritime trade and smuggling, the presence of Chinese traders in Southeast Asia can be dated as far back as five hundred to six hundred years. 8  Following the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1 644, an increasing number of Chinese migrants, particularly from Southern China, moved to the region. Trade in the region continued to flourish, with the growing presence of European traders Ȅa factor which encouraged more Chinese migrants to entrench their roots in Southeast Asia. 9  Within the context of the Malay cultural setting and early intermarriages, the Chinese migrants responded to the local environment and became an endogamous group with a unique cultural identity in terms of food, dress and a separate creole language of their own: Baba Malay, a mixture of Malay and Chinese (Hokkien) elements. 10  The development of the Peranakan Chinese culture is inseparable from the broader history of Chinese migration between the early nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Since the founding of Singapore as a British colony in 1819, Singapore experienced a steady migration from the Chinese Mainland. 11  This trend continued until 1949, when the number                                                           7  . illiam Sinner, Dzhinese creole societies in Southeast sia,dz in Sojourners and settlers: histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese: in honour of Jennifer Cushman , ed. Anthony Reid (St Leonar ds, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1996), pp. 52 Ȃ54. On the issue of i ntermarriage of Chinese migrants and indigenous women, Skinner states that the phenomenon was quite common throughout Southeast Asia. This was in part because women were not permitted to leave China prior to the nineteenth century. Skinner also notes that Chinese creole communities took shape in Manila, Batavia (Jakarta) and Melaka.  ar avinder 	rost, DzTranscultural iasporaǣ The Straits hinese in Singapore, ͳͺͳͻ-ͳͻͳͺ,dz Asia Research Institute Working Paper Series No. 10 (2003), p. 16, notes that the founding of Singapore by the British in 1819 sa™ the Dzimmediate migrationdz of oien-descended creolized Chinese from nearby settlements such as Melaka and Penang into this newly formed territory.  8  Peter Lee and Jennifer Chen, The Straits Chinese House: D omestic life and traditions (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2006), p. 20.   9  Mark Ravinder Frost, p. 5.   1 0 Peter Lee, Jennifer Chen , p. 22.   1 1  For a history on Chinese migration to colonial Singapore, see Joyce Ee , Dzhinese igration to Singapore, 1 8 9 6 -ͳͻͶͳ,dz Journal of Southeast Asian History 2:1 (1 961 ), p. 33 -51.     1 5   of Chinese migrants decreased markedly after the Communist takeover of China. The Dzclosed-doordz polic› implemented b› the ommunists prevented an›one from leaving hina. During this period, ties between China and overseas Chinese groups were severed to a significant extent. This allowed for the formation of a local identity among the Chinese diaspora since they were necessarily cut off from their native land. 12  As the majority ethnic group in Singapore, the Chinese community serve as an ideal case study for the historical negotiation of cultural retention and adaptation to their local environment.   A discourse of hybridity: Promoting a distinct national identity      uring the museum’s opening, rime inister ee proclaimed that Dzdistinctive aspects of eranaan culture ™ill be captured in the museum.dz13  Derek Heng notes that a Dzsense of Ǯnation’ ™as arguabl› achieved through a process of h›bridiœation, ™here certain traits introduced by the immigrants were retained and integrated into the dominant culture of the region.dz14  The Peranakans stand as the most exemplary subjec ts of this process of hybridization described by Heng. Because Peranakan culture is itself a hybrid culture, uniquely shaped b› Singapore’s historical and social circumstances, the museum can position this hybrid culture as representative of the multi-ethnic characteristic of present-day Singapore. Objects on display at the museum are meant for the visitor to draw lines of                                                           1 2  iu ong, DzTransnational hinese Sphere in Singaporeǣ ›namics, Transformations and haracteristics,dz Journal of Current Chinese Affairs  41:2 (2012 ), p. 43.  1 3  Lee Hsien -oong, DzSpeech b› r. ee sien-Loo g, Prime Minister, At official open ing of the new Peranakan Museum,dz National Archives of Singapore , 25 April 2008, accessed 24 March 2014 ,  http://archivesonline.nas.sg/speeches/view -html?filename=20 0804259 80.htm   1 4  Derek Heng, Dz	rom olitical hetoric to ational istor›ǣ i-Culturalism and Hybridisation in  the onstruction of Singapore̵s istorical arrative,dz chapter ʹ in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans -regionalism, eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterd am: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), p. 32, notes further that Dzaspects of a social group that ma› undergo this ind of transformation include language, cuisine and the appreciation of artisanal crafts.dz  1 6   connection between the multi-faceted culture of the Peranakans and the national self-identity promoted in Singapore today.  › focusing on this Dzdistinctivedz iteration of eranaan identit›, the national narrative is situated in terms of cross cultural contact through the circumstances of Singapore’s national historical trajectory. While the Peranakan culture represented in the  museum pre-dates an independent nation-state, implicit parallels are being drawn here between this early cultural mixing and the hybridity of toda›’s Singaporean societ›.  As Ali Mozaffari has shown in his study of the National Museum of Iran, one of the important, if unstated, aims of a national museum is to situate the beginning, or origins, of the nation in terms compatible ™ith the current political regime’s ideological vision. 15  Mozaffari shows that, due to the extraordinary political circumstances of twentieth-century Iran, the National Museum of Iran incidentally projects two different narratives of Iranian identity: one tracing the roots of Iranian culture to ancient Persian civilization (the narrative supported by outgoing monarchy, the Pahlavis) an d charting the progress of Iranian culture from the beginning of Shi’ite slam ȋthe national narrative favored b› the theocratic state since the 1979 Islamic revolution). 16  Hence, Iranians have markedly different, though not necessarily mutually exclusive, national narratives to select between.  This illustration serves to problematize for visitors the usual essentialism associated with national identity and narratives of national development. Within its local context, the Peranakan Museum does not offer such a strikingly dualistic vision of the nation. Instead, a                                                           1 5  li oœaffari, Dzodernit› and dentit›. The ational useum of ran,dz in Museum Revolutions. How Museums Change and are Changed, eds. Simon Knell, Suzanne MacLeod and Sheila Watson (London and New York: Routledge), p p. 91 -92.   1 6  Ali Mozaffari, pp. 87 -88.    1 7   singular vision of a hybrid national identity is performed within the space of the museum. One can imagine an alternate museum, similar to the Iranian example that traces the origins of Singapore to the Malay population that have lived on the island prior to the arrival of Chinese and Indian settlers. In contrast to this hypothetical museum, the Peranakan Museum locates the beginnings of the Singapore nation in the fusion of cultures that occurred when the Brit ish began a settlement in 1819.  Constructing Peranakan culture as multiculturalism  The emphasis on Peranakan culture as the genesis of Singaporean culture also reinforces the state’s policies regarding the coešistence of different ethnic and racial groups. In its political form, Singapore is a Western colonial construct with no monolithic culture upon which to build. 17  Since incidents of racial tension and violence during the 1960s 18 , the government has been discernibly anxious with regards to matters of perceived racial disharmony. The multicultural polic› promoted b› the ruling eople’s ction art› ȋȌ, with its four official racial categories, is a consequence of Singapore’s brief inclusion in the Federation of Malaysia (1963 -1965). The Un ited Malay National Organization (UMNO) sought to emphasiœe ala› privileges, leading to conflict ™ith Singapore’s  leaders and their divergent vision of multiracial identity. 19  Subsequently, because the ethnic Chinese majority has retained dominance wit hin the spheres of wealth, education and career                                                           1 7  Ien Ang and Jon Stratton, DzThe Singapore a› of ulticulturalismǣ estern onceptsȀsian ultures,dz Sojourn 1 0:1  ( 1995), p. 71.  1 8  In 1964, Singapore saw racial riots between Malay and Chinese communities that resulted in 22 deaths and 461 injured people. In 1969, Sino -ala› clashes surfaced again, a spillover effect of ala›sia’s elections. Seeǣ Dzountering Threatsdz Internal Security Department, Ministry of Home Affairs, accessed 28 March 2014 , http://www.mha.gov.sg/isd/ct.htm   1 9  Lenore Lyons and Michele Ford, DzSingaporean 	irstǣ hallenging the oncept of Transnational ala› asculinit›,dz chapter ͻ in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans - regionalism, eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press: 200 9), p. 175 .  1 8   prospects, the government was concerned that this could cause tension among other ethnic groups. For this reason, the government has sought to construct an authentic Asian character for Singapore, by building upon the ancestral origins of immigrant groups that have settled in Singapore.20   The synthetic nature of the Peranakan culture makes it particularly well-suited for representing national identity. Peranankan culture can be considered as a simplified version of the Singapore’s compleš historical and contemporar› h›bridit›Ȅdiasporic communal groups (de -territorialized Chinese and Indians) have been living under the influence of a Malay cultural environment and different ethnic groups since British colonial r ule. 21  While Singapore resisted characteriœation as a Dzala›dz state, the government also attempts to guard against the appearance that Singapore is a Dzhinese state.dz22  Hence, the government goes to great lengths to ensure that Singapore’s four ethnic groups are equally represented within the cultural sphereȄmuseums and heritage districts. iven Singapore’s historical and political contešt, one can identif› the government’s strategy in using the museum as a space to minimize ethnic tension and the purposeful selection of historical objects that speak to a culturally unified origin of the Singaporean nation. Working from Stuart Hall and David Lowenthal, Michael Rowlands raises the notion that Dzheritage isǥ selective and is concerned as much ™ith the abilit› to forget as to                                                           2 0  Ien Ang and Jon Stratton, p p. 74 -75.   2 1  Emily Stokes -ees, DzǮe need something of our o™n’ǣ epresenting thnicit›, iversit› and Ǯational eritage’ in Singapore,dz ȋaper presented at ational useums in a lobal orld, epartment of culture studies and oriental languages, University of Oslo, Norway,  1 9 -21 November 2007), p. 26.   2 2  ohn lammer, Dzinorities and inorit› olic› in Singapore,dz Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science 1 6:2  (1998), pp. 10 3 -104.  Clammer also notes that Singapore’s efforts to project a multiracial societ› can be seen symbolically in its first three Presidential appointmentsȄmen from minority backgrounds: Malay, Eurasian and Indian respectively.  1 9   rememberdz and that the sense of tradition it evoes is Dzal™a›s mobiliœed around the issue of cultural amnesia and original acts of violence.dz23  The emphasis on the Dzharmoniousdz cultural fusion of the eranaans illustrates the museum’s tendenc› to soften history of racial and ethnic relations, woring ™ithin the state’s regulated management of ethnicit› in present-day Singapore.   Curatorial strategies  When visitors enter the Peranakan Museum’s galleries, they are able to imagine, or Dzešperience,dz the ever›da› life of upper-class Peranakan of a bygone era and appreciate the ambiance of opulent surroundings. This curated environment creates what Kate Gregory and ndrea itcomb lien to a t›pe of Dztheatre set,dz ™ith the objects functioning as Dzprops.dz24  In this conceptualization of the museum as a site of past-ness, present-day visitors are therefore historical Dzactorsdz in the dual sense of this term. ecause visitors are free to move around in and feel as if they temporarily reside in this antiquarian space, they fill the void left by the absence of the previous owners of the objects on display. 25  For many visitors, the dominant effect of the experience will be a collapsing of past and present. This affect is in line with the phenomena that Dipesh Chakrabarty argues is the primary way that knowledge is produced and received within the present.  As opposed to the cerebral, mainly textual transmission of knowledge, this affect-based knowledge circulation relies on sensory engagement and a feeling more than a field of                                                           2 3  ichael o™lands, Dzeritage and ultural ropert›,dz in The Material Culture Reader, ed. Victor Buchli (Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers), p. 111 .   2 4  Kate Gregory and Andrea Witcomb , Dze›ond ostalgiaǣ The role of affect in generating historical understanding at heritage sites,dz chapter ʹͲ in Museum Revolutions. How Museums Change and are Changed, eds. Simon Knell, Suzanne MacLeod and Sheila Watson (Oxon: Routledge, 2007), p. 267.  2 5  Kate Gregory and Andrea Witcomb, p. 265.  2 0   factual information. 26  The Dzever›da› objectsdz ešhibited in the museum helps to generate this type of affective engagement with the past on terms that rely as much upon the evocative material surroundings as on the subjectivities of the time -travelling Dzhistorical actors.dz This affect is facilitated by the narrative represented by the museum in spatial terms. To understand how this narrative flows in such a way as to engender the desired mentality among visitor, one needs to look carefully at the purposeful floor plan of the museum.  Figure 1 .1 : Recreation of a Tok Panjang  (long table) setting, featuring the commissioned dinner service of the family of Kapitan Cina Yap Ah Loy. (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )   A visitor to the Peranakan Museum will begin at the Dzrigins aller›dz on the first floor. Here, the visitor will encounter portraits of Dzeranaans past and presentdz27  lined around the gallery and highlighted Peranakan objects encased in the middle space of  the gallery. Such objects include wedding heirlooms, clothes and jewellery, beadwork and embroidery                                                           2 6  Kate Gregory and Andrea Witcomb, p. 263.  2 7  Wall text, Peranakan Portraits: Digital Photography by Geoff Ang, 2008 and period archival images , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore.  2 1   and a Bible translated into Baba Malay. The narrative of the origins of Peranakan culture are explicitly connected to the primordial beginnings of the nation and region. The text panel accompanying the images reads, DzThe face of the eranaan communit› is a mirror of Singapore’s and Southeast sia’s diversit›.dz28  While the portraits on display are of individuals who specifically identify as Peranakans, the tešt panel describes the Dzdiverse cultural heritagedz of the eranaans as Dza legac› ™hich all of us, eranaan and non-eranaan alie can share and tae pleasure in.dz29  This is a purposefully open-ended beginning to the national narrative, allowing Singapore’s ethnicall› diverse contemporar› population a way to identify, in national terms, with a group which they may share no ancestral connection.      Figure 1. 2 : The showcase of present-day and historic images of Peranakans and enclosed casing with highlighted Peranakan objects in the Origins Gallery.  (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )  Once the visitor has finished viewing the entry-level Origins gallery, he/she will ascend the staircase to the second level of the museum. The theme that predominates on the                                                           2 8  Ibid.   2 9  Ibid.   2 2   second floor is Dzeddings.dz 	rom the Dzriginsdz aller›’s highlights on the eranaan communit›’s cross-cultural fusion, the emphasis on Weddings suggests further hybridization through the merging of cultures, communities and families in the ritual of marriage. Exploring the second floor, the  visitor would also encounter an elaborate and ornate bridal chamber positioned in a particularly prominent location within the gallery. This impressive object is placed in the museum’s recreation of a wedding chamber, described as a Dzplace of conceptiondz for the next generation of the family. 30    Figure 1.3 : Recreation of a wedding chamber that would have been used by the bridal couple during the traditional 12 -day Peranakan wedding ceremony (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )  Educational materials share that the previous owner was said to have given birth to seven out of her twelve children on this bed. 31  Marriage and procreation are the most concrete examples of cultural mixing. During the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, Peranakan weddings were held over a period of twelve days 32 , ™hich ešplains the museum’s extensive collection of items related to these ceremonial rituals. However, the possible                                                           3 0  Object Label, Wedding Chamber , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore. 3 1  DzTop ͳͲ ust-See at eranaan useum,dz The Peranakan Museum,  accessed 24 March 2014 , http://www.peranakanmuseum.org.sg/resources/file/Top%2010% 20must%20see%20at%20TPM%20low%20res%20FOR%20CIRCULATION.pdf  3 2  Ibid.   2 3   impression imparted by the pride of place bestowed upon the bridal chamber and other wedding-related material is that these objects are being emphasized to foreground the cultural hybridity that they represent. fter the museum’s narrative charts the increasing diversification of eranaan culture through marriage and procreation, represented through the wedding and birth rituals on the second floor; the third and final level looks at myriad manifestation s of Peranakan culture that reflect its cross-cultural influences. A temporary exhibition gallery, spanning the second and third floors, often showcases exhibitions that fit these themes. For example, the negotiation of race and ethnicity, nationality and culture can be discerned in eranaan useum’s temporar› ešhibition held in ʹͲͳͳ, DzSarong eba›aǣ eranaan fashion and its international sources.dz33  The exhibit traces the 500 year development and origins of the Sarong Kebaya (a blouse -dress combination), as a way of connecting Singaporeans with their cultural ancestors from ancient maritime trading communities in Southeast Asia.34  The exhibition highlights how diverse cultures have contributed to the unique style of the Sarong Kebaya garment. The ancient Qa ba, worn by rulers in the Middle East during the 9 th century, was said to have inspired the Malay-styled Kebaya (blouse). Following the influx of Chinese migrants, Malay designs have been merged with distinctively Chinese motifs such as dragons and peonies. Indian textiles were also described as the cultural predecessors of the Javanese Batik Sarong (fabric wrapped around the waist). Colonial contact saw the integration of European lace and design techniques into local                                                           3 3  As a curatorial intern from June to August 2011, I involved in the rotation process for the Saron g Kebaya exhibition.     3 4  Ingeborg Hartgerink -ranadia. DzTracing the ineage of eranaan 	ashion. The ne™ special ešhibition at T sho™s just ho™ international the sarong eba›a ™as,dz PASS AG E. Friends of Museum Singapore, May/June 2011, accessed 2 4  March 2014, http://www.fom.sg/Passage/2011/ 05peranakan.pdf   2 4   clothing, producing a white-laced high collar blouse that became recognized as a status symbol. The narrative of a garment piece acting as a medium of cultural contact reaffirms Singapore’s cosmopolitan nature and harmonious race relations as a legac› of her earl› da›s as a trading port where cultures come into contactȄlocal Malay communities interacting with traders from China, India, the Middle East and Europe. 35  Meanwhile, among the themes addressed in the permanent third floor galleries are Dzeligion,dz Dzanguage and 	ashiondz and Dz	ood and 	easting.dz The latter t™o themes, taen in conjunction with the ornate bridal clothes and jewellery on the second floor, implicitly privilege the private domestic domain, associated more closely with Peranakan women, over the public sphere that was mainly dominated by men.   Figure 1.4 : The Weddings Gallery also features the largest known example of Peranakan beadwork, a visually striking tablecloth made during the early 20 th century. The gallery also has a display of jewellery that were worn by Peranakan women during wedding ceremonies. (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )  This gendered emphasis may also relate to the theme of cultural mixing. In traditional Peranakan culture, it was customary for young women to acquire beadwork, embroidery and                                                           3 5  Ibid.  2 5   cooking skills in order to enhance her prospects of a good marriage. 36  Thus, the domestic objects suggest a particular performance of femininity that enabled the transmission of Peranakan culture.  Another gallery on the third floor looks at the religions practiced by the Peranakans. As in other aspects of Peranakan life, the religious practices of this community were highly diverse and often syncretic in nature. An altar sideboard displayed in this gallery is particularly striking and representative of this tendency towards hybridity.   Figure 1.5 : Altar sideboard that was used by a Peranakan Chinese family. (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )  This altar had once belonged to a Peranakan family in Singapore that converted to Catholicism. However, as the object suggest, they did not wholly abandon their earlier religious traditions. Instead, they adapted their newfound religion to the Daoist Chinese altar. The altar retains its typical Daoist motifs, such as t he three star Gods of good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Yet, in the centre of this Chinese altar is a painting of the Holy                                                           3 6  Wall text, Becoming a Nonya: Mastering the Textile Arts , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore. 2 6   FamilyȄJesus, his parents Mary and Joseph and a dove, which is meant to represent the Holy Spirit.37  In this respect, museum visitors of various Eastern or Western  religious faiths can identify with the Peranakans.     hile the museum’s emphasis of eranaan culture means to foreground the inherent cross-cultural influences that have shaped their identity, there is also a more direct connection that can be drawn between the Peranakans and those who are regarded as the political elite in Singapore today. This is most clearl› ešemplified in the Dzublic ifedz galler› on the third floor. For instance, the current Prime Minister, Lee  Hsien -Loong and his father,  former Prime Minister Lee Kuan -Yew are of Peranakan ancestry. 38  Among the objects on displa› is a barrister’s ™ig once worn by Madam Kwa Geok -ChooȄthe first Asian woman to attain a first class honours degree from Cambridge Unive rsity. 39  In addition to this distinction, Madam Kwa was also the wife of Lee Kuan -Yew, the founding father of modern -day Singapore. 40    Figure 1. 6 : Madam Kwa Geok -hoo’s barrister ™ig on displa› (Photo  by Sharon Lim, 2014 )                                                            3 7  Object Label, A ltar Sideboard , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore.  3 8  Hwei -	en heah, Dzon›a ead™or and ontemporar› eranaan hinese in Singapore and ala›sia.dz n Asian Material Culture, eds. Marianne Hulsbosch, Elizabeth Bedford and Martha Chaiklin (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), p. 88.        3 9  Object Label, Barrister’s Wig, The Peranakan Museum, Singapore. 4 0  Ibid.  2 7   While this gallery does include some colonial-era public figures, it serves principally as a bridge between the colonial Peranakan culture and the involvement of Peranakans in the shaping of an independent Singaporean nation-state.41  The idea of the post-colonial nation, as suggested is closely connected to the figure of Lee Kuan -e™. n addition to adam ™a’s barrister wig, objects belonging to Peranakan ministers (in the e arly years of Lee Kuan -e™’s tenure as Prime Minister after attaining self-government from the British) are included in this gallery. For instance, Lim Kim -San’s a™ards from the post-colonial government, such as the Order of Temasek medal 42 , were displayed alongside his embroidered bridegroom slippers that he wore at his wedding in 1939. 43  Hence, the visitor can discern both Lim Kim -San’s Peranakan heritage and political statureȄhe was first appointed as Minister of National Development in 1963. 44   Figure 1. 7 : Next to the objects d onated by Lim Kim -San’s famil›, curators have set aside a space in this section to highlight former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng -S™ee’s contributions. A historical image of Goh  surveying a drawing of reclaimed land in 1975 is accompanied by a label that credits him as Singapore’s Dzsocial and economic architect.dz (Photo by Sharon Lim, 2014)                                                            41  Stephen Haggard and Linda Low, DzState, politics, and business in Singapore,dz chapter ͻ in Political Business in East Asia, eds. Edmund Gomez  ( London and New York: Routledge, 2003), p. 309, notes that Peranakans dominated leadership positions in the ruling eople’s ction art›, including ee uan e™, oh eng-Swee and Toh Chin-Chye.  4 2  Object Label, Darjah Utama Temasek (Order of Temasek) , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore. 4 3  Object Label, Wedding Slip pers , The Peranakan Museum, Singapore.   4 4  See: Asad Latif, L im Kim San: A Builder of Singapore , (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 20 09)   2 8   Seen in this light, the implicit identification of Peranakan culture as the beginnings of the Singaporean nation functions as a justification for the current status-quo. Hwei -Fen heah aptl› notes that, Dzeranaan identit› had become uni“ue and prestigious because it is the only ethnic identification [that] link[s] to the foundation of Singapor e.dz45  Therefore, the privileging of Peranakan culture functions as a means to support the official ideology of maintaining racial harmony, while celebrating the roots of some of the most prominent citizens.                                                            4 5  Hwei -Fen Cheah, p. 88.    29   II. GOING LOCAL, REGIONAL AND GLOBAL The particular effectiveness of heritage displays such as the Peranakan museum can be better understood through the examination of the context of present-day Singapore. Since the late 1980s , the government has sought to position Singapore as a Dzglobal cit›dz despite its limited geographical size and scarce natural resources. 1  The pursuit for economic growth came with other changes in the Singaporean landscape, such as rapid urbanization and high-rise architecture. These limitations have been fraught with the negotiation of preserving the sense of the past and identity while reinventing itself as a financial center that is open to free flow of goods, services, money, people, idea, tastes. 2  The general emphasis on cultural heritage and the Dzeranaan originsdz of Singapore serve dual purposes. This preservation and presentation of a fondly recalled past eases contemporary anxieties surrounding the rapid pace of infrastructural and social change. At the same time, this helps to position Singapore as the Dznaturaldz economic and cultural leader ™ithin its region, and a globally significant metropolis.   An endangered past  Due  to its unique status as a physically small city-state, Singapore has faced frequent challenges concerning how best to use its restricted amount of space. An example of this is the tensions related to the state’s decision in 2011  to redevelop the historic site of Bukit Brown Cemetery for expanding the highway system and future housing projects. 3  These                                                           1  Kenneth Paul Tan, Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One Dimension , (Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2008), p. 227.  2  Ibid.   3  See DzB—it Br‘™ eeter›ǡdz 26 November 2011, Singapore Heritage Society, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://www.singaporeheritage.org/?page_id=1352     30   developments align ™ith . ee’s observation that Dzurban redevelopment became the social art form that nobod› could escape.dz4  Consequently, many Singaporeans feel disoriented by these changes,5  and an increasing sense of urgency mixed with nostalgia for places and things that they associate with old Singapore. Working from Chua Beng -Huat, Brenda Yeoh  and il› ong contend that the Dzpopularisation f nostalgia for kampungs [Malay villages] in the 1990s reflects an unease with the frenetic pace of life, high stress levels and new -found materialism characteristic of modern living driven by the logic of capital.dz6  Singaporeans fear that these objects and sites  will not remain part of the national culture for much longer, or else have already disappeared. Evincing a similar feeling of cultural nostalgia, Old Places 7  was the highest-rated documentary on Singaporean television in 2010. 8  Directed by Royston Tan, Old Places  is structured around the reminiscences of ordinary Singaporeans, with on-screen images of places and material objects which they feel are slowly disappearing from the Singaporean city-scape.9  The places and things featured in Old Places  function semiotically as                                                           4  C.J W. - ee, DzThe Suppressed in the odern rbanscapeǣ ultural ifference and 	ilm in Singapore,dz positions 20:4 (2004), p. 98 4.  5  These sentiments are reflected in the Dzur Singapore onversationdz report commissioned b› the government, ™hich “uoted a participant ™ho desired Dzto see a Singapore, ™here buildings are not just commercial premises, like shopping centres. [He or She wants]  Singapore to build and promote its traditions from 20 years ago, such as coffee shops (no air con please), mama shops, Malay barber shop, the old dragon design pla› grounds etc. ȏsicȐdz Seeǣ Dz Singapore for Singaporeans,dz Our Singapore Conversation Secret ariat, March 2013, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://www.reach.gov.sg/Microsite/osc/index.html   6  renda eoh and il› ong, DzThe notion of place in the construction of histor›, nostalgia and heritage in Singapore,dz S ingapore Journal of Tropical Geography 17:1 (1996), p. 58.  7  See O ld Places, DVD, directed by Royston Tan, Victric Thing and Eva Tang. (Singapore: Objectifs Films, 2010).  8  Tay Yek -Keak , Dzo›ston Tanǣ ̵ld omances̵ isn’t just about nostalgia,dz inSing.com , 14 December 2012, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://movies.insing .com/feature/interview -royston-tan-old-romances-isnt-just -about-nostalgia/id -b8673f00  9  The title of o›ston Tan’s documentar› is rather ironic due to the fact that the sites being ešamined are not, in relative terms, especially old. Most of these memories and the places or things remembered are from mid-twentieth century up till about the 1980s, only a generation or two ago. As mentioned in an interview with Tan, 40% of the sites featured in the film do not exist anymore.  See: Tay Yek -ea, Dzo›ston Tanǣ 'Old omances̵ isn’t just about nostalgia.dz  31   representations of the Old Singapore constantly being revamped due to the government’s desire to eep pace as a Dzglobal cit›.dz10  Although most Singaporeans have no true desire to return to the days of tough manual labor 11  (as shown in the documentary Ȅcoffee grinding, traditional bread making etc.), it is evident from the response to Old Places  that many nevertheless yearn for the way of life that these trades represent and the physical sites where they were performed. 12  The positive response to Tan’s documentar› raises pertinent questions of how much a common culture and heritage, as opposed to economic or political status, determines bonds of citizenship and community in Singapore. 13   Hence, nostalgia  plays an important role in the midst of globalization as it provides a Dztemporal and spatial anchoringdz14  when the places and things of the past feel particularly vulnerable to rapid change. As Singaporeans move through the various physical sites in the city, they cannot help but be affected by what Gaik -heng hoo terms an Dzever-expanding sense of lossdz in terms of their Dzspatial ȋhistorical and culturalȌ identit› and integrit›.15  This contešt relates to ichael o™land’s argument about the effectiveness of Dzheritage revivalismdz to DzǮcure’ postmodern identit› crises and to counteract late modernist experiences of rootlessness, rupture and displacement.dz16  Rowland also notes  that heritage is Dzinfused b› a sense of melancholia and grief for lost objects and lost  sense of identit›.dz17  A                                                           1 0  Kenneth Paul Tan, p. xxiii.  1 1  Kenneth Paul Tan, p. 227.  1 2  Tay Yek -ea, Dzo›ston Tanǣ ̵ld omances̵ isn’t just about nostalgia.dz   1 3  Gaik -heng hoo, DzOf D iminishing Memories and O ld Places: Singaporean Films and Work of Archiving andscape,dz Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 3 9:1 (March 2013), p. 34, notes that the sharing of social memory marks the difference between foreigners (including immigrants and naturalized citizens) and loca ls, ™ho have a stae in Singapore’ spatial past.  1 4  ndreas u›ssen, Dzresent astsǣ edia, olitics, mnesia,dz Public Culture 12:1 (Winter 2000), p. 36.  1 5  Gaik -Cheng Khoo, p. 34.  1 6  ichael o™lands, Dzeritage and ultural ropert›,dz in The  Material Culture Reader, ed. Victor Buchli (Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers), p. 106.   1 7  Ibid.   32   Dzgro™ing fišation on memor›dz can also be discerned ™ithin ong ong, another city that shares a British colonial heritage and has shared a similar trajectory in navigating the developmental imperatives of globalization while maintaining anchors to the past. 18  Lachlan arber notes that ™ithin the Dzh›per-capitalist spacedz of present-day Hong Kong, heritage preservation has become a point of civic contention, presenting a comparison with Singapore’s Dzgro™ing pains.dz However, where Hong Kong, following the 1984 Si no-British oint eclaration, finds itself beholden to the eople’s epublic of hina despite its status as Special Administration Region from 1997, 19  Singapore’s government possesses a greater ability to autonomously define its own desired post-colonial identity.  In Old Places, Singaporean participants in the documentary are discernibly wistful about the vanishing past. et, their laments are never ešplicitl› lined to the state’s pragmatic attitude towards national development and planning. Circumstances in the recent past have made it clear to Singaporeans that the government maintains ultimate control with regard to heritage sites and the domain of collective memory. 20   In 2004, the old National Library at Stamford Road was demolished, despite the sentime nts of many Singaporeans who wanted to preserve this building as a heritage site. 21  The public consultation process was largely perfunctory and a grassroots protest to save the building proved similarly futile. While the old National Library building, const ructed in 1960, may have been a site of                                                           1 8  achlan arber, Dzocating ostcolonial eritage in ong ongǣ The Star 	err› ier as a Site of olitics, emor› and ncounter,dz h Thesis, niversit› of British Columbia, March 2009, p. 1.  1 9  Lachlan Barber, p. 4.  2 0  Roy Jones and Brian J. Shaw , DzPalimpsests of Progress: Erasing the Past and Rewriting the Future in Developing Societies ȄCase Studies of Singapore and Jakarta ,dz International Journal of Heritage Studies 1 2:2  ( 2006),  p. 136.  2 1  Roy Jones and Brian J. Shaw, p. 12 8 .  Lachlan Barber, p. 1, notes a similar conflict in Hong Kong concerning the demolition of the Star Ferry Pier in December 2006.  33   memorial significance for some Singaporeans, it may not have been old enough to be valued as a Dzheritagedz propert› b› the state.22  Conversely, many colonial-era structures, which are often more aesthetically grand and attractive, are preserved, suggesting that some pasts are worthier of the heritage distinction than are others. 23  At the same time, the old National Library, erected soon after attaining self -government from the British, carries with it a strong connotation of national identity and self-possession within the living memory of many Singaporeans ™ho Dzgre™ updz ™ith the nation. lthough the government demolished this building, its leaders seem to understand that the endangered past, represented by sites like the old National Library building, must in other ways be counteracted by strategic and purposeful heritage preservation.  It is the postmodern void engendered by globalization and rapid redevelopment that the heritage of the Peranakans is intended to fill for Singaporeans. The remnants of this historical culture act not only as signifiers of a past Dznationaldz moment, but also as traces re-contextualized in the present as the foundations for a new national identity. Emily Stoke s-Rees posits that the museum functions as a model, ™hich determines Dzho™ its citiœens can and should perceive the nation as a cultural entit›.dz24  However, it is a sense of nostalgic longing brought about by globalization and changes in Singaporean society that allows the populace to readily accept the vision of the nation being performed through heritage at the site of the Peranakan Museum.                                                               2 2  Roy Jones and Brian J. Shaw, p. 12 7 .    2 3  Ibid.     2 4  Emily Stokes -ees, Dzaing Sense of  ±langeǣ epresenting ultural itiœenship in Singapore’s sian ivilisations useum,dz Museum Anthropology 36:1 (2013 ), p. 40.    34   Establishing  a regional cultural capital  In addition to the local implications of the national narrative presented at the Peranakan Museum, this display of objects also makes a case for the cultural pre -eminence of Singapore within the Southeast Asia region. As Prime Minister Lee shared during hi s speech, the eranaan museum is Dzpresented from a pan-Southeast sian perspectivedz and Dz™ill have the most comprehensive collection in the ™orld.dz25  Upon close inspection of the museum’s collection, one ™ill notice that the objects  are not just sourced fr om Singapore, but also from other Southeast Asian states: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. Although the narrative of the Peranakan Museum is a national/local one, the heritage it draws upon is regional in character. The national boundaries that today separate Singapore from its neighbors within the region do not preclude the presentation of objects from those countries as belonging to a quintessentially Singaporean context.  A high proportion of the collection comes from Malaysia, as the cities of Penang and Melaka (part of present -day Malaysia), including Singapore, constituted the Straits Settlements. The Straits Settlements was officially constituted as a British crown colony in 1867 and became the traditional enc lave of the Peranakan Chinese. The consolidation of British colonial rule in Malaya in 1867 ȄPinang, Melaka and Singapore officially constituted as the DzStraits SettlementsdzȄaffected the status of Peranakans within the British colonial system. 26  They were recognized as British subjects, an d this contributed to a shift in identification amongst the Peranakans from regarding themselves as Overseas Chinese to a                                                           2 5  Lee Hsien -Loong , DzSpeech b› r. ee sien-Loong, Prime Minister, At official open ing of the new Peranakan Museum,dz National Archives of Singapore , 25 April 2008, accessed 17  March 2014,  http://archivesonline.nas.sg/speeches/view -html?filename=20 0804259 80.htm  2 6  Mary Turnbull, A History of Singapore 1819 - 1 9 8 8 , (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p p. 76 -79.   35   locally entrenched sense of communal identity. With their leadership and control of rubber and tin industries, Peranakans were able to accumulate wealth and social capital. Their close association with the British and their role as mediators between the local population and colonial administration led to their reputation as the Dzing’s hinese.dz27  These factors serve to explain the close association of Peranakans with these historic cities, and why there are many museums in these cities that are devoted to displaying Peranakan material culture today.  Some have questioned why objects of Malaysian provenance are being housed and presented in Singapore, particularly at a state-run museum. A discussion (September 2013) on the Dzenang eritage Trustdz 	aceboo page reveals some of the tensions about Singapore’s possession of enang’s cultural heritage. 28  The original post posted a link to the artefact drive collection b› Singapore’s ndian eritage enter. The author of the original posting ešpressed concerns that, Dzf enang doesn’t do the same, all our ndian artefacts ™ill end up in Singapore. This is what happened to our Malaysian Peranakan heritage. We have no one to blame butǥ ȏsicȐ.dz29  This posting was followed by a lively exchange by other members of the group. One user, for example, commented that Dzt’s better to ended up in S’pore rather then here in ’sia. S’pore no™s ho™ to appreciate and value those artifacts and the future of those artifacts is certain in S’pore. The museum dept and govt onl› care about a single ethnic heritage and culture, the› dont reall› appreciateǥ ȏsicȐ.dz30  Another                                                           2 7  Peter Lee, Jennifer Chen , The  Straits Chinese House: Domestic Life and Traditions, (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet), p. 21.   2 8  Dzenang eritage Trust ȋTȌ iscussions,dz Facebook, 1 5 September 2013, accessed 17 March 2014 , https://www.facebook.com/groups/penangheritagetrust/permalink/54704306 200 9527/  2 9  Ibid.    3 0  Ibid.   36   member of the group shared his vie™s that DzSingapore Ǯappreciates’ these collections and has the resources and professionalism to care for them. Lets not be too nationalistic when as custodians the Archives here do not get enough budget (most of which is spent to  staff salariesȌ and does not have the capacit› to collect, document and ešhibit these materialsǥ ȏsicȐ.dz31  These comments suggest the conflicting viewpoints regarding the national, or regional, presentation of Peranakan heritage.  The perception among some Malaysians, such as those who responded to the discussion on the Dzenang eritage Trustdz 	aceboo page, s ems to be that Singapore provides a stable and secular setting for the presentation of Peranakan objects. This view stems from the ala›sia’s political context of Bumiputra, where Malays are given social and economic priority.32  Such a racial stratification is itself rooted in the religious aspect of Malaysian culture and law. While museums funded by the Malaysian government are able to present an official version of Dzlimited pluralism,dz the imperative for these institutions is nevertheless to keep Islamic culture firmly at the fore. 33  Laurie Beth Kalib observes that state-run museums create a Dzframe™or of historical continuit› ™ith a uslim past,dz by selecting the Sultanate era prior to uropean coloniœation as the Dzimmemorial past from ™hich to move for™ard.dz34  Not only does this shape the perception that state -run museums in Malaysia focus too strongly on Malay-Muslim cultural heritage, this may lead some donors                                                           3 1  Ibid 3 2  Gareth Butler, Catheryn Khoo -attimore, aolo ura, Dzeritage Tourism in ala›siaǣ 	ostering a ollective ational dentit› in an thnicall› iverse ountr›,dz Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research ( 2012), p. 3.   3 3  aurie eth alb, Dzation uilding and ulture ispla› in ala›sian useums,dz Museum Anthropology 2 1:1 (March 1997), p p. 69 -70.  3 4  Laurie Beth Kalb , p. 78.   37   to conclude that Singapore is a more appropriate alternative for the housing of Peranakan material culture.   The flow of objects from other countries falls in line with the government of Singapore’s endeavor to attain status as the Dzcultural capitaldz of Southeast sia. This type of strategy can also be seen in the case of the Singapore Art Museum and the National Gallery Singapore slated to open in 2015. 35  The latter stands to be the ™orld’s most eštensive collection of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. Through this project, the government will strategically use its recognized position as a global financial hub to expand its reach into the economically lucrative art market. In contrast to its regional neighbours, Singapore possesses the financial resources and political stability to professionally house important works of art. 36  Nonetheless, Can-Seng Ooi contends that Singapore lacks a sufficient pool of local artists and their works to fill the Art Museum. 37  Thus, rather than using its own national artistic corpus to demonstrate its regional pre-eminence, critics have noted Singapore has relied upon its economic clout to Dzbu›dz its ™a› to attaining a leadership position in the regional art sphere. The particular case of the eranaan useum’s collection of objects of non-Singaporean provenance illustrates the concerns raised by Rustom Bharucha  that economic disparities at present divide Asia among a few prosperous states and their less developed neighbours. Bharucha is concerned that metropolitan cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and                                                           3 5  Dzbout the aller›,dz National Gallery Singapore , accessed 9 April 2014, http://www.nationalartg allery.sg/about -the-gallery/   3 6  Can-Seng oi, ̶dentities, museums and tourism in Singaporeǣ thin regionall›, act locall›,dz Indonesia and the Malay World, 31:89, p. 86.  3 7  Ibid.  38   Singapore are dominating the cultural construction of Dzsia,dz given that they are supported by funds from state agencies as well as wealthy patrons in the private sectors. 38  He  is particularly wary that the result of these powerful interests will result in a limited and hegemonic representation of Dzsiadz that ™ill inevitably leave out the mass of diversity that exists across the continent. 39  Using museums in India as a counterpoint, Bharucha shows that there are museums in Asia that continue to be largely excluded from the modernizing forces of globalization. Despite its  high visitor levels, Indian museums suffer from poor infrastructure and low-quality exhibitions. 40  But, muses Bharucha, does the neglected state of Indian museums mean that Asia, of which the Indian subcontinent is a big part, should be represented instead in metropolitan cities where the financial resources for museums are more formidable? A similar question, on a somewhat smaller, but still pertinent scale, can be ased of Singapore’s museums in their attempt to spea for the rest of Southeast sia, a diverse region of which Singapore is only a small and not especially representative part. Singapore’s re-working of Peranakan heritage as proto-Singaporean national culture is facilitated by the kind of economic power that Bharucha laments. While many of the objects on display at an institution like the Peranakan Museum are of broader regional provenance, Singapore’s assumed position as a cultural capital provides it ™ith po™er to re-order narratives of the regional past according to the political and economic structures of the present.                                                            3 8  Rustom Bharucha , Dze›ond the ošǣ roblematiœing the Ǯe™ sian useum’,dz in O ver Here. International Perspectives on Art and Culture, eds. Gerardo Mosquera and Jean Fisher (Cambridge, London: MIT Press, 2004), p. 123.  3 9  Rustom Bharucha, p.130.    4 0  Rustom Bharucha, p.1 26.     39   ultural heritage and the Dzbrandingdz of a global cit›-state  eturning to rime inister ee’s speech at the opening of the eranaan useum, he states that Dzb› focusing on a culture uni“ue to this region, the eranaan useum ™illǥ carve out a niche for itself internationall›.dz41  This Dznichedz suggests the international representation of eranaan culture as a commodit›. Such an approach bolsters Singapore’s tourist branding as well as elevating its national profile as a global city for not only its economic sector but its emphasis on the arts and culture. In recognition of this trend, John lammer observes that the Singaporean government is a™are of the Dzvalue of this [multicultural] fabric as a cultural resource for its marketab ility and ability to draw tourists.dz42  These objectives are inter -related, insofar as Dz™orld citiesdz are no™n for both their economic status and Dzbrandingdz as must-visit destinations for those interested in taking in the best and most dynamic products of the creative economy. 43  As part of the government’s vision to bolster the cultural scene to attract global talent, the eranaan useum is part of efforts to put Singapore Dzon the mapdz and enhance the overall image of Singapore within a competitive neo-liberal global context. Lily Kong notes that the positioning of Singapore as a Dzglobaldz cit› ™ith much to offer culturall› also serves as a means to attract Dzglobal citiœensdz or highl›-silled cosmopolitan ™orers be›ond Singapore’s                                                           4 1  Lee Hsien -oong, DzSpeech b› r. ee sien-Loo g, Prime Minister, At official opening of the new Peranakan useum.dz  4 2  ohn lammer, Dzinorities and inorit› olic› in Singapore,dz Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science 16:2 (1998), p. 105 .   4 3  nd› . ratt and Thomas . utton, Dzeconceptualising the relationship bet™een the creative econom› and the cit›ǣ earning from the financial crisis,dz Cities 33 (2013), p. 91.   40   borders. 44  (The efforts of S ingapore’s government to attract ne™ immigrants to enhance the countr›’s population and ™orforce ™ill be discussed at length in chapter three.Ȍ  Given this current economic situation , the local and regional implications of Peranakan culture matter less than the aesthetic appeal of the objects on display and the attractiveness or heritage value of the museum building. While museums may be regarded as scholarl› institutions, Dzobjectivedz in their efforts to present material of cultural significance, these are also tourist sites that are expected to bring in revenue. 45  The state is aware of the need to self-orientalize, as part of attempts to sell Singapore as an Dzešoticdz tourist destination.46  The Peranakan Museum is pacaging an essential Dzsian-nessdz that is hardly representative of a modern globalized city, such as Singapore, but rather speaks to a particular idea of Asia that continues to loom large in the Western imagination. Can-Seng Ooi notes that Dzman› third ™orld countries, including those in Southeast sia, tend to market themselves as ešotic, authentic and unspoiled places for visitsǥ to enhance the uni“ueness of the destinations, exotic images are selectively presented to attract the attention of tourists.dz47  Due to the limitations of its physical geogr aphy, Singapore cannot sell itself in terms of a rugged, primitive landscape in the same manner as do other Southeast Asian countries. This reality makes an institution such as the Peranakan Museum all the more                                                           4 4  il› ong, Dzultural polic› in Singaporeǣ negotiating economic and socio-cultural agendas,dz GeoForum 3 1:4 (2000), p. 422.  4 5  Can-Seng Ooi, Orientalist Imaginations and Touristification of Museums: Experiences from Singapore , Copenhagen Discussion Papers 1 -20 05, Copenhagen: Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School, p. 1.   4 6  an ederveen ieterse, Dzulticulturalism and museums. iscourse about others in the age of globaliœation,dz in Heritage museums and galleries: An introductory reader, ed. Gerard Corsane (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), p. 17 6. Another article, Chris Hudson Dzaffles otel Singaporeǣ dvertising, onsumption and omance,dz chapter ͳ͵ in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans - regionalism, eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press: 2009), p. 252 , uses the Raffles Hotel as an example of the use of nostalgia to invoke a colonial past, thus, reclaiming orientalism as part of its charm and a e› feature of the hotel’s attraction.  4 7  Can-Seng Ooi, Orientalist Imaginations and Touristification of Museums , p. 6.   41   important for positioning Singapore as a viable destination for the Dzlucrative long-haul estern marets.dz48   In the early 1980s, as Singapore began its infrastructural redevelopment efforts, the state recogniœed that tourism ™as suffering as Dzthe countr› had removed its oriental mystique and charm s›mboliœed in old buildings.dz49  The increasing popularity of heritage tourism coincides with emergence of the Dze™ conom›dz during the 1990s, which seeks to commodif› the Dzoften intangible cultural phenomenadz of the past and sell an Dzauthenticdz experience rather than goods and services. 50  The reasons why this type of heritage tourism experience are appealing to visitors today is a matter of some historical contingency, not one of coincidence. As G. Waitt posits, the Dzfragmentar› nature of postmodern societ› [means thatȐ contemporar› ešperiences are said to lac a sense of depth, originalit› and place.dz51  Thus, the eranaan useum and Dzold buildingdz in ™hich it is housed, represent a conscious attempt to re-situate Singapore as Dzauthenticall›dz sian in character. Singapore is not alone in recognizing the international appeal of Peranakan culture. In 2008, two historic cities in MalaysiaȄGeorgetown, Penang and Melaka Ȅwere awarded the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These c ities ™ere cited as DzbearȏingȐ testimon› to a living multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, where the many religions and cultures met and coešisted.dz52  Seeking to capitalize on its UNESCO designation, both Georgetown and Melaka                                                           4 8  Can-Seng Ooi, Orientalist Imaginations and Touristification of Museums, p. 18.   4 9  Dznformation oteȄuilt heritage conservation polic› in Singaporedz Hong Kong Legislative Council Secretariat, 2007/ 2008, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr07 -08/english/sec/library/070 8in27 -e.pdf  5 0  Orvar Löfgren and Robert Willim, Magic, Culture and the New Economy , (Oxford: Berg Publishers , 2006), p. 12.  5 1  oan . enderson, Dzonserving olonial eritageǣ affles otel in Singapore,dz Int rnational Journal of Heritage Studies 7:1 (2001), p. 10.  5 2  Dzelaa and eorge To™n, istoric ities of the Straits of alacca,dz UN ESCO World Heritage Centre 1992 -2 0 1 4 ,  accessed 17 March 2014, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1223   42   have embarked on efforts in placing Peranakan culture at fore to attract visitors who wish to embrace the cities’ multicultural origins. In restored historical buildings, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion in Georgetown 53  and The Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum in Melaka 54  provide visitors with an immersive experience of the past, carefully curated to recreate Peranakan life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In addition to these private museums, the Malaysian National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur  curated an exhibition that showcases the nonya kebaya, a traditional blouse-dress combination worn by Peranakan women. 55  While Malaysia has more often focused on its Malay-Muslim heritage as noted above, this Peranakan exhibition received the support of Datin Seri Endon Mahmood, w ife of then-Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. 56  The nonya kebayas on display came from atin ndon’s personal collection, and this sho™ later became a traveling ešhibition.  Singapore utilizes a similar strategy of appropriating Peranakan culture to represent the country in international settings. n ešample of Singapore activel› promoting its Dzešoticdz Peranakan culture can be viewed in the 2009 Asia -Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting held in Singapore. At this meeting, world leaders were presented with a shirt that drew inspiration from Peranakan designs for their photo-op.57  Even though such dress is not representative of what Singaporeans would wear in a formal setting today, this instance of                                                           5 3  See: Chan Suan-Choo, The Pinang Peranakan Mansion: A Museum of Straits Chinese Cultural Heritage , (Penang: Pinang Peranakan Mansion Sdn  Bhd., 2011)  5 4  Dzome - Baba & Nyonya House Museum - ome to a eranaan 	amil› Since ͳͺ͸ͳ,dz Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, accessed 17 March 2014, http://babanyonyamuseum.com   5 5  Hwei -	en heah, Dzon›a ead™or and ontemporar› eranaan hinese in Singapore and ala›sia.dz n Asian Material Culture, eds. Marianne Hulsbosch, Elizabeth Bedford and Martha Chaiklin (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), p. 88.  5 6  Ibid. See also: Datin Seri Endon Mahmood , N yony a Kebaya: A Century of Straits Chinese Costume , ( Singapore: Periplus editions, 2004).   5 7  arr› oh, Dzeranaan outfits for  photo op -- o ponchos please, ™e̵re sian,dz CN N , 10 November 2009, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://travel.cnn.com/singapore/none/peranakan -outfits-apec-890733   43   self-orientalization was meant to enforce the idea that Singapore is an important modern business hub that retains its traditional Asian identity. Around the same period, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs 58  requested for the Peranakan Museum to embark on an ešhibition partnership ™ith 	rance’s us±e du quai Branly for the purposes of cultural diplomacy. 59  nlie atin ndon’s travelling ešhibition which was limited to three countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Malaysia, Singapore and Australia) 60 , this partnership resulted in the first time that Peranakan objects were displayed in a European museum, thus demonstrating Singapore’s superior positioning as a regional representative of eranaan cultural heritage. The Dzaba lingdz ešhibition received eštensive coverage in France, with then-resident icolas Saroœ› maing an appearance during the ešhibition’s opening in October 2010. 61  Stephen Martin, the President of the Musée du quai Branly  viewed eranaan culture as an Dzoverseas hinese culturedz ™hich ™ould provide an interesting contrast to the mainstream Chinese culture with which French museumgoers were more readily familiar. 62   Following the successful exhibition at 	rance’s Musée du quai Branly , the Peranakan Museum embarked on another travelling exhibition to South Korea in 2013. At the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, the aim for Singapore was to strengthen its cultural ties within East Asia and representing Southeast sia’s diversit› by highlighting the multicultural                                                           5 8  In 2009, Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with France to enhance cultural cooperation. See Dzisit to 	rance b› Singapore’s inister of 	oreign ffairs,dz Embassy of France in Singapore, 18 February 2009, accessed 17 March 2014 , http://www.ambafrance -sg.org/Visit -to-France-by-Singapore-s  5 9  unci ai, DzThe rt of useum iplomac›ǣ The SingaporeȂ	rance ultural ollaboration in erspective,dz The International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 26:2 (2013), p.136.  60 Jackie Yoong , DzA History of Peranakan  Museum Exhibitions in Singapore 1985 -ʹͲͲͺ,dz  Thesis, National University of Singapore , 20 0 9, p. 82.  6 1  Dzaba ling. The eranaan hinese of Singapore,dz Musée du quai Branly , accessed 17 March 2014 , http://www.quaibranly.fr/uploads/tx_gayafeespacepresse/MQB_CP_BabaBling_EN_0 1.pdf   6 2  Yunci Cai, p. 134 .   44   influences in the region that shaped Peranakan aesthetics. 63  Korean  news coverage celebrated the eranaan ešhibition for DzshedȏdingȐ light on such a diverse communit›dz and providing an instructive historical ešample to an Dzincreasingl› multiculturaldz South Korea .64  This is due to the way how curators at the National Museum of Korea framed the Peranakan exhibition as a Dzfuture-oriented message about the way of accommodating diverse cultures ™ithout prejudice.dz65  With Peranakan culture standing in for Singapore, the government had successfully positioned itself to be the recipient of goodwill and admiration generated by the presentation of Peranakan cultural heritage. n the nešt chapter, Singapore’s conception of its national history as fundamentally multicultural will be seen as a strategy to persuade long-time residents that embracing necessary social and demographic change is a naturally Singaporean thing to do.                                                               63 Huang Lijie , DzMuseums go places,dz The Straits Times , 23 May 2013 , accessed 17 March 2014, http://www.straitstimes.com/the -big-story/case -you-missed-it/story/museums -go-places-20130523   64 Kim Hyung -eun, DzPeranakan Singapore shuns bland conformity,dz K orea Joongang D aily , 21 March 201 3 , accessed 17 March 2014, http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/Article.aspx?aid=296 888 0   65 DzExhibitions | Special Exhibitions | Past Exhibitions ,dz National Museum of Korea , accessed 17 March 2014,  http://211.252.141.1/program/show/showDetailEng.jsp?menuID=0020020 02003&searchSelect=A.SHOWKOR&showCategory1Con=SC1&showCategory2Con=SC1_1&pageSize=10&langCodeCon=LC2&showID=7183 &currentPage=1   45     III . IN SERVICE OF TH E GLO BAL CITY - STATE   t the beginning of the ne™ millennium, Singapore’s important role ™ithin the global ecomomy was already apparent. In an interview published in The Straits Times George Yeo, the former Minister for Trade and Industry, observed:  We are seeing large numbers coming in now. I can give you one statistic you may not be aware of. For every two babies that are born in Singapore, we bring in one foreign permanent resident. Also among one of the four marriages among Singaporeans is to a foreigner. This has doubled in the last ten years. We have become a migrant society all over again. 1  eo’s remars illustrate the e› problem that Singapore has attempted through various means to reconcile in the twenty-first century. Singaporean policy makers have been forced to balance the challenges of enabling the nation-state to adapt to the economic imperatives of globalization while simultaneously convincing a national populace that the changes are necessary and even desirable. Since eo’s fran assessment of Singapore’s socio-economic landscape, these concerns have only grown more pressing in the decade that followed.  Why immigration?  In the wake of 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Singapore faced new challenges such as the deregulation of markets, the rise of China and the decline of the manufacturing industry. 2  This has pushed the government to adopt a Dz™orld as hinterlanddz approach and cultivate Singapore’s image as a cosmopolitan global cit› in order to better cope ™ith the new                                                           1  eorge eo, Dze have become a migrant societ› all over again,dz The Straits Times, 1 1 June 2000, as found in eo Sur›adinata, Dzhinese igration and daptation in Southeast sia: The Last Half -Century,dz chapter ͵ in International Migration in Southeast Asia, eds. Aris Ananta and Evi Nurvidya Arifin ( Singapore: ISEAS  Publications, 2004 ), p. 86.  2  Selvaraj Velayutham, Responding to Globalization: Nation, Culture and Identity in Singapore , (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2007 ), p. 86.  46     dynamics of globalization. 3  The process of reinventing Singapore has centred on efforts to foster a Dzno™ledge-driven econom›,dz ™hich meant that Singapore needs to attract silled migrants who can contribute to this new policy initiative. 4   Furthermore, the declining birth rate in Singapore has alarmed the government and necessitated the need to bring in migrants as a form of Dzpopulation replacement.dz 	rom Singapore’s independence in ͳͻ͸ͷ, fertilit› rates have dipped drasticall› from Ͷ.ͻ͵ to ͳ.ʹ in 2 00 9, which is significantly below the replacement rate of 2.1. 5  ith the government’s embrace of globalization, it is also inevitable that many Singaporeans will go abroad to seek new opportunities in the spheres of work or study. It is estimated that 180, 000 Singaporeans live overseas, while an average of 1,000 Singaporeans renounce their citizenship each year. 6  These factors have led to the government’s adoption of a liberal immigration polic› for both skilled and unskilled workers that can contribute to the economy. While the former are essential for the cultivation of a Dzno™ledge-drivendz econom›, the latter is needed to fill labour positions in the construction, manufacturing, service and domestic work industries 7 ; as well as compensating for the declining birth rate.  This immigration trend is set to continue in the, with the endorsement of Dzopulation hite aperdz b› the eople’s ction art›-majority parliament in 2013.  This policy paper proposal projects a population increase by                                                           3  Ibid. 4  Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty , (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006 ), p. 17 8.  5  iu ong, DzTransnational hinese Sphere in Singaporeǣ ›namics, Transformations and haracteristics,dz Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 41:2 (2012), p. 50.  6  renda S.. eoh and ei“iang in, Dzhinese igration to Singapore: Discourses and Discontents in a Globalizing Nation -State,dz Asian and Pacific Migration Journal  22:1 (2013), p. 35.   7  Brenda S.A Yeoh and Weiqiang Lin, pp. 41 -42.  47     30% to 6.9 million b y 2030 and recommends that citizenship should be granted to 15,000 to 25,000 young immigrants each year. 8    The ǮSiniciœation’ of the cit›  By June 2013, nearly forty percent of the population were foreign -born permanent residents of temporary residents, according to a government report. This statistic represents a striking contrast to demographic levels in 2000 , wherein seventy-four percent of the populace were Singapore citizens; in 1980, Singaporeans numbered ninety one percent of the total population. 9  Although policy directives do not explicitly state which ethnic groups the Singapore government aims to attract, it seems that China has been the main source of immigrants to Singapore. The presumable targeting of Chinese immigrants may be due to the government’s desire for stability and the maintenance of current ethnic ratios which has been established since colonial rule (Chinese comprising of three quarters of the population). As Singapore becomes more economically developed during the 1980s, well -educated segments of the Chinese population have delayed marriage and parenthood, generally producing fewer children per household in comparison ™ith Singapore’s other ethnic groups. 10  Hence, in ih™a ng’s terms, the state’s decision to bring in students and professionals from Mainland hina ma› be accounted for b› virtue of the fact that Dzbeside their sills, ȏthe›Ȑ possess the                                                           8  Seeǣ Dz Sustainable opulation 	or  ›namic Singapore,dz National Population and Talent Division, Prime iister’s ˆˆi…eǡ January 201 3, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://www.nptd.gov.sg /content/NPTD/news/_jcr_content/par_content/download_98/file.res/population -white-paper.pdf 9  Chun-an ong, DzSingapore Tightens iring ules for 	oreign Silled abor,dz Wall Street Journal, 2 3 September 2013, accessed 12 March 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142 40527 0230375960 4579092 86388 8803466   1 0  Aihwa Ong, p. 185.    48     Ǯright’ ethnicit›.dz11  eng iaoping’s economic reforms in the late ͳͻ͹Ͳs allo™ed for greater mobility among Chinese citizens. 12  These socio-economic changes in Mainland China subsequently yielded an unmistakable impact on Singapore. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, there are no published official statistics on the exact number of mainland Chinese immigrants. Nonetheless, there ar e estimates that the numbers have exponentially increased from several thousands to nearly one million from the 1990s to 2010s. 13    Hing Ai -Yun, Lee Kiat -in and Sheng Sišin’s research on ainland hinese Dzforeign talentsdz focuses primaril› on silled middle-class immigrants, but it can help us to provide some context regarding why Mainland Chinese choose to migrate to Singapore. Among the factors cited in this paper are the familiarity of potential immigrants with Singapore, due to the academic exchange programs between Singapore and Chinese universities; the positive image of Singapore presented b› hina’s state media, ™hich has lauded Singapore as a Dzmodern cit›dzǢ the geographic prošimit› of the t™o countries ȋa flight bet™een Singapore and Guangzhou is le ss than four hours); and policies promoting Chinese culture, such as designating Mandarin Chinese as one of its official languages and Chinese celebrations as public holidays. 14  Given these attractive characteristics of Singapore, it is no surprise that mainland Chinese immigrants are gradually becoming an ever-present fixture in                                                           1 1  Aihwa Ong, p. 186. n addition, hina’s rise as an economic po™er has attracted man› ast sian states, including Singapore to establish investments with the emergent regional powerhouse. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan -Yew has urged Chinese -Singaporeans to draw on their ancestr› to establish Ǯguanši’ ȏnet™orsȐ in China for the ease of business. See: renda eoh and ate illis, DzSingapore nlimitedǣ onfiguring Social Identity in the egionaliœation rocessdz ȋearlier draft presented at the niversit› of ottingham epartment of Geography Seminar Series, January 1997), p. 9.   1 2  hou in and iu ong, Dzhanging atterns of hinese mmigration and iaspora-Homeland Interactions in Singapore and the nited States,dz Program on International Migration, UCLA International Institute , 3 December 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://escholarship.org/uc/item/705150 1n   1 3  Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Weiqiang Lin, p. 35.   1 4  Hing Ai -Yun, Lee Kiat -Jin and Sheng Sixin , Dzainland hinese Ǯ	oreign Talents’ in Singapore,dz Asian Journal of Social Science 37 (2009), p. 770.  49     Singaporean societ›. renda eoh and in ei“iang aptl› describe this phenomena as Dzthe gradual ǮSiniciœation’ of the public face of the cit›.dz15   National identity and social tensio ns  Some controversial incidents involving new immigrants from Mainland China have resulted in a public outcry, contributing to the growing sense of unease towards this group of new immigrants. Many Singaporeans have complained about the displays of ostentatious cultural chauvinism by these mainland Chinese immigrants; the lack of tolerance to other ethnic groups; and generally poor behaviour in other instances. Mainland Chinese immigrants have borne much of the brunt of public discontent in terms of the more general social tensions regarding immigration and change. 16  Given that ethnically Chinese people comprise a majorit› of Singapore’s population, one ma› regard this trend as ironic. o™ever, it reflects a growing cultural divide separating these two groups within the ethnic Chinese communit›, ™hile suggesting underl›ing anšieties about the government’s liberal immigration policies.                                                            1 5  Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Weiqiang Lin, p. 42. Yeoh and Lin, pp. 39 -42, group mainland Chinese immigrants into four different categories: skilled migrants, students, study mothers and low and semi-skilled migrants. Skilled migrants from hina are described in ne™spapers as Dz›oung dragonsdz due to their ›oung age. The› are typically well-educated, ambitious and possess the ability to converse in English.  The second group, students, numbered around 36,000 as of 20 08. Not only does the Singapore government disburse generous scholarships to talented mainland hinese students, but Singapore’s status as an nglish-speaking country has made it a particularly attractive educational option for mainland Chinese students hoping to cultivate international connections ™ith the est. The third group is lined to the second group, as Dzstud› mothersdz accompany their children studying in Singapore on a student pass. These study mothers are given a long-term visitor pass. As of 2006, there were 7,800 such pass holders residing in Singapore and two -thirds are from China. Finally, the last group described by Yeoh and Lin are the low and semi -skilled migrants, who take low-paying employment positions that Singaporeans typically avoid, such as cashiers, cleaners, bus drivers etc. 1 6  DzSingapore’s migration dilemmas,dz Asian Century Institute, 22 February 2013, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://www.asiancenturyinstitute.com/migration/200 -singapore-s-migration-dilemmas  50     In order to understand these controversies, sources from social media will be utilized. While social media may not be an ideal source for factually reliable information 17 , it is a prime site for examining the discourses at work in Singapore today with regards to the immigration debate. Mainstream media in Singapore is state-sanctioned and vie™ed as Dzpro-governmentdz in its stance, whereas social media allows for a wide range of perspectives that ma› deviate from the Dzun™ritten parameters of political acceptabilit›.dz18  With 74 percent of Singaporeans engaging in social networks, social media is particularly important for studying contemporary Singaporean society. 19  From discussions on the internet, Stephen rtmann notes that DzSingaporeans are increasingl› disaffected ™ith the ruling elitedz and sho™ Dzopposition to the gro™ing amount of foreign talent, abbreviated as Ǯ	T’.dz20   The events examined here trace back to 2011 because the most recent General lections occurred in a› ʹͲͳͳ. The immigration topic became a Dzhot-butt n issuedz and ™as a significant factor in causing the ruling eople’s ction art› to lose a siœeable share of its popular vote. 21   August 2011 : Cook a Pot of Curry Day  This Dzculinar› anti- mmigrationdz viral protest ™as triggered b› the complaints of a Mainland Chinese family that their Singaporean Indian neighbours were cooking curry with                                                           1 7  Commentators on online networking sites, and other new media platforms are not held to standards of is state integrity and objectivity the way that journalists are expected to report.  1 8  Carol Soon and Tan Tarn-How, Corrosive Speech: What Can Be Done. Report 2013 , (Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Institute of Policy Studies), p. 15.   1 9  Ibid.   2 0  Stephen rtmann, DzSingaporeǣ The olitics of nventing ational dentit›,dz Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 28:4 (20 09), p. 39.  2 1  DzSingapore’s lectionǣ  ™in-™in electionǫdz The Economist, 8 May 2011, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/201 1/ 05/singapores_election   51     a strong odour. 22  When a mediator intervened and ruled that the Singaporean Indian family could only cook curry when their Mainland Chinese neighbours were away, many Singaporeans were outraged. In wake of this incident, a Facebook campaign 23  was organized by Stanley Wong and Florence Leow, both Chinese -Singaporeans. They stressed that curry ™as a Dznational dish,dz ™ith the strong implication that ainland hinese immigrants have to adapt to the localized culture. 20 12 : Table tennis team at the London Olympics   At the 2012 Summer Olym pics in London, table tennis paddler Feng Tianwei won Singapore’s first individual l›mpic medal in ͶͲ ›ears. et, despite this achievement, the fact that Feng was originally from Mainland China prompted a public debate 24  about whether Singaporeans should tae pride 	eng’s sporting success. 25  Critics pointed out that Feng was only naturalized as a Singaporean citizen in January 2008, spending most of her formative years in China. 26  ith the state’s disbursement of financial incentives ȋ̈́ʹͷͲ,ͲͲͲȌ for a bronze medal, man› have “uestioned 	eng’s true political lo›alties 27 , while also criticizing                                                           2 2  arr› Suhartono, DzSingaporeans̵ culinar› anti-immigration protestǣ curr›,dz Reuters, 21 August 2011, accessed 12 March 2014 ,  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/ 08/ 21/us -singapore-curry-idUSTRE77 K0TB20 110821   2 3  See Dzational oo urr› a›,dz Facebook, accessed 12 March 2014 ,  https://www.facebook.com/pages/National -Cook-Curry-Day/13380727337697 1   2 4  Some Singaporeans such as ichardson au have gone online to ešpress their vie™s about 	eng’s ™in, Dz™hat prideǫ She thre™ the flo™ers to  fans......she definitel› ™ould be happier ™earing the  crest than SG.... She's just here because she cannot make it into the main team in China...hence her flight to Japan and then to Singapore...... She's her e for the mone› and table Tennis...not Singapore. ȏsicȐ.dz  Seeǣ DzThe Temase evie™,dz Facebook, 1 August 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , https://www.facebook.co m/permalink.php?story_fbid=4364238564 02950&id=190 806675782   2 5  effre› on, Dz bronœe medal, but at ™hat cost for Singaporeǫdz Yahoo! Newsroom, 2 August 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://sg.news.yahoo.com/a -bronze-medal--but-at-what-cost-for-singapore-.html   2 6  eo ha™, Dz	eng Tian ei not ǮSingapore’ enoughǫdz theonlinecitizen, 1 3 August 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2012/ 08/feng -tian-wei-not-singapore-enough/   2 7  fter 	eng Tian™ei’s success in obtaining an individual Silver medal at the l›mpics, some online commentators posted images of Feng throwing flowers to supporters from China. They voiced their strong dissatisfaction that Feng did not similarly acknowledge the Singaporean audience. See: Dzutcr› over 	eng Tian™ei thro™ing flo™ers at cheering  fans after her ™in at ondon l›mpics,dz T he Temasek Times, 2 52     her poor grasp of English and inability to sing the national anthem in Malay as evidence of her insufficiently Singaporean identity. 28     2 01 2: SMRT Chinese - language announc ement controversy  From October to December 2012, Singapore public transit system (SMRT) introduced bilingual English and Mandarin announcements on its commuter trains. However, SMRT ended this trial program due to public outcry about the privileging of Mandarin.29  Some online commentators saw this trial as a politically driven decision pandering to the increasing number of ainland hinese immigrants, noting the Dz-accenteddz andarin of the announcements.30  Additionally, there were no plans to make announcements in the other two official languages of Singapore: Malay and Tamil. 31  While SMRT stated that the bilingual announcements were to assist elderly Chinese Singaporeans, some Singaporeans noted that older Chinese Singaporean commuters are more fluent in Chinese dialects and do not need Mandarin announcements after taking the train for many years. 32                                                              August 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://temasektimes.wordpress.com/2012/ 08/ 02/outcry -over-feng-tianwei-throwing-flowers-at-cheering-prc-fans-after-her-win-at-london-olympics/  2 8  Dzpen etter to 	eng Tian™eiǣ ls prove ›our commitment to become real S’porean,dz The Real Singapore, 2 August 2 012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://therealsingapore.com/content/open -letter-feng-tianwei-pls-prove-your-commitment-become-real-s%E2%80% 99porean  2 9  Some Singaporeans have gone online to voice their opposition to ST’s bilingual announcements.  petition on Facebook against Mandarin announcements attracted 3, 932  Dzliesdz as of 1 2 March 2014 . A note posted by the moderator explains the 	aceboo page’s intentions, urging 	aceboo users to Dzcontribute to our petition to Stop SMRT from translating Station Names by pressing LIKE on our page. The more "LIKES" the stronger our oice.dz See DzSingapore MRT Station Name Announcements - Only in English Please ,dz Facebook, accessed 12 March 2014 , https://www.facebook.com/SMRT.StationNameAnnouncements?ref=stream   3 0  ongchen hou, Dzhat’s n  Station ameǫ  ealth› ose f dentit› Ƭ rideǨdz IPSCommons, accessed 12 March 2014,  http://www.ipscommons.sg/index.php/categories/society/120 -whats-in-a-station-name-a-healthy-dose-of-identity-a-pride  3 1  Ibid.  3 2  Commuter Nuraisha Ramlan  shared her vie™s that DzSingapore is a multicultural countr› and  did not feel that it was fair or necessary to do Chinese translations. All my Chinese friends know the stations by their English names Ȅit’s good that ST is scrapping this.dz See: DzST ends trial on station announcements in andarin,dz Yahoo! Newsroom, 9 December 2012, accessed 12 March 2014 , http://sg.news.yahoo.com/smrt -ends-trial-on-mandarin-station-announcements-031739 867.html   53     Understanding the response from Chinese -Singaporeans  In its way, each of these incidents represents the growing tensions toward the new mainland Chinese immigrants in Singapore, especially from the Chinese Singaporean community. Taken individually, they are anecdotal, but viewed as related phenomena within a relatively short period of time, they demonstrate a growing divide separating Dzlocalsdz from Dzforeigners.dz The reactions to these events are especiall› telling and provide evidence for a discourse of Dzotheringdz within  the ethnically Chinese population of Singapore.   Due to the rapid influx of mainland Chinese immigrants a s well as the pace of economic and urban redevelopment, many Chinese-Singaporeans feel that their local identity is under threat and it is up to them to preserve and defend their identity. Furthermore, the apparent resentment of the mainland Chinese immigrants within the ethnic Chinese community of Singapore is also due in part to the fact that Chinese-Singaporeans and mainland Chinese immigrants share similar physical appearance. Thus, in order to express the sense of difference that Chinese-Singaporeans perceive of themselves, they must actively emphasize that difference in a manner other than physical appearance. Brenda Yeoh and Kate Willis contend that Chinese -Singaporeans rel› on Dzcultural and moral marersdz to distinguish themselves from the Dzunacceptable social and personal habitsdz associated with immigrants from China. 33  This strategy of differentiationȄfocusing on English language abilities, manners, cultural tolerance and respect for the law Ȅand is readily apparent from the case-studies discussed above. Yeoh and Willis conclude that                                                           3 3  renda eoh and ate illis, DzSingapore nlimitedǣ onfiguring Social dentit› n The egionaliœation rocessdz ȋearlier draft presented at the niversit› of ottingham epartment of eograph› Seminar Series, January 1997), p. 17.  54     DzSingaporean hinese came from the same Ǯstoc’ ȏas the immigrants from Mainland China] but grafted on a different tree.dz34   With the sudden influx of mainland Chinese immigrants to Singapore, these migrants are presumed to fit seamlessl› into the Dzhinesedz categor› ™ithin Singapore’s official  racial frame™or, ™hile supporting the countr›’s economic gro™th. o™ever, these immigrants from China have been perceived to have caused social problem themselves, and the wider Chinese-Singaporean community considers them as Dzoutsidersdz that are unable to be fully assimilated. The most commonly vocalized criticism is that these Mainland Chinese immigrants are unable to fit into Singapore’s multicultural, la™-abiding and English -speaking cultural environment.  This relates to aniel oh’s observation that Singapore’s post-independence ethnic relations continues to Dzrevolve around the racial categories used by the British colonial state to enumerate the population in its census.dz35  This form of pluralism has become thoroughly ingrained in the fabric of Singaporean society. However, the latest wave of Chinese immigrants in the recent years has confounded Singapore’s established social categories, traditionally delineated along the lines of race. 36   Easing the tensions from the nation in -flux  As suggested above, this demographically necessary influx of Mainland Chinese immigrants has created certain tensions both ™ithin Singapore’s ethnicall› hinese                                                           3 4  Brenda Yeoh and Kate Willis, p. 18.  3 5  aniel .S oh, Dz	rom olonial luralism to ostcolonial ulticulturalismǣ ace, State 	ormation and the uestion of ultural iversit› in ala›sia and Singapore,dz Sociology Compass 2:1 (20 08), p. 235.  3 6  In addition, the first wave of Chinese immigrants came from the southern Chinese provinces, Fujian and Guangdong. However, the new mainland Chinese immigrants come from all parts of China, such as rural areas like Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang, another factor that has contributed to the lack of cohesion among Chinese-Singaporeans and more recent arrivals. Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Weiqiang Lin, p. 38.  55     community and within the city-state generally. This development is acknowledged by key government figures, such as President Tony Tan, who urged Singaporeans to Dzprevent a ne™ fault line from forming between local-born Singaporeans and recent immigrants.dz37  Clearly aware of the controversies caused by the rapidly changing social dynamics, the government has developed creative strategies to ease tensions among its populace.    While the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Other (CMIO)  racial categories remain officially in place, this chapter will show that the government has more subtly sought to create a distinctly hybridized vision of the nation as a means to promote social cohesion and harmony. One of the primary tools employed by the state has been the conception of a useable past evincing Singapore’s cultural h›bridism. ith a strategic location as a regionall› important port city, the island that would become Singapore had been shaped by new cultural practices and ideas long before the onset of globalization. The Peranakan culture serves this purposeful vision of a hybridized Singaporean past particularly well. While Peranakan descendants are classified as Chinese within the official racial categories, the narrative presented at the Peranakan museum shows why Peranakan Chinese are distinct from the wider Chinese community and quintessentially Singaporean according to their ancestr›. This distinction creates a more nuanced sense of racial difference than the Dzdz framework would seem to allowȄcorresponding with Hwei -Fen heah’s observation that the museum is Dzpacaging eranaan culture as one of un-problematic s›ncretism.dz38                                                              3 7  o› 	ang, Dzresidentǣ e™ arliament reflects diverse voices,dz AsiaOne , accessed 12 Ma rch 2014, http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story201110 1 1 -304289.html   3 8  Hwei -	en heah, Dzon›a ead™or and ontemporar› eranaan hinese in Singapore and ala›sia.dz n Asian Material Culture, eds. Marianne Hulsbosch, Elizabeth Bedford and Martha Chaiklin (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), p. 88.  56     National identity and governmentality  	or Singapore, an Dzauthentic national identit›dz has historicall› remained elusive, due to its rapid movement between city-state and global metropolis. 39  Working from Prasenjit uara’s theor›, Terence Chong has argued that Singapore has aimed to construct a Dzregime of authenticit›dz in order to Dzanchor the nation in the ferocious stream of capitalism and modernit›.dz40  Chong acknowledges the unique challenges of attempting to locate this type of national vision for Singapore, noting that the Dzidea of a timeless and stable nationdz is incongruous within the Singaporean context. 41  Hence, the Peranakan Museum func tions as a useful vehicle for evading some of these seemingly inherent problems.  For the majority Chinese -Singaporean population, the history on display at the Peranakan Museum is meant to act as a precedent to the current immigration situation. The openness embodied b› the island’s proto-Singaporean historical inhabitants serves to demonstrate ho™ ne™ immigrants from ainland hina can graduall› become Dzindigeniœeddz like the Peranakans. Furthermore, the museum highlights the way that Chinese immigrants have responded and adapted to the dominant Malay cultural environment during the nineteenth century. What is thus on display is a distinctively Dzhome-growndz Singaporean identity. The eranaan communit›’s distinctiveness and longstanding presence in Singapore serves the state’s purpose of promoting a localiœed h›brid identit› that allo™s all citizens (whether first or third generation) to claim ownership .                                                            3 9  Terence hong, Dzanufacturing uthenticit›ǣ The ultural roduction of ational dentities in Singapore,dz Modern Asian Studies 45:4 (2 011), p. 877.  4 0  Terence Chong, p. 878 .   4 1  Terence Chong, p. 879.    57     The Peranakan Museum serves two simultaneous, interconnected purposes for the state. First, through the nostalgic appeal of heritage, addressed in chapter two, the museum instils in its local visitors a sense of rootedness and historical community. Yet, at the same time, because that Dznationaldz histor› is fundamentall› h›brid and multicultural, the state can make the case that receptivity to social and cultural change is the patriotic and natural DzSingaporeandz reaction to the present-day changes brought about by globalization and migration. Utilizing  	oucault’s famous notion of Dzgovernmentalit›,dz Aaron Koh argues that the Singapore government has actively attempted to shape the disposition and behaviour of its citizens.42  The government has recognized that a new national consciousness reiterated daily through social practices and exchanges is essential to the domestic success of its economic ambitions.43   oh describes Singaporean governance as Dztacticaldz in that it utiliœes government policies in the social, economic and educational spheres and Dztranslates them into national imperatives.dz44  He cites government statements (such as George eo’s comments quoted at the start of this chapter), policy papers, speeches delivered by  political leaders and nation-wide campaigns as tools promoting a distinctly Singaporean governmentality. 45  n line ™ith oh’s argument, il› ong contends that Singapore’s cultural polic› has melded together both economic and social imperatives. ong’s paper examines the trends of cultural policy in Singapore from 1965 to 2000. As the primary aim throughout much of the earlier post-independence period was on economic survival, arts and culture were typically                                                           4 2  aron oh, Dziving ™ith lobaliœation Tacticall›ǣ The etapragmatics of lobaliœation in Singapore,dz Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 22:2 (2 007), p. 183  4 3  Aaron Koh, p. 184 .   4 4  Aaron Koh, p. 186.  4 5  Ibid.  58     relegated to the backburner. 46  It was not until the economic recession in 1985 that the government sought to diversif› its economic strategies and identified the arts as a Dzpotential growth area. However, the 1989 Report on Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts was a main turning point in the government’s approach to™ards cultural polic›. This report sho™s the government recogniœing the dual potential for art and culture to Dzstrengthen our social bondsdz and Dzcontribute to our tourist and entertainment sector.dz47  Again, this illustrates the government’s desire to improve social cohesion at the domestic level so as to more solidly position Singapore as a global  city in an increasingly competitive global  economy. Kong concludes that the government regards cultural polic› as an Dzarsenaldz to build up resilience for social defence, ™hile indirectl› augmenting Singapore’s economic gro™th. 48   Learning to read the national narrative  The Peranakan Museum exemplifies such policy. Andrea Witcomb contends that museums are important tools for political instruction, Dzreforming ne™l› formed populations into a modern citiœenr›.dz49  Based on my observations at the museum, it is clear that the majority of local visitors are studen ts from local schools. Facilitated b› the museum’s educational department and Dz	riends of the useumdz volunteer group50 , these school field trips are part of the inistr› of ducation’s Dzearning ourne›dz polic›, first initiated in ͳͻͻͺ. Dzearning ourne›sdz are incorporated in the syllabus, giving students the opportunity to visit and reflect on e› public institutions that have significant meaning in Singapore’s histor›.                                                           4 6  il› ong, Dzultural polic› in Singaporeǣ negotiating economic and socio-cultural agendas,dz GeoForum 3 1:4 (2000), p. 413.  4 7  Lily Kong , p. 414.   4 8  Lily K ong, p. 419 .   49  Andrea Witcomb, Re - Imagining the Museum: Beyond the Mausoleum , ( Oxon: Routledge, 20 03 ), p. 80 . 5 0   comprehensive list of school programs is listed on the museum’s ™ebpage, seeǣ Dzearning̷useum,dz The Peranakan Museum, accessed 12 March 2014, http://www.peranakanmuse um.org.sg/education/education.html   59     This demonstrates the convergence of educational and cultural policy, creating in young citizens a fertile national consciousness.51   The National Museum of Singapore, another state-run museum, similarly projects a narrative of multiculturalism and Singapore’s past as a Dzprotot›pical global cit›.dz52  The National Museum prese nts as ešemplar› DzSingaporeansdz bicultural historical figures such as Munshi Abdullah, Tan Tock-Seng and Syed Sharif Omar al-Junied. 53  These individuals straddled the line between the East and West, both in terms of their mentality and their actions. Thus, visitors to this institution will learn that to be a model citizen is to be a cosmopolitan and cultural polygot. In the present-day, this notion naturally translates as participation in the global economy as a representative Singaporean.  By targeting the next generation of Singaporeans, the state aims to engender new subjectivities conducive to its economic prerogatives. Many of these young visitors to the Peranakan Museum will not remember the Singapore of 1980 with its much smaller percentage of foreigners. For that matter, their memory of the Singapore at the turn of the new millennium may be a little more than an early childhood recollection. Instead, the Dzmemor›dz of the nation that the› ™ill inherit is the h›brid vision of Singapore’s histor› promoted through the museum and other state-backed initiatives. Derek Heng has perceptively noted that: The national historical narrative has only recently appeared to be on the brink of a fundamental change in form to achieve several long-term objectives: to put forth to the people of Singapore the historical justification for the promulgation of the policies                                                           5 1  aron oh, Dzmagining the Singapore Ǯation’ and Ǯdentit›’ǣ The role of the media and ational ducation,dz Asia Pacific Journal of Education  25:1 (2005), p. 83.  5 2  Teo Ee -un, Dze-enchanting the Singapore Story: an examination of the National Museum's representational strategies,dz unpublished . onours Thesis, ational niversit› of Singapore, ʹͲͳͳȀʹͲͳʹ, p. ͳ͹.  5 3  Teo Ee -Jun, p. 21.    60     and their effects, as well as to socialise the mindset of the population towards being predisposed to being an internationalized society. 54  Today, the idea that Singapore is such an Dzinternationaliœeddz society and has been for many centuries seems ordinary to many Singaporean citizens and amateur history students. For example, one would learn in elementary school that it was Sang Nila Utama, a thi rteenth-century Sumatran prince that transformed the island into a focal point for the movement of people and goods in the region. 55  Some six hundred years later, Sir Stamford Raffles was instrumental in laying the economic foundations for Singapore as a British colony  by bringing in external labour to satisfy insular needs. 56  In a similar manner, Singapore’s political leaders of the twenty-first century like George Yeo recognize the need for keeping Singapore’s borders open to talent and trade. These moments in time are separated by great temporal distance and are not inherently tied to one another. The fact that Singaporeans would instinctively read this narrative as a coherent myth of national progress speaks to the success of the state’s use of cultural tools toward economic goals in becoming a global city-state.                                                                 54  Derek Heng, DzFrom Political Rhetor ic to National History: Bi -Culturalism and Hybridisation in the Construction of Singapore's Historical Narrative ,dz chapter 2  in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans -regionalism , eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press: 2009), p. 22 . 5 5  Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied  and Derek Heng, Dzntroduction,dz chapter ͳ in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans - regionalism , eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterd am University Press: 2009), p. 12.  5 6  Ibid.  61   CO NCLU SIO N   Dzn m› lifetime  have seen ešperienced so man› changes. e Straits-born Chinese are no longer a separate group, but instead ™e are all Singaporeans.dz - Mrs. Lee Chin -Koon (mot her of Prime Minister Lee Kuan -Y ew) 1   As a state-run institution, the Peranakan Museum has purposefully constructed a Dzheritagedz from its pre-independence past that is relevant for Singapore’s post-colonial present and future. The museum collection that the visitor sees and interacts with is carefully curated to recreate the Dzolden gedz for Peranakans. 2  This representation of Peranakans brings the visitor from the late nineteenth century through to the period before the Second World War. This is a relatively late glimpse of Peranakan history, given that this community had been established in the region since the first half of the nineteenth century or earlier. 3  Historically, Peranakan culture was not syn onymous with all of Singaporean society or even the Chinese community as a whole. Memories that do not fit neatly into the narrative of the historic site are forgotten. One prominent example is the intra-ethnic tension within the Chinese community, between the established Peranakan community and Sinkehs , the new Chinese immigrants that arrived in Singapore during the early twentieth century. 4                                                            1  Lee Chin -Koon, rsǤ ee’s …‘‘„‘‘ǣ ‘›a re…i’es a† ‘tŠer ˆa˜‘rite re…i’esǡ (Singapore: Eurasia, 1976) found in ean uruœ, DzTastes of h›brid belongingǣ 	ollo™ing the lasa trail in atong, Singapore,dz Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 25:5 (October 2011),  p. 607.   2  urgen udolph, Dzeconstructing dentitiesǣ  Social istor› of the abas in Singapore,dz Jou nal of Contemporary Asia 28:2 (19 98), p. 218.  Kwa Chong -uan, DzThe olonial State in the aing of a eranaan hinese ommunit›,dz in Peranakan Chines e in a Globalizing Southeast Asia, ed. Leo Suryadinata (Singapore: hinese eritage entre and aba ouse, ʹͲͳͲȌ, p. ͷͲ, observes that the eranaans are Dzincreasingl› remembered for their material objectsǥ a b›gone lifest›le highlighted in Ǯfood and feasting,’ a compleš set of rites and rituals grounded in hinese popular religion.dz  3  . illiam Sinner, Dzhinese creole societies in Southeast sia,dz in Sojourners and settlers: histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese: in honour of Jennifer Cushman , ed. Anthony Reid (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 19 96), pp. 57 Ȃ59.  4  See: Sharon . im, Dzecoming the Straits hineseǣ ctive onstructions of dentit› in Singapore, ͳͺͻͲ-ͳͻͳͲs,dz unpublished .. onours Thesis, niversit› of ritish olumbia, ʹͲͳ͵.  62   Furthermore, G len Peterson notes that the elaborate and intricate features of Peranakan material culture can be interpreted as a Dzcultural strateg› for inscribing social boundaries and elite status.dz5  During colonial rule, the Peranakan Chinese gained a reputation as the Dzing’s hinese,dz through their role as mediators bet™een the local population and the British rulers. 6  Decolonization saw the loss of economic benefits that the Peranakan Chinese once received during the colonial era and also resulted in the political dilution of the Peranakan community. 7  Yet, while visitors today recognize the opulence and aesthetic beauty of the objects on display, their rec ognition of the Peranakans as an elite group in colonial Singapore is subsumed within a more democratic reading of Peranakan culture as proto-Singaporean culture.  Can-Seng Ooi argues that the Dzing’s hinesedz have been posthumousl› Dzrehabilitateddz b› the state and re-imagined as de facto Singaporeans.8  While the individuals who identify as Peranakan are given a forum to share their stories in the museum’s rigins Gallery (as discussed in chapter one), they otherwise blend into the multiracial landscape of contemporary Singapore. Many of the younger people profiled for their Peranakan ancestry have not personally witnessed the seismic cultural change that Mrs. Lee Chin -Koon attests to in the quotation above. While they may feel some special kinship with their celebrated                                                           5  len eterson, Dzverseas hinese and erchant hilanthrop› in hinaǣ 	rom ulturalism to ationalism,dz Journal of Chinese Overseas  1:1 (May 2005), p p. 105 -106.  6  Peter Lee and Jennifer Chen, The Straits Chinese House: Domestic life and traditions (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2006), p. 21.  7  Bonny Tan, DzTeštualising the aba dentit›ǣ nsights into the aing of a ibliograph›,dz chapter ͹ in Reframing Singapore: Memory, Identity, Trans - regionalism , eds. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press: 200 9), pp. 1 5 0 -151 . 8  Cheong Kah -Shin, Dzeport on S Seminarǣ ǮSingapore’s ultural olic›ǣ uthenticit›, egulation and Stratification’ b› r. oi an-Seng,dz IPSComm ons, 11 August 2010, accessed 31 March 2014,  http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/ips/wp -content/uploads/sites/2/20 13/ 06/Seminar_Singapore%E2%80 %99s -Cultural-Policy_110810_report.pdf  e   63   forebears, the past on display is finally no more specifically theirs than it is that for another other present-day Singapore citizen.  As Margaret Sarkissian observes, Peranakans of the twenty-first century are in a unique situation compared to their forebears, as there is Dzno place for a colonial elite in a post-colonial world.dz9  ooing at the eranaan useum’s Dzisitor uidedz10 , it is clear that the highlighted objects, such as the beaded wedding slippers and kebaya (blouse) reflect almost none of the political context in which the Peranakans participated during colonial period. The official re-imagining of the eranaans as Dzless modern than they once weredz11  has resulted in simplifying of their complex historyȄdownplaying their allegiance to the British Empire a nd privileges they received as colonial intermediaries.   The colonial Peranakans had to negotiate an identity that was at once racially Asian and politically British. This deft balancing act, so discernible from the written texts 12  many Peranakans left behind, is an important part of their historical legacy that is inadequately represented in the state version of Peranakan history. A few framed photographs in the                                                           9  argaret Sarissian, DzThe ore Things hange, the ore The› Sta› the Sameǣ eranaan usical ulture in alacca, ala›sia,dz Musica e Cultura  7:1 (2012), p. 63.  1 0  Brochure, Visitor G uide: Enter the world of the Peranakans, The Peranakan Museum, Singapore.    1 1  Margaret Sarkissian, p. 52.   1 2  Lim Boon -Keng and Song Ong -Siang founded The Straits Chinese Magazine  in 1897. Having received the ueen’s Scholarship to pursue further studies in the United Kingdom, both  men were respected and prominent members of the eranaan communit›. im and Song’s intention was to have an Asian publication in Singapore where members of their community can contribute and voice their opinions on matters of the day. The main English publication in colonial Singapore was The Straits Times, a British -owned newspaper that was regarded as an avenue for serving European interests . The Straits Chinese Magazine  remained in print until 1907 , publishing a total of 11 v olumes comprised of 4 issues each. As the inaugural issue of the Straits Chinese Magazine was published during the ›ear of ueen ictoria’s iamond ubilee, the editors chose to feature a patriotic tribute to the reigning monarch, while also celebrating the glory of the British Empire. See: hilip olden, Dzolonial 	iction, ›brid ivesǣ arl› Singaporean 	iction in The Straits hinese agaœine,dz The Journal of Commonwealth Literature  33:8 5 (1998) . Dzail ictoriaǨdz The Straits Chinese Magazine 1.2 (1897), pp. 58 -59. George Peet, Rickshaw Reporter (Singapore: Eastern University Press, 1985), pp. 28 -29.  64   Public Life gallery attest to the modernity and highly Western -styled cosmopolitanism of the Peranakans, but these images are largely overshadowed by the overall theme of hybridity expressed through the more visually appealing objects in the other galleries.   Figure 8 : A section of the Public Life gallery features photographs of Peranakans in Western dress during the early twentieth century. Displayed top -centre is a framed beadwork design, modelled on the crest of Emmanuel College. This item was made by a mother for her son, Dr. Wu Lien -Teh (1 876 -1960) when he went to Cambridge University to s tudy Medicine. (Photo by Sharon Lim, 201 4 )   In 1996, the Peranakan Association quoted Lee Kip -ee’s statement that Dzeranaan culture is now at a cross-roads and it is timely to examine whether it can become a vibrant part of Singapore’s cultural scene.dz13  Nearly two decades later, it is apparent that Peranakan culture has experienced a successful resurgence in Singapore. Efforts like the presentation at the Peranakan Museum have given the remnants of Peranakan culture with a contemporary context, albeit at a cost. First, the historical memory of the Peranakans has been carefully de-politicized in its deliberate application as national heritage. Second, as Mrs. Lee Chin -oon’s “uote suggests, the Peranakans are not recognized as a distinct social group                                                           1 3  nthon› ei and eter ee, Dz Successful onvention. Tremendous Support for the ͻth aba onvention,dz The Peranakan: Quarterly Newsletter of Th e Peranakan Association  (December 1996 -February 1997), p.2. http://peranakan.s3.amazonaws.com/1996/ 1 996_Issue_4.pdf   65   and no longer enjoy the political and social privileges that they once enjoyed under British colonial rule. For instance, Peranakans were categorized as Chinese and subsumed under the dominant ethnic Chinese identity under the new CMIO (Chinese -Malay-Indian-Other) racial framework enacted by the post-independent government. 14  If the Peranakans are to stand as representative of an ideal for Singapore’s present and future, this cultural egalitarianism consequently recasts the descendants of this elite colonial group as a rather more ordinary group.  The recognition of the eranaans’ potential as an egalitarian social model is not altogether new. As early the late 1980s , noted Peranakan cultural enthusiast, William Gwee highlighted the Peranakans as an exemplary case of an Dzintegrated culture of multi-racial origin.dz15  In the 1988 Committee of Heritage Report, G wee used this justification to advocate for the state to take action on preserving Peranakan heritage.16  When the Peranakan Museum opened twenty years after ™ee’s recommendation, it reportedl› welcomed 50,000 visitors within nine weeks of its openingȄcompared to the Asian Civilisations Museum which took a year reach that visitor level. 17  This enthusiastic reception demonstrates the appeal of a home-grown national narrative that sought to encompass every ethnic group, while nevertheless showing the distinctiveness of Singaporean identity.                                                             1 4  Emily Stokes -ees. DzǮe need something of our o™n’ǣ epresenting thnicit›, iversit› and Ǯational eritage’ in Singapore,dz ȋaper presented at ational useums in a lobal orld, epartment of culture studies and oriental languages, University of Oslo, Norway,  1 9 -21 November 2007), p. 24.  1 5  acie oong, Dz istor› of Peranakan Museum Exhibitions in Singapore 1985 -ʹͲͲͺ,dz  Thesis, ational University of Singapore, 20 0 9, p. 34.  1 6  Ibid.   1 7  Dzeranaan useum dra™s ͷͲ,ͲͲͲ visitors in ͻ ™eesdz AsiaOne, 8 July 2008, accessed 31 March 2014 , http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story200807 0 8 -75386.html   66   Such a unique national identity has been utilized to produce a stronger sense of locality in the midst of great social change. The Peranakan Museum has served to provide a remedy for this sense of displacement, as material culture is connected with the way how Singaporeans define their local identity. The museum’s presentation of eranaan cultural heritage has implications for different, though sometimes overlapping, audiences.      Within the local setting, the museum presents a narrative of a national identity that is distinctively Singaporean, accommodating of the different ethnic groups that reside in the country. By attempting to con nect in the public imagination the culture of the Peranakans with contemporary Singapore, the state aims to gloss over the history of conflict that has sometimes mared racial and ethnic relations. nstead, a neat narrative of Singapore’s national origins functions as a way to promote inter-ethnic harmony and generate pride among citiœens in Singapore’s national histor›.  Meanwhile, within the Southeast Asia, the display of Peranakan objects at the museum acts as a ™a› to assert Singapore’s role as the leading cultural capital in the region. Singapore has effectively utilized its economic clout to gain comparative advantages against culturally-rich but economically less developed neighboring states. Lastly, at the global level, the Peranakan Museum represents a concerted effort to self-orientalize the nation so as to make Singapore more attractive as a cultural destination for tourists. Singapore’s recognition as an important cultural center would enhance its status more broadly as an economically competitive global city.  67   As the state seeks to repurpose its colonial history for various reasons,18  the institutional structure of contemporary Singapore remains implicitly informed by its earlier mode of British governance . aniel oh contends that Singapore’s official s›stem of multiracial segregation and its related conception of national identity are lingering traces of British colonial rule. oh contrasts Singapore’s multiracial socio-political strategies with the hybridized urbanism in present-day Penang. According to Goh, this is likewise a result of the different manner in which this city was governed during colonialism. 19  While in Singapore, the CMIO racial framework remains firmly in place, suggesting that there is validity to oh’s argument, the state’s use of eranaan culture detailed here suggests a gradual shift towards hybridization in the official and popular discourses on race.  Due to the current economic imperatives facing Singapore as an ambitious global city -state, a hybridized, less racially delineated notion of national identity has become recognized as a necessity both for stronger social cohesion and the acceptance of newcomers. The colonial Peranakan subjects have proven tremendously useful as idealized multicultural proto-Singaporeans with a cosmopolitan outlook. However, the colonial model of racial segregation, which Goh maintains has persisted up to the present, cannot meet the socio-economic demands of the near future.                                                            18  Roy ones and rian . Sha™, Dzalimpsests of rogressǣ rasing the ast and e™riting the 	uture in Developing Societies Ȅase Studies of Singapore and aarta,dz International Journal of Heritage Studies 1 2:2 ( 2006), p. 126 , note that Singapore’s built colonial heritage, such as the affles otel and S compleš (formerly the Convent of Holy Infant Jesus) are viewed by the government as commercial opportunities that support branding campaigns in attracting tourists.  19  aniel .S oh, DzBetween History and Heritage: Post -Colonialism, Globalisation, and the Remaking of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore,dz T RaNS : Trans - Regional and - National Studies of Southeast Asia 2:1 ( 20 14 ), p. 98 . 68   The policy aims that the Peranakan Museum means to satisfy are not explicitly addressed in the physical space of the museum itself. 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