A segment of Singapore’s population is receptive to dissemination of the Chinese narrative.
Matthias Ang | March 19, 2022, 03:27 PM
From around 2012, China has been making a concerted effort to push its national narrative outward to the rest of the world, tapping on anti-imperialist and anti-U.S. sentiments, Associate Professor Chong Ja Ian from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Political Science Department said on Mar. 17.
Speaking at a Academia.sg panel titled “A World Divided – International Conflicts and Contending Loyalties in Singapore”, Chong added that the narrative also includes an emphasis on Chinese culture and ethnic pride, which has been conflated with both China itself and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The world is currently receiving a “barrage” of this narrative and within Singapore, there is a certain segment of Singapore that is responsive to it, he noted.
“Some of it has to do with the constant refrain that we should be cautious of the West, that we are Asian and so this CCP claim that it represents Asia and a certain idea of pan-Asianism, that finds fertile ground with those groups.”
In addition, there are also those who are sympathetic to the view that the U.S. is hypocritical.
Another group consists of people who feel they have “very unfairly treated” by Singapore’s own policies towards Chinese schools, training, and education in the past.
The rise of China therefore validates their beliefs, he added.
Linda Lim, a Singaporean economist at the University of Michigan gave two examples of groups who have a vested interest in making Singapore more Chinese-focused, and moving it away from its Western orientation.
One group is a “very large number” of new Chinese immigrants in Singapore, Lim said.
As for the second group, Lim said that these are Singapore-based businesses with extensive networks and investments in China.
Such business interests will be very strong and opposed to any antagonism in China, Lim said.
The first is that Singaporeans have been conditioned to not be very critically-minded.
This means that Singaporeans tend to see issues in terms of dispositions such as “U.S. bad, West bad, China good,” he said.
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