Race and Multiculturalism in Singapore (1,500 words
Read the article, “Nation-building reboot needed”, The Straits Times, 18th January 2017
(available via http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/nation-buildin… or via
Newslink in the library’s e-resources).
Adopting a sociological understanding of multiracialism in Singapore, race, ethnicity and
culture, critically analyse some of the issues raised in the article, in relation to the evolving
nation and identity in Singapore.
For this assignment, you should demonstrate a basic understanding of the arguments put
forth in Study Unit 1 and Study Unit 2, Chapter 3. You may also find Chapters 4 and 5
useful. Additional research, if needed, can be done from both academic and news databases
(Sage Sociology, SOCIndex for academic resources, Factiva and Newslink for news).
Using evidence from the readings, the TMA aims to allow you to develop an understanding
of the different conceptual approaches toward understanding race and ethnicity. Using the
above article, think about and question the way multiracialism was handled in the past, and
how it has since evolved and developed in Singapore.
In your answer, you should consider (but are not limited to) some of the following ideas, as
you will find them helpful:
1. The meanings of the concepts “race” and “ethnicity”
2. How the concepts are handled in Singapore
3. Singapore’s specific brand and management of “multiracialism”; what this now means
amid current societal and national circumstances
4. Singapore’s history as a plural society
5. Multiracialism and how it contrasts from other models of handling plural societies
6. Multiracialism as the state’s “top down” nation-building
7. The concept of meritocracy, and whether it is experienced as applying not only in class
and stratification, but also race relations
The main purpose of this TMA is for you to understand Study Unit 1 and Chapter 3, and
related Chapters and readings. You should have a grasp of the sociological features of race,
ethnicity and how Singapore manages its diversity; and to consider these in light of the
socio-political development of Singapore and how these play out amid other emerging
contemporary pressures such as immigration and integration.
It is important that you utilise the material and arguments from the course materials for
your assignment, and that you ensure you demonstrate a sound sociological understanding
of this issue. Be sure to engage with the article stated in the question.
Write your answers in 1,500 words. Please remember to provide the word count, and list of references. Be sure to use appropriate academic sources, including your course materials.
Define race and ethnicity, using course materials (you can use slides
You can cite (sorry I forgot to send this to you) SUSS 2017 as an author.
SUSS (2017) SOC 205 Seminar Slides (Number) will do.
For in-text references, please use (Author’s surname, publication year).
I see many of you are writing (Author’s surname, first name, publication year, and sometimes even the title).
If you are not sure, you can use the same format as the sample essay.
(and yes, I am aware Sample 1 is way much over the word limit. Please try not to aim for that
plus/minus 10% is penalty area).
You can easily change referencing and it does affect your presentation.
Yes, please define race and ethnicity.
And state which does Singapore use?
What does Benjamin say about Singapore’s treatment of race, ethnicity, culture etc.
Did he say multiracialism separate these or take these as the same?
(You can easily find this in his reading. Please find it)
Singapore use multi’racia’lism not multi’ethnicity’ism right? Why?
And what is the relation between Singapore’s way of managing multiracial and ethnic population in the current way and Singapore’s specific history as a seXXnXXXy nation-state?
(and what are these XXX in seXXnXXXy?)
You can compare SG system to other societies (easiest ones are Malaysia and Indonesia).
You can also find other examples in Benjamin’s reading, too.
Is it true that Singapore has four races? (all myths are not true. You know that, right?)
What do you think about multiracialism? Is it an effective way?
Multiracialism as the state’s “top down” nation-building – what does this mean?
Minimum, and so long as you can try to connect the course materials with the newspaper article, you won’t fail. (and so long as you don’t do mass copy and paste)
Meritocracy and race relations – do you think there’s equality between races in Singapore?
Are you aware HDB’s ethnic quota affected Malay and Indian communities it was impossible to maintain the community with quote restriction.
In particular, this made it harder for Malay women to work as quite often they did not have people who helped to look after children, etc.
Do you think we should continue to have ethnic quota?
The article raised many issues. It is not necessary to tackle all the issues.
You can mainly cover the points given in the TMA booklet.
If you can provide your own critical insihgt, that is great.
But that needs to be supported by course materials.