Cinema and Television in Singapore: Resistance in One by Kenneth Tan

By Kenneth Tan

Via shut readings of latest made-in-Singapore motion pictures (by Jack Neo, Eric Khoo, and Royston Tan) and tv courses (Singapore Idol, sitcoms, and dramas), this publication explores the chances and barriers of resistance inside of a sophisticated capitalist-industrial society whose authoritarian govt skillfully negotiates the hazards and possibilities of balancing its on-going nation-building venture and its "global urban" aspirations. This e-book adopts a framework encouraged via Antonio Gramsci that identifies ideological struggles in paintings and pop culture, yet continues the significance of Herbert Marcuse's one-dimensional society research as theoretical limits to acknowledge the ability of authoritarian capitalism to subsume artworks and pop culture while they try out consciously--even from time to time successfully--to negate and oppose dominant hegemonic formations.

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The capacity to exploit more vulnerable women from less developed countries might have a ‘remasculating’ effect on Singaporean men and might perhaps even offer an emotional outlet for female employers who violently take out their frustrations with the patriarchal system on their helpless maids. Today, informal statistics show Singaporeans having among the lowest rates of sexual activity in the world (for example, Durex 2005), thanks perhaps to a ‘lifestyle impotency’ that comes from stressful work lives, long work hours, bodily fatigue, prickly relationships, and concerns about the prohibitive costs of raising a family 14 chapter one (Soh 2002), all arising from living one-dimensional lives.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee, widely acknowledged as the ‘architect’ of Singapore’s economy, was able to declare that the labour movement took an enlightened long-term view of their group interests [and] were willing to give the growth policy a chance to succeed. (Quoted in Mauzy and Milne 2002, 31) Other than participating in institutionalized wage negotiations, the NTUC has since the 1970s diversified into ‘businesses’ that operate insurance schemes, supermarkets, taxi services, and recreation centers aimed at improving the quality of life of its members and workers in general.

In believing that they have arrived as middle-class consumers, the majority of Singaporeans have lost sight of the conditions of work—high stress levels, long hours, unequal wage structure, obsession with productivity, and so on—that they have consented to, just so they can afford the lifestyles that they have adopted or that they aspire to achieve. Instead, their faith in the chances of upward mobility sustains the kind of affirmative values that attenuate the capacity for critical thinking that could collectively rationalize the social order.

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