We, the Citizens of Singapore: Multi-Ethnicity, Its Evolution and Its Aberrations

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



The paper examines the conception and evolution of multi-ethnicity in Singapore and attempts to distill the thematic essence of state policy towards multi-ethnicity in the light of the imperatives of a sophisticated, authoritarian developmental state. It evaluates the aberrations of the multi-ethnic policy, which contributes towards heightened ethnic consciousness and generates competing concerns of cultural and ethnic security, especially among the Malay/Muslim indigenous minority who have also manifested increased religiosity. The international politico-economic dynamics arising from the rise of China and the regional geopolitical sensitivities of being at the heart of the Malay-Muslim world is examined for its impact on the ethnic relations. The challenge is to engender political unity while preserving cultural diversity within the framework of hegemonic state-led discourse of “controlled ethnicity”.


Asian Studies | Law and Race | Law and Society

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance


Institute of Policy Studies Conference


Institute of Policy Studies

City or Country


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