"Loud and bustling," is an accurate way to begin my story about my 2001 trip to Singapore. I remember wading through crowds of people, seemingly from all over the world, as I was tried to keep up with my parents as we walked through the city. When I got lost, a friendly nudge from a shopkeeper helped me find my parents. .
Before I traveled to Singapore, I assumed that everyone in the country would be "Singaporean." But I quickly came to realize that my would assumption was the equivalent of saying everyone in Hawai is Hawaiian. Therefore, what is it that makes someone a true Singaporean? Is it based off of cultural heritage, a piece of paper or an enthusiastic appreciation of the culture? In this paper, I will explore the topic of Singapore's National Identity based on history, language, culture, and their national symbols.
"National identity is the person's identity and sense of belonging to one state or to one nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one's citizenship status," (Wikipedia). It is the feeling one has when coming together in a community to celebrate a national holiday, or cheering with friends and families for your country to win in the Olympics. When national identity is practiced positively, it is called "Patriotism," and when practiced negatively, it is called " Chauvinism," (Vadaketh 2012). For this paper, "ethnicity cannot be the central focus of a definition of "nation" [in Singapore] because the multiethnic immigrant state with its colonial history would never be able to become a nation if that were the case," (Orthman 2009: 25). However, because of the rich diversity of Singapore's culture, ethnic background does deserve mention. Especially when "Singaporeans first receive an Identity Card, which states [their] ethnicity, at age 12," (Vadaketh 2012). .