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Producing/consuming memoryscapes: the genesis/politics of Second World War commemoration in Singapore

Hamzah Muzaini
GeoJournal
Vol. 66, No. 3, Heritage, Politics and Identity in Southeast Asia (2006), pp. 211-222
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41148080
Page Count: 12
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Producing/consuming memoryscapes: the genesis/politics of Second World War commemoration in Singapore
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Abstract

Despite the salience of the Second World War in paving the way for Singapore to attain formal independent status in 1965, it was not until the 1990s that war events were inserted into the state's narratives, and 'mapped' onto its spaces as visible national fodder to bind citizens together. Since then, memoryscapes in many forms have proliferated over the state's cityscape. After tracing the genesis of official war commemorative gestures within Singapore, the paper examines the ways in which Singaporeans have responded to them. Specifically, the paper argues that, while Singaporeans recognize the importance of remembering the war as nationally significant, this has not translated into any physical attempt or desire—beyond the discursive—to participate in the state's commemorative endeavours. In analyzing factors that may have hindered the actual bodily practice of war remembrance in Singapore, nationalized war memoryscapes are also seen as embodying numerous politics due to tensions arising from a collision between what the state and its people perceive to be ideal means of remembering and representing the war within national discourses in the context of the present.

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