Delicate multicultural balance of Singapore

Daphnee Hui Lin LEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


This chapter analyses historical discourses on cultural relations in Singapore and traces the implications of the way in which this historical legacy shapes contemporary multiculturalism in 21st century Singapore. It examines the discourses on cultural relations by Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore’s pre-independence days as a British colony up to the Speak Mandarin Campaigns when China reopened its doors to the world, and the legacies evident in Singapore today. It identifies changing perceptions of multiculturalism in three epochs: 1) Singapore as a part of the Federation of Malaya (1959–1964); 2) early-independence as a struggling nation (1965–1969); and 3) as one of the ‘four little dragons’ in East Asia (1970–1979). Finally, the chapter concludes by considering how this historical legacy has shaped contemporary multiculturalism in 21st century Singapore, the challenges generated by Singapore’s current and future cultural identity, and the model of multiculturalism. Copyright © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Christine Halse and Kerry J. Kennedy; individual chapters, the contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulticulturalism in turbulent times
EditorsChristine HALSE, Kerry J. KENNEDY
Place of PublicationOxon; New York
ISBN (Electronic)9781003090090
ISBN (Print)9780367546724, 9780367546731
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021


Lee, D. H. L. (2021). Delicate multicultural balance of Singapore. In C. Halse & K. J. Kennedy (Eds.), Multiculturalism in turbulent times (pp. 159-174). Oxon; New York: Routledge.


Dive into the research topics of 'Delicate multicultural balance of Singapore'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.