Anxious states : culture and politics in Singapore and Hong Kong

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Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University

Event Title

Lingnan University 50th Anniversary Lecture Series (2017-2018) Inter-disciplinary Lectures on Culture and Society x HKAC art Shop Inspiration Series

Document Type

Public Lecture




6:45 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m.


Eric Hotung Studio, LB/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong


Since Singapore and Hong Kong are the two most economically successful, ethnic Chinese dominant city-states in Asia, comparisons have always been made between these locations. Fundamental to the Singaporean collective social life is a realization that ‘the world does not need Singapore but Singapore needs the world’. The demand for immigrants to supplement the small local workforce is constant, adding complexity to the domestic multi-ethnic population and geopolitical situation, and confounding the processes of individual and national identity formation. The constant demand of physical space threatens to erase heritage, social memories and individual biographies, yet simultaneously encourages a progressive future-mindedness. The prevalent social anxieties undergird a wide political consensus that emphasizes stability, cohesion and political order. This has engendered a ‘politics of the middle ground’, favoured by the long governing single-party dominant parliament, that marginalizes liberal individual rights and individuals who falls out of the ‘middle’. Are such anxieties broadly shared by Hong Kong and its people? And, if they are, how might some of these anxieties be culturally and politically expressed, and in what institutional structural configurations?



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Recommended Citation

Chua, B. H. (2018, March). Anxious states: Culture and politics in Singapore and Hong Kong [Video podcast]. Retrieved from