The media helps to construct national identity and loyal national subjects. Discuss.
Since her independence in 1965, the People’s Action Party (PAP) has been the dominant ruling party of Singapore, and the government had implemented many policies and taken many actions through its various campaigns and programs through television, radio and public service broadcasting in-order to construct a national identity for it’s people and as well as create loyal national subjects. The government have used the media effectively in a monopolistic manner to construct its unique national identity as well as by controlling the media tightly to the point where media reports of the government are always sterile and positive, keeping a long lasting, strangling grasp of power over its subjects.
Only in today’s modern internet era, when citizens found a public space-the internet domains, to debate and engage each other. A new national identity and the notion of national loyalty is debated on a platform, level and frequency never before in Singapore’s history. Leading to questions on if the leading party is able to hold on to power in the next elections.
This paper discuss how the Singapore government have used the mass media to its advantage in constructing a sense of national identity and therefore producing loyal national subjects and how the threat of technology has led to a shift of public opinion, de-construction and a awakening of a new alternate identity. In essence, understanding niche audiences and reaching out to them by using the media.
Firstly, what constitutes a national identity? And how is a country or even a commercial entity able to use the media to nationalise its identity, to evoke a sense of nationalism, pride and patriotism on its subjects? What does it mean to be a Singaporean or an Australian?
Songs and melodies are a way to capitalise and sway emotions. And Qantas used a song as a successful advertising strategy to stir up nationalistic sentiments. In it, Australian children, both white and aboriginal, runs and skips along sweeping landscapes in both Australia and all over the world singing: ‘I’ve been to cities that never close down, from New York, to Rome and all London town. But no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home…’ acclimatising in the familiar red kangaroo that is synonymous with Qantas, it evokes emotions that for a short moment in time sweeps other issues such as racism, immigration and national debt aside.
The Singapore government has also adopted this same similar strategy in its National Day songs, ‘employing a mass popularisation strategy mobilising popular cultural items-most notably national pop songs and music video clips’…to reinforce the ‘myth of nationhood’ (Terence Lee. 2002). In ‘Home’ lyrics sings, ‘This is home truly, where I know where I must, where my dreams wait for me, where the river always flows. This is home truly, as my senses tell me; this is where I won’t be alone. For this is where I know is home.’ These songs are an anticipated staple in its annual National Day parades: a spectacle of nationalistic, public and glorified display of patriotism. ‘A plethora of occasions-comprising of national cultural and religious traditions…..and inserted them into a national consciousness.’ (Geoffrey Craig 2004 Pg 175) ‘The Australian national identity is perhaps the most famously represented and performed through ‘national days’, such as Australia Day and Anzac Day. National days can be effective occasions for consolidating national unity: Australia Day promotes national identity both through historic reference to the ‘founding’ of the nation and through the contemporary celebration of an Australian lifestyle.’ (Geoffrey Craig 2994 pg 179)
These national orchestrated events are ways the media is used as a means of collective gathering of diverse public individuals. In this instance-citizens, and calling them to identify as a common denominator-a sense...
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