The introspective merlion: transculturalism in Singaporean animation

Ang, Qing Sheng (2019) The introspective merlion: transculturalism in Singaporean animation. Animation Studies:, 14. ISSN 1930-1928

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Title: The introspective merlion: transculturalism in Singaporean animation

Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence in 2015. The nation state has been repeatedly criticized as “a cultural desert” by scholars due to the cosmopolitan nature of the society. However, animated short films from Singapore are increasingly engaging national identity and culture as their premise. This paper explores how transculturation may shape the future of Singapore animated cinema by reflecting upon the creative voices of local animation filmmakers through a case study of seven animated shorts – Curry Fish Head (2013), 1997 (2014), Go Local (2014), The Violin (2015), Pioneers of the Future (2015), The Tiger of 142B (2015) and Lak Boh Ki (2016). The films reveal the effects of transculturation in multicultural Singapore from the perspective of animation filmmakers. Manifestation of Singapore culture is identified by representations of racial diversity; national personification such as the Merlion icon; local scenes such as the Housing Development Board (HDB) apartments; use of Singlish language; historical moments like the separation of Singapore and Malaysia; landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands; local delicacies such as fish head curry; nostalgia in the form of childhood memories in public schools. The emergence of these films can be attributed to both social engineering by the incumbent government through national campaigns as well as the erosion of the hyphenated identity through ground-up initiatives by citizens. The paper concludes that transculturation has led to a possible new wave of animated cinema from Singapore that will further contribute to the formation of a shared identity.

Subjects: Animation -- Singaporean > Animation industry -- Singapore
Animation -- Singaporean
Divisions: Centre for Research in the Arts
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 04:10
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2021 04:13
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