The Subaltern voice against meritocracy in Singapore’s contemporary films
Tan, Zhi Kai
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In the years of contemporary Singapore films, Singaporean filmmakers have been trying to make sense of the rapidly developing world which they live in. These films by Jack Neo, Royston Tan, Jasmine Ng and Kelvin Tong, are usually set in Singapore, during the 1980s or 1990s, with narratives surrounding the lives of Singapore’s marginalised social class. The works of these filmmakers participate in the negotiation of the tensions between meritocracy and individually defined success which Singaporeans face. Within the four films I have selected by these filmmakers , I have analysed how they highlight meritocratic problems at the different phases of life. The process of assimilation into Singapore's dominant ideology is a long and arduous one, which begins at a young age. Interestingly, most of them attempt to resolve the conflict through individually defined success as an ideal solution which causes a rift between plot and resolution. Eventually, the most suitable resolution is one which portrays meritocratic success as seen in Money No Enough.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University