Singapore Essay outlines 2

“Foreign is always better than local.” To what extent does this reflect the attitude of Singaporeans?

Key words

Foreign products, talent/skills, media, beliefs, education and government systems, food, etc.
Indicating that people’s BELIEF is absolute and in all areas
Better than:
More significant, is seen to be of better quality/standard

Possible stands:

TRUE to a SOME/SMALL/LARGE EXTENT, however preference not demonstrated in all areas
Students should consider not only how the statement reflects Singaporeans’ attitude but the reasons behind this attitude as well.
Prove that people believe that foreign is better than local by giving evidence of how and why Singaporeans/SG govt demonstrate preferences for foreigners

Argument: Foreign culture, esp. Western culture is more widely watched/more popular /well-known than some elements of local culture, which is perceived as conservative and unexciting.

Reason: Where the media and entertainment industry are concerned, Singaporeans often bemoan the low local standards and tend to make comparisons to foreign media, if not wholeheartedly embracing foreign media and entertainment products e.g. American sitcoms/serials, J-Pop/dramas.

Explanation: American sitcoms and in particular popular teen dramas like Gossip Girl have been widely received by Singaporeans whereas the host of prime time local sitcoms like recently produced ‘Sayang Sayang’ and ‘First Class’ see dwindling support among Singaporeans. A recent Straits Times Life! article even described the lingo used in Gossip Girl as well as the fashion trends as a ‘phenomenon’ widely copied by the youth.

Evaluation: Westernisation and globalisation has undoubtedly increased our exposure to foreign cultural products and while choices are partially based on the quality of production, but they are also influenced by the prevalence of pop culture and the glamourous image presented by celebrity fronted programmes – which more often than not come from the west.

Conclusion: Foreign culture is seen as more exciting, and paradoxically, more relevant to Singaporeans, particularly the youth.

Other possible arguments (reflects our attitude)

Migration and brain drain is a key sign that foreign lifestyles/environment is seen as better.
Foreigners are treated as “superior”, of a different class from the locals – reflected in the service sector
An overseas education is still considered by some to be better, even though Singapore has highly ranked universities and a highly lauded education system.

Reasons for this attitude:
Because foreign products are indeed more innovative/reliable/attractive
It is the remnant mindset of a colonial past; the West symbolizes colonial mastery and superiority (Pinkerton syndrome?)
Some expatriates in senior positions at work reinforce this perception of superiority. Westerners may also appear more superior because they may be more vocal?
Prevalence of/exposure to Western media in a globalised world
A lack of history/identity suggests that it is not easy to identify what is uniquely local and distinguish local from foreign. Hence, we do not seem to see a great need to preserve and herald local elements. Also, this results in the sense that local elements are always a mimic of foreign entities.

Balance (BUT)

There has been increased emphasis and pride in local culture and entertainment scene – raises exposure and appreciation of these local elements e.g. museums (Peranakan Museum), promotion of local arts belts (e.g. Little India), Singapore Idol
More Singaporeans are recognising our own achievements in various fields which have been ranked superior to those of most other countries (e.g. education system, airport/national carrier SIA, medical/surgical services etc.)
In the areas of governance, many admit their preference for a Singapore-styled government known for efficiency of systems and practices, general absence of corruption and ability to create progress.
Increased globalisation exposes us to foreign cultures and practices and helps us to recognise their limitations rather than glorify all foreign elements in our ignorance. We are better able to appreciate our own cultures and practices.

Depends (BUT)

Our perception also depends on where the foreign product/talent is from (developing countries vs western nations?)


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