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Globalization is defined as a network of connections between different organizations and people across nations, geographic and cultural borders and boundaries. These global networks are creating a shrinking world where local differences and national boundaries are being consumed into global identities. Over the past few decades, inter-connection between countries has been increasing. Nations in addition to opening their doors towards trade and economic growth are also becoming acquainted to other beliefs and cultures around the world. On the flip side, from a negative view, our recent global recession, what started as an in house problem within the United States housing market, became a world problem affecting nations and regions all over, proving that the world has become a smaller place with problems in one region affecting others as well due to the close interconnected world that we live in. With the numbers increasing in terms of natural calamities and terrorist attacks, different nations coming together in times of need to help the affected is also a good example of how the world is coming together to form a unison.
The Origin of Globalization stems from the Industrial Revolution which was the biggest turning point in the history of mankind. Inventions in terms of manufacturing, technology, transport and other fields took place. The sudden changes led to the "Revolution", affecting the lifestyle of people and changing it in many ways. It helped to bring about the modern world we live in today along with improvements in technology as we move on. During the industrial revolution there was a large drop in prices of commodities, making products more affordable to the middle and lower classes as well. With the newer inventions, the quality of life improved. This in turn led to more opportunities and the search for newer sources of raw materials and commodities for manufacturing. Hence people moved to different nations in this search and it led to the world partition between World War 1 and World War 2.
A massive number of independent states and countries emerged and in-order to grow economically a lot of these independent nations kept contacts with the ex-colonizers. New markets and raw materials were established by these colonizers for manufacturing which led to the concept of Westernization/ Internationalization.
Globalization helped people migrate to developing countries where labour was cheap and raw materials were in abundance. This explained the rapid growth of certain economies which made them super powers and which continued to grow exponentially. With this growth came the birth of big cities and as they grew, more people were lured to these cities thus increasing their growth. This movement to big cities created Urbanization.
With Globalization and Urbanization the question to be asked is, "Is the effect of Globalization in Singapore aiding in the growth of an International Hub or diminishing the cultural heritage of the Island?"
Singapore is a good example when spoken about globalization. After separating from Malaysia and going through the Cold War, Singapore today comes under the 3rd world group of countries and First world in South East Asia with very good economical growth. Singapore reconstructed itself and rose politically and economically. Also being a very small nation with no natural resources of their own they have looked to grow in different ways than most other nations. In order to differentiate itself from its neighboring countries and taking full advantage of Globalization, they welcome a lot of foreign investors and Multi National Companies (MNCs) to invest in their country in order to compete and survive in the world. With this Singapore has had to inherit a multi-cultural and cosmopolitan society. The immigrants from the period of Urbanization have given the place a mix of cultures with predominantly the Chinese, Malay, and Indians, with some European influences, all inter-mingling with one another. Different races were designated different areas by Sir Stamford Raffles, and these still remain and are living proof with the likes of the streets of Chinatown, the Muslim Characteristics in Arab Street and the different ambience in Little India along Serangoon Road
" We are part of a long civilisation and we should be proud of it. We should not be assimilated by the West and become a pseudo- Western society. We should be a nation that is uniquely multiracial and Asian, with each community proud of its traditional culture and heritage."
Then First Deputy Prime Minister,
Mr Goh Chok Tong, at the PAP Youth Wing Charity Night
28 October 1988
All this combined with the few British colonized influence of Neo-Classical buildings makes Singapore a strong heritage location with a multi-racial and diverse cultural society. And in todays day Singapore gets a huge economical help from the Tourism sector every year. It attracts millions of tourist a year ,specially from all over Asia offering beautiful nature with various nature reserves to walk about connecting to nature and the modern part to the city by having various attractions.Singapore is always focusing in increasing their tourism sector by having Food Festivals,Singapore Shopping festivals,Art Festivals which are required as a great number of tourist visit malaysia first followed by Thailand and their last stop is Singapore. A few Art festivals are being held like the famous Chingay Parade which is a Traditional Chinese New Year procession evolved to become a street parade, showing off a array of dancers,street floats, inviting performers from different countries , trying to get more tourist to get attracted another big scale festival is the Singapore Biennale which displays art works of various artist from various parts of the world.
However with the tremendous benefits of Globalization there are issues which arise as well. As Singapore continues to grow annually at great lengths, with it come certain cultural issues. To sustain this growth the nation must open its doors to the world and invite and encourage foreigners from various regions to the land. This creates greater competition amongst locals and foreigners all competing for the limited slots in this relatively small nation. Through this competition everyone needs to work harder and increases stress levels among the people which in turn creates the falling
fertility ratios seen today even though the government is doing its best to encourage its citizens to have more babies and increase the population of the locals. This problem will slowly but surely lead to the eradication of the local indigenous people of Singapore and will only increase its cosmopolitan and multi-racial society. Locals will no longer feel a sense of belonging to the land in which they were born and brought up and this will lead to resentment and frustrations.
" The complexity and range of the challenges facing Singapore has increased, with greater
global economic and socio- political tension as a result of conflict and competition. There are numerous issues globally - including climate change, bioethics, ideological trends - that will have a major impact on the future of Singapore. As our nation progresses, our unique Singaporean identity, shared values and heritage will be our greatest resource to ensure that Singapore remains Home, regardless of where we are."
Lui Tuck Yew, at the Racial Harmony Day Celebrations
21 July 2008
The main issues that needs to be addressed is the awareness of peoples very own culture and heritage, not only to the locals but also to the tourist and immigrants as well. Looking at the rapid transformation in Singapore,heritage and culture serve as a stable connection for the citizens to their heart and soul. The only evident culture thats is seen in singapore on a daily basis is the food culture that they have maintained from the very beginning. For example, Hawker Centres provide food thats is extremely affordable and also provides the ambience of eating in a large communal sense. But that is as far as a cultural experience one will get. Hence steps should be taken to infuse the true cultural heritage of Singapore not only within the tourism sector but also among the present and future generations.In the whole development of the social and economic growth the need for museums was forgotten.Museums are a good place to start to promote your culture and heritage ,awareness to grow the culture of galleries, displaying information for people to visit and learn the history . They are the windows tot he world and play a special role in introducing audiences the diverse culture and societies around the world. The government is taking measures towards the development of more and more museums as it draws more and more people and tourist. Singapore in terms of art & design is a growing nation, a few competitions are held trying to get all the design school to participate and getting the younger generations to take interest in art and culture.A Museums is a globalised platform of spreading design around the globe .Over the decades people have opened minds to the idea of visiting galleries and museums, with the era of globalisation came the opportunity of collaborate and connect to the rest of the world with different ideas on design from various artist.
" Not every Singaporean will have a chance to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris
to view these exhibits in their lifetime. Bringing the exhibits here will enable Singaporeans, both young and old, as well as the underprivileged to enjoy and come face to face with Greek
culture and history..."
Ms Yap Su-Yin, Programme Director,
Tan Chin Tuan Foundation
Also with this rapid increase of Globalization, we see a very new and different skyline. Competition among the best cities of the world, instigates the rapid building of newer structures. Although certain heritage sites are being preserved, most of the older buildings are torn down to make way for new and trendy buildings. All this creates a loss of the history and heritage of the country. No doubt one must change to improve and grow but at what cost? A very careful balance must be attained between merging the past and present, or else with Globalization on the rise the sense of belonging will be lost forever. It is very important to save and protect your cultural heritage at the right time before it is to late to be lost. Singapore being a hub and a growing nation, the need for museum and galleries is very important to connect and see the rest of the world through their perspective , not only in the form of historic buildings and architecture but traditions and identity - unified in authentic yet inspiring ways to capture the essence of the community's values and mixed cultures. With the measures taken by the government Singapore will target its aim of being the biggest Exhibition and Conventional centres in Asia by 2015.
" I hope many more individuals and organisations will come forward to support our heritage. Together, we can realise our vision of Singapore as a vibrant, inspiring and Creative City rooted in our heritage and culture."
Dr Lee Boon Yang,
Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts,
at Patron of Heritage Awards Ceremony on 3 April 2007
Eshita Shroff 11771