Research Paper: Global Business Cultural Analysis: Singapore

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[. . .] At that time, many among the governing elite were wary that, while 'Westernization' had served Singapore well in its quest of industrialization and economic development, the city-state was also in danger of losing its 'Asian' roots and identity." (p.948 in Yuen, 2006, p.836)

Singapore Policy Matters

Singapore was reported in the Foreign Policy magazine to be "the world's most global country." (Yuen, p.836) Bachtiar (2002) is noted as having stated:

"These days, more than 200,000 Singaporeans work overseas. And many more travel frequently, laying their heads down to sleep in distant lands, gazing at novel views from their windows . . . its people have come to assimilate more global influences. Today's populace likes having a Starbucks around the corner and glittering megamalls. They want the cinema multiplexes, and offices of glass and chrome. But these are the hallmarks of a generic upscale town. If these are the only features of our landscape, we would be possessing only the typical structures of a high-end MacCity. What makes this city uniquely Singapore, distinct and separate from so many others, are the buildings of our heritage." (p.13)

The idea of conservation of heritage is tied to the improvement of the urban environment including formation of culture and collective identity. Girard (2003) states that it is the "awareness of the face that there is a common heritage of resources available to all, which cannot be appropriated for individual purposes without damaging the rights of other human beings." (Yuen, 2006, p.836) This statement highlights the idea of the rights of all individuals in the city and the various and diverse rights claimed by those in the community. It is noted in the work of Hewison that this "nostalgic impulse is an important agency in adjustment to crisis, it is social emollient and reinforces national identity when confidence is weakened or threatened. (cited in Harvey, 1989, pp.84-86 in: Yuen, 2006, p. 836)

It is reported by the Copyright Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (2001/2002) that The latest report of the International Monetary Fund on Singapore indicate the "country's economic, the country's "economic fundamentals and policy management has

" ... borne the test of time, especially during the Asian crisis." Singapore consistently ranks at the top of various global competitiveness rankings. And partly as a result, the country is currently host to the fourth largest foreign exchange centre in the world (after London, New York, and Tokyo), has the third largest oil-refining capacity in the world, and operates the world's largest disk-drive production. And the rewards for such consistent performance have included one of the highest average per capita incomes in the world for its three million citizens. Perhaps the main challenge that Singapore faces is maintaining this track record in the future, which necessitates savvy and flexible policy-making skills at senior levels of government, managerial gumption in the corporate sector, and a perpetual upgrading of human capital throughout the community. The aim is for Singapore's economy to keep moving up the value-added chain, thereby maintaining a healthy margin of competitiveness over its main rivals, both in Southeast Asia and beyond." (Copyright Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001/2002, p.1)

There are reported to be initiatives in process to support these goals. Education funding has increased from the previous 3 to the present 4.5% of Singapore GDP for the purpose of highlighting "creative learning and lateral thinking." (Copyright Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001/2002) In addition the country is focused on the attraction of foreign talent and start-up ventures have the potential to receive subsidies as well as incentives and grants. There are several prominent business schools that have opened operations in Singapore.

Talib (2000) writes that Singapore has prevailed in its bid to become Asia's arts capital.' One of the reasons for Singapore's prominence as an arts centre is its Festival of the Arts." (p.95) Talib additionally notes Although Singapore's cultural scene attained a height never reached before 1999, it does not mean that it has reached its pinnacle. There is apparently more in store in relation to Singapore's cultural development. Singapore's multi-million dollar arts complex, The Esplanade, is due to be completed in 2002, and in 1999, Singapore's Prime Minister, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, began discussing the government's vision of turning Singapore into a Renaissance city. Singapore's growth as an arts centre would not have been remarkable had it not come with the apparent erosion of the government's monopoly of power." (p.96) The government minister George Yeo is noted as having related that if Singapore desires to become a global metropolis "some changes needed to be made in order to optimize our chances for survival. We changed because it is good for us to change." (Talib, 2000, p.97)

Influences of British Colonization - Segregation

The work of Soh and Yuen (2009) state that the contemporary city has many times been described as "a city of growing heterogeneities, contentions, fluxes, and inconstancies." (p.3) Ethnic and spatial heterogeneity is examined in the work of Soh and Yuen (2009) and it is reported that cultural heterogeneity in Singapore arose from immigration in Singapore since the city was colonized in 1819 by the British and the policy of Singapore provided encouragement for the development of a "multi-ethnic society." (p.3) It is reported that different communities were segregated by "early colonial town plans" and that after independence of Singapore the focus on policy has been on that of national unity. Specifically stated is "differences and diversity, though clearly defined, structured and articulated are neutralized where possible on the principle of common national identity to build an equal opportunity, harmonious and cohesive nation." (p.3) The unity in Singapore is based on four primary ethnic groups including those as follows:

(1) Chinese (75%)

(2) Malays (13%)

(3) Indians (9%); and (4) Others (0%) (Soh and Yuen, 2009, p.3)

The multiculturism of these groups is reported to infilter all areas of national policy in Singapore including the language, religious institutions, housing programs and other organizations. (Soh and Yuen, 2009, paraphrased)

Social Integration in Singapore

Social integration is clearly present in the housing policy of Singapore and in the results seen in the spatial landscape and it is stated that ethnic balance in the area of public housing, which is home to approximately 80% of those living in Singapore is viewed clearly in the Ethnic Integration Policy which was instituted in 1989 and which contains quotas for ethnicity specifications for neighborhoods and apartment blocks in Singapore. These policies are aimed at discouraging ethnic enclaves from forming and results in minimization of segregation based on socio-economic background of individuals. Two lines reported to the increase in urban heterogeneity are economic divergence and the overall society of Singapore. Urban competitiveness is supported and enabled through the factors of entrepreneurism and creativity in Singapore. In fact, these two factors are resulting in Singapore's developing into a city movement based on globalization and creativity. There have been changes in the education structure as well as in the employment structure of Singapore and urban planning strategies are supportive of businesses with new land use zoning set out in the master plan of Singapore in 2003 that grants better choices to businesses in regards to their location and providing flexibility with a transitioning away from the prescribed land use set out in the traditional colonial administration use of land scheme. The urban strategy for development has been to strengthen the city's creative cultures through supporting innovation. It is reported that Singapore, since 2008 has been stated as one of the top among 181 countries for "ease of doing business." (The World Bank, 2009 in Soh and Yuen, 2009, p.5)

Ethnic Relations in Singapore

Singapore is stated to be one of the few countries to have a comprehensive pro-immigration policy focused on the attraction of talent on a global basis, which will result in a rise in immigration. This presents a challenge for living in harmony, the government and stakeholders because various social groups experience groups and there is assimilation of these groups into the community of Singapore.

Mutalib (2012) writes in the work entitled "Singapore's Ethnic Relations' Scorecard" as follows:

"Singapore's response to the plight of her ethnic minorities cannot be understood, and what's more, cannot be sufficiently appreciated, without placing it within the framework of the role and power of the State in charting the contents and contours of the Republic's nation-building agendas. Lest we forget, this is a State with a "dominant one-party system," and where the same political party (the People's Action Party [PAP]) has ruled the island Republic continuously ever since 1959. Accordingly, any analysis of the status and role of ethnic minorities in modern Singapore will be incomplete, if not superficial, without due cognizance to this political reality." (p.31)

It is important that the ideological mindset of the elite in the way it manages ethnic relations and in its treatment of indigenous minority… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Global Business Cultural Analysis: Singapore.  (2012, May 9).  Retrieved April 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/global-business-cultural-analysis/6298769

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"Global Business Cultural Analysis: Singapore."  Essaytown.com.  May 9, 2012.  Accessed April 24, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/global-business-cultural-analysis/6298769.