One Singapore?

The subject of national identity has caught the attention of Singaporeans. Who is a Singaporean? What makes a Singaporean? Some think you have to be born and bred on the island, using terms like “true blue Singaporean” or “native Singaporean”. Others think that time and commitment is enough. Still others don’t think that it matters at all.

Even before the great reveal of the Population White Paper people were already talking about the Singaporean identity, drawing lines between citizens, new citizens, Permanent Residents (PRs), foreigners, etc. All of this informs the way in which we perceive one another, which in turn affects our views on policies, entitlements and rights.

When I first came to Cardiff University I wanted to do my Masters dissertation on the government-launched National Conversation. I wanted to track the progress of the conversation and what effect or impact it had on the populace. But as time went by I realised that there was another conversation going on, by far more interesting and more important to Singaporean society: that of nationalism and national identity.

In my dissertation I compare mainstream and alternative media coverage of three case studies: Amy Cheong’s racist Facebook comments, the SMRT bus strike and the Population White Paper. Looking at The Straits TimesTODAYThe Online Citizen and Temasek Review Emeritus I paid particular attention to who got the loudest voice in the media and how issues or groups were framed to invoke ideas of nationalism and a unified Singaporean identity.

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Relating, Mansplaining & Eastwooding: The Memes of the 2012 US presidential election

“The first meme election”

The Internet watched as Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden squared off against Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan during the 2012 presidential election in the United States of America. Comments and actions were scrutinised and discussed on mainstream media websites, political (and personal) blogs, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

Discussion wasn’t the only thing that was happening online. As the online community began to appropriate photos and soundbites for their own purposes, Internet memes went viral, shared from person to person through social networks. Some were even picked up by the mainstream media. In fact, memes became so prevalent online that some described the 2012 election as “the first meme election” (Al Jazeera English 2012, Melber 2012, Phillips and Miltner 2012).

In this essay I highlight some examples of the many Internet memes that cropped up during the 2012 US presidential election, arguing that as a form of participatory and rhizomatic culture jamming they allowed people to put together an alternative narrative and their own spin on the campaigning and politics in the US.

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Fire and Smoke in Syntagma Square: A semiotic analysis of The Boston Globe’s coverage of the Greek economic crisis

Introduction

Out of all the countries affected by the European sovereign debt crisis (also known as the Eurozone crisis), Greece has been one of the most prominently featured in the media. Harsh austerity measures imposed by the government under pressure by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the rest of the European Union has triggered widespread anger among the populace, resulting in constant protests in the capital of Athens.

Looking at photographs which were used in the coverage of the economic crisis in Greece, this essay will offer answers to the following questions: what perception of Greece does the audience get from the visual coverage of the Eurozone crisis, and how is this coverage influenced by the way newsrooms work and journalists evaluate newsworthiness?

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