I am More Chinese than You: Online Narratives of Locals and Migrants in Singapore

Main Article Content

Sylvia Ang


Migrants from mainland China now make up nearly a million of Singapore’s total population of 5.4 million, an influx unprecedented since the nineteenth century. This has compelled both locals and migrants to (re)think their Chinese-ness. Simultaneously, the state produces its hegemonic version of Chinese-ness with Mandarin as an important signifier. This discourse has been increasingly challenged by residents with the advent of the internet as a platform for alternative views. This article suggests that by endorsing Singaporean state discourse that defines Chinese authenticity as Mandarin proficiency, Chinese migrants deride Chinese-Singaporeans as less Chinese, and therein less Singaporean. In defence, Chinese-Singaporeans appear to present a united front by deriding Chinese migrants’ deficiency in the English language. I argue that, to the contrary, Chinese-Singaporeans’ online narratives show fragmentation within the group.

Article Details

Media Mobilities and Identity in East and Southeast Asia (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Sylvia Ang, University of Melbourne

Sylvia Ang is a recent PhD graduate from the department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has a Masters in Development Studies from the same university and a BA (Political Science) from the National University of Singapore. She has recently published ‘Chinese Migrant Women as Boundary Markers in Singapore: Unrespectable, Un-middle-class and Un-Chinese’ in Gender, Place and Culture. Her current research interests are mobility and transnationalism, the intersection of ethnicity, gender and class, and local modernities.