Document Type

Book Chapter


In this paper I examine the ways in which non-reproductively oriented sexualities are excluded from dominant representations of the Singaporean nation. Scholarly attention to reproductive policy in Singapore highlights the roles that families, and women as mothers, play in naturalising the nationstate (see Heng and Devan; G. Heng; PuruShotam). By privileging the state's own emphasis on "Asian families" such work continues to reinforce a view of dominant reproductive heterosexuality. What is missing in these accounts is an examination of the ways in which non-reproductive sexualities (homosexual, transsexual and celibate sexualities) and alien sexualities (migrant workers) are inscribed as deviant, and how sexuality, reproduction and patriotism intersect in shaping models of "good" citizenship. Debate about "Asian values" is central to this analysis; dominant constructions of femininity and masculinity are constructed in opposition to "western values", and "tradition" is often deployed in the service of modernity. Exploring the tensions between cultural and reproductive constructions of the nation provides a means to explore the contradictions inherent in the state's own discourses. At the same time, by focusing on the politics of subjectivity, that is, how these positions/subjectivities are created and produced, it is possible to avoid the tendency to see the state as all-powerful, a risk that is heightened in the case of Singapore because of its common association with authoritarianism.