Identity in Flux: The Sarong Party Girlâ€™s Pursuit of a â€œGood Lifeâ€
This paper examines the identity of young Singaporean Chinese women, branded as â€œsarong party girls,â€ as part of the state governmentâ€™s moral crisis debate. Through an interdisciplinary lens, it combines the study of their literary representation with a linguistic analysis of Singlish, a local variety of Eglish spoken by most Singaporeans in informal domains. By discussing the main protagonist in Cheryl Lu- Lien Tanâ€™s novel <i>Sarong Party Girls</i> (2016) in this perspective, the authors argue that the identity crisis she experiences within herself is symptomatic of a wider conflict between Eastern and Western values that Singaporeans have not reconciled. While the Singaporean government enthuses over promoting Asian or shared values, its citizens continue to embrace Western influences that the former would rather eradicate. Therefore, Singaporeâ€™s state production of a national discourse of questionable morality of those not espousing moral Eastern standards accentuates citizensâ€™ conflicted identity. By illuminating the social-cultural conditions giving rise to, and, in turn, informed by the subject of women as problematic for the state, the authors frame the dilemma faced by the sexually autonomous woman with aspirations to marry a white and Western man as her identity in flux, signalled by her deviant behaviour, use of Singlish and material goals.
How to Cite
Copyrights of all materials published inÂ AsiaticÂ are held exclusively by the Journal and the respective author/s. Any reproduction of material from the journal without proper acknowledgement or prior permission will result in the infringement of intellectual property laws.