Article Title

Maturation and Political Upheaval in Lloyd Fernando's Scorpion Orchid and Robert Yeo's The Singapore Trilogy


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Identification is compensatory to division. If men were not apart from one another, there would be no need for the rhetorician to proclaim their unity. - Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives, 1969

In Singapore, the portrayal of adolescent initiation and rebellion has been closely monitored in the theater, for, unlike the rather complacent and passive students of the present who have generally experienced peace and prosperity, student groups were politically strategic during the periods of decolonization, independence, and secession in the 1950s and 1960s. The Representation of youth in Singaporean theater notes its own energy and ability to destabilize society. Remarking on the state’s concern about this potential unruliness, John Clammer states, “Youth are liminal, even dangerous in Singapore (especially minority youth) and as such must be heavily socialized through and over-heavy educational curriculum that creates little time for play or relaxation, collective socialisation for [majority] males through military service, gender socialisation for girls through the spread of Confucian values, and the controlled encouragement of pietistic and non-socially critical forms of religion which are thought to encourage ‘correct’ values such as honesty, hard work and submission to the political authorities.”1


1John Clammer, Race and State in Independent Singapore 1965-1990 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 221.

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