Managing Diversities
I… Singaporean

By T Sasitharan

But what does it really mean to be a global city? Surely it must mean more than vaulting towers and palaces, more than worldly power and influence and more than wealth and material gain. More surely, than being the undisputed location of choice for the next Bollywood or Hollywood blockbuster or F1 Grand Prix?

If we, as Singaporeans, must aspire to belong to a global city, then to aspire at all, at this particular juncture of human history, must mean more than merely aspiring to be a good city. It must mean that we must aspire to greatness – to be a great city.

A truly great global city must be the site where the prerogatives and the encumbrances – the rights and responsibilities – of citizenship to that city are conceived, contested, and eventually congealed. It must be the location where the identity of the citizen is formed and solidified; where the disparate and plural aspects of the personality and the self are fused and ordered; and where the fragments of the individual, private self that defy such an assay may, conclusively, be subordinated to the common, public identity that is entailed by the notion of “citizenship.”

This indeed is the alchemy of national consensus, the transformation that a truly global city, a truly great city, enables in its citizens. This is the ultimate gift of the global city to its people.

The above excerpts are from the article by T Sasitharan for Singapore Perspectives 2011.

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© Copyright 2012 National University of Singapore. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this material for non-commercial purposes and please ensure you cite the source when doing so.

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