Cultural Policies in East Asia: Dynamics between the State, by Lorraine Lim (Editor) Hye-Kyung Lee (Editor)

By Lorraine Lim (Editor) Hye-Kyung Lee (Editor)

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Bureaucratic imaginations past and present cannot commune lest they unveil contradictions. It also speaks of the bureaucrat’s power to define art without significant challenge. While the ACSR Report sees art as a grassroots activity, this is not new. In a way, it is a return to the traditional nation building role of the arts. ’ Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Secretary, ONG Soo Chuan, explained the rationale for the ‘Art for Everyone’ project thus: Unfortunately, some young people have adopted the decadent part of the western culture uncritically.

Master bureaucrat GOH Keng Swee, at the opening of the Japanese Gardens in 1973, lamented: I refer to the widespread popularity of the barbarous form of music produced by the steel guitar linked to the ear shattering system of sound amplification. Voice accompaniment takes the form of inane tasteless wailing. It is barbarous music of this kind that is mainly responsible for attracting the mindless young of Singapore to the cult of the permissive of the western world. It is hardly a coincidence that the problem of drug addiction has become serious where performers and audience foregather.

Accessed: March 10, 2013. Ong, S-C. (1973) Speech by Mr Ong Soo Chuan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and MP for Nee Soon, at the Opening of the ‘Art For Everyone’ exhibition organized by the Ministry for Culture and the People’s Association at the Nee Soon Community Centre on Friday, 6 April at 8pm (Singapore: Ministry of Culture). Ortmann, S. (2010) Politics and Change in Singapore and Hong Kong (London: Routledge). Renaissance City Report (2000) (Singapore: Ministry of Information and the Arts).

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