Uncovering a “Singaporean Way”: learning amidst diversity

Renée Hui Ling Tan (Singapore Workforce Development Agency, Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 8 September 2014



The paper aims to explore the possibility of advancing a Singaporean way of learning within the continuing education and training landscape in Singapore.


Using the vehicle of a narrative interview and extending the boundaries of autoethnography, the paper uses personal reflection and interpretation to explore the issues of Singaporean identity amidst the diversity in the globalised Singapore of today.


The paper uncovers the growing latent discomfort of Singaporeans as they navigate historical legacies of Colonialism and question what it means to be schooled in Western systems whilst being Asian. With the supplanting of Asian languages and the seeming superiority and dominance of Western talent, systems and knowledge, Singaporeans are looking to express a greater sense of what being Singaporean could mean.

Social implications

Upon manoeuvring and exposing the invisible, the paper concludes that there is an impetus to forge a “Singaporean way”, although how this would manifest itself is, as yet, unknown.


Although Singapore has a very visible presence globally for its economic achievements, the paper allows for an often under-represented voice of a native Singaporean to be heard. The liberties taken here with the narrative inquiry mode also allow space for a deeper exploration of identity, pride and conflict in a Singaporean today.



Tan, R. (2014), "Uncovering a “Singaporean Way”: learning amidst diversity", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 26 No. 6/7, pp. 364-375. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-10-2013-0091

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