Transnationalism immigrants from other countries living in Singapore)

Topic: SocietyWork
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Last updated: May 31, 2019

Transnationalism according to the reading, Transnationalism: A New Analytic Framework for Understanding Migration (1992), is defined as the processes by which immigrants build social fields that link together their country of origin and their country of settlement.The experience and consciousness of this new migrant population is deemed transnationalism and it describes the new type of migrants as transmigrants. Migration to Singapore is growing because of Singapore’s success as a regional hub of telecommunication, media, transport, trade and commerce. Both groups of migrants (global Singaporeans and immigrants from other countries living in Singapore) maintain close associations with their families and communities in the countries of origin.

Their identity is not primarily based on an attachment to a specific territory. Nonresidents in Singapore such as foreigners with work permit, employment pass, dependent pass, student pass, long stay permit, etc. are termed transnational migrants. As a new kind of migrating population emerges, their lives cut across national boundaries and bring two societies into a single social field. These transmigrants are those whose networks, activities and patterns of life encompass both their host and home societies, in attempts to reproduce memory and experience, sometimes giving rise to distinctive enclaves.

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Transnational immigrants who are living and working in Singapore under different categories of passes are allowed to live and work in Singapore for extended period and maintain transnational ties and practices with their home countries. Transmigrants in Singapore assert their identity in a manner that they would not if they were not in their transnational context. For example, migrants from the Philippines reinvent traditions to maintain and recreate “Little Manila” in Lucky Plaza, the Thai migrants have “Little Thailand” in Golden Mile Complex. All of these cultural areas in Singapore are many kilometres away from their actual country of origin. This creates a very real and imagined community of transmigrants in Singapore. This tendency to reproduce homeland culture is evident for every cultural that has made Singapore it’s home. Such reproductions take the form of celebrations of festivals, maintenance of customs and practices, social gatherings, and reading of home newspapers.

The only difference today, is that migrants are able to straddle both countries with greater ease with the help of globalization and technology.


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