Singaporean Societies: Multimedia Communities of Student Migration

  • Raviv Litman University of Victoria, Canada


As young Singaporeans are evaluating their obligations towards their parents at home, the state of Singapore is implementing policies to entrench long-term connection between overseas Singaporean students and their families by using financial support to guide overseas Singaporean student societies. These methods reach far beyond Singapore’s borders and involve a combination of online and offline communities of practice that bring young overseas Singaporeans closer together by setting social boundaries across multiple media. Young Singaporeans learn about studying overseas through online communities, and Singaporean societies seek to control that form of communication. In this paper, the author describes the worldwide state-funded and student-run Singaporean societies and how they seek to govern overseas students’ relationships with family at home using methods such as social media, finances, and parties. Drawing from ethnographic and online methods of inquiry over three months in 2015, this article explores how students experienced Singaporean societies as a tool to access social and financial resources, which set boundaries for them when reevaluating their responsibilities at home while they live abroad. The author looks at the critical language that is present in an online community of young Singaporeans and shows how Singaporean societies limit opportunities for criticism.