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The Binding TieChinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore$
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Kristina Göransson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832599

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832599.001.0001

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Modernity and the Generation Gap

Modernity and the Generation Gap

The Singapore Experience

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Modernity and the Generation Gap
Source:
The Binding Tie
Author(s):

Kristina Göransson

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824832599.003.0005

This chapter examines the causes and consequences of the generational divide in Singapore, and how it is articulated and managed in everyday life. The country's progression from a “third-world country” to a fully industrialized society within only three decades has resulted in massive upward social mobility. One result is that it becomes common to find in one household university-educated children with professional occupations and parents with no formal education who are employed in informal sector jobs. Other types of generational gaps arise, not directly as a result of socio-economic development, but from political strategies and the subjective aspirations of people living in a modern society. This ethnography exposes serious problems in the interaction between generations. In this regard the sandwich generation is of particular interest. Not only do they struggle to balance responsibilities to elder and younger dependants, this generation also, in many ways, constitutes a link between the old world and the new, since they grew up in the course of Singapore's rapid transformation into an industrial high-tech society. In addition to examining obstacles to intergenerational continuity, the chapter also illuminates some of the strategies people use to manage intergenerational differences in their everyday lives.

Keywords:   Singapore, intergenerational divide, social mobility, economic development, sandwich generation

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