Singapore ‘A Land Imagined’: Rising Seas, Land Reclamation and the Tropical Film-Noir City
Keywords:Singapore City, Tropical Imaginary, Rhizomatics, Climate Change, Film Ethnography, Land Reclamation, Rising Seas, Migrant Labour
Sea level rise due to climate change is predicted to be higher in the Tropics. As a low-lying, highly urbanised island near the equator, Singapore is taking an active response to this problem, including through large land reclamation projects. Incorporating both environmental and aesthetic elements, these projects also serve to bolster Singapore’s reputation as a shining example of a global city, a leading arts centre in Southeast Asia, and an economic hub to the world. This paper draws attention to urban development through an ethnographic reading of Yeo Siew Hua’s film A Land Imagined. A Singaporean tropical-noir mystery thriller, the film follows the rhizomatic path of a police investigator and his partner as they attempt to solve the disappearance of two foreign labourers. Interwoven within the film is a critique of Singapore’s treatment of migrant workers as it constructs the imaginary of the ‘Singapore Dream’.
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