Red Dot Rising: Western Sentiments in Print Media Portrayals of Singapore
Bradley C. Freeman, Michael Chen, Armineh Nourbakhsh

Singapore has seen extraordinary development in its 43 short years of “nation building.” It has become the envy of its neighbors, by becoming a truly first-class global alpha city. From the image of the uniquely Singaporean Merlion to the Batik-clad Singapore Girl of Singapore Airlines, brand Singapore has been gaining ground in a hurry in the globalized marketplace. Yet despite its recognized efficiency in financial affairs and well-orchestrated National day parades, its’ very success at becoming a global city – may also be an Achilles heel, as the educated younger generations start seeing a world without frontiers. As a city with an amalgam of differing worldly influences, Singaporean identity remains an elusive concept. One thing for sure is that Singaporeans are fascinated by how outsiders view their country. Over time, how others view and define Singapore ends up at least anecdotally having an agenda-setting influence of its own when served up in such a manner. How has Singapore been portrayed in Western newspapers? And what bearing can such international media portrayals have on the nation’s identity? This study explores the nature of coverage for Singapore in two international print media outlets. A content analysis methodology utilizing sentiment analysis examined the variables of visibility, valence, and frames. The Singaporean government revels in controlling its internal image via a domestic agenda with maximum efficiency and benefit to its citizens and residents in the face of globalization; however, it may not always be successful in controlling its image abroad.

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