Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Tira Palmquist

Major

Theater

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

The productions of Chay Yew’s A Language of Their Own in Singapore in 2006 and 2012 pose a new question to the paradox of national and transnational forces. As a departure from the dominance of vertical analysis, the framework of minor transnationalism raised by Francoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih examines the relationships among the margins. I examine the play in Singapore with a relational approach that focuses on the lateral relationships between the minoritized spaces of Asian America and Singapore. I first follow the routes of the playwright and the play to locate the Singaporean stagings and translations in their transnational trajectory, then examine how a (trans)localized Chinese identity and a (trans)nationalized queer movement were formed, and therefore investigate the question of how national and transnational forces engage with one another in Singapore. I find the productions of A Language of Their Own in Singapore reflect the concurrence and interdependence of becoming Singaporean and becoming Asian. The multiplicities of (trans)national and (trans)local movements of the productions to and among Asias suggest a Chinese queer identity that is transferable among the Sinophone spaces without assimilating into or resisting against the British colonial legacies and American cultural dominance. This new framework offers a departure from the vertical view of transnationalism, highlighting the unique and complex voices of transnational Asias today.

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