The unique Chinese dilemma in Singapore
Should English become the mother tongue for SingaporeanChinese? To some, this is not a question. For many young kidsgrowing up in an English environment, perhaps this is a funnyquestion as they are so used to think everything in English andeven consider themselves
a product of ‘English’.
It is a knownsecret that some kids hate Chinese in schools.However, I am not talking about this type of dilemma. Thisman-made dilemma is of course a product of the People
Action Party. It certainly shows the effectiveness of our bilingualism education as well as our bi-cultural programs. Andin fact, the PAP government only wants the top 10% or 20% of students to be bilingual and bi-cultural. So, the majority of younger generation of local born Singaporeans will need tomaster English only.For the continuation and maintenance of local Chinese language,culture and tradition, the burden has to go to this top 10-20% people plus a few more Singaporeans who are interested onthese subjects. The rest of Singaporean Chinese will have less
association or contact with their father’s or grandfather’s culture,
customs and tradition.This is the current dilemma and perhaps a small one comparingto the future one.