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The Unique Chinese Dilemma in Singapore

The Unique Chinese Dilemma in Singapore

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Published by Piji Tailai
The bigger dilemma will be we will have a very different Chinese culture in Singapore - a different culture that even Chinese educated Singaporeans may find it difficult to adjust and adapt. When the Chinese educated Singaporeans become an extinct, we will then see an even bigger social divide: a speak English only population and a part-bilingual part-Mandarin speaking population.
The bigger dilemma will be we will have a very different Chinese culture in Singapore - a different culture that even Chinese educated Singaporeans may find it difficult to adjust and adapt. When the Chinese educated Singaporeans become an extinct, we will then see an even bigger social divide: a speak English only population and a part-bilingual part-Mandarin speaking population.

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Published by: Piji Tailai on Sep 07, 2013
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04/02/2014

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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
’s
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.
 
Will we be eating more of this in future?
Source: eat.tanspace.com
Will we be eating less of this in future?
Source: primasingaporesauces.com
 
 Will Chinese language and culture die off in future Singapore?The answer is no. This is why I call it a unique dilemma and perhaps it can only take place in Singapore. We will likely tosee a diluted original (Southern Chinese Guangdong and Fujian)Singapore Chinese culture joining an expand
ed and ‘
overall
 Chinese culture from different regions of China.And this more representative or well represented Chineseculture may be too alien or too foreign to some Singaporeans,not to mention speak-only English Singaporeans. This is why
we hear the comment of ‘we are like staying in a Chinese city’?
 Yes, indeed this is
emerging. Even though we don’t have the
official figure of non-locally born Chinese in Singapore, it iseasy to estimate the figure by just using the racial ratio of 75%Chinese. For 5 million populations, we will have 3.75 millionChinese. For 6.9 million populations, we will have 5.18 millionChinese. To make up this figure, a lot of them will have tocome from China as our birth rate is too low.The bigger dilemma will be we will have a very differentChinese culture in Singapore - a different culture that evenChinese educated Singaporeans may find it difficult to adjustand adapt. When the Chinese educated Singaporeans become anextinct, we will then see an even bigger social divide: a speak English only population and a part-bilingual part-Mandarinspeaking population.This is unique because our own Chinese culture (or is there oneremaining?) is being transformed by a bigger and more powerfulChinese culture coming from all over China. The PAPgovernment likes to see this happening as we can have all business connections all over China. But can Singapore as awhole handle the situation well? The elites may think so in pureeconomic terms but what about the larger population.

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