Tag Archives: English

English: A Microstate’s “Deterministic” Choice

Over the years there have been persistent debates over teaching languages in schools among overseas Chinese communities.  Singapore is no doubt the most typical example in this regard.  In his bestseller Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going published in 2011, the former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew talked about the possibility of bilingualism, opining that it is convincingly achievable.  If this is the case, it will mark a major shift in the country’s language policy, in which English is accorded primacy over other languages that has impacted significantly on all aspects of the country’s development.  A friend of mine, who is a Singaporean, remarked that the existing policy “has already bred a whole generation of ‘banana Chinese…’.”  While his statement would be a bit too critical, it reflects that after decades controversy over the policy has still not come to an end.  As an outsider with limited knowledge of the country, I am not in the best position to comment on the language policy of Singapore.  Here I try to trace its origin from the context of international relations and briefly discuss its implications. Read the rest of this entry »


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