By Phyllis Ghim-Lian Chew
What function does race, geography, faith, orthography and nationalism play within the crafting of identities? What are the origins of Singlish? This publication deals an intensive research of outdated and new identities in Asia's so much worldwide urban, tested during the lens of language.
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Extra resources for A Sociolinguistic History of Early Identities in Singapore: From Colonialism to Nationalism
8 This section discusses Malay-, Chinese-, Tamil- and English-medium education and their respective contributions to a racially-minded identity. Malay-medium schools The Malays were the only racial group provided free elementary education by the British, who were themselves influenced by a paternal and humanitarian sense of obligation to protect and preserve what they viewed was the way of life of the “rightful” people. The Malays were educated in the medium of Malay, ostensibly to ensure the continuation of their close bond between the traditional institutional structure and the Malay language.
One chapter may suffice as a typical example. In the description of the “Chinese Towkay” (Chinese businessman), Robson has this to say: “wonderful adaptability”, “thoroughly conversant with European thought and ideas; he can speak Chinese, but finds it easier to think in Malay and, if he can write, it is as likely as not to be in English, and very good handwriting too”, “wears big diamond ring”, “his nail grows to an inch or more – especially at the little finger” (Robson, 1894: 18). ” However, unlike other contemporary accounts of his time, he favored the environmental rather than the genetic explanation for this characterization.
What is the meaning of the syllabus Tji with which all the names here begin? Oh I do-on’t know. I sink it means pless. Yes, I sink zo. Pleis, town like as de English town in de namen Stock-town, Darling-town and Norzamp-town. I sink it means dat. O-yes! : 174). Reith’s rather confident depiction may be seen as representative of the then Victorian conviction between a nation’s language (the way a language should be written and/or pronounced) and its effects on the morals of a person. Census taking The census, acknowledged widely as a scientific and objective instrument, played a part in legitimating linguistic and racial differences between the ruler and the ruled.