By Phyllis Ghim-Lian Chew
'Pulau Panjan', 'Po Luo Chung', 'Pulau Ujong', 'Lung –ya-men', 'Temasek', 'Singapura' are all former names of Singapore and belie its colourful heritage because the El-Dorado and nexus of Southeast Asia. Who have been Singapore's prior multilingual population? What have been the pidgins, creoles and languages that thronged its industry areas and created its forgotten identities? How did polyglot migrants stuck within the throes of an prior globalization set up their respective identities? What hybrid identities arose from such cross-cultural interactions? This e-book offers a desirable heritage of early identities in Singapore as tested throughout the retrospective lens of language. an extended view has been selected for its virtue in supplying unforeseen socio-political and linguistic insights into the longer term results of swap and continuity.
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Extra resources for A Sociolinguistic History of Early Identities in Singapore: From Colonialism to Nationalism
The Tamil Hindus were labourers, newspaper vendors, tally clerks, foremen, hospital attendants, bus drivers and contractors. The Tamils (Hindus) ate thosai, idali and appam for breakfast. The (Indian) Muslims sold prathas at Tanjong Pagar and Serangoon Road. 22 The Indians who attended Tamil-medium schools remained “very” Hindu since this language was linked closely to the Hindu faith. 23 However, the Indians who attended the English-medium schools were more Anglocized and a significant number of them had converted to Christianity (Chew, 2006).
It argues that the populace inhabited a shared world while belonging to their own particular ethnic communities; and that there was, in reality, no real gulf. Such a sociolinguistic history takes advantage of a relatively longer spectrum of time so as to achieve a more de-centred perspective. Language is the lens of choice since it is often a proxy for deeper cultural and sociopolitical representations as well as an indispensable tool used by ordinary people and religious/political leaders to achieve their complex objectives.
British travel writer John Dill Ross (1898: 69) wrote a series of articles entitled “From Moscow to Vladivostok “ in the Singapore Free Press, with typical impressions such as: of the Malay ... I have found them horribly lazy, dreadful liars and incurable thieves. About the Chinese, his comments were, typically: It is pleasant to see the Chinaman in the Straits developing into something very different from this, and that he can, under favourable circumstances, become as sleek, gifted with nerves as sensitive as could be wished.
A Sociolinguistic History of Early Identities in Singapore: From Colonialism to Nationalism by Phyllis Ghim-Lian Chew