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Ren min xing dong dang yu zheng fu de hua wen zheng ce yan jiu 1954-1965 = A study of the PAP and its government's Chinese language policy 1954-1965

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Date
1997
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Abstract
The People's Action Party (PAP) has openly stated that it came into power with the concerted support of the Chinese-educated masses in 1959. In line with the principle of equal treatment for all the major languages, it declared its support for the Chinese language and Chinese education before and after it formed the government.<br><br>Nevertheless, in view of Singapore's unique political and economic circumstances at home and in the region, the PAP government has found it imperative to suppress any attempt to make Chinese the dominant language of the country. It has also repeatedly warned the Chinese community against using its racial majority to clamour for a special status for the Chinese language in multi-racial and multi-lingual Singapore.<br><br>Some of the Chinese-educated Singaporeans had felt let down by such a policy and were rather resentful of the Government's emphasis on the English language and education which they felt led to the lower status of the Chinese language and the eventual decline in standards. In fact, the issue of the status of Chinese language in Singapore was once a sore point between the PAP government and the Chinese-educated community.<br><br>This dissertation attempts to analyse and interpret the rationale of the PAP government's policy on the Chinese language and Chinese education in Singapore and the reactions of the Chinese-educated community. This writer's in-depth research reveals that each side viewed the issue from a different perspective:<br><br>The government's utmost concern was Singapore's long-term survival and its economic well-being. It had to adopt a pragmatic approach in so far as the status of the Chinese language was concerned. Politically, it did not want to add fuel to the unfavourable reactions of minority races in Singapore towards the influence of the Chinese language and culture.<br><br>Neither did it wish to "confirm" the suspicions of Singapore's neighbours - some foreigners with ulterior motives had already labelled Singapore "The Third China" and "A Chinese City".<br><br>Economically, Chinese was not considered an effective language in global trade which was, and still is, the lifeline of Singapore's survival.<br><br>The Chinese-educated community, on the other hand, was concerned about the preservation of its language and cultural heritage which were discriminated against by the colonial government. It felt that in order to safeguard the status of the Chinese language and its future, it had a responsibility to ensure that the Chinese language, which is the mother tongue of the majority of the population, be given emphasis and due respect.<br><br>The writer takes a macro view of PAP and its government's political stand on the status of Chinese language and Chinese education from the time of its inception in 1954, its ascension to power in 1959 to the time when Singapore became independent in 1965.<br><br>He attempts to detail how regional geo-political realities, Singapore's multiracial society, its political, economic, education and language environments had affected the PAP government's overall political agenda upon which the Chinese language and education policy resulted in the implementation of various policies and the reactions from the Chinese community.<br><br>It is hoped that this systematic discussion would present readers with a clearer picture of the PAP and its government's overall Chinese language policy for the first time.
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