Let's talk 'mother tongue', 'majority what', & 'whose SDP?'In conversation....
ed: Just take a look at the SDP website. What do you see when you look in the sidebar on the right? You see 3 langugage options. What is the order. “Mandarin, Malay, Tamil”. Isn’t that biased?
other: But the Chinese are the majority what?
ed: Really? I thought Singaporeans are the majority?”
What’s the point here.
I’ve been saying for a while now that the opposition in singapore is representative of Chinese interests, not singaporeans of all ethnicities. (ref. previous observations) If my perspectives were just reared within the singaporean locale, I suppose that I too would think the opposition to be egalitarian. But not because they are, but for want of a better alternative. In the course of my maturation, I would also be trained to not notice slights against difference due to its pervasiveness, and due to my ‘friends’ of other or 'cool' ethnic groups being oblivious to it. I would, in a nutshell, only be appalled by obvious consequences of such oversights and view their address by the opposition or proposition as evidence of their egalitarian spirit.
There are a whole host of ways by which people can be accustomed to 2nd class citizenry. The combination of being able to do one’s best within whatever the conditions to make ends meet or become a ‘success’; the compensatory means by which pent-up frustrations are relieved; the cross-cutting friendships with people of other or preferred races; self-blame for failures or lack of motivation or aspirations; blaming ethnic communities for now doing enough for their own; the existence of a middle class comprising all ethnicities; and so on and so forth.
Being able to sit down and sip a cup of tea at the local coffeeshop with friends of all ethnic groups comes across as the existence of harmony. Yes it is. But egalitarian respect is another matter altogether. To what degree am i personally forced to accommodate those at the table by leaving my culturally-induced persona at home? To what degree have the young been socialised out of this culturally-induced persona so that they would fit in very well with everyone at the table? To what degree do we accommodate the dominant tendencies till we accommodate our distinctive personalities out of existence? These are questions left unpondered by the best minds in the ‘opposition’.
That is why I’ve put forth the above observation to my ‘friends’ of all ethnic groups. And they all returned the selfsame response - ‘But the Chinese are the majority what?’ And they always look dazed-but-not-confused with my retort abrupt - “Really? I thought Singaporeans are the majority?”
My reasoning follows thereafter with,
ed: “You know that the government has stated that the singapore must always have a racial balance in favour of the Chinese right?”
ed: And that because of this the Chinese are today the overwhelming majority right?
ed: Then don’t you think that the SDP presenting Mandarin first validates the consequence of the government’s stance?
ed: Since language has been linked to ‘race’ in singapore via the ‘mother tongue policy’, isn’t this a validation of race via language even if that isn’t the intention?
other: Then what order would you put the languages in?
ed: Tamil first, Malay second, Mandarin third.
ed: Simple. The potential reasons for supremacy is generally ‘originality’(malays) and ‘numerousness’ (chinese). So long as we validate either, we are going to elevate ethnicity above the ‘race of singaporeans’. In order to show that neither ‘originality’ or ‘numerousness’ are inconsequential, we put the least first. And through putting the least first, we are also saying that it is not superior numbers or originality that counts, but the littlest part that comprises the whole. Think about it. The firing pin is one of the smallest removable parts of an M16, but without it, the gun is useless. By placing the order in such a way, we are saying that even the least can contribute that 1% of the GNP that can fuel the production of the rest of sum.
other: what if the Malays say that you are playing favourites?
ed: Then i’d elect for a Malay to be the next PM.
other: how about the mother tongue policy?
ed: I’ll press the ‘delete’ button. The mother tongue of the singaporean race, or ‘ethnic group’ if you prefer, will be English, and that will be because it has the potential of mothering a fusion of perspectives of all ethnic groups without casting the language-cum-ethnic group of any sector as superior within the homeground. if you think about it, we wouldn’t have a ‘Malay’, ‘Tamil’ or ‘Mandarin’ mother tongue if the governments of those lands wherein these mother tongues came about had ‘mother tongue’ policies like the government in singapore. A mother tongue, in essence, is that which brings everyone together. The dialectical fusion that results is the child of such a language. Hence, in the Singaporean scenario, English is it. Malay is the ‘mother tongue’ of the Malays before Stamford landed. Tamil is the mother tongue of the south Indians in India, and Mandarin is the mother tongue of the Chinese in China. In Singapore, the mother tongue ought to be determined not by the language our ancestors were comfortable with when hurriedly asking for directions to a public toilet 2 hours after asking for directions to the best fried rice stall, but in respect of the variety of perspectives that it can bring together as a whole.