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Chinese Culture Preservation in Singapore

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When walking through the Chinatown, people can easily see the red decorations like Chinese knots and paper-cut for window decoration. When meandering on the street during Spring Festival, the Lion Dances are also performed in front of some shopping center attractively. All these things make us feel the strong Chinese cultural atmosphere. Although being thousands miles away from China, Chinese culture is still preserved well in Singapore. To preserve and pass on the excellent concepts, customs and culture achievements, along with holding the distinguished Chinese characteristics and finally making Chinese culture be an indispensable part in the Singapore culture , many things have been done and still being done gradually by the government, organizations, the media and families. During the process of preserving and carrying forward the Chinese culture, the government plays an initial role. In order to pass on the language and promote a better communication among Chinese Singaporean, the government launched the “Speak Mandarin Campaign” in 1980s, which aimed to make Mandarin a lingua franca among the Chinese. Moreover, this campaign also has a great significance in unifying the Chinese since many discrete dialect groups were there in Singapore (Leong, 2011).

Meanwhile, the government set the Chinese New Year as one of the public holidays. Therefore, the Chinese Singaporean still can celebrate their festival and spend the two holidays to do traditional activities with family or organizations. Due to the efforts put in by the government, the Chinese find the further way to inherit and develop the culture. Subsequently, schools and organizations do a lot as strengtheners. Schools, especially the Chinese High School, offer the Mandarin courses, Chinese history as well as Chinese literature classes to teach students Chinese language, language and assimilate cultural achievements, which is an intentionally way to pass on the Chinese culture to the next generation. In addition, various Chinese cultural organizations and clans association still provide colorful activities like calligraphy competitions or speeches about the Confucianism for the Chinese, in contributing to continued development of Chinese culture and making people rooted in their own culture. In the meantime, the media spread the dialects, thoughts and customs to the society, making Chinese culture have a greater influence in Singapore.

Mandarin is generally propagated through many Chinese TV media and radio channels in Singapore; besides, there are also some dialect news broadcasting channels. Additionally, newspapers like Lianhe Zaobao, the most popular Chinese newspaper that circulates in Singapore, which mainly publishes China news, Chinese culture as well as Chinese literature, make the Chinese culture into people’s daily life (Anonymous, 2010). Last but not least, it is actually families which pass on the culture and live with it as the most fundamental practitioners in the process of passing on the culture. Many Chinese Singaporeans speak Mandarin or dialects like Cantonese among family members. That really helps the kids to practice the language every day and enhance their capability of speaking their own language. During Chinese festivals, regardless of whether they have public holidays or not, traditional activities will always be held in family.

For example, the Chinese Singaporean may eat moon cakes to celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival. Furthermore, parents will teach their kids about the good concept of family values, filial piety and hard work which originate from the Chinese culture, and influence their thoughts through parents’ behavior. It is good to see that traditions are practiced in daily life and that exactly make the Chinese culture alive and rooted in people’s heart. To sum up, much work has been done by the government and the Chinese Singaporeans to preserve their Chinese culture step by step, and that is exactly the reason why the Chinese culture are preserved inherited nicely in Singapore. With these actions taken by governments, organizations, the media and families, we can hopefully foresee a bright future for the Chinese culture preservation.


* Leong Koon Chan (2011). Envisioning Chinese Identity and Multiracialism in Singapore. Retrieved 14 February 2011 from http://www.iasdr2009.org/ap/Papers/Orally%20Presented%20Papers/Society%20in%20Design/Envisioning%20Chinese%20Identity%20and%20Managing%20Multiracialism%20in%20Singapore.pdf * Anonymous (2010). Chinese Culture in Singapore. Retrieved 18 March 2010 from http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/33531-chinese-culture-in-singapore/

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