1st Edition

The Cultural Legacies of Chinese Schools in Singapore and Malaysia

Edited By Cheun Hoe Yow, Jingyi Qu Copyright 2021
    274 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume examines the historical development of Chinese-medium schools from the British colonial era to recent decades of divergent development after the 1965 separation of Singapore and Malaysia. Educational institutions have been a crucial state apparatus in shaping the cultural identity and ideology of ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia. This volume applies various perspectives from education theory to heritage studies in dealing with the cultural legacy and memory of such schools as situated in larger contexts of society.

    The book offers comprehensive practice-based analysis and reflection about the complex relationships between language acquisition, identity construction, and state formation from socio-political-cultural perspectives. It covers a broad range of aspects from identities of culture, gender, and religion, to the roles played by the state and the community in various aspects of education such as textbooks, cultural activities, and adult education, as well as the representation of culture in Chinese schools through cultural memory and literature.

    The readership includes academics, students and members of the public interested in the history and society of the Chinese diaspora, especially in South East Asia. This also appeals to scholars interested in a bilingual or multilingual outlook in education as well as diasporic studies.

    Introduction Far from Desuetude: Introduction to Chinese Schools as Cultural Legacy in Singapore and Malaysia (Cheun Hoe YOW)

    Part 1: Power Structure of Education: Issues and Conceptualization

    1. Questioning Official Knowledge: On the State and the Politics of Knowledge (Michael W. APPLE)

    2. Culture, Identity and Education Policy: An Interview of Michael W. APPLE in Singapore (Leonel LIM)

    3. The Challenge of Preserving Heritage Values of Chinese Schools in Singapore (Jingyi QU and Chee Meng WONG) 

    Part 2: Role of Chinese Community in Education: From Colonialism to New Nations

    4. Chinese Community and Leaders’ Connections with Singapore Schools: Sponsorship Case Study of Chinese High and Raffles Institution (Wenxu TONG and Sin Kiong WONG)

    5. Chinese Schools and the Development of Adult Education in Singapore: 1951-1957 (Peng Fu NEO)

    6. Between Adherence and Autonomy: The Evolution of Chinese Textbooks in Singapore (Jia LI)

    Part 3: Chinese Education in a Multiethnic Society: Malaysia Experience

    7. Chinese Schools in Malaysia: Between Ethnic Aspirations and the Challenges of Forging A National Education (Danny Tze Ken WONG & Vivien WONG)

    8. Chinese Education and Cultural Resilience: The Case of the Chinese Educationists in Malaysia (Yao Sua TAN)

    9. The Developmental Trend and Increasing Enrolment of Non-Chinese Students in Malaysia’s Chinese Primary Schools: Challenges and Problems (1998-2018) (Ker Pong THOCK)

    Part 4: Rediscovering Chinese Schools:  Cultural Memory and Legacy

    10. Fundraising Activities as Collective Memory: Construction of School Identity in Anglican High School (Jingyi QU)

    11. A Mission in the Wilderness: Situating Chineseness in Bilingual Education at Maris Stella High (Chee Meng WONG)

    12. Changes of Heritage Values and Cultures in Chinese Schools: Perspectives of A Dunman High School (Ziyi Wang and Jingyi QU)

    13. Reviewing the Inseparable Relationship between Singapore’s Chinese-education Reform and Its Chinese Scar Literature (Sum Lim TEO)


    Cheun Hoe Yow is associate professor at Nanyang Technological University, where he is head of the Division of Chinese, director of the Chinese Heritage Centre, and director of the Centre for Chinese Language and Culture. He is a chief editor for Huaren Yanjiu Guoji Xuebao (International Journal of Diasporic Chinese Studies). His academic interests and areas include Chinese migrants and diaspora, qiaoxiang (overseas Chinese homelands) ties, and diasporic Chinese literature. He was a Fulbright scholar, visiting the Centre for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego, in 2013, and visiting professor at the School of Humanities, Tongji University, March 2019–February 2022. His recent books are Yimin guiji he lisan lunshu: Xin Ma huaren zuqun de chongceng mailuo (Migration Trajectories and Diasporic Discourses: Multiples Contexts of Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia); Guangdong and Chinese Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of Qiaoxiang; Antara China dengan Tanah Tempatan Ini: Satu Kajian Pemikiran Dwipusat Penulis Cina 1919–1957 (Between China and This Local Land: A Study of Dual-Centred Mentality of Chinese Writers in Malaya, 1919–1957). His articles appear in important journals such as Journal of Contemporary China, Modern Asian Studies, Asian Ethnicity, Cross-Cultural Studies, Changjiang Xueshu, and Waiguo Wenxue Yanjiu. He is a member of the International Society of the Study of Chinese Overseas, the Tan Kah Kee International Society, and the Tan Kah Kee Foundation. He is president of the Singapore Society of Asian Studies.

    Jingyi Qu, naturalised Singaporean, holds his Ph.D. from Peking University joint with University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is an associate professor of Chinese at the School of Humanities and international advisory committee member of Chinese Heritage Centre at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also visiting professor at Tongji University (Shanghai, 2019–2022). He was visiting scholar at SOAS University of London (2017), Fulbright Researcher at Harvard University (2016), and an honorary fellow at University of Wisconsin–Madison (2008–2009). He was recipient of the Nanyang Education Award (2014). His research interests include traditional Chinese literature and history, and cultural heritage of Chinese education in Singapore. He has edited six volumes and authored five academic books as well as more than 70 articles in Chinese and English in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, and Singapore. He procured a Heritage Research Grant in 2016 and a Heritage Participant Grant in 2019 from the National Heritage Board in Singapore, which made this book project on the cultural legacy of Chinese schools possible.