Language

A dragon dance show during the Chap Goh Meh festival at Singkawang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. (iStock)

Chinese roots in Borneo, deep and strong

Malaysian academic Goh Chun Sheng gives his impressions of the Chinese in Borneo, scattered in different communities and integrated into the locales where they live. Identity politics still rears its head, but perhaps we can look forward to the day when new narratives of diversity and integration will be told.
Siong Leng Musical Association during a performance of Fantasia Nanyin Reimagined, January 2021. (SPH Media)

Does Singapore still want to play an active role in the Chinese-speaking world?

Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SPH Chinese Media Group, looks back at Singapore’s active role in the Chinese-speaking world and in the 1980s and 1990s, and whether it can – or wants to – resume such a role in a changing world.
A woman reads Lianhe Zaobao at a bus interchange in Singapore. (SPH Media)

Navigating China-US competition: A Singapore Chinese-language paper's experience

Former Zaobao editor Lim Jim Koon observes that zaobao.com was recently lumped in with “local media” of China in one of the Japanese media reports. Intentionally or not, this is one of the ways that Singapore’s leading Chinese-language newspaper has sometimes been cast as pro-China or anti-China to suit the narratives of others. As China-US tensions intensify in the new Year of the Rabbit, the paper, and perhaps Singapore too, must brace itself for labels being cast on it, and keep vigilant in staying the course and guarding its own interests.
Diners eat in a restaurant in Guangzhou city's Tianhe district in China's southern Guangdong province on 1 December 2022. (CNS/AFP)

Why we eat alone

In urban cities, from Singapore to Beijing to Shanghai, eating alone is increasingly embraced, even if it seems to go against human instinct or some food cultures of communal dining. The pandemic has changed some nuances, but the essence of having a cuppa with yourself, nourishing mind and palate, is here to stay.
A mural in Chinatown depicting a letter writer. (SPH Media)

Singaporean Mandarin Database: Recognising the uniqueness of the Singaporean Chinese identity

Associate Professor Tan Chee Lay, principal investigator of the Singaporean Mandarin Database, shares some interesting Singaporean Mandarin phrases and says it is time that we recognise our Chinese linguistic features as part of the Singaporean Chinese identity formed in a multicultural social setting.
A man uses a newspaper against the rain in Chinatown, Singapore, 1 January 2021. (SPH Media)

Of butt lumps, stomachs and heads: Chinese language of the common folk

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai regales us with anecdotes of various uses of the Chinese language among the general population in Malaysia and Singapore. While grammar and usage might not be the most accurate or logical, somehow one still manages to figure out the meaning, and bonds between people are formed.
People stand in a queue outside a restaurant along the popular Yaowarat Road in the Chinatown area of Bangkok, Thailand, on 5 September 2022. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

An imagined China and feeling Chinese in Thailand

Thai academic Sittithep Eaksittipong explains how the Thai rulers of the past used emotion as a political tool to assimilate the Chinese overseas in Thailand. Fast forward to today and the Thai Chinese are more confident of their identity, and feeling Chinese has less to do with developments in China. If anything, the latter is used as a means to chastise the Thai government.
A man walks past a mural on a street in Beijing, China, on 28 September 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Being black in China: Loving something that doesn't always love you back

A young black American who has just finished his master’s in Beijing gives a first-hand account of being viewed as the Other in China. Despite some negative encounters, the conversations he has had in the local language and the friendships he has forged have made the experience all worthwhile.
A statue of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (iStock)

Impressions of Moscow: Pushkin influenced a whole generation of Chinese [Part 3]

In the third of four articles, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares his impressions of the Moscow he knew from a decade ago. Everywhere one turns, there are traces of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, a beacon that shines so bright that even the Russians say he doesn’t only belong to Russia, but the world.