Edwin Thumboo


There are many significant matters that straddle the last fifty years of nation-making. Among these are matters of language and literature. For personal and professional reasons, and the multiracialism that continues to embrace us, I developed an interest in what languages are significant in Singapore, and where, and when and why? These questions had an early start. My Father spoke Tamil; my Mother Teochew; their shared language was English. I had to negotiate between languages. During the Japanese Occupation I used Nihongo. In 1948 I had to choose between Chinese and Latin. A more sensitive sense of history, of politics…