[lg policy] Singapore: Crazy Rich Identities

Francis Hult francis.hult at englund.lu.se
Sat Aug 25 12:50:20 EDT 2018

The Atlantic

Crazy Rich Identities

At independence, the ruling party decided that all citizens would be categorized, for government purposes, into one of four “racial” groups: Chinese, Malay, Indian, or Other, in what came to be called the CMIO system. Choosing a language of government that was associated with any of the major groups would have significantly disadvantaged the other two major groups. So the government made the same decision that had been made in many other parts of the former British and French empires in order to avoid ethnic conflict: It stuck with the colonial language as the official language of government. Lee also calculated that being Anglophone would help Singapore enlarge its role in global trade, the lifeblood of a port city.

Full story:

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