Singapore culture as rojak as one wishes it to be

True to our heritage, Singapore culture and Singaporeans are as rojak as one wishes them to be.
True to our heritage, Singapore culture and Singaporeans are as rojak as one wishes them to be.ST PHOTO: SAHIBA CHAWDHARY

Journalist Toh Wen Li asked: "What's so bad about feeling proud to be Chinese while thinking in English?" (Celebrating family, not Chinese-ness, in the new year; Feb 3).

Singapore is not a cultural melting pot, though some would impose on it the American social milieu.

True to our heritage, Singapore culture and Singaporeans are as rojak as one wishes them to be.

So, why would someone so articulate in English, a language inherited from our colonial masters, be so concerned about it interfering with her ethnic identity?

Any time we belittle our distinctive culture as being less than pristine, such as when people insist on others speaking proper English and not Singlish, we detract from it.

Language proficiency need not be at the expense of cultural idiosyncrasies. Both can exist comfortably in a true-blooded native.

The collective consciousness is distinctive in so far as the individuals are certain of their identities.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore culture as rojak as one wishes it to be'. Print Edition | Subscribe