Evolution of an identity

Being Chinese in Singapore: Forging a unique identity, from pasar to ba sha

Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. Breaking down the strong within-dialect identification, a legacy of colonial segregation policies, is also important in building Chinese identity in Singapore, say some experts. PHOTO: MCI
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

A land of wealth and opportunity. That was how Chinese sailing south from the mainland saw Singapore and the Nanyang region (literally "southern ocean"), according to renowned historian Wang Gungwu.

The Chinese who came here originally had no intention of settling down. In fact, they would be best described by the phrase luoye guigen, or sojourners who would one day return to China, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the National Day Rally in August.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 13, 2019, with the headline Forging a unique identity: From pasar to ba sha. Subscribe