Alternative Title

Lu Xun's 'wild grass,' Kuo Pao Kun's 'mowed wild grass:' Battle for English as Singapore lingua franca

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Against the backdrop of world religious violence, Singapore is as a beacon of inter-ethnic harmony: A 2015 poll, carried out in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, returned the unanimous verdict that it was Singapore that had made the most social progress among the four Chinese ethnic Chinese societies. In 2014, the Pew Research Center ranked Singapore at the top of their Religious Diversity Index. The nation's bilingual policy is critical to the integration of the multi-racial communities of Singapore. This position is highlighted in a discussion of how, in the early years after independence in 1965, the Singapore government had fought Chinese language chauvinists to establish English, "the language of the colonizer," as lingua franca.\302\240 The Singapore story is staged on the platform of the theatre of Singapore playwright Kuo Pao Kun, here presented as a "revolutionary warrior" in the mould of Lu Xun of China's New Culture Movement.


Singapore, Nationalism, Language, Ethnicity, Lu Xun, Kuo Pao Kun, Wild Grass


Asian Studies | English Language and Literature | Linguistics

Research Areas



Asian Conference on Asian Studies 2016 ACAS 2016, June 2-5

City or Country

Kobe, Japan

Copyright Owner and License

Margaret Chan

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.