Sinophone community in Singapore : a case study on the films of Jack Neo and Royston Tan = 《华语语系社群在新加坡：以梁智强和陈子谦的电影为例》
Hee, Wai Siam
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This article attempts to place the Singaporean Sinophone community re-presented in the films of Jack Neo and Royston Tan back into the political context of contemporary Singaporean society generated by the historical re-presentation of “de-sinicization” to “de-Chineseness”, and to examine the operability of, and challenges in, the use of Sinophone theories in the Singaporean context. After all, in comparison to the English language, which entered the Singaporean and Malaysian field with colonialism and formed a hegemony that has lasted up to the present day, the Chinese script/standard Sinitic script/standard Sinitic language has never been a colonial language of Singapore and Malaysia. The “Chinese language” in Singapore and Malaysia has already become a “minority language” in local mainstream culture. This article holds that taking a time-based and place-based approach can enable a more layered reflection on analyses of “Chineseness”, and that placement into the Singaporean and Malaysian Sinophone literary culture field is necessary. “Sinicization” is but one element in Singaporean “Chineseness”: “Chineseness” also includes other non-Chinese elements like “acculturation” to local ethnic groups. This article holds that it is necessary to make a distinction between “sinicization” and “Chineseness” in order to more accurately describe the development of Singaporean Chinese society and individuals through different levels from “de-sinicization” to “de-Chineseness”. “De-sinicization” is the partial acculturation process of Singaporean Chinese: individuals draw a clear dividing line in their relationship with Chinese nationalism while also retaining their local Chinese identity. “De-Chineseness”, on the other hand, is comprehensive acculturation taken to its extreme: the denial of any genetic or cultural Chinese identity. That is, in the end this not only consists of not speaking Chinese or a Chinese dialect, but also not acknowledging that one is Chinese. This article asks what Singaporean localization currently rejects. This is a problematic consciousness that must be investigated when we examine Singaporean Sinophone literary culture. The development of contemporary Singaporean society from “de-sinicization” to “de-Chineseness” is evidently one result of localization. This article asks how we can respond to the “localization” promoted by Sinophone theory. It is precisely this forgetting of Singaporean and Malaysian Sinophone history that has been rationalized by national discourse into a metaphor for “localization” in Singapore. 本文試圖把梁智強和陳子謙的電影再現的新加坡華語語系社群，置放回當代新加坡社會從「去中國化」到「去華人性」的歷史再現生產的政治脈絡裏，檢視華語語系理論在新加坡語境的可操作性程度，以及它可能將面臨的挑戰。畢竟相對於英語伴隨於殖民主義進入新馬場域至今所形成的霸權，中文／華文／華語就從來不是新馬社會的殖民語言。新馬兩地的「華族語言」，至今已在當地主流社會淪為「弱勢語言」。本文認為因時置宜和因地制宜，更有層次地反思「華人性」論述，置於新馬華語語系文學文化的場域是有必要的。「中國化」不過是新加坡「華人性」內部的其中一個組成元素，「華人性」還包含其它與本土族群「涵化」等等的非中國元素。本文認為有必要區分「中國化」和「華人性」，以更準確描述新加坡華人社會與個體，經歷不同層次的從「去中國化」到「去華人性」的發 展狀態。「去中國化」不過是新加坡華人局部進入涵化的過程，個體劃清與中國民族主義的關係，還保有自己本土的華人身份認同；而「去華人性」則是新加坡華人全盤涵化的極 致─否認任何從血緣到文化的華人身份認同，即最終不但不會說華語或方言，也不承認自己是華人。本文認為新加坡人的本土化至今依然排除掉什麼？是我們探討新加坡華語語系文學文化更要追究的問題意識。當代新加坡華人社會從「去中國化」發展到「去華人性」的現象，顯然那就是本土化的結果之一。本文追問我們要如何響應華語語系理論主張的「本土化」？正當對新馬華語語系歷史的遺忘，在這裡恰好已被國家話語合理化為某一種「本土化」的隱喻。
Modern chinese literature
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