evolving a singaporean culture

The Straits Times recently published an interview with local dance pioneer Goh Lay Kuan. This part made me do a double take……

As a pillar in the arts community, do you think we have evolved a Singaporean culture as we approach 50 years?

Someone said to me: “I’m not Chinese. I’m Singaporean.” I asked for his name and said: “Sorry, that’s a Chinese name. Give me a Singaporean name.” Do you think by singing Geylang Sipaku Geylang, you’re a Singaporean?

When we first came back, we were proactive in working with Malays and Indians, to have a basic understanding of each other’s culture. This will create mutual understanding. Today, our “basic” is: “We all like laksa and char kway teow.”

Goh Chin Lian, The ballerina who overturned tables, The Straits Times, 3 May 2014 (available online in two parts, here and here)

But, what exactly is a Singaporean name?

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