30 September, 2020

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English: Lanka’s Only Feasible Link Language

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Singapore at 50: Language the vital key

A champion of the Chinese language argued (in 1965) that Chinese was used by more than 80 percent of the population and should be the first among the four languages. I gave him a dressing down. Did he want Singapore to be like Sri Lanka, with unending social strife between the Sinhalese and the Tamils because the Sinhalese imposed their language upon the whole country? Did he want Malays and Indians to feel discriminated against? How would Singapore as a whole make a living – would China give us jobs? Who would trade with us apart from Taiwan? Why should multinational corporations invest in Singapore when they could go to Taiwan where it was cheaper? If they did not learn English they would pay a price. The price would be decided by the (world) market”. (My Lifelong Challenge; Singapore’s Bilingual Journey, Lee Kuan Yew, 2012, p.60)

An addendum to this quotation; by 2010, it was found to everyone’s surprise, that 60% of Primary One school admissions were from homes where English had become the home language. Chinese had slipped to second place with Malay and Tamil following. Singapore’s tortuous language journey from the end of the war to the present time is chronicled in Lee Kuan (spelling used in the book) Yew’s compelling recounting The story reveals something profoundly important; It was language policy that underwrote Singapore’s long-range development startegy; entrepreneurship, markets, economic incentives and so on were along-the-way pragmatic specifics. Lee’s authoritarianism and anti-communism too was motivated to a surprising extent by his determination drive through his language policy. The ‘Singapore Success Story’ is underpinned by its ‘solution’ of its language problem; this was the real trick, the rest followed. Excellence of government service, cognisance of globalisation, the city’s business and investment ethos and its inter-racial harmony, all have as their sine qua non an education language-policy that despite blunders and course corrections has succeeded at a price.

SWRD BandaranaikeIndependent Singapore is 50 years old today; following divorce from Malaysia, independence was proclaimed on 9 August 1965 (separation from Britain and the shotgun wedding with Malaya was in 1959); so today is an excellent occasion to square accounts. Lanka has made a catastrophic mess of language in education, administration, international intercourse, and faces abysmal failure in national unification, so let’s see where Singapore got it right and sometimes wrong. A lesson that comes out of this story is that in Lanka only English can serve as link language link between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities. The National Integration Ministry’s alternative approach, promoting Sinhala-Tamil bilingualism as the link, is doomed to fail.

Singapore’s experience has convinced me that Sinhalese students cannot and will not gain even modest fluency in Tamil – why should they, what’s in it for them? How can they when it is known that second language class teaching followed by reverting to mother tongue in sports field and canteen and exclusive mother tongue usage at home, yields no sustainable second language competence? Language skill dies if not used often, or unless there are other powerful motivations such as jobs, education, trade and the internet, to keep it fresh. Some Tamils may learn Sinhala (or if like yours faithfully they were immersed from a young age), but the great majority in the Tamil homeland will not bat an eyelid in choosing English over Sinhala. The Eastern Province and the Muslim community appear to contradict this. But no, not at all, both the criterion of continuous social immersion and the material drive from trade and business actually strengthen my case.

English is what Sinhalese and Tamil young people want, the horizons it opens up are the opportunities they crave, and thankfully and in passing, it will serve as the link; not because you din the virtues of national integration into their heads, but because if young people in both communities want to learn English for other reasons, it makes sense to speak it reciprocally instead of staring at each other mutually dumb and deaf!

Lingua Sinhapura then and now

They say that 70 to 80 % of Singaporeans are Chinese but what they don’t tell you is that in the 1950s they couldn’t talk to each other! They spoke about 12 mutually unintelligible dialects – written Chinese is all the same so with a primary education (say 500 characters) one could read shop and road signs. They came from different parts of South China in the early 19-th Century; Hokkien speakers (40%) from Fujian, Cantonese (23%), CheChow (18%) and Hakka (7%) from Guangdong, Hinanese (7%) from Hainan Island and other smaller groups. Mandarin was used only by a tiny Chinese elite, the literati; I guess like French in the European courts of yesteryear, or Newton’s Principia written in Latin (maybe the greatest scientific treatise ever written, but the author felt no compunction to make it intelligible to the great unwashed). Dialect groups lived in clans in enclaves and daily life was governed by clan associations owing lineage to a village in China or an ancestral name. Rich clan members founded dialect schools for their community and that’s where most children went. The Malay and Tamil communities ran their own schools imparting instructions in the vernacular. The colonial government ran two school systems; a prestigious English medium and Chinese medium schools catering to a minority of the Chinese; education was far from widespread.

KDAt independence Singapore inherited this mishmash of schools run by interest groups whose dialects were unintelligible to each other and a population living in polyglot enclaves and ghettoes. The first decision, for obvious reasons that I do not need to repeat, was to ram through English in the ‘bilingual period’ of about 20 years (1965 to late 1987). English was made a compulsory second language at a moderately high standard in all vernacular medium schools while Chinese, Malay or Tamil was a compulsory second language, at moderately high standards again, in English medium schools. This worked for a while but broke down because of a rising demand for English medium schools which the government favoured though vernacular schools were not denied resources. The last Malay, Tamil and Chinese medium schools closed by 1986 due to lack of demand. Then in 1987 a watershed was crossed; after a considerable period of preparation English became the medium of instruction throughout the Singaporean school system with emphasis was also kept on second language competence; that is bilingualism became the standard.

Bilingualism itself was the next casualty, especially in the Chinese community for two reasons, one political the other pedagogic. Opposition to English was led by Chinese nationalists, leftists, scholars and graduates of Nanyang University (Nantah) – the first Chinese language university in South East Asia, set up in 1956. (Nantah was merged with National University of Singapore in 1980). Singapore’s leftists were in the forefront of the campaign to protect the Chinese language, to uphold traditional Chinese values and to halt surrender to alien powers. The 1960s and 1970s was the high water mark of Maoism and its influence on the Asian left; in Lanka recall Shan’s Peking-Line CP and the embryo stages of the JVP. The gloves came off for an almighty fight; Lee Kuan Yew, his Peoples Action Party and the state on one side, Chinese nationalists and leftists on the other. In these years Lee emerged as a ruthless authoritarian with little respect for the niceties of democracy. Nationalists and leftists were hounded. Lee is in no way apologetic: “it had to be done” he declares, no crocodile tears. Authoritarianism in Singapore started with conflicts on language policy.

The pedagogic reason to discard bilingualism was that the demand for high competence in two languages was too much; students failed in droves, parents complained bitterly about overload. Lee is frank and conceited enough by power, to call it “My big mistake”. The government abandoned this style of bilingualism demanding high standards in the second (vernacular) language also and steered to a policy where second language competence at a lower level was accepted. Students who intended to specialise in language or literature in Chinese, Malay or Tamil were of course another matter, though specialist tutoring in the latter two was meagre.

The future

Now a new crisis is looming; Singapore’s Chinese are loosing their identity in a headlong rush to English. Complaints, especially from the older generation proliferated; Lee, a devotee of tradition, Chinese values, respect for elders and obedience, knew that culture cannot be imbibed except by emersion in an environment; he sent his three children to Chinese medium primary and secondary schools unlike Lanka’s fake 1956 politicos. Bilingual education faced another challenge when the authorities made a rude discovery; learning Mandarin in class and reverting to dialect in social life and emersion in dialect soaked families caused a sharp decline in Mandarin standards; dialect was choking out Mandarin. Something had to be done urgently; Mandarin had to be salvaged. As early as 1977 the Speak Mandarin Campaign cajoling and imploring parents to drop dialects and adopt Mandarin as the home language had started. Its success is still uncertain.

What has come to the rescue was the rise of China as an economic power. Singaporeans of bilingual competence in English and Mandarin were at a premium and pragmatic students responded to the niche market. High flyers like Janet Ang (CEO, Lenovo), (Kenneth Chan, CEO, McDonalds, China) and pop-stars Tanya Chua, Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin, all bilingual Singaporeans who have broken into the 1.3 billion Chinese market, captured the attention of young Singaporeans. Waves of Chinese officials, sometimes 400 strong, started visiting Singapore on study tours or enrolled on Masters Programmes after Deng’s celebrated 1992 trip. It is still too early to deliver a verdict on the safekeeping of Mandarin in Singaporean education; it depends on China’s economic expansion and its need for Singaporean bilinguals. If this need declines, Singapore will become an English speaking and educated society with Chinese, Malay and Tamil lurking in corners.

This account shows that the pre-1950s language backgrounds were different in Lanka and Singapore. It is also clear that policy over there was driven by pragmatism; here blind racism, starting with SWRD and his bigots, and continuing to the Rajapaksa government. Maybe we can rescue ethnic reconciliation if we make a start by defeating Rajapaksa on 17 August in the Sinhalese areas, but I am pessimistic about salvaging English for our youth. So much devastation has occurred; a vacuum of teachers, English dumbness in the middle ranks of government and even the private sector. In shops, supermarkets, bazaars – you name it; Colombo is a city where streetwise-English has withered. As for students, even university students, it is a wasteland. What I am driving at is that the minimal social environment needed for a second language to survive has been vacated. It will take a generation, if the government is serious, which it is not, to undo the devastation that narrow nationalism has inflicted.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    1

    Prof. Kumar David

    “It was language policy that underwrote Singapore’s long-range development startegy; entrepreneurship, markets, economic incentives and so on were along-the-way pragmatic specifics. Lee’s authoritarianism and anti-communism too was motivated to a surprising extent by his determination drive through his language policy. The ‘Singapore Success Story’ is underpinned by its ‘solution’ of its language problem; this was the real trick, the rest followed. Excellence of government service, cognisance of globalisation, the city’s business and investment ethos and its inter-racial harmony, all have as their sine qua non an education language-policy that despite blunders and course corrections has succeeded at a price.”

    Agree, one Language, especially a World language proficiency certainly helped. along with the absence of religious and racial fanatics, and of course Mahawansa lies and imaginations.

    You did miss one crucial pint, the processor speed of its people, generally measured as IQ scores.

    Singapore average IQ is 108, whereas the average IQ of Sri Lanka is 79. Of course it is not an absolute measure, however crude it is, it is also a factor. 43% of the MPs in the Sri Lanka parliament have nor passed the GCE OL even in their mother tongue, let alone in their mother tongue. So, it is likely low IQ.

    What do the Sri Lankans, Tamils, Sinhala and Muslims have in Common? Para-genes from South India. Para-Genes.

    If The people from Mozambique ( IQ 64) spoke and learned only English, will they be as as successful as the Singaporeans? Will the Sri Lankans ( IQ 79) be as successful as the Singaporeans?

    National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

    http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

    Rank
    ——– Country
    ———————– %
    ————-
    1 Singapore 108

    4 Italy 102

    7 China 100

    28 Sri Lanka 79
    28 Zambia 79

    41 Mozambique 64
    42 Saint Lucia 62
    43 Equatorial Guinea 59

    • 0
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      [What do the Sri Lankans, Tamils, Sinhala and Muslims have in Common? Para-genes from South India. Para-Genes.]

      if so,

      25 India 82 (includes South India)

      vs

      28 Sri Lanka 79

      why?

  • 3
    2

    What Kumar David points to, is a very serious problem. Many good schools have been seriously trying to put things right. But I see no results. Can we ever get back that corps of English teachers who did good work with the early mother-tongue educated students and got good results? I am still hoping that the early batches of English medium students now coming out of our schools can set things right.

    • 1
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      “I am still hoping that the early batches of English medium students now coming out of our schools can set things right.”

      SRH Hoole:- You will have to continue hoping, because the English Medium Students would rather apply for lucrative Overseas positions than earn the Paltry salaries offered to Sri Lankan Teachers.

  • 8
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    Yes, the de-facto link language in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese, as you seem to grant. And having taught English for many, many, years, I grant that we have to be pessimistic about the future.

    However, I can’t help feeling that it is the tremendous social prestige that we still confer upon English that is mainly to blame. Englsi IS a difficult language to master, and in this country we’ve made it doubly difficult by mocking those who cannot use it perfectly. My experience of foreign climes is less than that of Prof. David, but I can’t help thinking that we’re worse in that respect than most other societies.

    We are an island, and perhaps, just the wrong size! Still, once we’ve said goodbye to the Rajapaksas things may begin to improve!

  • 4
    2

    No it is not the language !! Even before !! The state aided land settlement policy of the majority leaders on the name of development they crated majorities settlements among Tamils !! Same is still continue in the name of development !!
    We Tamils studied !! Then the state made standardization !!

  • 6
    1

    In fairness to MR it must be said that he realised the importance of English, and initiated various programmes during his tenure.

    Any new government has to build on this, as there is no doubt that not only could English be the “link language” for social integration, but also because it is a major gateway to the world at large.

    • 3
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      I admire your efforts to be balanced, but I’m afraid the reality is much more complex and cannot be analysed in short comments of this sort.

      National barriers have fallen owing to extra-political reasons, and the children of the elite have indeed had exposure to quality English.

      Honest efforts have been made by individuals at various levels to ensure that Bi-lingual Education produces results in State Schools, but at the same time there has been sabotage of those efforts by very high officials who don’t want youth to get what they don’t want.

      This may be an over-simplification, even a non-sequitur, but don’t you see some significance in Wasim Thajudeen and the Rajapaksa progeny all attending the same School-by-the Sea? Of course, even that may not be where the best English is to be found.

  • 5
    5

    Great account of Singapore’s short-term history.

    So! The professor said it all:

    Singapore was a hotchpotch of innumerable Chinese dialects, each of which was vastly different from the other.

    Sir Lanka had 80% speaking One Language : Sinhala!

    Singapore is a tiny new country that needed to establish itself with the countries that had most money at the time – the West. If Singapore was created at this time, they would have had Mandarin as first language.

    Sri Lanka was already established for millennia and is Asia’s oldest democracy.

    Sri Lanka being 91 times the size of Singapore, and with 4 times the population at this time, did not have the squashed proximity of Singapore living-space. Sri Lanka did not need to whip her ancient and expansively-placed inhabitants into one alien language and alien heritage automation-pool.

    Sri Lanka already had established livelihoods of ancient heritage.

    Singapore was a nation of immigrants where livelihood had to be created in short-time in the style of the West, and most appropriately in US-style (US also being a nation of immigrants).

    Sinhalese will imbibe very well in Tamil as 2nd language, because there are 2 million Tamils in the North.

    Nowadays with roads, rail and up-and-down commerce, interaction will be abundant.

    Tamils will of course have to learn to speak Sinhalese as 2nd language. English will be the link 3rd language. Higher literature subjects will be in Sinhala or Tamil respectively, but basic English will be for all. Learning of Shakespeare, for example, will be quite unnecessary unless chosen in tertiary courses.

    Singapore forced all kinds of literature and heritage subjects on students to establish culture (many good students committed suicide over work-overload). Sri Lanka has had advanced established culture for millennia.

    Singapore needed one kind of pragmatism, and Sri Lanka another. That Singapore shot ahead is a short-term phenomenon of little sustainability; they might or might not succeed as an island nation in the next 500 years. Sri Lanka on the other hand, has great assurance of continuity and sustenance for a long, long, time- slowly and surely does the human spirit endure.

    There was never “blind racism, starting with SWRD and his bigots, and continuing to the Rajapaksa government.” It was all a matter of pragmatism for the Sinhala masses of ancient heritage, to keep the Sinhala language that was inherent in them.

    N&E also had their heritage intact, with N&E speaking and interacting in public office in Tamil, in the N&E.

    Yes, the Eastern Province and the Muslim community appear to contradict Tamils who do not want to learn Sinhalese. The Eastern Province and the Muslim community give proof, and are a good example, of how Sinhalese and Tamil can interact.

    It is Northerners that have gross notions of grandeur in taking Tamil to greater heights with English. Therefore, it is hoped that Tamils will realize the error of their ways and Integrate, Assimilate or Migrate!

    • 1
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      Incorrect as per statistics 74-75% stated Sinhalese as their mother tongue and not 80% . Around 24% stated Tamil was their mother tongue. Around 30% of the Tamil speakers, largely Muslims I suspect had varying degree of fluency in Sinhalese from very fluent to rudimentary. This corresponds with the ethnic population statistics.

      • 5
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        When you pose the question as “Mother Tongue” you get the wrong response. Although I’m a Sinhalese in many senses, my First Language is actually English (of a Sri Lankan sort, perhaps); the only other language I know is Sinhalese.

        However, I do know this. We must not neglect the Sinhala and Tamil languages. If we do, we will end up with “nothing”. That is fast becoming the case with many people the world over. We, in Sri Lanka, cannot change 21 million people overnight. We must have a trilingual policy for our country – and try to teach all three languages properly. This is easier said than done – where are the teachers? I’ve already indicated that I’m a teacher of English, and I feel that I use the language reasonably well.

        In practice, some of today’s children who are fortunately placed will become effective trilinguals. These need not necessarily be
        those who are affluent. If a child is fortunate to live in an environment where all three languages are heard, two thirds of the problem has got done.

    • 1
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      Yes we can see the injustices of what happened to the Tamils in the east due to state aided colonisation schemes. Prior to independence the Tamils were the majority in the east and a majority in all three provinces. Now due to state aided colonisation schemes , the once majority Tamils have now been reduced to 40% in the east and have now become a minority in the Trincomalee and Amparai districts. Trincomalee used to send two Tamil MP and one Muslim. now it will be surprise even if one is returned. Tamils have now been reduced to around 17% -20% in the Amparai.
      Now the Tamils are being marginalised with the illegally settled Sinhalese colonists and the backstabbing Muslims who themselves only came to the east as refugees a few centuries ago, thanks to the Tamil Naicker kings of Madurai.
      It is racist Sinhalese like you that should see the error in your ways and stop being genocidal. Not the Tamils. It is Sinhalese racism that created all this problems and Tamils are still on the receiving end of this. Tamils do not need to integrate or migrate why should they are living in their own land and who the hell are you to demand this from them. If the Tamils should leave the Sinhalese should also a leave largely to Tamil Nadu and Kerala and a few to Bengal/Orissa. The Muslims to Tamil Nadu and Kerala( They never came from Arabia.)

  • 5
    0

    Ever since those earliest Sinhala-Bauddha opportunists sought quick redress to the Colonial injustices, our national goose was skinned, cooked and eaten. But not before SWRD, the hypocrite, had thrown out the baby with the bath water.

    Since then generations who have not been able to afford the luxury of getting an English education (here, or at schools overseas) have had to make do with sub-standard ‘man-woke-onthara-bijja’ English teaching.

    Alas, Professor David is right, it will be a long time before we can get to anywhere near those pre-56 standards. But, hey, our vehicle number plates are in English, as are 90% or more of all our commercial signage, and the draw of the internet will surely speed the process. Hope springs eternal!

  • 2
    0

    Kumar David,

    Excellent comparison of Sri Lanka with Singapore on their languae policies since their independence, and what ensued to the present – which is obvious to all and sundry.

    Correction:

    Nanyang Technological Institute (1981-1991) was set up in the Nantah Univerity campus in Jurong, which later became Nanyang Technological University in 1991.

  • 6
    5

    Singapore is a new city state founded by the Chinese, India and and Malays. They are all “first nations”.

    Ceylon is the Sinhala state founded by the Sinhala people. The first nation is Sinhala.

    I don’t know why the donkey still struggle with the basics.

  • 1
    1

    For Muslims, Sinhala is the link language, the link between the Tamil speaking rural population and the Sinhala and English educated youth. Many are tri-lingual or multi-lingual with knowledge of Arabic and other languages as well.

    Learning of languages is the key to communication and interaction between people, communities and nations. It opens the door to trade, commerce and transfer of knowledge and technology.

    English retains its lead position as the primary world language of Trade & Commerce and Science & Technology. If you want to progress in the world you have to learn English. But should not be at the expense of our mother tongue and culture.

  • 3
    0

    English is the official language of Pakistan and the link language of India & Sri Lanka. President Chandrika realised the importance and appointed dynamic Dr De Mel as the Secretary of the Minister of Education. The Educational reforms commenced by her were halted by the incompetent ministers of education appointed by her successors.

    The International Schools with English as the medium of instruction thrived at the expense of government funded schools, where large number of rural schools had to be closed because of dwindling number of students, because of the high demand for English medium schools.

    I am hopeful that if Ranil Wickramasinghe forms the next government with the support of Chandrika Kumaratunga, he will focus on English teaching in schools.

    • 1
      0

      Truth:-
      Because of the shortage of good English Teachers in Sri Lanka, we should recruit teachers from English speaking Countries, like the Japanese and Chinese do.

  • 2
    0

    This is indeed an excellent discussion. However,
    Prof. David is an electrical engineering professor who sometimes ignores the Information Technology (IT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution, somewhat like those in the generation of academics who missed growing up with IT, (although IT and AI developed during Kumar David’s time).

    In another few years, there will be MUCH LESS NEED for such “link languages”.

    People can communicate in their own language, be it Tamil, Cantonese, Malayalam, Tamil, or Sinhalese. Their android phones or i-phones will translate and respond/speak in the recipient’s or interrogator’s language, and vice versa. Internet browsers have already begun to have that capability for handling most everyday discussions. Books and newspapers will be e-bnooks and e-newspapers that will automatically offer a choice of readers languages.
    (We are not yet talking about translating poetry here).

    In fact, I wrote about this sometime ago when the tri-lingual” program for Sri Lanka was launched, with Vasudeva Nanayakkara as the “minister of official languages” during the MR-regime.

    Regarding how to cut the Gordian knot of language politics using technology,
    Please see: “http://dh-web.org/place.names/posts/triling.pdf

  • 0
    0

    “This account shows that the pre-1950s language backgrounds were different in Lanka and Singapore. It is also clear that policy over there was driven by pragmatism; here blind racism, starting with SWRD and his bigots, and continuing to the Rajapaksa government”

    This is nonsense. Sinhala was the language understood by some 90% of the people (since most Muslims and some Tamils also knew Sinhala). You cannot GOVERN all these people in a language they do not understand. It is a Fascist point of view that Dr. Kumar is advocating. Most leftists realized this and supported the swabhasha drives, especially in India. But the atavistic Colombo-English clan mindset in the likes of Kumar David and others ties down their thinking.

    Could wee completely anglicize the whole country? The rate of demograhic increase, and the limited supply of Englsih teachers available in the 1950s with less than 3% of the population genuinely competent in English, and less than about 5000 English teachers in the whole country, the answer is a VEHEMENT NO.

    SWRD’s politics, or Nehru’s Hindi-Language politics, or Mao’s Chinese language (instead of anglicization) politics, were all NOT racist politics. Kumar david and the LSSP failed to understand the people’s revolution of 1956, and thought that is was a “Menshevik revolution”, and their (Bolshevik) revolution was “just around the corner”. They realized their error a decade or two later, and then at least a good part of the LSSP clung on to Sirima’s Sari Pota and pushed their nationalization programs forward.

    Colvin R de Silva’s constitution gave even less room to Tamil than SWRD. He had no use for Englsih.
    But Kumar David is not ready to call Colvin a Sinhala racist?

    Why did the LSSP stand for Parity? Only because all the trade unions they controlled contained a 50-50 Tamil Sinhala demographic. That was the stark reality. But they pretended that their “parity” policy was high principles, and talked of “one language, two nations … etc”. Even today Kumar David does not understand the 1956 revolution.

    These “leftists” are not mere hypocrites, but blind to facts.

    • 0
      0

      Sinhalese are only 74% of the population and even if the entire Muslim population in the island speaks Sinhalese fluently it will be 84% say 85%. So where did you get the 90% from? just a hat? For your information even amongst the Muslims only around 70% of them are fluent in Sinhalese in various degrees the rest of them, especially the ones living in the North and East are not.
      So in reality 75% of the population speaks only Sinhalese
      Around 80% of the population speak both languages
      24% Speak Tamil
      and 19% only Tamil

  • 0
    0

    Prof. Kumar David writes: “but the great majority in the Tamil homeland will not bat an eyelid in choosing English over Sinhala”.

    This sentence suggests that David accepts the LTTE thesis of an exclusive Tamil Homeland in the North?????

    I as a Tamil living in a southern suburb of Colombo reject the idea completely, and accept G. G. Ponnambalam’s view that the “Tamil homeland is the whole of Ceylon”

    I know sinhalese because i live in the South. The Estate Tamils and many up-country Sinhalese have a working knowledge of each others’ language.
    The upper-class kids from families like those of the Sumanthirans or Kumar Davids, if they live in the North, will only learn Englsih, and a smattering of Tamil to summon the servants (like “inga va” or such rude basics) and not much more. If the new road network makes the North multi-ethnic similar to Colombo due to commerce and trade, this WILL introduce an automatic amount of bilingualism,

    I do not fear that inter-mingling of the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka will erode Tamil culture in anyway what so ever. It is even stronger and vibrant in Wellawattaa and Bambalapiti as compared to the stagnation in Jaffna.

    The biggest threats to Tamil culture are Englsih and Christianity.

    It is the foolish, divisive, mono-cultural and racist “Tamil Homeland” or “Sinhala Homeland” concepts that are fundamentally racist.

    It is NOT SWRD Bandaranaike, but Kumar David who is, surprisingly enough, the real racist.

    • 0
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      Lots of Sinhalese tend to use Tamil names and identities to post their anti Tamil venom. At least Kumar David uses his own identity

  • 1
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    Even if 100% of Sri Lankans spoke Sinhalese, we would be doing a disservice to our citizens if we did not teach them the International language – English. We cannot live in isolation. Whatever business that links with other countries, English is compulsory. The language of airlines or shipping or international trade are all English and as a nation we need them all.

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