Geographical Review of Japa,. Ser. A, Chirigaku Hyoron
Online ISSN : 2185-1735
Print ISSN : 0016-7444
THE SEGREGATION AND ITS BREAKDOWN OF CHINESE DIALECT GROUPS IN SINGAPORE
Kiyomi YAMASHITA
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1985 Volume 58 Issue 5 Pages 295-317

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Abstract

Although many geographical researches have been conducted on the segregation of ethnic groups in cities, these studies have mainly dealt with cities in Europe and the United States. A few research has been conducted in cities of developing regions because of a limited availability of accurate data of population in census tracts in these areas. ness, and contributed to a removal of psycological barriers among different dialect groups.
2. Emigration of Chinese people from mainland China to Singapore ceased after the People's Republic of China was established. Human and material exchange between the two countries was greatly restricted thereafter. As a result, Chinese in Singapore became firmly rooted in Singapore's soil (Fig. 5) . The Chinese tradition of mutual support system was weakened as the governmental welfare and educational policies were carried out steadily. These factors contributed to the movement of Chinese people from districts heavily populated by the same dialect group, and helped mingle with other dialect groups.
3. A traditional Chinese economic structure contained a division of labor by the different dialect groups. A specific dialect group dominated a certain trade (Table 4). Chinese business enterprises had a tribal atmosphere. It can be thought that the dialect groups were segregated themselves, even in an economic environment. However, this traditional economic structure began to change after Singapore became independent. The government attempted a rapid industrialization of its country and actively seeked foreign capital. As the English language capability became more important, the traditional link to a particular dialect group began to lose its importance.
4. It is urban renewal that has promoted a physical breakdown of the segregation. The shophouses, which used to be a characteristic of the central districts of the dialect groups, were destroyed and replaced by high-rise public housing (Fig. 6). By 1984, 78% of the entire population of Singapore was living in public housing, so called HDB flats, built by the Housing Development Board (acronym HDB). The central districts of the dialect groups were destroyed as urban renewal progressed. These groups started to live in public housing with other different groups.
5. There is a close relationship between above listed factors of segregational breakdown and governmental policies. Since Singapore became a Dominion of the British Commonwealth in 1959, the People's Action Party (PAP) led by the Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew has governed the nation. PAP is mainly made up of the elite members who received English education. Therefore, many governmental policies are directed toward getting rid of the Chinese dialect groups' sectionalism. In an attempt to mingle the Chinese dialect groups with other ethnic groups, the government emphasized English education and tried to create an ideal image for a modern Singapore citizen, so called “Singaporean.” Furthermore, the government promoted industrialization and carried out urban renewal on a large scale. As a result of these governmental efforts and overall policies, the traditional segregation of the Chinese dialect groups is now definitely breaking down.

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