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Old 02-21-2013, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
3,067 posts, read 3,368,776 times
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That's pretty much what I mean. It seems in Asia the 'ethnic groups' tend to hold onto their identities more after leaving their country of origin. Chinese is probably the modified out of all the ethnic groups. 'Chinese Singaporean' food is mostly unique to Singapore although there are many dishes common to South-East China. Whereas in the West, immigrants tend to assimilate more to the host culture. Like you said, it's probably because the Chinese and Indians were since the beginning of modern Singapore and were somewhat segregated until more modern times. Even today, some areas are a bit more Malay or Indian, for instance, but overall Singaporeans are very integrated.
I find it interesting though how Singaporean Chinese food is heavily spicy and happily melded to Malay/Indian influences, while I like Southern Chinese food it just seems comparatively boring to me.

The government racial quotas for each HDB estate really got the ball rolling integration wise, it's bureaucratic but works.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
3,067 posts, read 3,368,776 times
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It depends on your definition of multi-cultural.

What has occurred in Singapore sounds like a triality (similar to a duality) where the groups in play still retain many of their cultural particularities. This does not mean there is no cross-pollination or convergence with the others but they remain more segmented than they would be after a similarly long period of time in most cities of the western world.

As was predictable, people will respond to you that immigrants and their descendants do for the most part retain their languages and cultures intergenerationally in places like Toronto, New York and London.

By and large, this is not the case and while some character traits from the old country remain (think of Italian-Americans as a good example), with every generation the links become weaker and weaker. With few exceptions, third generation children of origin X in Toronto speak little or none of the language of their grandparents. The languages and cultures of many communities appear vibrant at the moment because there is still new blood coming from the old country or implantation is fairly recent (the 1950s were not that long ago). But once the immigration tap is turned off, things drop off very quickly. Just 50 years ago there were 500,000 Canadians who spoke Ukrainian at home. Today there are less than 30,000.

That said, a city like Toronto does have way more ethnic diversity and cultures of the world represented in its population than Singapore does. Toronto pretty much has almost all them - in appreciable numbers in most cases. But these groups are all slowly converging into a single Torontonian (or Canadian or North American even) identity centred on the English language and a mainstream culture.
Yes there's sort of a multiplicity v. the melting pot type view of multiculturalism, but SIngaporean style is more of a genuine multiculturalism in my view. Singaporeans under the age of 30 tend to speak in some English based creole that they can all understand but is difficult for others to follow. I doubt even ostensibly more diverse cities such as Toronto would be able to match this despite the higher ethinic/linguistic diversity as immigrants will be anglicized quickly.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:59 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,211,334 times
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Originally Posted by sulkiercupid View Post
I find it interesting though how Singaporean Chinese food is heavily spicy and happily melded to Malay/Indian influences, while I like Southern Chinese food it just seems comparatively boring to me.

The government racial quotas for each HDB estate really got the ball rolling integration wise, it's bureaucratic but works.
Yeah I'm generally not a fan of Cantonese cuisine, with some exceptions. I think I just love the spicier cuisines of SE Asia, including Singapore/Malaysia.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:25 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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I think there are two competing definitions of multicultural here and not one of them is better than the other. It sounds like the "authenticity" of Singapore is like a nascent version of what's happened in many parts of the New World already--the cultures from different parts of the world have merged to some extent and have developed a new identity. Obviously, Canadians/Americans and their cultures has some relation to England but it is not the same culture. Nor is the culture of Quebec the same as that of France, various latin American countries with Portugal and Spain. There are pronounced differences and that's obvious--Singapore is going along that pathway to some extent but is earlier on in the process.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
20,605 posts, read 25,685,111 times
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Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I think there are two competing definitions of multicultural here and not one of them is better than the other. It sounds like the "authenticity" of Singapore is like a nascent version of what's happened in many parts of the New World already--the cultures from different parts of the world have merged to some extent and have developed a new identity. Obviously, Canadians/Americans and their cultures has some relation to England but it is not the same culture. Nor is the culture of Quebec the same as that of France, various latin American countries with Portugal and Spain. There are pronounced differences and that's obvious--Singapore is going along that pathway to some extent but is earlier on in the process.
Doesn't the presence in Singapore of the cultures we are talking about actually predate the great immigration periods in most new world countries?
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:12 PM
 
Location: In the heights
20,175 posts, read 21,784,368 times
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Doesn't the presence in Singapore of the cultures we are talking about actually predate the great immigration periods in most new world countries?
Depends on how you look at it. There had been a slow mixing and syncretization of cultures which was important in the formation of Malay cultures but that's now basically one of several primary pillars of Singapore's culture. There was also the Peranakan Chinese which are a mix of Malay and Chinese from the 15th and 16th century that was somewhat distinct but is small in number and not what people generally think of when they talk about the mix of the Chinese mix in Singapore. The vast majority of Singaporeans of Chinese and Indian descent are from the 19th and 20th century (generally Chinese a bit earlier than Indian).

The argument could be made though that the early mix of Canada and the US was heavily European and Europeans are not distinct enough (Germans of different stripes, various Scandinavians, Irish, Scottish, English, French, Spanish, Portugese Poles, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Lebanese, etc.) and don't have as much differences as Chinese and Indians (though Indians were and still are pretty small in number) do and that the Native Americans were so quickly decimated that they had much less influence than that of indigenous Malays. There's also the large African ancestry populations in some of the New World nations to consider though that doesn't apply so much to Toronto.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:49 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,211,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It depends on your definition of multi-cultural.

What has occurred in Singapore sounds like a triality (similar to a duality) where the groups in play still retain many of their cultural particularities. This does not mean there is no cross-pollination or convergence with the others but they remain more segmented than they would be after a similarly long period of time in most cities of the western world.

As was predictable, people will respond to you that immigrants and their descendants do for the most part retain their languages and cultures intergenerationally in places like Toronto, New York and London.

By and large, this is not the case and while some character traits from the old country remain (think of Italian-Americans as a good example), with every generation the links become weaker and weaker. With few exceptions, third generation children of origin X in Toronto speak little or none of the language of their grandparents. The languages and cultures of many communities appear vibrant at the moment because there is still new blood coming from the old country or implantation is fairly recent (the 1950s were not that long ago). But once the immigration tap is turned off, things drop off very quickly. Just 50 years ago there were 500,000 Canadians who spoke Ukrainian at home. Today there are less than 30,000.

That said, a city like Toronto does have way more ethnic diversity and cultures of the world represented in its population than Singapore does. Toronto pretty much has almost all them - in appreciable numbers in most cases. But these groups are all slowly converging into a single Torontonian (or Canadian or North American even) identity centred on the English language and a mainstream culture.
Well here in Perth, which I assume isn't that similar, children of immigrants or even children who arrived here at a young age (like me) will be pretty integrated, sometimes totally. Some may speak a language other than English at home, but many many speak English. My case was different because my parents spoke English, but in the case of Vietnamese immigrants it might be different. And from knowing my friends many only know English, again like myself. By the third generation they're almost always fully integrated, but i'm as Australian as someone who has been here six generations. Then again over a third of us were born overseas, and well over half have at least a grandparent born overseas.

In the past, people maybe clung to their traditions longer due to racism and segregation. That's why you had a lot of people speaking German, Italian.etc even though they were born in the US or Canada.

Toronto may have more in numbers, but 100 people from Kazakhstan doesn't leave much of an indent. Also Singapore is surprisingly international, not only Asian but a lot of European and even African nationalities living, studying and working there.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
20,605 posts, read 25,685,111 times
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I think there is a difference between one might call the ''fusion'' and the ''graft'' approaches to multiculturalism. The vast majority of places are ''graft'' - newcomers join the local reality. They change it for sure but the general direction remains the same.

In the fusion model, people of various origins come together to create something completely completely different from what was there before, and different from anything anywhere else in the world.

Even places that claim to be the stage for a ''fusion'' tend to be ''grafts''. Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver are like this.

On the other hand, Singlish is a good example of ''fusion''.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:02 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,211,334 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I think there is a difference between one might call the ''fusion'' and the ''graft'' approaches to multiculturalism. The vast majority of places are ''graft'' - newcomers join the local reality. They change it for sure but the general direction remains the same.

In the fusion model, people of various origins come together to create something completely completely different from what was there before, and different from anything anywhere else in the world.

Even places that claim to be the stage for a ''fusion'' tend to be ''grafts''. Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver are like this.

On the other hand, Singlish is a good example of ''fusion''.
Good way of putting it. If there wasn't so much racism against Asians when they were migrating in the 19th and early 20th century - mostly Chinese - I wonder if they'd have become more integrated or have maintained a distinct Chinese identity?
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:17 AM
 
321 posts, read 502,109 times
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I once met an Indian guy who could speak perfect Mandarin in Singapore. It was pretty cool.
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