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Educational policies in a changing society : Singapore, 1918-1959 Wilson, Harold Edmund 1975

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EDUCATIONAL POLICIES IN A CHANGING SOCIETY: SINGAPORE, 1918-1959  by HAROLD EDMUND WILSON B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY  in the Department of History  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1975  In presenting an the  thesis i n partial  advanced degree a t Library  I further for  this  the  by  his representatives.  of  this  be  g r a n t e d by  gain  permission.  Department of  requirements  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  I t i s understood  thesis for financial  the  B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree  permission for extensive  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may  written  U n i v e r s i t y of  s h a l l make i t f r e e l y  agree that  f u l f i l m e n t of  History  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5  the  copying of H e a d o f my  that  s h a l l not  be  that  study.  this  thesis  Department  copying or  for  or  publication  allowed without  my  Abstract  T h i s t h e s i s i s a comparative study of the e d u c a t i o n a l of s u c c e s s i v e governments  policies  o f S i n g a p o r e , and o f t h e i m p a c t o f t h o s e  poli-  I c i e s upon the e t h n o - l i n g u i s t i c a l l y  complex,  urban s o c i e t y of the  W h e r e a s i n o l d e r , m o r e homogeneous S o u t h e a s t A s i a n c o m m u n i t i e s school functioned  island.  the  to c o n s e r v e and t r a n s m i t t h e s o c i e t y ' s c u l t u r e , i n  Singapore—which lacked a single cultural  t r a d i t i o n of i t s o w n — e a r l y  e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s were o p e r a t e d by i n d i v i d u a l  philanthropists,  p r i v a t e t e a c h e r s , and a v a r i e t y o f o r g a n i s a t i o n s s u c h as C h r i s t i a n  mis-  s i o n s and groups o f m e r c h a n t s ,  the  different cultural affinities  and  the schools n a t u r a l l y r e f l e c t e d  of t h e i r managers.  came t o b e u s e d t o p r o m o t e s p e c i f i c , i n the achievement with social relates  Subsequently, schools  politically  determined ends,  o f t h e s e , t h e s c h o o l s p e r f o r m e d an i n n o v a t i v e  consequences  n o t always i n t e n d e d by p o l i c y m a k e r s .  the n a t u r e o f the governments  and a s s e s s e s p o l i c y  to the k i n d s of p o l i c i e s  i n terms o f the achievement  of o f f i c i a l  but r61e  The  study  adopted,  goals,  s o c i a l harmony, and r e l e v a n c e t o t h e n e e d s o f t h o s e b e i n g e d u c a t e d . p e r i o d s e l e c t e d p r o v i d e s f o r an e x a m i n a t i o n o f the p o l i c i e s t y p e s o f government, the  each of which d i f f e r e d  four  i n significant respects  from  others. The  p r e - P a c i f i c - w a r B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l r e g i m e was  the p r o d u c t i o n o f a group o f p e r s o n s l i t e r a t e fill  of  The  clerical  r u n C h i n e s e s c h o o l s , and  i n government and  objectionable a c t i v i t i e s  the p r o t e c t i o n of Malays i i  with  i n E n g l i s h and a b l e t o  and j u n i o r a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p o s i t i o n s  merce, the c o n t r o l of p o l i t i c a l l y  concerned  com-  in privately-  from the e f f e c t s  of  i i i  contact with a l i e n cultures. s e l f - r u l e was The tance The  not  given  The  preparation of  serious consideration.  Japanese Occupation e f f e c t i v e l y  o f S i n g a p o r e ' s c o l o n i a l s t a t u s , and  educational policy  o f t h e p e r i o d was  emphasis p l a c e d  skills and  called  destroyed  heightened  the p a s s i v e political  fostered a belief  awareness.  t h e West i n m i n d , b u t  upon t h e a c q u i s i t i o n o f m e c h a n i c a l and  into question  the the  technical  the i s l a n d ' s t r a d i t i o n a l r d l e as an  i n the p o s s i b i l i t y  accep-  determined p r i m a r i l y w i t h  demands o f J a p a n ' s c o n t i n u i n g s t r u g g l e w i t h new  society for ultimate  entrepot  of Singapore's t e c h n o l o g i c a l  self-sufficiency. During  the  f i n a l phase of o v e r t c o l o n i a l i s m i n the  island,  p o s t - w a r B r i t i s h a d m i n i s t r a t i o n p u r s u e d an e d u c a t i o n a l p o l i c y t e n d e d t o f o r g e c u l t u r a l l i n k s b e t w e e n B r i t a i n and  an  p r o p o r t i o n of  Those l e f t  the i s l a n d ' s school-age p o p u l a t i o n .  the English-medium s c h o o l s  s y s t e m was operating  i n c r e a s e d by  which  increasingly large outside  found themselves i l l - e q u i p p e d to take  t a g e o f e x i s t i n g e m p l o y m e n t o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and  i n Chinese middle schools  and  advan-  disenchantment with  f e a r of c u l t u r a l a l i e n a t i o n .  Radical  T h i s p r o v e d t o be  one  trades unions j o i n e d f o r c e s ,  of the major challenges  the- g o v e r n m e n t , w h i c h a t t e m p t e d  the  elements  t a k i n g a d v a n t a g e o f communal f e a r s t o c r e a t e a s o c i a l l y e x p l o s i v e tion.  the  to d e a l w i t h  situa-  to the a u t h o r i t y of  t h e p r o b l e m by  r e s o r t i n g to  r e p r e s s i v e measures. The  d i s t r u s t w h i c h the Chinese-educated d i s p l a y e d towards  government p e r s i s t e d , and the Labour Front  became t h e m o s t i n t r a c t a b l e s i t u a t i o n  administration—Singapore's  f i r s t mainly  the  facing  democratically  iv elected government—which took o f f i c e i n 1955.  The new  government,  acutely s e n s i t i v e to popular pressures, sought an educational p o l i c y that would remove the causes of communal tension and promote a Malayan or Singaporean l o y a l t y .  In this they were only p a r t l y successful.  The work concludes with a discussion of the s o c i a l l y s i g n i f i cant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the educational p o l i c i e s of the various governments, and places the study within the wider context of education i n p l u r a l s o c i e t i e s elsewhere.  Contents Page LIST OF TABLES  vii  Chapter INTRODUCTION I. II.  III.  1  THE EMERGENCE OF A DIVIDED SOCIETY EDUCATIONAL POLICY PRIOR TO THE PACIFIC WAR  10 . . . .  The System of Schools  48  P o l i t i c a l Considerations  71  Higher and Technical Education Personalities and the Decisionmaking Process  82 93  THE IMPLICATIONS OF JAPANESE EDUCATION POLICY IN SINGAPORE  IV. V.  42  105  FAMILIAR PROBLEMS IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT  . . . .  138  EXPERIMENTS IN DEMOCRACY  210  CONCLUSION  273  NOTES  291  BIBLIOGRAPHY  351  APPENDICES  374 v  vi  Appendix A.  B.  C.  D.  E.  F.  Page  STRAITS SETTLEMENTS: EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION AS A PERCENTAGE OF- TOTAL ANNUAL' GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE, 1918-1938  375  SINGAPORE: REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION, 1918-1938  377  DESPATCH, SIR CECIL CLEMENTI TO THE COLONIAL SECRETARY, OCTOBER 12, 1931  380  SELECTED MINUTES AND MEMORANDA BY PERMANENT OFFICIALS OF THE COLONIAL OFFICE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE APPOINTMENT OF A DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION IN THE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS AND FEDERATED MALAY STATES, 1931-1932  385  SINGAPORE: REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION, 1946-1960  402  LETTER FROM NAN CHIAU GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS' AID SOCIETY, DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1954 (TRANSLATED)  4Q5  L i s t of Tables Table I. II. III. IV.  V. VI.  VII. VIII. IX.  X. XI.  Page Population increase i n Singapore, 1871-1921  16  Pattern of Employment among Chinese, Indians and Malays i n 1931  27  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Students i n Government and Aided Schools i n 1919  62  Local-born Chinese as a percentage of the Total Chinese population of Singapore, 1921, 1931 and 1947  143  Singapore Schools and Students, 1945-1954  170  Pupil Enrolment: Registered Schools by Language of Instruction, 1955-1959  215  D i s t r i b u t i o n of Educational Expenditure, 1955-1957 i n c l u s i v e  264  Grants-in-Aid to Singapore Schools, 1955-1958 i n c l u s i v e  265  S t r a i t s Settlements: Expenditure on Education as Percentage of Total Annual Government Expenditure ( S t r a i t s Settlements Dollars)  376  Singapore: Revenue and Expenditure on Education, 1918-1938 ( S t r a i t s Settlements Dollars) Singapore: Revenue and Expenditure on Education, 1946-1960 (Malayan Dollars)  vii  .  .  .  378 403  Acknowledgement  I a c k n o w l e d g e w i t h deep g r a t i t u d e persons, both here  i n C a n a d a a n d , d u r i n g t h e p e r i o d o f my  i n S i n g a p o r e and M a l a y s i a . my i n d e b t e d n e s s  t h e h e l p r e c e i v e d f r o m many  In particular  fieldwork,  i t i s a pleasure to record  t o P r o f e s s o r B r i a n H a r r i s o n f o rh i s encouragement and  g u i d a n c e , a n d f o r t h e many v a l u a b l e s u g g e s t i o n s made f o r t h e i m p r o v e ment o f t h i s w o r k . friendly  I m u s t a l s o make s p e c i a l  a s s i s t a n c e p r o v i d e d by the s t a f f  Asian Studies, the staff and  the s t a f f  Singapore.  libraries  of the u n f a i l i n g l y  of the Institute  o f Southeast  of the L i b r a r y of the University of Singapore,  of the Reference D i v i s i o n  My t h a n k s a r e d u e a l s o  ( M a l a y s i a ) Sdn. Berhad  mention  of the National L i b r a r y of  t o t h e New S t r a i t s  Times P r e s s  f o r p e r m i s s i o n t o make u s e o f t h e S t r a i t s  Times  i n b o t h K u a l a Lumpur a n d S i n g a p o r e , a n d t o B i s h o p D r . Y a p  K i m Hao, Th.D. f o r l e t t i n g me h a v e a c c e s s t o t h e a r c h i v e s o f t h e M e t h o d i s t Church and  o f M a l a y s i a and S i n g a p o r e .  Teachers,  civil  former government m i n i s t e r s gave g e n e r o u s l y o f t h e i r  their this  special  knowledge o f t h e problems  g r a n t s from t h e Canada  Finally, heartfelt —for  time to share  o f e d u c a t i o n i n S i n g a p o r e , and  s t u d y i s e v i d e n c e o f my i n d e b t e d n e s s t o them.  p o r t e d by generous  servants  The p r o j e c t was  sup-  Council.  t h a n k s t o my f a m i l y — J e a n n e , J u l i e a n d A l e x  t h e i r h e l p , p a t i e n c e and u n d e r s t a n d i n g .  viii  EDUCATIONAL POLICIES IN A CHANGING SOCIETY: SINGAPORE, 1918-1959  INTRODUCTION  T h i s t h e s i s i s concerned tional policies recent past. reason  adopted by  educational policies significant  s u c c e s s i v e governments of Singapore  I t i s intended  a p e r i o d has  w i t h the s o c i a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of  t o be  a comparative  s t u d y and  for  The  stages  types  of B r i t i s h r u l e i n  and  I t was  one  t h a t had  and  evolved  over  ally,  never-  and, not i n f r e q u e n t l y ,  s e r v a n t s of the C o l o n i a l O f f i c e i n London.  Singapore  c o l o n y known as  t o g e t h e r w i t h Penang, Malacca the S t r a i t s  Settlements; but  and  ruled  Malaya.  Constitution-  Labuan formed  Malay S t a t e s , the  i n p r a c t i c e as an appendage o f t h a t y e t l a r g e r e n t i t y T h i s f a c t i s of r e l e v a n c e t o the present  1  and  a  sharing several senior  o f f i c i a l s w i t h the government of the F e d e r a t e d was  consulted.  p e r m i t t e d a c l a s h of w i l l s between l o c a l government o f f i c i a l s  senior c i v i l  one-  constitutional  o f p o l i c y w e r e d e c i d e d was  t h e l e s s complex, s u b j e c t t o a v a r i e t y of p r e s s u r e s it  a  endeavoured  the previous  e s s e n t i a l l y a u t h o r i t a r i a n , f o r no  p r o c e s s by w h i c h i m p o r t a n t m a t t e r s  Southeast  Second W o r l d Wars,  means e x i s t e d b y w h i c h t h e w i l l o f t h e g o v e r n e d c o u l d b e The  the  t o meet u n f a m i l i a r c h a l l e n g e s .  the i n t e r v a l between the F i r s t  t h e f o r m o f g o v e r n m e n t was  in  can p r o v i d e  v a l u a b l e i n d i c a t i o n of the e x t e n t to which c o l o n i a l regimes adapt t o changed c i r c u m s t a n c e s  the  o f g o v e r n m e n t , and  A s i a , a phase of c o l o n i a l i s m i n which e d u c a t i o n a l p o l i c y  hundred y e a r s .  this  of f o u r types of government, each d i f f e r i n g  respects from the o t h e r s .  During  i n the  been s e l e c t e d which a l l o w s f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n of  p e r i o d i t s e l f encompass t h e f i n a l  to  educa-  study  island British  since i t w i l l  2  be argued that p o l i c i e s applied i n Singapore generally were determined without reference to the island's s p e c i a l needs. From February 1942 u n t i l August 1945, Singapore was governed as a Special Municipality (Tokubetu-si) with a Mayor who was d i r e c t l y responsible to the Japanese M i l i t a r y Administration Department for the 'Southern Area.  1  Government was r i g i d l y authoritarian, but the author-  i t y was now that of an Asian rather than a European power; and although policy was determined with reference to a very much larger area than b e f o r e — t h e Malay States, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and C e l e b e s — i n practice, a good deal of l o c a l autonomy was permitted to the i n d i v i d u a l state governments and to the Special Municipality. The post-war years saw the return of the B r i t i s h .  For a b r i e f  period, government was i n the hands of a M i l i t a r y Administration, which was succeeded, on A p r i l 1st, 1946, by a c i v i l i a n government.  Under the  terms of an Order i n Council dated March 27, Singapore became a Crown Colony c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y detached both from the former S t r a i t s S e t t l e ments and from the new, but i l l - f a t e d , Malayan Union.  The educational  p o l i c i e s of the B r i t i s h M i l i t a r y Administration and those of the succeeding c i v i l i a n government w i l l be considered together, p a r t l y because the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change was of t h e o r e t i c a l rather than p r a c t i c a l importance, many of the senior o f f i c i a l s serving under both regimes; p a r t l y because the problems created by the havoc of war continued to occupy much of the attention of the c i v i l administration; and partly because both regimes were e s s e n t i a l l y authoritarian and B r i t i s h  dominated.  But i f the government was s t i l l authoritarian, the basis of authority  3  was no longer accepted without question by the governed or, s i g n i f i cantly, by the o f f i c i a l s themselves.  I t was clear to a l l that f a r -  reaching c o n s t i t u t i o n a l changes were going to occur, and educational p o l i c i e s were profoundly affected by the growing p o l i t i c a l  consciousness  of the population, and by the changed philosophy of government i n Whitehall.  In 1948, the f i r s t small step i n the d i r e c t i o n of democratic  government was taken with the admission into the twenty-three man L e g i s l a t i v e Council of s i x members elected by popular vote.  In 1951,  a further step was taken when the number of elected members was i n creased from s i x to nine.  There was thus a trend away from the com-  plete authoritarianism of the past, although the changes were more important as an acknowledgement of the destiny of colonialism i n Singapore rather than for any immediate and drastic changes i n p o l i c y . Government continued to be dominated by the o f f i c i a l and nominated 'Unofficial  1  members, and the interests represented by three members  chosen by the Chambers of Commerce were c l e a r l y sectional rather than popular. The f i n a l type of government, the educational p o l i c i e s of which are to receive close attention i n this study, was t r a n s i t i o n a l i n character, being b a s i c a l l y representative with, however, control over specif i c matters remaining i n the hands of B r i t i s h administrators. The elections which followed the adoption of the Rendel Constitution produced, i n A p r i l 1955, a 32-man L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly from which s i x members were selected to be ministers; and these, together with three nominees of the Governor, formed a Council of Ministers.  The Assembly  4  had power to debate and l e g i s l a t e on a l l matters other than external r e l a t i o n s , defence, and i n t e r n a l security. led by the new  Perhaps because the party  Chief Minister, Mr. David Marshall, gained only ten of  the twenty-five elected seats, p o l i c y tended to r e f l e c t a compromise between c o n f l i c t i n g interests rather than a single, guiding philosophy of government.  I t was  Action Party i n 1959  only with the coming to power of the People's  that government could claim with some j u s t i f i c a t i o n  to be f u l l y representative; however, although the changes of policy introduced i n the post-1959 period w i l l be referred to for the purpose of i l l u s t r a t i n g certain points, i t i s not the object of this work to study recent educational policy i n any d e t a i l .  Such a study would re-  quire much greater access to o f f i c i a l records than i s at present  allowed  by the Ministry of Education; and the addition of a section covering adequately  the evolution of education i n Singapore over the past f i f t e e n  years would lead the present work to acquire unmanageable proportions. The period covered by this study therefore ends i n  1959.  It i s clear that to understand p o l i c y — t h e considered course of action adopted by government—one must f i r s t e s t a b l i s h what purpose the government has i n mind.  When the form of government i s autocratic, the  purpose of the autocrat i s a l l that must be sought.  But when the govern-  ment i s one such as that which evolved i n the S t r a i t s Settlements  during  the nineteenth and f i r s t two decades of the twentieth centuries, an understanding of factors.  of the purpose of government i s complicated by a v a r i e t y F i r s t there i s the question of where, and by whom, were  matters of p o l i c y decided?  In p r i n c i p l e , the Governor i n Council dealt  5  w i t h t h e e s s e n t i a l b u s i n e s s of. g o v e r n m e n t , w i t h reserving  the B r i t i s h  t h e r i g h t t o " d i s a l l o w , " upon t h e a d v i c e  of h i s C o l o n i a l Sec-  r e t a r y , any o r d i n a n c e passed by t h e l o c a l l e g i s l a t u r e . t h e r i g h t was s e l d o m e x e r c i s e d , decided before  involving educational  1867  and t h e c o n c l u s i o n i s  t h a t t h e Governor and h i s s e n i o r a d v i s e r s This  i n the Legis-  p o l i c y were reached i n t h e y e a r s  b e t w e e n t h e w a r s i s e x a m i n e d i n some d e t a i l ,  word.  discussed  usually  I n t h e second chapter o f t h i s work, the process by  which decisions  clear  In practice,  s i n c e m a t t e r s o f p o l i c y were  they reached t h e stage of being  lative Council.  Monarch  represents  a significant  (when r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  i n v a r i a b l y had the l a s t  change from t h e p e r i o d  prior to  f o r the administration of the Straits S e t t l e -  ments had been t r a n s f e r r e d f r o m t h e I n d i a O f f i c e t o t h e C o l o n i a l Office),  f o r i n the e a r l y years of the Settlement,  educational  decisions  involving  p o l i c y t a k e n by t h e R e s i d e n t n o t i n f r e q u e n t l y were  over-  r u l e d by t h e government i n I n d i a . Having i d e n t i f i e d consider vital  the extent  decisions.  the policy-makers,  a f u r t h e r problem i s t o  t o w h i c h p e r s o n a l i t y a n d p r e j u d i c e may h a v e  H e r e one t r e a d s  o n t h i n i c e , f o r a l t h o u g h some a s p e c t s  o f p e r s o n a l i t y may b e e s t a b l i s h e d b e y o n d r e a s o n a b l e d o u b t , generally only  affected  c a n be i n f e r r e d ; and i n t h e l i g h t  prejudice  of the evidence a t  p r e s e n t a v a i l a b l e , o n e c a n do l i t t l e m o r e t h a n s u g g e s t t h a t some  rela-  t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n p e r s o n a l i t y a n d p r e j u d i c e , o n t h e one h a n d , a n d p o l i c y decisions  on t h e o t h e r ,  Yet to predicate  despite  does i n f a c t  t h e s e and o t h e r  c e r t a i n general  exist. complicating  f a c t o r s , i ti s possible  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the educational  policy  6  of  a c o l o n i a l government which a r i s e from the i m p e r a t i v e of the  s h i p between colony and m e t r o p o l i t a n power: the f i r s t must be  relation-  consideration  the i n t e r e s t , r e a l o r p e r c e i v e d , o f the c o l o n i s i n g s t a t e .  f o l l o w s t h a t i n the f o r m u l a t i o n of g e n e r a l p o l i c y , p r i o r i t y w i l l  It be  g i v e n to defence of the i m p e r i a l i n t e r e s t both from e x t e r n a l t h r e a t i n t e r n a l s u b v e r s i o n , and  i t i s reasonable  to a n t i c i p a t e t h a t a l a r g e  p o r t i o n of revenue w i l l be devoted to t h i s end. budgeted amongst a number of s e r v i c e s , and  What remains must be  i n e v i t a b l y the funds  a b l e w i l l be s m a l l i n r e l a t i o n to t o t a l e d u c a t i o n a l needs. how to  these  avail-  Furthermore,  l i m i t e d funds are used i s l i k e l y to be determined by  reference  the i n t e r e s t s of the m e t r o p o l i t a n a u t h o r i t y r a t h e r than those of  subject people.  and  Where the e d u c a t i o n a l system tends to be  p o l i c y w i l l seek to ensure t h a t the e l i t e i s sympathetic  the  elitist, to the  colonial  power. Here, however, a caveat must be heeded by acknowledging t h a t c o l o n i a l p o l i c y i n p r a c t i c e i s seldom determined s o l e l y by t i o n s of i m p e r i a l i n t e r e s t .  M i s s i o n a r y aims, new  and purpose of government involvement t i o n a l t h e o r i e s , and policy-makers,  and  i d e a s on the  i n s o c i a l s e r v i c e s , new  reform movements may  these  considera-  "humanitarian"  each be expected  extent educa-  to i n f l u e n c e  i n f l u e n c e s would appear to con-  f l i c t w i t h , and hence m i t i g a t e , the c l a i m s of i m p e r i a l i n t e r e s t . the other hand, an a u t h o r i t a r i a n regime need not concern the p o p u l a r i t y o r o t h e r w i s e may  itself  of any p a r t i c u l a r measure; and  On with  from t h i s i t  be argued t h a t t h e r e e x i s t e d , d u r i n g the p e r i o d of the pre-war  B r i t i s h a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , an i d e a l o p p o r t u n i t y f o r the i n t r o d u c t i o n of  7  e d u c a t i o n a l l y sound i f unpopular reforms. taken, and  the evidence  Yet  i s c l e a r t h a t t h i s was  the o p p o r t u n i t y was due  not  t o a combination of  f a c t o r s the most n o t a b l e of which were the need to l i m i t e x p e n d i t u r e , s u s p i c i o n of the a d v i c e of educators t i o n , and  the d e t e r m i n a t i o n  u n f a m i l i a r w i t h the l o c a l  a  situa-  of l o c a l o f f i c i a l s t o r e t a i n c o n t r o l of  the  d i r e c t i o n of p o l i c y . The  extent  a f f e c t p o l i c y may  to which h u m a n i t a r i a n  c o n s i d e r a t i o n s are l i k e l y  v a r y a c c o r d i n g t o a number of f a c t o r s .  During  Japanese o c c u p a t i o n , when the s t a t u s of Singapore remained t h a t of a c o l o n y , because the p e r i o d was predominant c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n forming of the i m p e r i a l power and, to l e s s  one  the  interest  functioned  effect. from the power of an a l i e n  but from the w i l l of the governed, as expressed t i o n s , one must be  of the f i r s t  through p e r i o d i c e l e c -  the s a t i s f a c t i o n of the demands of the m a j o r i t y of the v o t e r s .  purpose of such p o p u l a r  office.  country  c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n the f o r m u l a t i o n of p o l i c y  p o l i c i e s i s to maximise the degree of sup-  p o r t f o r the government, which thereby  and  essentially  the p e r c e i v e d  p r e d i c t a b l y , such c o n s i d e r a t i o n s  When a u t h o r i t y d e r i v e s not  The  the  of c o n t i n u i n g c r i s i s  p o l i c y was  to  E d u c a t i o n a l p o l i c y may  secures  i t s own  continuance  t h e r e f o r e be expected to be  in  egalitarian,  economic b a r r i e r s such as s c h o o l f e e s are l i k e l y to be reduced or  removed.  The  i n c r e a s e d i n t a k e i n t o the primary l e v e l s which r e s u l t s  from such a programme w i l l c r e a t e a p r e s s u r e secondary and  tertiary levels.  momentum of i t s own  The  f o r more f a c i l i t i e s a t  system i s l i k e l y t o develop a  which, d i v o r c e d from r a t i o n a l assessment of  the  the  8  needs of society as a whole, w i l l be checked only by f i n a n c i a l and other material l i m i t a t i o n s .  Moreover, the extent to which education-  a l l y sound p o l i c i e s can be introduced w i l l be found to depend upon the degree of popular support they enjoy.  Ideal aims, i n such a s i t u a t i o n ,  must be devised within the confines of p o l i t i c a l p r a c t i c a l i t y .  The  f i n a l type of government considered i n this study, the t r a n s i t i o n a l administration of the years 1955  to 1959, pursued an educational policy  which generally was responsive to popular pressures, and the s o c i a l implications of the policy are examined i n d e t a i l i n Chapter  V.  Since this study sets out to compare the p o l i c i e s of several governments, i t i s relevant to note that the circumstances within which these p o l i c i e s evolved were constantly changing.  Economic trends, pre-  v a i l i n g opinion, the composition of the population, the extent of the resources a v a i l a b l e , and international tensions varied f o r each of the periods considered, indeed almost the only constants were those a r i s i n g from geographic location and climate.  Accordingly, i t i s necessary to  adopt some objective c r i t e r i a for comparative  purposes.  Since 'policy'  i s determined by 'purpose,' i t i s clear that one of the standards by which p o l i c y must be measured i s that of how well i t achieved the objectives of the policy-makers.  A second yardstick i s suggested by the fact  that generally education i s acknowledged to have a profound e f f e c t upon the nature of society; and hence, the question of s o c i a l impact i s raised i n terms of whether the policy tended to be s o c i a l l y cohesive or divisive.  And t h i r d l y , since education i s of great significance to the  i n d i v i d u a l who  experiences i t , the s a t i s f a c t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l wants  9  suggests i t s e l f . ' wants' which  Here a d i f f i c u l t y  t o be determined?  e m e r g e s , f o r how a r e ' i n d i v i d u a l  I s e d u c a t i o n seen s o l e l y as a p r o c e s s by  t h e f u t u r e a d u l t may a c q u i r e t h e s k i l l s n e c e s s a r y t o e n a b l e h i m  to earn a l i v i n g ? received l i t t l e  I n t r a d i t i o n a l Southeast Asian s o c i e t i e s ,  t h e i n d i v i d u a l t h e means b y w h i c h h e m i g h t  gain  i n t o h i s s o c i e t y , a n d a t t h e same t i m e i t a f f o r d e d h i m t h e  s a t i s f a c t i o n o f h i s s p i r i t u a l needs.  The s k i l l s  necessary f o r h i s l i v e -  l i h o o d he g a i n e d a t h i s f a t h e r ' s knee, o r i n t h e f i e l d s , fishing."'"  aspect  i f any a t t e n t i o n ; e d u c a t i o n , u s u a l l y p r o v i d e d by t h e  religious order, offered acceptance  this  But i n the a r t i f i c i a l ,  of Singapore which  o r h u n t i n g and  s e c u l a r , and e s s e n t i a l l y  appear  t o be i r r e l e v a n t  to look to public  e d u c a t i o n f o r t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n of p r i v a t e s p i r i t u a l needs; c a n h a r d l y b e condemned f o r f a i l i n g  of acquiring acceptance crete identity. at a l l ,  in  the rigorously  and s i m i -  t o p r o v i d e t h e means  i n t o a s o c i e t y which had n o t y e t e v o l v e d a  What r e m a i n s ,  if  setting  l a c k s b o t h a n a t u r a l h i n t e r l a n d and an i n d i g e n o u s  t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t y , i t would  larly, policy  urban  dis-  t h e n , i s t h e s i m p l e m e a s u r e o f how w e l l ,  e d u c a t i o n a l p o l i c y enabled the y o u t h f u l p o p u l a t i o n t o survive  Having  competitive conditions of c i t y  t h u s somewhat a r b i t r a r i l y  life.  selected the c r i t e r i a ,  i t i s  n e c e s s a r y now t o s k e t c h t h e h i s t o r i c a l f r a m e w o r k , t o e s t a b l i s h t h e political,  social,  and economic c i r c u m s t a n c e s w i t h i n which e d u c a t i o n a l  p o l i c i e s w e r e d e t e r m i n e d , a n d t o i d e n t i f y some o f t h e p r o b l e m s t h o s e who a s p i r e d t o g o v e r n  Singapore.  facing  Chapter I  THE EMERGENCE OF A DIVIDED SOCIETY The circumstances of climate and location, although important, were not decisive factors i n determining the founding or s u r v i v a l of Singapore.  I t i s true that, located at the t i p of the Malay Peninsula,  the island with i t s sheltered harbour provided  i n the pre-steam era an  i d e a l terminus, a p i v o t a l point i n the functioning of the East-West sea-borne trade which depended upon the alternation of the p r e v a i l i n g winds of the North-East and South-West monsoons.  But a glimpse at the  history of the island w i l l reveal the extent to which the existence of a growing and vigorous  community on i t s southern shore has depended  upon the interests and intrigues of powerful states, rather than upon the more predictable consequences of geographical patterns of trade.  s i t u a t i o n or regional  The early h i s t o r y of the island remains obscure,  but the fact that Temasek—the s i t e of the future Singapore—was captured and occupied by the Cholas during their punitive expedition against the south-Sumatran based empire of S r i Vijaya, suggests that the place had gained some importance by the early eleventh century, that i t owed allegiance to S r i Vijaya. Temasek may  have recognised  and  After the decline of S r i Vijaya,  the suzerainty of the east-Javanese Hindu  kingdom of Majapahit, although this i s by no means certain..''' Just  who  i  the people of Temasek were, and whether their economy was based on commerce of piracy, or control of the sea-passage to the immediate south of the i s l a n d , are matters that are f a r from well established; the 10  11 extent of the ruins that were s t i l l to be seen at the time of the founding of modern Singapore i n 1819  indicates no more than that a settlement  of some kind had existed on the s i t e .  During the fourteenth century,  Temasek came under the control of Siam, a fact that was r e c t l y to i t s destruction and ultimate abandonment.  to lead i n d i -  According to a  Sumatran t r a d i t i o n which has gained wide acceptance, Parameswara, a Sailendra prince of Palembang who was  involved i n a dispute over the  succession to the r u l e of Majapahit, f l e d i n 1401 to Temasek, where he was given refuge by i t s r u l e r , a vassal of Siam. 2 his host and assumed control of the town.  Parameswara k i l l e d  A year or so l a t e r , the  Siamese, or perhaps one of their tributary states on the Malay peninsula, 3  sought vengeance and destroyed the settlement,  Parameswara escaping to  the north where l a t e r , i t i s claimed, he founded Malacca.  The  signifi4  cant fact i s that a f t e r i t s destruction, the s i t e of  'Singhapura'  remained v i r t u a l l y uninhabited for over four hundred years, notwithstanding i t s favourable location.  Other ports on the S t r a i t s of Malacca  were well able to provide the f a c i l i t i e s needed by merchants and seamen, and the re-emergence of Singapore had to wait u n t i l the c o n f l i c t of Dutch and English interests led to i t s chance selection by Thomas Stamford Raffles as a suitable s i t e for settlement. The a r r i v a l of Europeans i n the S t r a i t s of Malacca resulted i n some disruption of the pattern of Southeast Asian trade.  Largely due to  b i t t e r r e l i g i o u s antagonism, Muslim merchants preferred or were forced to deflect their a c t i v i t i e s from Roman Catholic Portuguese Malacca to alternative ports i n the area,^ a fact that led to the gradual decline  12 of Malacca as an emporium.  This decline continued when Malacca came  under Dutch administration, no longer f o r r e l i g i o u s reasons but rather because of the determination of the Dutch to exclude European r i v a l s from the l u c r a t i v e commerce of the region.  They sought to do this by  focussing trade on Java, and as part of this p o l i c y , Malacca came to be used primarily as a s t r a t e g i c base for c o n t r o l l i n g the S t r a i t s , rather than as a trading post.^  Despite the movement of trade away from  Malacca, the natural advantages of Singapore were i n s u f f i c i e n t l y compell i n g to lead to the establishment of a new entrep6t on the island and i t seems clear that, but f o r an accident of history involving the r i v a l r y of distant powers, no settlement of importance would have developed there.  The accident was b a s i c a l l y one of timing.  During the  Napoleonic wars, Malacca had been one of several Dutch possessions to pass into the hands of the B r i t i s h under the terms of an i n s t r u c t i o n issued by the exiled Dutch Stadtholder William V, i n 1795.  The B r i t i s h ,  who planned to develop the recently established settlement on Penang island into a naval base to control the S t r a i t s , and who  regarded  Malacca as an expensive l i a b i l i t y , ordered the demolition of the f o r g tress and the evacuation of i t s inhabitants to Penang.  Due to the  intervention of R a f f l e s , the plan to abandon Malacca was not carried into effect and, although the fortress had been destroyed, i t seems poss i b l e that Malacca would have recovered much of i t s former importance as an entrepot.  Partly because of. the u n s u i t a b i l i t y of Penang, and  p a r t l y due to the s h i f t i n g fortunes of war,  the B r i t i s h decided not to  proceed with their plan for the development of a naval base on that  13  island; and Malacca, under peace-time conditions and freed from Dutch imposed r e s t r i c t i v e trade practices, might have been expected to recover 9  a substantial share of the area's trade. to everyone that Malacca was  If i n 1818  i t had been clear  to remain under B r i t i s h control, there  would have existed l i t t l e incentive for the founding of modern Singapore. But i n that year, Malacca was who  returned to Dutch control and R a f f l e s ,  feared the re-establishment  of a Dutch monopoly of the trade of the  archipelago, set about convincing. Lord Hastings, the Governor-General i n Bengal, of the need to safeguard the route to China by concluding a treaty with the Sultan of Acheh at the northern entrance to the S t r a i t s , and by establishing a settlement to the south of the Malay p e n i n s u l a . ^ Several possible locations were considered and some v i s i t e d , but for one reason or another they were discarded u n t i l "either by accident or design," Raffles arrived at the island of Singapore.^  There was  thus  a considerable element of chance i n the s e l e c t i o n of a s i t e for the future settlement. If strategic considerations concerning the protection of the China trade ranked highest i n the minds of the Governor-General of Bengal and his advisers, there i s no doubt that a quite uncomplicated desire for p r o f i t accounted for the almost instant success of the venture.  new  No sooner had word of the settlement reached Malacca than a  migration began.  The demand i n Singapore was  c h i e f l y for food, which  could not be supplied l o c a l l y due to the absence of a s e t t l e d a g r i c u l t u r a l population; and i t appears that a considerable number of enterp r i s i n g Malacca c i t i z e n s set out to take advantage of the s i t u a t i o n ,  14 their boats laden with supplies. To achieve their purpose, they had to overcome two problems: the furious opposition of the Dutch who i a t e l y recognised Singapore as a threat to their i n t e r e s t s , and  immedwho  therefore sought to prevent any goods leaving for that destination; and the very r e a l hazards posed by the pirates operating along the coasts of the peninsula, and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the v i c i n i t y of the Kukup Strait.' Despite the d i f f i c u l t i e s , an increasing number of Malaccan residents succeeded i n reaching the i s l a n d , and these were followed by immigrants from many other parts of the peninsula and archipelago. Immediately p r i o r to the establishment of the settlement, the population of Singapore i s said to have consisted of about one hundred Malays who  together with a few families of Orang Laut  (Proto-Malays;  l i t e r a l l y : People of the Sea, or Sea gypsies) gained their l i v e l i h o o d from the sea.  In addition, a small number of Chinese were engaged i n  the c u l t i v a t i o n of pepper and gambier (a vegetable dye used i n tan13 ning).  I t appears l i k e l y that a community of Orang Laut had existed  on the shores of the island f o r a considerable period—perhaps since the time of ancient Temasek—for there are numerous accounts of acts of 14 piracy i n the adjacent waters.  The Malays led by their chief, the  Temenggong of Johore, had arrived there i n 1811,  and there does not  appear to be any information available concerning the date of a r r i v a l of the handful of Chinese.  The subsequent growth of population, mainly  by immigration, was phenomenal.  According to Raffles, within four  months, there were more than 5,000 people there, and by August 1820, estimated the population to be between 10,000 and 12,000."^  These  he  15  figures have been claimed to be exaggerated, and T. Braddell, writing i n 1861, asserted that the t o t a l population of Singapore i n 1821 was 5,874 of which 4,724 were Malays from various parts of the archipelago, 17 and the remainder Chinese.  When the f i r s t census was taken i n 1824,  the population numbered 10,683; and by. 1830 the figure stood at 16,634.''"  <  Of this l a t t e r figure, 6,555 were Chinese, 7,640 Malays, 1,913 Indians, 19 and 526 "other races."  With regard to the Malays, i t should be noted  that this heading included not only immigrants from the Peninsula but also those from a l l parts of the Archipelago, although most notably from Sumatra, Java, B a l i and Sulawesi.  In the following ten years, the popu-  l a t i o n more than doubled, the Chinese now c l e a r l y being i n the majority with 17,704, followed by the Malays with 13,200, the Indians numbering 3,375 and "other races" accounting f o r 1,110 of the t o t a l population of 20 35,389. Although numerous censuses were taken i n the early years of Singapore, none of the o r i g i n a l reports p r i o r to that of the census of 1871 has survived, and figures from secondary sources reveal inconsistencies.  Table I indicates the growth of the population of Singapore  i n the years 1871 to 1921. By the turn of the century, a f a i r l y stable pattern i n the ethnic composition of the population had begun to emerge; f o r some 72.2 per cent (or 164,041) were Chinese, 15.8 per cent (or 35,988) were 21 "Malays," and 7.8 per cent (or 17,047) were Indians.  In the following  twenty years, the percentage composition of the population changed l i t t l e ; for of the 425,912 persons enumerated i n 1921, 317,491 (74.5  16  Table I. POPULATION INCREASE IN SINGAPORE, 1871-1921 Year  Total Population  Percentage Increase  1871  97,111  1881  139,208  43.3  1891  178,253  28.0  1901  220,344  23.6  1911  311,985  41.6  1921  425,912  36.5  Source: J . E. Nathan, The Census of B r i t i s h Malaya, 1921 (London, 1922) . per cent) were Chinese, Malays (including Javanese, Bugis and other immigrants from the Archipelago) numbered 58,530 (or 11.4 per cent), and Indians, who numbered 32,456, accounted f o r 7.6 per cent of the 22 total.  Although the size of the population continued to increase  rapidly after 1921, the proportion of the t o t a l occupied by each of the 23 major ethnic groups did not r a d i c a l l y change. The f a c t s , so f a r as they can be established, concerning the peopling of Singapore are of more than passing i n t e r e s t , for when government came to be increasingly involved i n the provision of s o c i a l services, including education, policy was frequently influenced by the assumption that the Malays had been the o r i g i n a l inhabitants and that their p o s i t i o n should, i n some way, be preserved or protected. Whatever possible merit this view may have held f o r the rest of ' B r i t i s h Malaya,' i t was c l e a r l y i r r e l e v a n t i n the case of Singapore, where the growth of population up to the outbreak of the Second World War was due  17 p r i n c i p a l l y to the continuous inflow of non-Malay immigrants.  The o r i g -  i n a l inhabitants had been "few i n number,, and contributed r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e to this growth."  24  The unsophisticated early census figures and percentages tend i n the case of Singapore to conceal, the exceptionally heterogeneous  and  fragmented nature of the population. The heading 'Chinese' would have 25 included a s i g n i f i c a n t number of Malacca Babas settlement soon a f t e r i t s establishment.  who migrated to the  Having had lengthy experience  of European and Asian trading practices, and i n some cases having trading  contacts, wealth and a knowledge of English, several of these Baba 26  acquired positions of influence and power i n the commercial community. Less fortunate, i n the main, were the China-born Chinese, most of whom arrived with l i t t l e more than their i n d i v i d u a l s k i l l s , and the common hope of being able to earn s u f f i c i e n t to support their dependants, to return eventually to China.  and  Through a combination of industry,  a b i l i t y and luck, some of these succeeded i n gaining considerable wealth and s o c i a l status; but the overwhelming majority remained povertystricken, a quality they shared with most immigrants of the other major 27 ethnic groups.  Within this common bond of d e s t i t u t i o n , however,  there were many d i v i s i v e factors of which perhaps the most important was that of language.  Although Chinese immigrants came mainly from the  southeastern provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien, and a l l enjoyed a common variety single of d i a ldeicatlse cwhich clan heritage and v i l l aof g e -c ou fl -t ou rr ia gl i values, n l o y a l t ithey e s . spoke The a largest t tended to fragment the community, the fragmentation being reinforced by 28  18  group was that of the Hokkiens from Amoy and i t s hinterland i n southern Fukien, followed by the Hakkas or Khehs of northern Kwangtung.  In addi-  t i o n there were substantial numbers of Cantonese from southern Kwangtung, Teochews from the Swatow area of eastern Kwangtung, Hailams from Hainan i s l a n d , Kwongsais from central Kwangsi, Hokchius from the Foochow region of Fukien and the Hokchias from coastal mid-Fukien.  Of the  Indian immigrants, although the majority arrived from south India and were Tamil-speakers, there were i n addition substantial numbers of Malayalis, Punjabis and Bengalis.  As well as l i n g u i s t i c differences,  Indian immigrants were further divided along r e l i g i o u s l i n e s , the majority being Hindus, the second largest group being Muslims, followed by r e l a t i v e l y small numbers of C h r i s t i a n s i Sikhs, and Parsees 29 (Zoroastrians).  Although Indian Muslims shared t h e i r f a i t h with  Malays, they appear generally to have wished to r e t a i n a number of Indianised aspects of Islam, most of them adhering to the Hanafi sect, while the Malays generally belonged to the d o c t r i n a l l y more orthodox 30 S h a f i ' i sect. The reason f o r the rapid and sustained growth of population by immigration seem to have arisen from a combination of f a c t o r s .  Although  emigration from China was subject to a government ban p r i o r to 1860, i t appears that the ban was only s t r i c t l y enforced i n the case of females. Owing to the increase of population which f a r outstripped the rate at which new land had been brought under c u l t i v a t i o n i n China during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the heavy burden of taxation, there existed p o s i t i v e reasons f o r Chinese to seek their l i v e l i h o o d  19  abroad.  31  No doubt disturbed conditions which persisted f o r much of  the nineteenth century i n China, but p a r t i c u l a r l y the carnage associated with the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64), created an atmosphere of panic and fear that would have been s u f f i c i e n t to overcome the obligations of f i l i a l devotion i m p l i c i t i n ancestor worship that served as a disincent i v e to migration i n more s e t t l e d times.  These factors, coupled with  the r e l a t i v e proximity of Malaya, the glowing accounts of the riches of the country and of the opportunities f o r those who were enterprising, and the blandishments  of r e c r u i t i n g agents would have been enough to 32  generate the growing stream of hopeful migrants. The business opportunities of the new settlement would have been self-evident to Chinese merchants, and petty traders, but f a r more of the e a r l i e s t Chinese immigrants were a g r i c u l t u r i s t s and artisans  who  sought t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d on the clove, nutmeg or sugar estates, by the 33 c u l t i v a t i o n of pepper and gambier, or by vegetable gardening. The clove, nutmeg and sugar estates owned by Europeans or Chinese were 34 early f a i l u r e s ,  and the gambier and pepper plantations rapidly 35  exhausted the s o i l and depleted much of the forest cover of the i s l a n d . Farmers and labourers either moved to the mainland i n search of v i r g i n s o i l , transferred to market gardening, or d r i f t e d into new 36 i n the rapidly growing settlement.  occupations  In the meantime, since by f a r the  largest number of immigrants came from China, not s u r p r i s i n g l y Chinese were to be found in every urban occupation other than those reserved 37 :  exclusively for Europeans.  Because of the e f f e c t i v e p r o h i b i t i o n of  female emigration p r i o r to 1860, and the poverty of the overwhelming  20 majority of male migrants who  could not afford the passage-money for  their f a m i l i e s , and the fact that i n any case they did not intend to 38 s e t t l e i n Singapore,  the Chinese community was  throughout the nineteenth  century.  In 1860,  predominantly male  there were 14,407 males  per thousand females, but i n the following years, with the relaxation of the ban i n China, and cheaper t r a v e l f a c i l i t i e s , the proportion of female immigrants increased so that by 1901,  the figures were:  3,871  males per thousand females, and the imbalance had v i r t u a l l y disappeared 39 by  1957. Indian immigration into Singapore, i n the early years of i t s  existence, was  l i t t l e more than a t r i c k l e .  In addition to a small  number of merchants, some of whom were already wealthy, labourers began to a r r i v e seeking employment i n the harbour work force and on the 40 fated sugar and nutmeg estates. convict settlement  Up to 1860,  Singapore was  ill-  used as a  by the Indian government, and the convicts, from  v i r t u a l l y a l l parts of India under B r i t i s h r u l e , being too poor to return to their homes remained to seek work as free labourers on the 41 expiry of their sentences.  In view of the long association of Indians  with the East India Company, i t was natural to f i n d a preponderance of English-speaking  Indians, mostly from the Bengal and Madras presidencies,  occupying c l e r i c a l positions i n the government administration and i n the large trading concerns.  As the demand for a variety of services  increased, more Indians arrived.  Early a r r i v a l s included South Indian  Chettiar and Muslim Tamil traders, f i n a n c i e r s , money-changers, small shopkeepers and boatmen.  These were followed by Sindhi, Gujerati and  21 Sikh c l o t h merchants;  and p o r t and h a r b o u r d e v e l o p m e n t s ,  the  construc-  t i o n o f r o a d s and l a t e r t h a t o f t h e r a i l w a y l e d t o t h e a r r i v a l o f T a m i l , T e l u g u and M a l a y a l i w o r k e r s . particularly the  42  T a m i l s f r o m G e y l o n found employment  i n t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and m a i n t e n a n c e  work connected  r a i l w a y f r o m t h e e a r l y y e a r s o f t h e p r e s e n t c e n t u r y , and  with  Punjabis—  43 Sikhs, Muslims  and H i n d u s — w e r e  i n demand a s r a i l w a y p o l i c e .  Like  t h e i r Chinese counterparts, Indians regarded t h e i r stay i n Singapore a s a means t o e a r n s u f f i c i e n t t o make r e g u l a r r e m i t t a n c e s t o t h e i r tives  i n I n d i a , and a s a n e n f o r c e d e x i l e  t o be ended as soon as  had saved enough t o r e t u r n t o t h e i r n a t i v e l a n d . like  t h e C h i n e s e , t h e I n d i a n p o p u l a t i o n was  and p r e d o m i n a n t l y male.  But because  The  I n d i a was  they  r e s u l t was  f o r a long time n e a r e r and  rela-  that,  transitory,  deck-passage  f a r e s c h e a p e r , more I n d i a n s s u c c e e d e d i n r e t u r n i n g t o I n d i a , e i t h e r f o r a v i s i t o r p e r m a n e n t l y , and i n t i m e , I n d i a n s i n i n c r e a s i n g numbers  44 a r r a n g e d f o r t h e i r w i v e s and  c h i l d r e n t o t r a v e l out to j o i n  them.  The p r a c t i c e o f b o t h C h i n e s e and I n d i a n i m m i g r a n t s o f s e n d i n g r e g u l a r remittances to their relatives  a n d , i n t h e c a s e o f t h o s e who  were  n a t e e n o u g h t o amass s u f f i c i e n t w e a l t h , o f u l t i m a t e l y r e t u r n i n g t h e i r h o m e l a n d s w i t h t h e i r f o r t u n e s , was  fortu-  to  a source of g r i e v a n c e t o the  a d m i n i s t r a t i o n which r e g r e t t e d the d r a i n from the country of  potential  45 investment c a p i t a l .  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , no s i m i l a r  have been v o i c e d i n r e s p e c t of Europeans Very l i t t l e  who  o b j e c t i o n appears  to  f o l l o w e d t h e same p r a c t i c e .  i s known a b o u t t h e movement o f M a l a y s  Records of Javanese indentured labourers a r r i v i n g  to Singapore.  i n Singapore are  a v a i l a b l e f r o m t h e 1890's o n , b u t s i n c e m o s t o f t h e s e w o u l d h a v e b e e n  22  destined  46  f o r e s t a t e work on t h e M a l a y p e n i n s u l a ,  l i t t l e help  to this  study.  the records  areof  No r e s t r i c t i o n was p l a c e d u p o n M a l a y  immi-  g r a t i o n , r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e i r p l a c e o f o r i g i n , and perhaps because o f the s h o r t e r d i s t a n c e s  i n v o l v e d and t h e r e l a t i v e ease o f t r a v e l ,  complete  f a m i l i e s a r r i v e d and hence t h e M a l a y community d i d n o t e x h i b i t t h e e a r l y imbalance of sexes that c h a r a c t e r i s e d t h e other groups.^  two m a j o r  ethnic  U n t i l . t h e 1930's, i t a p p e a r e d t o b e much t h e m o s t s e t t l e d o f  the three communities, a p o i n t that i s i l l u s t r a t e d by t h e f a c t t h a t i n 1931,  73.4 p e r c e n t  o f t h e M a l a y community h a d been b o r n i n S i n g a p o r e  o r e l s e w h e r e i n ' B r i t i s h M a l a y a , ' c o m p a r e d w i t h 36 p e r c e n t  of the  48 C h i n e s e a n d o n l y 18 p e r c e n t  of the Indians.  p o r t i o n o f t h e M a l a y community t h a n o f t h e o t h e r  Although a l a r g e r two m a j o r  ethnic  groups r e s i d e d i n r u r a l p a r t s o f t h e i s l a n d , i t i s important that a m a j o r i t y of the Malays l i v e d w i t h i n the urban area. the  t o t a l M a l a y community ( i n c l u d i n g J a v a n e s e , B a n j a r e s e ,  other  immigrants from the archipelago)  pro-  t o note I n 1921, o f  Bugis and  o f 58,520 no f e w e r t h a n 34,604  49 o r 59.1 p e r c e n t w e r e l i s t e d 1947,  as part o f t h e urban p o p u l a t i o n .  t h e M a l a y component o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n h a d i n c r e a s e d  w h i c h 72,901 o r 63.1 p e r c e n t w e r e l i s t e d pality of S i n g a p o r e . T h e  By  t o 115,735 o f  as r e s i d i n g w i t h i n t h e M u n i c i -  point here i s t h a t , u n l i k e Malays  living  elsewhere i n B r i t i s h Malaya, the m a j o r i t y o f t h e Malays of Singapore i s l a n d have l o n g been urban d w e l l e r s .  S i m i l a r l y , b y 1931, more  S i n g a p o r e Malays were engaged i n such modern, c i t y - b a s e d o c c u p a t i o n s  as  those a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t r a n s p o r t and communications than i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l p u r s u i t s o f a g r i c u l t u r e and f i s h i n g . " ^  23 In order to reveal the s o c i a l implications of the  foregoing  b r i e f catalogue of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the three major immigrant groups i t i s relevant to consider the degree to which Singapore conforms to the model of a 'plural society' as defined by J . S. F u r n i v a l l .  In  F u r n i v a l l ' s words, such a society consisted of a "medley of peoples" which  mix but do not combine. . . . Each group holds by i t s own r e l i g i o n , i t s own culture and language, i t s own ideas and ways. As i n d i viduals they,meet, but only i n the market-place, i n buying and s e l l i n g . There i s a p l u r a l society, with d i f f e r e n t sections of the community l i v i n g side by side, but separately, within the same p o l i t i c a l u n i t . Even i n the economic sphere there i s a d i v i s i o n of labour along r a c i a l lines . . . There i s , as i t were, a caste system, but without the r e l i g i o u s basis that incorporates caste i n s o c i a l l i f e i n India.52  Singapore's population c e r t a i n l y became a 'medley of peoples,' and 53 R a f f l e s ' instructions for the segregation of ethnic groups  tended to  p e r s i s t and be reinforced by the desire of the newly landed immigrant to l i v e i n association with others of his own kind.  The d i v e r s i t y of  languages, customs and r e l i g i o n s seems to t e s t i f y to the existence of a p l u r a l society i n Singapore. cribe the society, and may,  And yet the model does not e n t i r e l y desi n some respects, be misleading.  Furnivall's  p l u r a l society suggests one i n which each constituent group retains i t s t r a d i t i o n a l "ideas and ways," more or less insulated from those of other groups.  But this overlooks  the impact of an important factor common to  each e t h n o - l i n g u i s t i c group: that of urbanisation.  For the most part,  the immigrants came from t r a d i t i o n a l , r u r a l s o c i e t i e s , and they imported with them their sophisticated c u l t u r a l systems which included not only  24  l a n g u a g e , r e l i g i o n and a t t i r e , b u t a l s o l e s s t a n g i b l e b u t v e r y  real  customary  suscep-  tible  values.  Languages and r e l i g i o n s  t o change a t a r e l a t i v e l y  appear  t o have been  slow r a t e , but i n the e x o t i c ,  s e t t i n g o f t h e new s e t t l e m e n t , v a l u e s u n d e r w e n t a r a p i d The  urban  metamorphosis.  c l e a r e s t e x p r e s s i o n o f t h i s c h a n g e was t o b e f o u n d i n t h e s o c i a l  order which  emerged t o r e p l a c e t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e s .  Confucian China, i d e a l l y tige,  the s c h o l a r - o f f i c i a l s enjoyed  In  the highest pres-  t o be f o l l o w e d i n descending o r d e r by t h e f a r m e r s , a r t i s a n s and  merchants.  In reality,  w i t h a degree  the a c q u i s i t i o n of w e a l t h provided merchants  of s o c i a l m o b i l i t y which, at least  s i n c e t h e Sung  (960-1275), e n a b l e d t h e m o r e s u c c e s s f u l o f t h e m t o d i s p l a c e from second  dynasty  farmers  place i n the t r a d i t i o n a l h i e r a r c h y , farmers i n p r a c t i c e  54 being relegated t o the lowest s o c i a l status. m e r c i a l environment  In the intensely  o f S i n g a p o r e , m e r c h a n t s came t o w i e l d  com-  the greatest  p o w e r a n d i n f l u e n c e , a n d h e n c e t o e n j o y t h e h i g h e s t p r e s t i g e among t h e Chinese.  The g e n t r y - l i t e r a t i o f C h i n a who, a c c o r d i n g t o J o s e p h  achieved t h e i r  g r e a t e s t s t a t u r e as e s s e n t i a l l y amateur  d u r i n g t h e Ming dynasty  (1368-1644),"^ d i d n o t e x i s t  although i t has been argued was,  Levenson,  administrators  i n Singapore,  that t h e i r r o l e i n the Chinese h i e r a r c h y  t o some e x t e n t , f i l l e d b y B r i t i s h g o v e r n m e n t  officials.Farmers,  s t r u g g l i n g f o r a s c a n t s u r v i v a l i n r u r a l S i n g a p o r e , were o f p e r i p h e r a l importance  i n t h e s c a l e o f p r e s t i g e , and t h e s t a t u s o f a r t i s a n s ,  v e n d o r s , a n d m a n u a l l a b o u r e r s was m e a s u r e d i n t e r m s sions.  There  of material  streetposses-  t h u s e m e r g e d two e s s e n t i a l l y e c o n o m i c c l a s s e s w i t h i n t h e  C h i n e s e c o m m u n i t y — m e r c h a n t s a n d w o r k e r s — w i t h money a s t h e s i n g l e cator of success.  indi-  25  A somewhat a n a l a g o u s c h a n g e o c c u r r e d the  immigrant Indian  migrants, caste tended t o f a l l tinued  community.  Within  i n the scale of values  the Hindu m a j o r i t y  Indian  a s s o c i a t i o n s were p o p u l a r i n t h e e a r l y y e a r s , into d i s u s e . A l t h o u g h  caste  or j a t i  to play a,significant r o l e — p a r t i c u l a r l y  r i t e s de p a s s a g e s — t h e p r e s s u r e s educational  of  facilities  offered opportunities  but these  loyalties  i n connection  of secular urban l i f e  of  con-  with the  coupled with  new  f o r i n d i v i d u a l (as  opposed t o group) s o c i a l m o b i l i t y w h i c h I n d i a n s  seized without h e s i t a -  58 tion.  This  r e s u l t e d i n class d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n along  economic  w h i c h i n t u r n made p o s s i b l e t h e r e c o g n i t i o n o f i n t e r e s t s h e l d with  others  origins.  of these  tended t o b l u r t h e ' v e r t i c a l ' of a l i n g u a franca  Furnivall's plural At  the  three  ' h o r i z o n t a l ' economic d i v i s i o n s  d i v i s i o n s between t h e c o m m u n i t i e s , and t h e i n t h e form o f Pasar Melayu, a debased  v e r s i o n of Malay, f u r t h e r modified by  i n common  o f t h e same e c o n o m i c c l a s s b u t o f d i f f e r e n t e t h n o - l i n g u i s t i c  The s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n  existence  lines  the over-simple structure  suggested  society.  the time of the founding of Singapore, the Malays alone of principal ethnic  communities had t h e framework o f a  tional social organisation. Johore, had been w i l l i n g  Their  local leader,  to permit the B r i t i s h  ment o n t h e i s l a n d , b u t R a f f l e s c o n s i d e r e d  tradi-  t h e D a t o Temenggong o f  to establish a  that i n order  settle-  to secure f o r  t h e Company a n i n d e f e a s i b l e c l a i m , i t was n e c e s s a r y t o h a v e t h e a g r e e ment r a t i f i e d b y t h e S u l t a n o f J o h o r e w i t h i n w h o s e d o m a i n t h e i s l a n d lay.  T h e r e were••, a t t h e t i m e ,  b o t h sons o f t h e former r u l e r .  two c l a i m a n t s  t o the o f f i c e of Sultan,  Away f r o m t h e c a p i t a l a t t h e t i m e o f  26  h i s father's death, the had  elder  son  been persuaded to accept the  nised  and  entered  s e i z e d the  to i n v i t e the  Sultan  returned  throne,  i n t o agreements w i t h  opportunity  " i n s t a l l e d " as  had  o f J o h o r e , and  and  the  to f i n d  that  de  that h i s  t h e D u t c h had  facto ruler.  e l d e r son  recog-  Raffles  to Singapore to  thereafter obtained  brother  his  be  signature  59 t o the agreement f o r the  establishment  A l t h o u g h i t seems l i k e l y  that the  c l a i m to the  f a c t t h a t he  throne,  the  of  ' f a c t o r i e s ' on  e l d e r son, had  Hussein, held  the  t h a t he  had  not  the  b e e n i n s t a l l e d by  t h a t h i s p o s i t i o n depended s o l e l y upon t h e power of Company, and  the i s l a n d .  been i n possession  t i m e o f h i s i n s t a l l a t i o n , m e a n t t h a t few  of  Raffles,  the East the  better  India  r o y a l r e g a l i a at  Malays recognised  him  as  60 Sultan.  The  British,  and  Sultan  undermined the p r e s t i g e of b o t h i n the  who  were l e f t  i n no  i n t h e i r subsequent treatment of  d o u b t t h a t p o w e r now  B r i t i s h administrators.^"'" ingly  to l i v e w i t h i n the  to l i v e i n small v i l l a g e s i n the  work.  The  deprived  eyes of the  l a y i n the hands of  o r b i t of urban l i f e .  Malays, secular,  C e r t a i n l y many  i n r u r a l or c o a s t a l areas, r e s t i n g on  stilts,  but  continued  t h e i r houses  others  sought  found i t convenient or unavoidable to l i v e near  limited opportunities  Malays of  one  of t h e i r  highly industrious activities  f o r a g r i c u l t u r e e x i s t i n g on t r a d i t i o n a l p u r s u i t s ; and  of o t h e r  t h e i r community becoming e c o n o m i c a l l y a livelihood  deprived,  others  i n n o n - t r a d i t i o n a l occupations.  built urban  their  the i s l a n d  although  immigrants tended to  Malays from a l t e r n a t i v e occupations r e s u l t i n g i n a high  gaining  Temenggong  F u r t h e r m o r e , M a l a y s i n S i n g a p o r e came i n c r e a s -  c u s t o m a r y m a n n e r and  e m p l o y m e n t , and  the  the  exclude  proportion succeeded  The  general  of  in pattern  27  of  o c c u p a t i o n s among t h e M a l a y c o m m u n i t y a n d t h e e x t e n t o f t h e i r  ment i n n o n - c u s t o m a r y e m p l o y m e n t i s i n d i c a t e d b y t h e f o l l o w i n g compiled  f r o m t h e 1931 c e n s u s  r e p o r t ( f i g u r e s f o rChinese  have been i n c l u d e d f o r comparative  involve-  table  and I n d i a n s  purposes):  Table I I PATTERN OF EMPLOYMENT AMONG CHINESE, INDIANS AND MALAYS I N 1931  Occupation  Malays and Immigrant Malaysians  Chinese  Indians  21,470  1,814  7,104  36,707  2,912  2,161  Mining, Quarrying & t r e a t ment o f M i n e & q u a r r y products  1,921  58  41  Transport & Communications  30,922  5,971  7,320  Commerce & F i n a n c e  47,820  6,558  1,650  Agriculture & Fishing P r e p a r a t i o n , Supply & work i n m a t e r i a l substances e l e c t r i c i t y supply  &  Public Administration & Defence  .. -, 0  P r o f e s s i o n a l Occupations Personal Service Other  0  c  o  o  4,965  630  554  25,080  3,137  1,140  & Indeterminate, i n -  e l u d i n g C l e r k s , Warehousemen, R e t i r e d o r n o t g a i n f u l l y employed  2  50,089*  i n c l u d e s 57,744 l i s t e d Source:  Although  46,473  s e p a r a t e l y a s 'No g a i n f u l o c c u p a t i o n . '  C. A. V l i e l a n d , B r i t i s h M a l a y a : C e n s u s . . ., p p . 262-76.  i t i s evident t h a t Malays  than other communities  29,236  A Report  fared less well,  o n t h e 1931  proportionately,  i n s e v e r a l t y p e s o f employment,  particularly  28  those associated with 'Commerce and Finance,' i t remains a fact that substantial numbers of them gained employment i n each of the major types of occupation  i n the i s l a n d , and hence assertions of occupational spec-  i a l i s a t i o n along ethnic l i n e s cannot be accepted without  considerable  62 qualification. Defence, by 1931  Except i n the f i e l d of Public Administration  and  (and f o r decades before), .the Chinese predominated i n  each of the occupational categories, and i t becomes apparent that F u r n i v a l l ' s model of a p l u r a l society i n which there i s "a d i v i s i o n of labour along r a c i a l l i n e s , " useful as i t may  be for 'Malayan' conditions  as a whole, does not adequately describe s o c i a l conditions i n Singapore. Turning to the question of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n of the i s l a n d , i t i s relevant to note that for most of the period of B r i t i s h r u l e , Singapore was  administered  as part of a larger e n t i t y .  f i r s t Resident, Colonel Farquhar, the settlement was  subject to the  general supervision of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen. the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824,  Under i t s  Following  which defined the spheres of influence  of the two European powers, Bencoolen passed out of the control of the B r i t i s h , and Singapore came under the administration of the of Bengal. new  Presidency  In the same year, the Sultan and Temenggong entered into a  treaty with the B r i t i s h under which the entire i s l a n d of Singapore,  together with the immediate off-shore islands, were, ceded i n perpetuity to the East India Company. settlements Presidency  In 1826,  a j o i n t administration for the  of Penang, Malacca and Singapore was  established as a fourth  of India, with government headquarters located at Penang.  The p o l i c y of freedom from taxation on trade, introduced by Raffles i n  29  respect of Singapore and l a t e r extended to the other settlements, and the f a i l u r e of land and agriculture to y i e l d an adequate revenue, r e sulted i n a somewhat anomalous s i t u a t i o n i n which the settlements, whilst prospering, represented a constant drain on the resources of the 63 government of India.  As a r e s u l t , s t r i c t economy, frequently border-  ing on parsimony, became a major determinant  of p o l i c y .  In 1830,  the  Presidency was abolished and the settlements were brought under the control of the Bengal presidency, to be administered by a Resident situated i n i t i a l l y at Penang, with Assistant-Residents i n Malacca Singapore.  Later, i n 1832,  and  owing to the outstanding commercial success  of Singapore, the administrative headquarters were moved to that i s l a n d . For reasons connected with the functioning of the Judiciary, the Resident became known as the Governor, and the Assistant-Residents i n Penang and Malacca were accorded the designation of Resident Councillors; but the r e a l i t y of power lay in, India.  Following the a b o l i t i o n i n 1833  of the East India Company's monopoly of the China trade, o f f i c i a l interest i n the Settlements seems to have been limited to the question 64 of reducing the cost of administration.  This was r e f l e c t e d i n the  reduction of the form and function of government to the minimum necessary for the maintenance of law and order, and the c o l l e c t i o n of excise revenue, licences and property taxes.  Even i n the matter of law and  order, the administration was w i l l i n g largely to surrender responsib i l i t y to the immigrant community., a f a c t that i s revealed by the enormous power and influence wielded by the secret societies from the middle of the nineteenth century on. no Chinese-speaking  U n t i l 1867,  there were v i r t u a l l y  European o f f i c i a l s employed i n Singapore.  30  In tile  1867,  a f t e r a p e r i o d of a g i t a t i o n by the S i n g a p o r e mercan-  c o m m u n i t y , b o t h C h i n e s e and E u r o p e a n ,  t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n was  trans  f e r r e d f r o m t h e I n d i a O f f i c e t o t h e C o l o n i a l O f f i c e , and t h e S e t t l e m e n t became a C r o w n C o l o n y w i t h a n e x e c u t i v e c o u n c i l c o n s i s t i n g o f officials,  and a l e g i s l a t i v e c o u n c i l made up o f o f f i c i a l s  ' U n o f f i c i a l s ' a p p o i n t e d by t h e Governor.  Although the  senior  and  Legislative  C o u n c i l m e e t i n g s w e r e o p e n t o t h e p u b l i c and t h e p r o c e e d i n g s  freely  r e p o r t e d i n t h e p r e s s , t h e o f f i c i a l members, r e q u i r e d t o s u p p o r t ment p o l i c y ,  c o u l d a l w a y s o u t v o t e t h e u n o f f i c i a l members.  h o w e v e r , t h e G o v e r n o r was  In practice,  i n s t r u c t e d to d e f e r to the views of the Unof-  f i c i a l s w h e n e v e r t h e i r o p p o s i t i o n t o a p r o p o s e d m e a s u r e was T h i s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l arrangement until  govern  continued, w i t h minor  t h e o u t b r e a k o f t h e P a c i f i c War  in  unanimous.  amendments,  1941.  D u r i n g the e a r l i e r p a r t of the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , the merchant of the  the S t r a i t s  S e t t l e m e n t s had d e v e l o p e d e x t e n s i v e c o n n e c t i o n s w i t h  s t a t e s on t h e w e s t e r n s e a b o a r d o f t h e M a l a y  e x t r a c t i o n of t i n had  p e n i n s u l a , where the  gained considerable importance.  F r o m t h e 1870's  o n , t h e s e l a r g e l y e c o n o m i c c o n t a c t s h a d b e e n much s t r e n g t h e n e d e x t e n d e d by t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f p o l i t i c a l appointed to a d v i s e Malay n e c t e d w i t h r e l i g i o n and  ties  and  i n the form of Resident  r u l e r s on a l l m a t t e r s o t h e r t h a n t h o s e custom.  I n 1896,  t h e s t a t e s o f Perak,-  S e l a n g o r , N e g r i S e m b i l a n and P a h a n g u n i t e d t o f o r m t h e F e d e r a t e d S t a t e s w i t h a c e n t r a l , c o - o r d i n a t i n g s e c r e t a r i a t , a n d i n 1909, the  terms  Trengganu,  of an agreement w i t h Siam, s u z e r a i n t y over the s t a t e s K e l a n t a n , K e d a h a n d P e r i l s was  con-  t r a n s f e r r e d to Great  Malay  under of Britain.  31  T h e s e s t a t e s , t o g e t h e r w i t h J o h o r e , came t o b e k n o w n c o l l e c t i v e l y the  Unfederated Malay  the  C o l o n i a l O f f i c e i n London,, a u t h o r i t y o v e r a l l t h e M a l a y  States and, s u b j e c t . t o the u l t i m a t e c o n t r o l o f  v e s t e d f o r p r a c t i c a l purposes i n t h e High Commissioner same t i m e G o v e r n o r senior o f f i c i a l s  of the S t r a i t s  of the S t r a i t s  Settlements.  states  In addition, other  Settlements administration  performed S t a t e s , and  t h u s t h e r e was c r e a t e d a s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h , i n t h e i n t e r e s t s o f istrative efficiency, policies  tended towards  was  who was a t t h e  analogous d u t i e s i n t h e government o f t h e F e d e r a t e d Malay  This b r i e f  as  admin-  uniformity.^  o u t l i n e of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n of Singapore  h a s t o u c h e d o n two f a c t o r s w h i c h , i n d i f f e r e n t w a y s a n d a t d i f f e r e n t times, s i g n i f i c a n t l y affected the  island.  The f i r s t — t h e  the formulation of educational p o l i c y i n  need  f o r extreme  economy—reinforced the  l a i s s e z - f a i r e p h i l o s o p h y o f government w h i c h argued t h a t e d u c a t i o n s h o u l d be l e f t  to the care of e n t e r p r i s i n g i n d i v i d u a l s or p r i v a t e  isations assisted that prevailed  organ-  from time t o time w i t h grants from revenue, a view  f o r much o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y ; a n d t h e s e c o n d — t h e  c o n c e r n o f t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n f o r B r i t i s h M a l a y a as a w h o l e ,  rather  than f o r t h e s p e c i a l needs of S i n g a p o r e — r e s u l t e d i n p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the  supposed needs o f M a l a y s i n a r u r a l s e t t i n g , and an i n a d e q u a t e p r o -  v i s i o n of f a c i l i t i e s the  f o r a cosmopolitan, urban s o c i e t y .  Shortly  after  f o u n d i n g o f t h e s e t t l e m e n t , R a f f l e s o u t l i n e d p l a n s and c r e a t e d  fund f o r the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of an ambitious e d u c a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n was t o i n c l u d e f a c i l i t i e s  a which  f o r t h e s t u d y o f C h i n e s e , Siamese, Malay and  o t h e r l o c a l languages as w e l l as Western  s u b j e c t s , a n d i t seems  clear  32  that the most compelling reason for the f a i l u r e of h i s venture was that i t did not accord with the p r e v a i l i n g opinion of the times.  Those whose  unstinting support was necessary for the I n s t i t u t i o n to succeed  simply  were not convinced that revenue should be used for the purposes enumer67 ated by R a f f l e s .  John Crawfurd, who became Resident upon the depar-  ture of Raffles from Singapore i n 1823, noted some three years l a t e r that: The sum . . . subscribed [for the founding of the I n s t i t u t i o n ] has been long ago expended i n Buildings which are s t i l l unfinished and a Printing Establishment, and on certain Salaries and as no new subscriptions have been obtained, there remains [ s i c ] no funds available for the purpose of education which i s of course at a stand. After near three years experience of Singapore I do not h e s i tate to consider that the Singapore I n s t i t u t i o n for the present at least i s upon far too extensive a scale, and that the pecuniary means . . . are inadequate to the objects contemplated i n i t s f o r mation. . . .68  Having thus disposed of R a f f l e s ' somewhat visionary plans, Crawfurd went on to indicate what, i n h i s view, should be the educational policy for the settlement.  He argued:  I am c l e a r l y of opinion that [the promotion of education] w i l l be most successfully pursued by confining our endeavours i n the f i r s t place to such i n s t r u c t i o n as i s purely elementary since the present inhabitants of Singapore are utter strangers to European Education. . . . The most numerous and important classes of the Inhabitants of our Eastern Settlements consist of Malays and Chinese. I would propose, therefore, that Instruction i n the f i r s t instance should be confined to reading and w r i t i n g i n those languages, and perhaps also i n Arabic; but above a l l to reading, w r i t i n g and arithmetic i n English. Instruction i n the A s i a t i c Languages . . . w i l l be c h i e f l y b e n e f i c i a l as the means of reconciling the Natives to European education and insuring them to regular habits of subordination and study.69  Despite these more modest aims, the Indian government showed l i t t l e  33  enthusiasm f o r disbursing funds to support schools. Government involvement i n education i n the island followed somewhat t a r d i l y the pattern set i n Penang.  In the l a t t e r settlement, a  "Free School" was.founded as a r e s u l t of the e f f o r t s of the Chaplain of the Settlement, the Rev. R. S. Hutchings.  Hutchings, with the a s s i s -  tance of a number of leading residentsj formed a committee i n 1816 to s o l i c i t support f o r the proposed school, the purposes of which combined moral and humanitarian considerations with the more p r a c t i c a l aims of implanting "early habits of industry, order and good conduct" i n the pupils who might also be instructed " i n useful employment as carpenters, smiths, shoemakers, t a i l o r s , book-binders, e t c . " ^  The public sub-  scribed $5,960 to which the government added $1,500 together with the promise of a monthly subscription of $200, which they considered to be "most l i b e r a l patronage and s u p p o r t . " ^  The Singapore Free School,  which came into existence i n 1834 thanks to the endeavours of the Rev. F. J . Darrah, Chaplain of Singapore, received apparently even less o f f i c i a l support, the Government merely allowing the temporary use of 72 an old house for the school.  And indeed, throughout the nineteenth  century, education i n Singapore depended almost e n t i r e l y on the e f f o r t s of private individuals and groups of residents, and various missionary 73 bodies, with minimal support from Government. The lack of government interest i n education resulted i n the growth of a school system which tended to perpetuate ethno-linguistic differences and indeed to add to the complex composition of society by creating a new group which, increasingly detached from i t s c u l t u r a l  34  h e r i t a g e , g a i n e d c o m p e t e n c e i n a new  language  i n o r d e r t o meet t h e  demands o f t h e m e r c h a n t c o m m u n i t y f o r E n g l i s h - s p e a k i n g c l e r k s . linguistic  competence i n E n g l i s h , a l t h o u g h o f g r e a t a s s i s t a n c e i n the  s e a r c h f o r e m p l o y m e n t , was  a p o o r s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h e e m o t i o n a l and  p s y c h o l o g i c a l s a t i s f a c t i o n s a f f o r d e d by development cultural milieu.  T h o s e who  within a  familiar  operated the E n g l i s h s c h o o l s of the  e i t h e r d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h e i r f u n c t i o n t o be  t a t e s of economic from t h e i r  n e c e s s i t y , w h i c h removed t h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e i r  absence  of a c l e a r l y d e f i n e d government p o l i c y  m i t t e d t h e emergence o f an E n g l i s h - s p e a k i n g group w h i c h , f a v o u r e d i n a m a t e r i a l s e n s e , was  deprived culturally  w i t h the o t h e r communities  island.  As e a r l y a s 1829, to  appear,  f o r by  a Cantonese  of the  pupils  little thus p e r -  generally  and  ill-at-ease  of p a r e n t s had  begun  produced  s c h o o l ( a t Kampong Glam) w i t h t w e l v e s t u d e n t s , a n o t h e r ( i n  P e k i n S t r e e t ) w i t h e i g h t boys; nearby a Hokkien s c h o o l had b o y s , and  dic-  the p a t t e r n of s c h o o l s i n S i n g a p o r e had  that year the unaided e f f o r t s  full  the  c a r e as soon as t h e y w e r e a b l e t o r e a d and w r i t e a The  day  that of i m p a r t i n g the  r i c h e s o f E n g l i s h c u l t u r e , o r were p r e v e n t e d f r o m d o i n g so by  English.  But  twenty-two  f o r t y - e i g h t b o y s w e r e e n r o l l e d a t an E n g l i s h - m e d i u m  school.  74 F e e s w e r e c h a r g e d , r a n g i n g f r o m $4  t o $15  p e r month.  Subsequently,  n u m e r o u s s m a l l s c h o o l s a p p e a r e d , many o f w h i c h e n j o y e d no m o r e t h a n a brief  e x i s t e n c e , owing m a i n l y t o t h e problem  of finance. ,I n  f o l l o w i n g a p u b l i c m e e t i n g , a S i n g a p o r e S c h o o l S o c i e t y was this the  t o o k o v e r and  completed  i n s p i r a t i o n of R a f f l e s .  t h e b u i l d i n g p l a n n e d and But the I n s t i t u t i o n which  1835,  formed,  commenced finally  and  under opened  35  was f a r removed from the ambitious conception of i t s founder, was  fre-  quently plagued by f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s due largely to the lack of public i n t e r e s t , and operated merely as a school for the sons of a few well-to-do Chinese families.  Yet i t was out of these somewhat inau-  spicious circumstances that the extremely successful Raffles I n s t i t u t i o n evolved. In 1852, the f i r s t major missionary involvement resulted i n the establishment of St. Joseph's I n s t i t u t i o n , an English-medium large premises on Bras Basah Road (where i t s t i l l i s ) .  school, i n  I t was to be a  "free" school, run by the Christian Brothers and although "every care" was to be taken "to form the Catholic children i n the s o l i d maxims of Christian piety," there was to be "no interference with the r e l i g i o u s tenets of other c r e e d s . T h e  following year a small school f o r  Chinese g i r l s was founded by Sophia Cooke of the Society f o r the Promotion of Female Education i n the East.  Later the school was  transferred  to the management of the Church of England Zenana Missionary S o c i e t y . ^ The Anglican Church opened the English-medium 1862, and the American-based  St. Andrew's School i n  Methodist Episcopalian Mission opened i t s  f i r s t school i n Singapore i n 1886, with support from l o c a l C h i n e s e . ^ Government involvement i n education was r e s t r i c t e d , at f i r s t , almost e n t i r e l y to the encouragement of. vernacular schools f o r Malays, with random small grants to English schools.  Later, a system of grants-  i n - a i d , based upon results achieved by the English schools, was duced.  intro-  As early as 1856, two Malay schools received o f f i c i a l assistance,  and after the transfer of the S t r a i t s Settlements to the administration  36 of the Colonial O f f i c e i n 1867, more Malay schools were provided at government expense; and i n 1878 a college for t r a i n i n g Malay teachers 78 was  founded on the i s l a n d . The absence of an o v e r a l l policy f o r education resulted i n the  p r o l i f e r a t i o n of schools of many d i f f e r e n t types.  In most Malay schools,  lessons were r e s t r i c t e d to learning verses from the Koran and reading and writing i n the Jawi s c r i p t .  Yet i n others, p a r t i c u l a r l y those run  by church missions, Western subjects were taught and although Malay was the medium of i n s t r u c t i o n , students learnt the use of the Roman s c r i p t . Chinese vernacular education, which received v i r t u a l l y no government assistance throughout  the nineteenth century, was generally provided  through the e f f o r t s of groups of merchants, or occasionally as an act of philanthropy by i n d i v i d u a l wealthy members of the community.  Instruc-  tion i n these schools appears to have been along t r a d i t i o n a l l i n e s : Confucian i n content and taught through the medium of one or other of the Chinese d i a l e c t s .  This s i t u a t i o n continued i n Chinese vernacular  schools u n t i l the 1920's, when the regional d i a l e c t s gradually gave way to i n s t r u c t i o n i n the 'National Language'—colloquial Mandarin (Kuo yu). Secondary education was  limited to a few English schools i n which small,  post-primary divisions were organised. The lack of guidance on the part of government which resulted i n this complex mixture of p r i v a t e and state-aided schools, and d i f ferent forms of education, indicates c l e a r l y that such basic questions as the purpose of education, the most suitable medium of i n s t r u c t i o n , and the kind of knowledge to be imparted were matters l e f t to the  37 d i s c r e t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l school managers or missionary bodies.  In 1870,  a Select Committee of the L e g i s l a t i v e Council was formed "to i n q u i r e into the state of Education i n the Colony," and the Report noted that there were: a great number and variety of schools . . . , some purely educat i o n a l , others combining charity with education. Many of these are under the control of the Roman Catholic Clergy, but a l l . . . having a. system of their own, unchecked, as a r u l e , by any government supervision. By Government grants-in-aid, by voluntary subscriptions and other means, considerable sums of money have . . . been expended i n the cause of education, but, owing to the absence of e f f e c t i v e supervision and the want of w e l l defined p r i n c i p l e s on which schools should be conducted, your committee i s of opinion that the general r e s u l t has been far from satisfactory.79  The Committee was much concerned with the results achieved by schools in which English was the language of i n s t r u c t i o n .  The members regretted  that such i n s t i t u t i o n s had: turned out many young men competent to earn a l i v e l i h o o d i n Government and mercantile o f f i c e s , but . . . the majority of these clerks know only how to read, write and speak English imperfectly, and . . . very few of them are i n a position to make any material advance i n l i f e or to enjoy or improve their l e i s u r e by reading and adopting other means of s e l f - c u l t u r e . . . . Ideas they have none, and they are quite incapable of expressing themselves i n writing, either, grammatically or l o g i c a l l y . In your committee's opinion this . . . i s mainly due to the short time that boys are kept at school by their parents.80  The members of the Committee revealed, perhaps unwittingly, their own view of what the content of education should be,, for on the subject of vernacular schools, they asserted that such i n s t i t u t i o n s had done " l i t t l e or no good.  In almost every instance the sole object aimed at  in such establishments i s to teach the boys to read a few chapters of  38 81 t h e K o r a n , and no g e n e r a l k n o w l e d g e i s a t t e m p t e d  t o be communicated."  T h i s comment i s a l s o i n d i c a t i v e o f t h e p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the education of Malays, subject of Chinese elementary  vernacular education.  had l i t t l e  Again,  t o say on t h e  on t h e m a t t e r  e d u c a t i o n , t h e members a s s e r t e d t h a t , r a t h e r t h a n  knowledge, t h e students rudiments  f o r the Report  of administrators  religious  i n v e r n a c u l a r s c h o o l s s h o u l d be taught " t h e  o f sound knowledge"; a n d , t o u c h i n g on a m a t t e r  become a s u b j e c t o f l o n g - c o n t i n u e d tional policy,  of Malay  t h a t was t o  debate i n the f o r m u l a t i o n of educa-  they argued t h a t "a boy, whether he be Chinese  c a n make n o r e a l p r o g r e s s  or Malay,  i n e d u c a t i o n u n t i l he i s w e l l grounded i n h i s  82 own l a n g u a g e . "  The R e p o r t  was i n " a b a c k w a r d Arising  concluded  t h a t education i n the Colony  state."  from the suggestions  c o n t a i n e d i n t h e 1870 R e p o r t ,  an  I n s p e c t o r o f S c h o o l s was a p p o i n t e d w h o s e d u t i e s w e r e t o i n s p e c t a n d r e p o r t o n s c h o o l s , a n d t o make r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s r e g a r d i n g spending  on e d u c a t i o n .  This appointment represented  government  the o r i g i n of the  Education Department, a E u r o p e a n - o f f i c e r e d bureaucracy  which  developed  t o a d m i n i s t e r t h e c o m p l e x s y s t e m o f g r a n t s - i n - a i d b y means o f w h i c h t h e  83 government e x e r c i s e d i t s growing The  form t h i s  Malays,  c o n t r o l of education i n the Colony.  c o n t r o l t o o k was t o p r o v i d e f r e e v e r n a c u l a r e d u c a t i o n f o r  w i t h heavy emphasis upon h a n d i c r a f t s ; and t o s u p p o r t E n g l i s h -  medium i n s t r u c t i o n , g e n e r a l l y t h a t p r o v i d e d b y m i s s i o n a r y b o d i e s , i n o r d e r t o m e e t t h e demand f o r E n g l i s h - s p e a k i n g c l e r k s . Inspector of Schools "to supply  candidates  I n 1894, t h e  r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e p u r p o s e o f E n g l i s h s c h o o l s was f o r n e a r l y the whole of the subordinate  39 appointments under Government i n the Colony and Native States and f o r c l e r i c a l and other appointments i n mercantile houses. . . ."  84  By the  turn of the century, educational f a c i l i t i e s i n Singapore, as i n the other settlements of the Colony, provided free elementary Malays, and an assortment  schooling for  of private schools, some of which received  government assistance and were subject to o f f i c i a l inspection, at which students were required, generally, to pay fees.  That education was far  from universal i n the Colony as a whole i s revealed by the fact that, i n 1900,  of the 45,755 boys between the ages of f i v e and f i f t e e n , only  20,784 attended schools of any kind, and of these, 6,155 English schools.  Female education was  attended  confined almost wholly to Euro-  85 pean and Eurasian g i r l s . sidered, i n 1902,  The Director of Public Instruction con-  that i t was  "very creditable to the i n t e l l i g e n c e of  the Chinese of the Colony that