Article published in:Heterolingualism in/and Translation
Edited by Reine Meylaerts
[Target 18:1] 2006
► pp. 139–161
Revealing the invisible
Heterolingualism in three generations of Singaporean playwrights
Despite official disapproval, playwrights and their translators in Singapore use heterolingualism to establish a Singaporean identity. Kuo Pao Kun’s work shows us the “little man” and demonstrates that English is the language of power. Quah Sy Ren’s work explores the plight of the local Chinese-speaker, suggesting that Chinese-Singaporeans are more firmly anchored in their cultural identity. In Alfian Sa’at’s work the single heterolingual speaker is splintered into a variety of roles shaped by age, ethnicity, and gender, with heterolingualism being a mark of intergenerational and interracial tension. These three plays offer three solutions to the problem of forging a Singaporean identity: one based on Singlish, one based on Chinese, and one based on multilingualism and translation. They destabilize the notion of independent and self-sufficient languages, thereby challenging the notion of equivalence in translation.
Keywords: heterolingualism, Kuo Pao Kun, Quah Sy Ren, Alfian Sa’at, Singapore theatre, code switching, identity formation, Singlish
- 1.The linguistic situation in Singapore
- 2.Theatricals in Singapore
- 3.“No parking on odd days” and the man in the street
- 4.The vanishing Chinese-speaker: Quah Sy Ren’s “Invisibility”
- 5.Singaporeans on the run
- 6.Writing at the edge of intelligibility
Published online: 05 December 2006
Ho, Mian-lian, and John T Platt
Joseph, John E
Kuo, Pao Kun
Low, Ee Ling and Adam Brown
Ooi, Vincent B.Y.
Pinti, Daniel J
Platt, John T
Quah, Sy Ren
St. André, James
forthcoming. “He ‘catch no ball’ leh! Globalisation versus localisation in the Singaporean translation market”. To appear in Meta .
Thomson, Catherine Claire
2000 “Is PCK still funny without Singlish? http://www.mediacorpsingapore.com/004_tv/what'snew/2000/20000517_1.htm. Accessed on. 22 Feb 2005.
Cited by 4 other publications
Lee, Tong King
Lee, Tong King
Talib, Ismail S.
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