Did a four-eyed historian invent the Mandarin script? — issue #4

Did a four-eyed historian invent the Mandarin script? — issue #4

Singapore has always favoured linguistic pragmatism, where we learn a language for its utility. Increasingly, that language is Mandarin. People often tell me, "You should let your child take Mandarin as a second language. It's better for her." No offence is intended because pragmatism allows people to separate language from culture and identity. But such pragmatism is as fickle as a monsoonal wind. If it shifts, we'll all be speaking Hindi in the near future because India may supersede China as a global superpower.

Can we truly separate language from who we are as a people?  This month, our guest writer Liana Manta-Khaira takes us on a fascinating journey to explore five languages in Asia and the mythological tales that were told to explain their creation. We also looked at East Timor's long struggle for sovereignty and control over its natural resources, and we consider what's in store if Indonesia's capital is moved from Java to East Kalimantan (the prognosis is not good). Serious reflections aside, our writers got together this month for a riveting and fun data visualisation workshop, which had us plotting and mapping our emotions, memories, and travels. Who said data visualisation is dry and technical?

Our editor-in-chief Peiying is away for the next two months, so I'll be taking over the helm. As usual, if you have story ideas or would like to say hello, drop us a note at hello@kontinentalist.com!

Vinita Ramani

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