Xinyao was a movement that evolved from a period of major reforms to “align” chinese education into the national syllables. The Chinese educated bore the brunt of these reforms and the ensuing discrimination – the extent of this was denoted by a Straits Times headline in 1978 – ‘Nantah graduates are worth only $300 per month’ and the closure of Nantah University in 1980.
A positive force fuelled by adversity…
Xinyao was an outlet for the Chinese-educated to assert their identity against these changes. Instead of being destructive, it became a unifying force between Chinese and English speaking Cinaporeans. Xinyao also became a catalyst for the development of international Mandopop stars such as Eric Moo, Kit Chan and Stephanie Sun.
“Adversity introduces a man to himself”
The documentary got me thinking about the positives that may arise from the aftermath of C-19. It also got me reflecting on how adversity pushes some people to focus on being a better being, while others became a bitter nuisance.
Much ado about 2021
Gen X-ers will remember 遗忘过去 by one of the pioneers of Xinyao, Eric Moo.
The song is about letting go, taking ownership and hope – attributes that will help us face 2021, which isn’t likely to be a better year!