Cultural Diversity and Dynamism in Demand, in Dilemma, and in the Mend: Modernity and Multiculturalism in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei

By Chen, Shudong | East-West Connections, Annual 2006 | Go to article overview

Cultural Diversity and Dynamism in Demand, in Dilemma, and in the Mend: Modernity and Multiculturalism in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei


Chen, Shudong, East-West Connections


Why do I teach humanities? Does it mean helping students to see the broadest possible picture of humanity or making them sensitive to cultural phenomena that reflect subtle but vital differences beneath well-observed similarities and essential but overlooked similarities behind noticeable differences? Does it mean teaching students to be critical and creative thinkers to enable them to detect and discover the richest possible connection of humanity where least expected or to find the road not taken not only beyond but also within the road well trodden? Does it also mean to teach students how to think locally as well as globally--between, beyond, beneath and behind any specific local phenomenon? Does it mean cultivating all-rounded humans, not merely manufacturing specialized "utensils" (Confucius) or breeding a "specially trained dog," as Einstein so emphasizes? If so, none would be possible, as Einstein would also emphasize, without the crucial "personal contact with those who teach" humanities. (2) It means humanities must be taught through instructor's crucial personal contact, using his/her professional and personal strengths, to enhance, enrich, and enliven students' critical and creative perception, judgment, and understanding not only in terms of their own cultural traditions but also cross-culturally.

To make this mission possible, it is crucial that those who teach humanities themselves must be further enriched and enlivened and enlightened especially nowadays in this increasingly incorporated and but also fragmented small world of ours amid the irreversible trend of globalization. This is why I consider this trip enormously helpful with regard to our mission of teaching about humanity through teaching humanities or making our divided and diversified world well connected in and through our classrooms. In each section below, I outline the rationale and measures of implementation regarding how to transform my professional and personal experiences from the trip in ways applicable to the humanities courses I teach.

This paper includes the following sections. (1) Statement of purpose. (2) Measures of implementation. (3) The concept of modernity as overarching ideology of globalization. (4) Multiculturalism as response to modernity. (5) Islam as response to crises both globally and domestically for cultural, national, and identity. (6) American history and literature as serendipitous points of reference. (7) China, Japan, Korean as additional personal and professional references. (8) Reasonable optimism and pessimism in assessment. (9) Themes for study. (10) Mechanism and types of multiculturalism. (11) General questions and (12) Specific questions, both for brainstorming and overall study guides.

(1) Statement of Purpose: With multiculturalism as the focal and organizing theme and Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei as the basic examples, the curriculum project intends to paint a broadest picture of humanity as it has been so enriched and enlivened worldwide in the forms of human responses to modernity and the role of literature as the key measurement and embodiment of human development. The project will therefore examine the very nature of multiculturalism in relation to modernity, as it has been the case in these three countries within the context of world humanities regarding its necessity, possibility and mechanism for success as well as its actual and potential problems beyond, beneath, and behind its observed and observable instances of success.

(2) Implementation: The project, so defined in the above statement and detailed in the following rationale, will be, first and foremost, implemented "wholesale" as a new course on Southeastern Asia once considered acceptable in a community college setting through a regular new course proposal and examination procedure. Otherwise or meanwhile, it will be be incorporated into three existing courses that I have been teaching. For my Introduction to Humanities, a popular genre-based course on art (visual, audio, and performing) and literature, I will use probably 10% or 20% of course time to explore the materials from the trip. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Cultural Diversity and Dynamism in Demand, in Dilemma, and in the Mend: Modernity and Multiculturalism in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.