A Tale of two songs: Singapore versus Hong Kong
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The text for this 'Text messages' is two YouTube videos from what has become known as 'The battle of the songs', based on the relatively light-hearted, but nevertheless keen rivalry between Singapore and Hong Kong. The two cities share a colonial history similar in some respects, but crucially different in others. Hong Kong was ceded to the British in three stages: Hong Kong Island in 1842, Kowloon, on the mainland, some 20 years later, and the New Territories, encroaching further into the Chinese mainland, on a 99-year lease expiring in 1997. Singapore has a longer colonial history, beginning in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles established a British port and trading station on the island. Both colonies then followed roughly parallel paths, becoming important East-West trading centres during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, both occupied by the Japanese in World War II, both experiencing a huge growth in the manufacturing sector during the fifties, and then becoming powerful commercial and financial centres for Asia. However, their post-colonial histories are somewhat different: Singapore went through a process of democratic reform in the late forties and fifties, achieving a form of self-government in 1959 and independence in 1963, via a merger with the Federation of Malaya. Civil unrest led to the establishment of an independent democratic republic in 1965. Colonial rule in Hong Kong, in contrast, ended relatively recently. The return of not only the New Territories but also the whole of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China was agreed in 1984 and took place at the expiry of the lease in 1997. Hong Kong, unlike Singapore, is not an independent democracy, but a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China.
English Language Teaching Journal
© 2009 Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in English Language Teaching Journal following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, A Tale of two songs: Singapore versus Hong Kong, English Language Teaching Journal, Vol. 63(3), 2009, pp. 265-271 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccp030