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NUS Module Review: GES1038 La Kopi Forging of the Chinese Singaporean Community


This module covers the history/culture of the different dialect groups of Chinese in Singapore, from Singapore in the Straits Settlement to its modern day relevance. The lecturer also presents commentary on the Speak Mandarin Campaign and its influence on society. Prof Phua was very passionate in this area which made the lectures much more engaging. It was basically the only lecture of the week which I could sit through entirely without falling asleep haha.


Alternate week online tutorials were fairly straightforward. We had to go through readings or Luminus multimedia as preparation and these would take 2h max. During the tutorial, we were tasked either to prepare and give a short presentation (1-2 slides long only) or respond to questions prepared by our TA. Tutorial participation was marked accordingly. 2 tutorials were blocked out for us to “attend” our virtual fieldtrip or head down to Telok Ayer personally and that helped lighten the academic workload by a lot.


We were given 1-2 weeks (iirc) to complete our research essay. Both were interesting to do but as an Engr student unfamiliar with essay questions and structures, it might be a struggle, but nothing too out of this world, just something like GP. The final quiz had several questions on the technical aspect of the lectures/guest lecturers itself so advice would be to watch all lectures if you want to score in the finals.


The content might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those with even a slight interest, or are critical about one’s own identity as a Chinese in Singapore, should find the content interesting. I had only a passing interest and did not expect to thoroughly enjoy most of this module’s content. It was very enriching and having thought so introspectively for the essay questions. I genuinely think the perspective would be applicable to much of my life. Expected at best an A- because of my mediocre essay but eventually got an A. This module is an easy recommend.

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