Inderscience Publishers

A linguistic minority in Singapore

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In Singapore, English has been the language of administration in government and MNCs since the early 1950s. Owing to historical legacy, graduates from the former Nanyang University (1955?1980), where Chinese was used as a medium of instruction, faced discrimination in the job markets for both the public sector and MNCs. Consequently, Nanyang graduates became self-employed, worked in SMEs or went overseas to gain a PhD. This paper examines the factors that determined the age when some 67 self-employed graduates of the Nanyang University (referred to as Nantah graduates in the paper) ventured into setting up their own business. The analysis indicates that specialisation in Business Administration made these graduates enter into business earlier, while years of working experience as a paid employee is a prerequisite for starting a business. Obviously, the more experience a person had as an employee, he or she started business at a later age.

Keywords: Singapore, business administration, Chinese language, Nantah graduates, linguistic minority, SMEs, small and medium-sized enterprises, self-employment, business start-ups

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