Two government acts shaped Tina Faulk’s life: Ceylon’s 1956 Official Language Policy Act, known as the Sinhala Only Act, and Australia’s Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, better known as the White Australia policy. The first virtually disenfranchised not only Faulk’s Burgher community, but also Sinhalese and Tamil middle-class élites, whose primary language, outside the family circle, was English. Countless Burghers were civil servants and, even if multilingual, were now unable to compete with Sinhalese-educated people for post-Independence public service positions. Similar selection criteria applied to military and commercial jobs.
The Island of Singing Fish
The Island of Singing Fish: A Colonial Childhood in Ceylon
by Tina Faulk
$25 pb, 181 pp, 9781760210274
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Claudia Hyles is a Canberra-based writer and reviewer with a great interest in South Asia. Her most recent book So You Can See In The Dark : And other Indian essays (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2016)
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