CHUA MIA TEE NATIONAL LANGUAGE CLASS POSTER WITH PROTECTIVE POSTER TUBE
Chua Mia Tee
National Language Class
Oil on canvas, 112 x 153 cm
Collection of National Gallery Singapore
Chua has said that the theme or “soul” of this work is the urgent need to learn the Malay language in the years after Singapore attained self-governance in 1955, and the
dedication of students towards this endeavour. Chua cast his classmates, friends
and students, including his future wife Lee Boon Ngan, in this scene. He chose to depict his Indonesian friend Herman Ali as the Malay
The brown cloth, on the left sleeve of the student standing, Ong Tian Soo, is a small
but significant detail. It reveals that Ong is in mourning for a parent, yet he is still dutifully attending and participating in this national language lesson. Such pins are customarily worn by Chinese from the first day of a relative’s funeral.
This painting was completed on 21 December 1959, 18 days after Inche Yusof bin Ishak was inaugurated as Singapore’s first Yang di-Pertuan Negara (Head of State) on 3 December 1959 and the debut of Singapore’s national anthem Majulah Singapura.
Comes with Poster Tube