Sri Lankans in Singapore

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Ceylonese / Sri Lankans in Singapore
SRajaratnam smiling.jpg Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the official opening of Yuan Ching Secondary School's new building, Singapore - 20100716 (cropped).jpg

Mainly Tamil and English

Also: Sinhala · Other languages
Hinduism · Buddhism · Catholicism · Islam
Related ethnic groups
Sri Lankan diaspora · Sri Lankans in Malaysia · Tamil Diaspora

Ceylonese / Sri Lankans in Singapore consist mainly of Singaporeans of Sri Lankan origin whose ancestors came to Singapore before the independence of the island. In Singapore, Ceylonese / Sri Lankans are referred to as Others or Indians, as in Singapore, an Indian is defined to be a person of South Asian paternal ancestry.


Colonial period[edit]

The Jaffna Tamils are predominantly large in number among the people who went to Singapore and Malaysia in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[1] Ever since their arrival in Singapore, they were identifying themselves "Ceylonese". They dominated the bureaucracy in Singapore as the British preferred employing the Ceylonese as bureaucrats in many of their Asian colonies. Ceylonese Tamils made up an overwhelming majority in the civil service of British Malaya and Singapore prior to independence.[2]

In 1909, the Ceylon Tamils, who had grown in number to about 300 families, formed the Singapore Ceylon Tamils’ Association (SCTA).[3] Sri Lankans in Singapore and Malaysia formed the 'Lanka Regiment' of the Indian National Army, directly under Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.[4]

Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said:


In recent years, many Sri Lankans have been coming to Singapore. Sri Lankan domestic workers form a large number of the 150,000 maids in Singapore.[5] Many students from Sri Lanka have also been coming to Singapore for further education.[6] On July 31, 2010, the Singapore Ceylon Tamils' Association marked its 100th anniversary.[7]

Notable Singaporeans of Sri Lankan descent[edit]





See also[edit]