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Rhea Chatterjea, a Singaporean student of Raffles Girls’ School, won the 4th Prize in Class A of the Royal Commonwealth Society Essay Competition in 2006 with an essay on juggling her Bengali and English identities and languages.
English “brings me closer to my intellectual, pragmatic, practical and everyday aspirations. It allows me to understand the world that revolves
around me. English enables me to become competent, compatible and competitive” writes Rhea. However, through the opportunities offered by the Singaporean education system, Rhea was able to learn Bengali, her mother tongue.
The new generations in Singapore never had cropped wings. They were allowed to soar to their maximum capabilities and challenge themselves to reach height never before achieved. English, German, French, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Japanese – I could do it all if I wanted to…In short, I was given the opportunity to feel what it meant to be a true Bengali.
Rhea is presently a medical student in Cambridge University, UK.