13 May 2005


Singabloodypore discusses my mother tongue: Singlish Under Attack Again, and makes the observation that "Sometimes I think certain leaders have some sort of inferiority complex or are they ashamed of their own people?". To quote from a quote from the post:

Singapore's prime minister launched the country's latest behaviour modification campaign on Friday, urging teachers to use hip-hop and rap music to teach proper English and warning that continued use of the mutated local form of the language could make Singaporeans unintelligible.

More from cnews: Singapore turns to rap and hip-hop

It's kinda amusing. I think the whole point of hip-hop and rap is the development and use of street language by people who reject the English spoken by their parents' generation. It is probably impossible to rap within grammatic rules. Another case of the out-of-touch trying to "get down with it". (As you can tell, I'm out of touch too...)

Besides, I think Singlish is a perfectly acceptable local dialect, rich in it's use of phrases from several ethnic groups. It is a perfect example of a multicultural language, and should be encouraged! I continue to use it when speaking to fellow South-East Asians (m'sians have a similar local form of English), but am also capable of murdering the Queen's English without any prompting. And to refute the govt's claim that Singaporeans are unintelligible to foreign ears, my partner has absolutely no problems understanding Singlish when eavesdropping on my phone calls home.

For a taste of Singlish, check out the Coxford Singlish Dictionary. And I look forward to the day when Google adds Singlish to their list of interface languages. After all, Klingon and Bork-bork speakers are catered for. It's about time a language spoken by over four million worldwide is recognised.

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