Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Neither English or Mandarin Grammar - Is Singlish an excuse for bad Grammar structures?

Now there's been a lot online about English standards in Singapore, and I didn't have anything new to add to the conversation, until....

E-mail from an MOE staff (possibly a teacher.)
(sanitized to protect identification)


"You can come tomorrow morning before 12 noon? thanks."

----- Original Message -----
When do you want me to drop by with the ABC? I have most of the EFGs barring XYZ for the moment, can I drop by tomorrow or Friday? Please advise.

Try translating the sentence into Mandarin. It also appears to contain structural deficiencies.

How about Singlish? Is there a proper grammatical structure to Singlish? Would the above sentence sound like Singlish to most Singlish-acclimatized ears?

I don't know, but if MOE teachers communicate like this, and the growing trend towards less reading and more cut-scene based knowledge acquisition (see Star Wars 3 for a fine example of cut-scene film-making), is it any wonder we have a growing problem with speaking English properly?

I'm usually on the side of language evolution, and that there are infinite varieties of a common tongue, but this is just plain BAD.

Ouch. Where can the healing begin now that the problem has been starkly personified?


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Another consequence of Out-of-Bound Markers

Welcome to Singapore. A world where the AUTHORITIES will take care of everything. Noisy neighbour? the police will soon be by. Illegal parking? The parking attendant is around the corner. Act of violence in a crowded bus? The bus driver will take care of it. (he's a bus captain afterall, so as commander of the vehicle, what goes on inside it is his responsibility! And since its a SG-registered vehicle, then SG laws are to be enforced!)

Now, it it had been a case of molest, and the girl screamed, I'm sure our bus drivers are completely well trained to lock the doors, and drive to the nearest police station or such. However, its probably not written down in the bus driver's training manual on how to deal with a act of possibly racially motivated violence. So our confused bus driver just continues driving, and hope it goes away.

The more we don't know each other, the more we see shadows jumping out at us. Its just another symptom of modern society - let someone else care. Luckily this time, someone did. Either way, its a sad situation in Singapore when we cannot talk about such issues without crossing OB markers. How can we mature as a society?