death by paper cut

{December 22, 2005}   explicits

can you think of another country besides singapore, that has a non-white majority and with english as the first language?

granted that the majority of singaporeans do not come from english-speaking homes, but english is still the language for commerce, trade and technology in singapore. and most singaporeans will be able to carry on a decent, if not grammatically correct, conversation in english.

i’m not saying that being enabled with the english language makes us superior than countries that do not use english as the first language, think europe. but is does have its advantages.

my cousins are still grappling with this. it is actually mind-boggling that a small country so far away from any white-majority country can be so saturated with tinseltown lingo and trivia. and yet, they know little about our little island.

an example of their state of disequilibrium with regards to this; vicky, the younger of the two cousins showed me the middle finger and asked if it has any significance in singapore. “fuck you” was my prompt reply, “skanky cunt”. they asked what the singaporean vulgarities were. i said that since its mainly in hokkien, they wouldn’t understand anyway.

we were on the bus to holland village while discussing this.

max was still trying to understand the extent of the standard of english in singapore. he asked if i understand idoms like “raining cats and dogs”.

i told max to get of the bus and take refuge at the american embassy.

indignant, i chided him that singaporeans can be fully capable of queen’s english which is a higher standard of english used by the average american.

i took the benchmark of the cambridge GEC ‘O’ level as the basic level of the expected mastery of the english language in singapore. but further explained that the extent of the functional standard of english varies according to the different social stratas in the singaporean society.

enlightening or contradicting?


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