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Multilingual people

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hmm...one month of blog's writing missing in action wahaha...

These few weeks, am getting lazy to blog. Caught in between work and gaming, blogging has been neglected for a whle. I got a few thoughts in my mind, sometimes how I wish there is this device which can automatically convert your thoughts into writing and post it up. At least those ad-hoc meaningful thoughts can be posted immediately.

Wanted to write this article on what I see on Friday. While travelling on the train, I encountered a strange bunch of youngsters. Age I guess should be just over 20s or so, and it seems like there are 2 groups of people - a chinese and malay group mingling together. In the group two guys caught my attention
especially as they stands out themselves on how they speaks.

The malay looking guy was able to converse in Chinese. Well this maybe nothing special as I know some of the parents sends their children to learn Chinese as their mother tongue language. Or through the working or studying life in Singapore, the Malays/Indians learns some bits of chinese. But this malay guy speaks a fluent chinese when replying to his friend who is a Chinese. Then after a while, at the other end, one of the Chinese guy was talking to him on another conversation in Malay! I can't imagine how many of the newer Chinese generation youngsters who can speak a bits of malay nowadays. In this urbanized city, such multi-lingual people are not common.

In the older days (our parent's generation) the people live in a closer-knit society, and I would say there are a lot more people who can speak a third language which does not belong to their native language
. I'm thinking the introduction of English in Singapore has brought about a common language to communicate among the races, but it contributes to a decrement of such people. Since English can be a common language, why would they want to pick up another language to speak?

Of course with a lot more choices of foreign languages like French, Japanese or Korean, it has shorten the fuse for the local to pick up the remaining other races' language. Furthermore in my own opinon the privatization of having each HDB flats, some of us prefered to stick to our own live and would only say "Hi", "Bye" when met at the lift or common area like lift lobby.

It is a bit sad that at this stage, we have been criticised before that we are neither here or there at speaking proper English and Chinese (for the chinese). The other thought that I would think would be this is a growing country, a very young country and it is up to us to seek where our identity lies.

There maybe an evolution of a new language Singlish, which communicates between fellow Singaporeans, and on international grounds the proper language will be spoken/written fluently. Or it maybe that the Singlish culture may grow root to a language of it's own that we can never tell.

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