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Mandarin and the Singapore Identity

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Global Citizen

Mandarin and the Singapore Identity

Postby Global Citizen » Tue, 09 Nov 2004 12:52 am

There is a long standing debate abt Mandarin and the exalted status it enjoys and the premise that its absolutely essential in the daily context of S'porean's lives, be it at work (refer to the topic below in this forum) or at the homes of S'porean Chinese to the exclusion of their actual mother tongue.

How does this impact all S'poreans on the whole and what will be its effects long term? I came across an interesting essay

that gives some food for thought and wonder what the views of our esteemed forummers are. Pls feel free to share your thoughts.

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Postby jpatokal » Wed, 10 Nov 2004 12:36 am

Global Citizen, m'dear, most of us expats couldn't care less. Mandarin is useless for the average expat in Sg, it's not needed at work and you need to learn Hokkien to truly impress the locals. :mrgreen:

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Postby amnesia » Wed, 10 Nov 2004 1:06 am

My sis and I used to say that whenever our mother tried to speak her "mother tongue" we all roll over the floor laughing. Her mandarin is so appalling that we have to make her stop. I grew up in a Malay enclave and wanted to learn Malay for my second language when I was small.

I had loads of friends whose mandarin was pretty woeful and would fall shy of the education requirements and be prevented for example to continue on university here.

Mandarin is actually quite useful in the bloody wide world because most people, including other chinese, assume that if you look asian, you must be chinese. And they come up and try practising on you, esp. if you're the only other asian looking face for a long while.

I think when you're one race stuck in another region, there're only 2 ways you can go: become even more fanatical resisting change, or embrace the new culture you're in. And I think which you do depends on which generation you are. Look at all the Brit films about the Pakistanis/ Indians in Britain. No guesses which generation the rulers of our country belong to.

The funny thing about our ancestors (or grandparents, in most cases) feeling misty eyed about being chinese is that I categorize them into whether they've had a chance to go back to our 'motherland' or not. Those who don't manage a trip back always long for the country etc. My dad'd mother did, and swore that she'd never go back to live there again, and that Singapore was her home and that was it. 8) Nostalgia when faced with reality can undergo some radical changes...
"people are people so why should it be
you and I should get along so awfully"

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