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Working language

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offshoreoildude
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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 1:22 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:
ututu wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:There are four official languages for business in Singapore. Chinese (Mandarin), Bahasa Melayu, Tamil and English. You need to be conversant in all four and some of the local dialects (Hokkien) and possibly some of your workers languages (Tagalog and Hindi) if you want to be taken seriously here.


Well may be in the environment where majority had their education in non-english, perhaps, nothing against construction or shipbuilding site workers, but yeah I'd expect working language non-english in places like that. In quiet & placid places inhabited by office plankton aka air-con offices of CBD working language will be English as it should be. English is the Esperanto nowadays.


I absolutely disagree with you and frankly your assertion is half assed. I personally expect English to die out in the next century.


In Singapore or in general? I find the former unlikely and the latter f-ing ridiculous, unless we have drastically different definitions of "die out". Example: Latin "died out".


It will die out when the petroleum age ends.
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Postby sabaisabai » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 3:29 pm

Sergei82 wrote:My office is 95% Indians. I need to urgently tell them that the working language in Singapore is Chinese!


The working language in most workplaces is Chinese. Visit the local hawker stalls, retail shops and local companies.

English is merely used as a marketing tool to promote Singapore to Westerners so they can attract Western businesses and earn more money. Or else the entire island would starve just like they did in the 60s and 70s.

Many Western professionals come thinking it is somewhat Westernised. And leave vowing never to step into Singapore again.

Many like SundayMorningStaple come and never leave because they are high school dropouts and are ostracised back in the West because of their personalities. Us in the West don't take too kindly to crooks and dishonest people.

But in Asia, they love them. The more dishonest, rude and crooked you are, the better the chance you have of becoming the dictator of the land.

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Postby ututu » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 3:52 pm

x9200 wrote:You confuse practical necessity to learn with necessity to speak. Take a look at the original post and what it is about.
If the meeting is held by all non-English speaking people it would be plain stupid to enforce English unless this serves to learn English as well. There are countries that value their languages and where English is not official.


Reminds me of very funny meeting: engineers from large Korean telco vendor, engineers from large Japanese service provider and yours truly, not a single native English speaker. In the end, English was the common denominator ;-) though at some point, one of the Korean guys mentioned that it would be better to communicate over IM/e-mail as listening comprehension due to variety of accents was a bit of the problem. Good thing there was a whiteboard, picture is better than thousand words.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 4:08 pm

sabaisabai, if that were the case, you should be one of the deputy PMs by now. What happened? :console:

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Postby sabaisabai » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 4:19 pm

sabaisabai wrote:
Sergei82 wrote:My office is 95% Indians. I need to urgently tell them that the working language in Singapore is Chinese!


The working language in most workplaces is Chinese. Visit the local hawker stalls, retail shops and local companies.

English is merely used as a marketing tool to promote Singapore to Westerners so they can attract Western businesses and earn more money. Or else the entire island would starve just like they did in the 60s and 70s.

Many Western professionals come thinking it is somewhat Westernised. And leave vowing never to step into Singapore again.

Many like SundayMorningStaple come and never leave because they are high school dropouts and are ostracised back in the West because of their personalities. Us in the West don't take too kindly to crooks and dishonest people.

But in Asia, they love them. The more dishonest, rude and crooked you are, the better the chance you have of becoming the dictator of the land.


Read it again! :P

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 4:27 pm

I did, but you are not in the West. :P

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Postby Brah » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 6:46 pm

sabaisabai wrote:The working language in most workplaces is Chinese. Visit the local hawker stalls, retail shops and local companies

Define 'most.

Not in my industry or many others - in MNCs it's English or nothing. Westerners are not going to come to Singapore to work in retail or hawker centers. Duh.

sabaisabai wrote:Many Western professionals come thinking it is somewhat Westernised. And leave vowing never to step into Singapore again.

Many like SundayMorningStaple come and never leave because they are high school dropouts and are ostracised back in the West because of their personalities. Us in the West don't take too kindly to crooks and dishonest people.

But in Asia, they love them. The more dishonest, rude and crooked you are, the better the chance you have of becoming the dictator of the land.

You've certainly got some agenda to go with that bug up your ass, and you display way too much kaisu to be anything except local, though pose as something else as you may try.

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Postby Sergei82 » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 7:50 pm

I agree that speaking some language in presence of people who do not understand it, when you're able to use language that everybody understands, is very rude and impolite. I do reply and talk only in English when my friends start talking to me in Russian in presence of non-Russian speakers. And I do feel neglected when my Indian colleagues start speaking Hindu to each other at a meeting, while there are some people around who do not understand it.

When everybody in the group can speak language that is not English, then that language is understood by anyone and can be used instead of English, but until somebody who does not understand it joins. Since then by not using commonly understood language, you're demonstratively (and often without even realizing it) neglecting the person.

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 8:08 pm

Sergei82 wrote:When everybody in the group can speak language that is not English, then that language is understood by anyone and can be used instead of English, but until somebody who does not understand it joins. Since then by not using commonly understood language, you're demonstratively (and often without even realizing it) neglecting the person.

Unfortunately it is pretty common. I have rarely experience it during official meetings (still it happens to limited extent) but rather frequently in many other situations. Example, we are getting by car to a dinner (say somebody's farewell), 4 Chinese and myself. In 80% they start speaking Mandarin. I am not getting offended or feel neglected because I know they simply don't get it. They don't realize how rude it is. These are highly educated people and often educated abroad, UK, France, the States. Still no use. It is probably a part of the same package as I see this is not only this small part of the everyday culture they missed studying abroad.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 8:09 pm

sabaisabai has some validity... thare are times when I dread calling a new Singapore number (i.e. new vendor or looking for something). It typically goes...

Me: Hello
Other end: huh
Me: Do you have/sell/know xyx
Other end: Singlish monkey grunts
Me: Ok - what about this?
Other: No can...
Me: Are you sure? The website says this no is the number for the largest MNC in the world sellling/repping this product. Perhaps you shouldn't answer the phone is you can't actually represent that product.
Other: Dunno/Hoekkien expletive/Wei?

In other words - sometimes I feel that for a country that claims to be multi lingual and highly effective in english all you really have is a country where most of the locals are substandard and inarticulate in every language. My constant struggle is to make sure my Children are good in English - and not Singligh - so they are not crippled by being inarticulate.
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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 8:13 pm

offshoreoildude wrote:Me: Are you sure? The website says this no is the number for the largest MNC in the world sellling/repping this product. Perhaps you shouldn't answer the phone is you can't actually represent that product.

Sorry to say but they are overly incompetent. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the language. I would expect speaking fluent Chinese you might get similar responses.

offshoreoildude
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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 8:20 pm

x9200 wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:Me: Are you sure? The website says this no is the number for the largest MNC in the world sellling/repping this product. Perhaps you shouldn't answer the phone is you can't actually represent that product.

Sorry to say but they are overly incompetent. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the language. I would expect speaking fluent Chinese you might get similar responses.


Thus rests my point.... far too many people are incompetent in all the languages of Singapore.
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Postby Sergei82 » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 8:21 pm

If your native language has different phonetics (which is always the case), your English will always be substandard (rare exceptions). At least Singlish is much more intelligible for a European person than Konglish (what they use in Korea).

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Postby nakatago » Sun, 23 Dec 2012 10:16 pm

Sergei82 wrote:If your native language has different phonetics (which is always the case), your English will always be substandard (rare exceptions). At least Singlish is much more intelligible for a European person than Konglish (what they use in Korea).


But Korea doesn't claim that all Koreans speak English.


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