Vivian Balakrishnan is such a smart man. He knows we talk this way only precisely because we think it sounds cute and rustic and it also entertains our proletarian pretensions. Overeducated and exceedingly westernised, I literally had to teach myself the "singlish" sound during university and when I did it was mostly for a laugh. But now far away in London, hearing the tinny strains of our pidgin language is what makes me feel certain that I want to go back again sometime. So the man should give singlish more credit; its gives Singapore more colour, character, and sound.
Minister Balakrishnan cautions against promoting use of Singlish
By Shaffiq Alkhatib, 938LIVE | Posted: 27 May 2008 2053 hrsSome 600 students from more than 20 institutions attended the dialogue session at Nanyang Technological University.
SINGAPORE: Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has cautioned against promoting the use of Singlish.
Speaking at the Pre-University Seminar 2008 on Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan said the move to promote the lingo is a "pet project" by "linguistic elites" that can cause more harm than good.
He said those championing the local lingo are mostly highly educated individuals who are able to effortlessly switch from Singlish to proper English.
"But very few of us, to be honest with you, really have the ability. For most of us, we can only speak one way. So I've often felt there's a bit of intellectual snobbery on the part of people who push Singlish," Dr Balakrishnan said.
At the end of the day, what have I got? A successful Singapore. What have I given up? My life Lee Kuan Yew
Snippets which feel strangely resonant
He asked me if I was out to all my college friends in America. Yes. “But Taiwan can’t know about you,” my father said. “We wouldn’t be able to live here anymore.” “I have no intention of ever moving back,” I said with the thrill of vindictiveness against the island I’d always planned on loving. “But how about us? Your mother and I?” And I knew: I could uproot myself, seek my authenticity, self-actualize, self-fulfill, self-assert, change my name, seek all those beautifully selfish things the American Dream offered, but in Asia, the peanut gallery of my relatives held my parents hostage. Mom and dad are too old to move to Maui and start life anew. They’d committed a lifetime to making shitty conservative friends, having stunted conservative relatives. People like me are blemishes on the family’s genetic résumé. My genetics would make my sister less marriageable too. And I knew also that my mother would use my “defect” as ammunition against my father’s genetics; his depressive brood; his suffering, complaining immigrant parents; his weird bachelor brothers with no dental care. My mother would use me to insult my father’s family. Everyone would use me as ammunition to attack someone else in the family.