Dec 2008

“Elite” Chinese people who only want to speak English

Posted by: Rin
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These days over in Singapore, we can see more and more foreigners taking up positions in the service industry. Most of the foreigners are mainly mandarin speaking buy cheap amoxil online and quite a number of them have a problem conversing in English. If customers cannot speak their purchase kamagra main language, the customers might end up getting insulted or a service refusal.

In the service industry, it is very important to be able to communicate with the customer without that much of a language barrier. Due to our multi-racial environment, our main language of use is English. It is pretty much taken as a fact that in order to perform in the service industry here in Singapore, a basic command of english is necessary at the very least. Bosses should send their employees for english courses should their command of english is not up to a basic yet.

On the contary, to those Chinese who are born in Singapore, and refuse to embrace Mandarin as a second language, please take a good hard look at yourselves first. Stop thinking that buy cheap cytotec english is the only language that Generic Levitra Super Active+ buy real propecia online Online Pharmacy | Buy Levitra Super Active+ | Cheap Levitra Super Active+ | Order Generic Levitra Super Active+ Online without Prescription is superior than all other languages out there. Language is something which is used to communicate. If a certain tongue can be used to convey feelings and meanings easily, that tongue can be considered as a good language. This applies too all languages that come with technology too. In this age and era, besides the older folk and those who are non-tech savvy, who does not know what “LOL” means? LOL.

There are many elitists out there who think that those who converse in their mother tongue are people who are of lower social class than them. During my stay in a local school as an Multimedia Trainer, I have seen a couple of parents calling in telling the school to stop teaching their kids chinese.

Their reason?

“I generic online cialis don’t want my kids to learn an inferior language.”

Do they not know that Chinese as a language has a far longer history than English? That Chinese glpyhs have a far greater transition and transformation over time than English? Kindly explain to me what is so inferior about a language that has so many people speaking and so many westerners researching into it.

Guess that they will not be happy for long (happy for being someone who feels superior that chose not to learn the mother tongue). Given the rising of China as an economical power, these people will soon be left behind and eventually fall behind others who are bilingual. So if you are one of them, please do wake up and start learning. It is not that hard to learn your own mother tongue. Mandarin is a very beautiful language, there are so many ways to convey a meaning beautifully using mandarin.

If you still find that Mandarin is inferior to English, try to find a similar song to in English. The main requirements are the verses must be 4 syllable, end with the same word and each sentence conveying a different meaning. Enlighten me.



14 comments to date:


  1. Although I do not use Mandarin myself, I’m okay with people around me using it. What I’m not okay with is if they aren’t proficient enough with the language and end up using English equivalents for every 4th word. I’m a purist like that ;x Do it well or don’t do it at all :S


  2. When I was in Singapore (around 1995-1999) I remember I was always told that the more educated a person (chinese) is, the less the know how to speak Chinese. Like how the president don’t know how to speak chinese at all so on National Day the speech broadcast on the Chinese channel was given by the Vice president (?) instead. I just don’t understand … having studied Primary school in Singapore, I always thought that was an advantage because I get to learn both English as first language and learn Chinese as mother tongue. Those people should embrace this advantage provided. Plus, how can they even consider themselves elite if they can only speak one language.


  3. I’ve always loved Chinese language. Honestly speaking it wasn’t my parent’s fault that I completely forgot about it when I was enrolled into a mission school. It was basically my own. Eventually my parents forced me to enroll in a private class for Chinese and hence my Chinese began to improve. I quite look down on those Chinese people who can’t speak Chinese because I think we should all know our roots well. Heck, those who enroll in the private classes are adults too, and not all are Chinese. There were Indians and Malays too!

    Honestly speaking, learning an extra language or two is useful. It wouldn’t kill to use up some brain cells to learn a new language because you can broaden your horizons, talk to more people, etc.


  4. I’m a little bitter towards Chinese. My time in school was spent getting a lot of detention and punishments because I couldn’t pass Chinese at all and my parents decided that it would motivate me more if they told me I couldn’t learn another language until I did well academically in Chinese. So I wasted ten years in Chinese classes and came out with absolutely nothing. Which drove me insane because eventually, my sister was sent to an international school where she took three years of Spanish and French before she got into a school that taught Chinese and she mastered all three language perfectly. And I saw how if my parents and teachers had let me learn something else when Chinese wasn’t working out, I could have become a multi-lingual adult. Even though in the past year, I managed to pick up basic Thai, French and Esperanto, learning languages as an adult is a huge struggle. It will always make me terribly angry that because of the attitude that Chinese people MUST give first priority to learning Chinese, I missed the window as a child where picking up two or three languages would have been so much easier than it is now. That’s why I don’t place a high priority on kids learning Chinese. I think its more important instead, to expose them to loads of languages, Chinese or otherwise, so their interest will be piqued and they won’t regret as an adult that they didn’t try to pick up this or that language.


  5. I took Chinese until I graduated from high school but since then, I’ve rarely used Chinese. Not because that I think Chinese is an inferior language (come on, stupid parents – how can a language with 5,000 distinct characters be inferior? Every language is different from another and don’t draw parallels between any two), but because the people around me rarely uses it. In college, many people do not speak Chinese although they are Chinese themselves. All of our subjects were taught in English, and so naturally it became the primary language for communication.

    I guess why many Singaporeans dislike the Chinese language is because it reminds them of the people who came from China. Many see China people as inferior and looks down on them, especially their relatively poorer command of English. In addition, many also stereotyped women that hail from China as prostitutes or those that only knows how to interfere with marriages of local couples. In addition, there is also this silent consensus between Singaporean workers that China workers were fighting with them for jobs, resulting in unemployment and lower income.

    The avoidance of Chinese language is thus a problem that has many causes, and it’s not easy for the government to tackle it. In fact, the Ministry of Education has lowered the requirement for university admission – as long as students score more than D7 for Chinese (which is the highest ‘fail’ grade, compared to E8 and F9. C6 is a pass), they can be admitted into junior colleges without attending additional Chinese classes.

    My command of Chinese has gradually deterioated over the years and my interest in Chinese books started to wane. In the past I do read Chinese self-help books but for now, I realise that none of my reading materials were in Chinese except for my occasional dose of LianHe ZaoBao.


  6. 英語非常難學……囧RZ


  7. nice blog~~~

    语言只是交流沟通得工具.. 侮辱别人的同时也侮辱自己.



  8. 语言不仅仅是语言,还是一种文化输出,小孩子从小学英语虽然能够得到一个很好的交流工具,同时他们也接受了跟英语相关的思维模式和习惯


  9. 个人认为语言之间没有谁优谁劣。当然能够同时掌握几门语言更好。对一门语言存在偏见,不管其理由是什么都是不理智的。


  10. 雪隆地区有很多香蕉人,他们当中有的人觉得华语太难不想学,但是居然兴致勃勃的去学什么日语、德语、法语,难道这些异族语言就比华语容易学吗?这不正是“I don’t want my kids to learn an inferior language.” 的具体表现吗!


  11. I recently picked up Chinese in university. It’s a beautiful language, and I would encourage everyone to learn it because of the shift in the global balance of power i.e. China is an economic powerhouse, if you want $$, speak Chinese!

    But at the same, I feel that Singapore’s service industry should still maintain its official language and mother tongue. I mean when I go to kopitiam, I would much prefer to order in Hokkien. “Auntie ah! Jit pueh teh si peng.” Now I find myself forced to speak some strange Hokkien-Mandarin to order the same thing.

    Me: “Jit pueh teh c peng!”
    Tea Lady: “ni yao shen me?”
    Me: “Yi bei teh c peng…gen liang pian kaya toast.”
    Tea Lady: “kaya toassu shi shen me?”
    Me: “Uh….na ge… na ge…. roti jia kaya la!”
    Tea Lady: “dui bu qi, wo ting bu dong ni zai shuo shen me.”
    Me: $%^&#^&#$%^

    (that was a real scenario btw)

    And at Orchard road, I’d like to order in English for the simple fact that the menu is in English. I do not want to create a hybrid linguistic monster for people who cannot speak the language the menu is in.

    For me, it’s got nothing to do with superiority or inferiority complexes. I love the Chinese language, and if I were living in Beijing, I’d speak Chinese 24/7. No qualms, no fusses.

    But the reality is that in Singapore, we’ve always spoken dialect at kopitiams, and English at the Hyatt. That was the way in my father’s time.

    And that should be the way in my time as well.


  12. As a person who’s born in the Philippines and am of mixed blood, I kind of grew up giving myself the excuse that I don’t really have to speak mandarin because I’m not a pure chinese…

    But with the line I’ve chosen to work in, I’ve recently regretted not taking more of an interest in it.

    It’s a pretty nice language. My one gripe with it is because since it’s a tonal language, I tend to say or mispronounce things alot…


  13. I bet these “high class” English speaking people speak English with lousy kik kik kok kok accents :P hahaha

    I told my European friends about this Anglophile mentality and they find it weird.

    a bunch of weirdos who don’t understand culture and language.
    They are turning Singapore into a banana nation (pun intended, look up wiki for banana nation)


  14. Hey, came across your blog and it is a very interesting post you have there.

    I think it is harsh to say that Chinese language is inferior, but in every respect it cannot compare itself to the English Language. English Language may have a shorter history than Chinese, but that doesn’t lend any credence to your argument that Chinese as a better language more suited for use in the modern globalized society like Singapore. I totally agree that a language is a tool of communication. Singapore is a pragmatic society, the reason why English is seen as more desirable is that it opens opportunities and provides a better field in which people can communicate with each other.

    Especially in highly technical and scientific fields in which many of the terms and nomenclature are in English. Not to mention that English is a language with a diverse vocabulary, which is a result of the intermingling of the various languages from the European mainland. English is not a language of its own, it has its roots in Latin, Celtic, Frisian, Norman French, and the Germanic languages of the Angles, Juts and Saxon.

    Also another important factor to consider is that the medium of instruction in our schools is English, this means that all our subjects in the sciences and the arts are taught in English. Compare that to mainland China or Taiwan in which the medium of instruction is in Chinese, of course more emphasis is placed on the proficiency of English because if one’s comprehension of English is poor, the effect on one’s school grades is very significant, compared to a poor grasp of Chinese.

    Each language has its own unique traits, comparing Chinese idioms to which English has none is not a fair comparison at all. English has its beautiful poetry and prose, precise technical latinate nomenclatures, stunningly diverse and ever evolving vocabulary. Btw, your argument that many western researchers study the Chinese language doesn’t show that it is better than English in anyway, it only shows a causality in which the westerners are interested in Chinese, but by stretching the meaning/intention of interest to that of Chinese being better is a bit too far-fetched.

    Also being an economic powerhouse doesn’t guarantee that the said country’s language would be the lingua franca of the international scene. Take a look at Japan and Germany, they are 2nd and 3rd economic powerhouses of the world (China might have overtaken Germany, I’m not sure), but Deutsch and Japanese have not gained widespread popularity like English has.

    I’m not deriding Chinese language as inferior, it is always good to learn a language, but by trying to put English language down and then proceeding to make claims based on simple economic trends with no justifiable research and proof to show that the Chinese language as a more superior language, and that you’re going to be disadvantaged if you don’t study it, is just plain childish, and makes you no different from that child’s parent either.

    Instead of ranting against these so called ‘elite’ Chinese Singaporeans who look down on the Chinese Language, which is most likely based on biased beliefs, why not do something constructive like highlighting the positive traits of the Chinese Language that you have mentioned in your post? This could dispel the negative impressions that people have of Chinese.



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