Friday, January 2, 2015

Just Do It

A colleague used to take pride in his command of spoken English, as he had the misconception that only the hoi-polloi of Ah Bengs sprinkle dialect in daily discourse. Until a German visitor reminded him that his sentences are often terminated with "lah", the unique punctuation that gives away the Singaporean presence. That and the occasional instances of "meh" and "hor".

Language development starts from a young age, and that's one reason only the born and bred have a true accent that is discernible from the fakes. Like those who have spent a couple of years overseas and think their American slang is so cool. Anybody can wear denim or dye their hair blonde, only true Canadians will pronounce Toronto as tuh-ron-no, silent on the second T.

Born in Yugoslavia, landed at the age of 27 and picked up the red passport 8 years later in 2007, it is doubtful that Aleksandar Duric can be mistaken for a Singaporean at any social gathering. Unless the ex-football coach also happens to be a closeted cunning linguist. So why did William Wan suggest that we should "do it like Duric"? That has to be the unkindest cut to our Singaporean identity. ("Do it like Duric... See what makes us Singaporean", ST Friday 2 January)

Sorry, Wan, we have to disagree that "there are limits to building a national identity". Unless the powers in play are still practising the colonial divide and rule tactics of fracturing an evolving nation for selfish reasons, to perpetuate their totalitarian dominance.

Banish our true mother tongues, force feed a language from a communist country, and for good measure, import more foreign languages from Burma, North India, Philippines, Vietnam and goodness where else. The story of the Tower of Babel is about God being unhappy that one people with one language could build a tower reaching for the sky. So he confounded their speech, so that they could not understand each other, and scattered them over the face of the earth. Wan should know this story, unless he has decided to worship a different god.


  1. A really good piece, Tattler, to kick off (not the new year) but these pseudo intellectuals. You know who Wan's patron is and the purpose of his claim that there is a limit to nation building. Given the inundation of foreigners they no longer dare to talk about the Singapore identity or its core values. We know wht to do comes the next GE.

  2. Pretend Action Party

    Getting rich at your expense.

  3. yeow siu ..

  4. Sori Wan, we donch wan.

    Resist, we must.

    May the farce be with you!