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.