Affairs, Culture

The New York Times: The Reality Behind Singlish

In response to an opinion by Gwee Li Sui: Do You Speak Singlish?

Li Lin Chang in a letter to The New York Times:

Gwee Li Sui’s “Politics and the Singlish Language” (Opinion, May 13) makes light of the government’s efforts to promote the mastery of standard English by Singaporeans…

… But English is not the mother tongue of most Singaporeans. For them, mastering the language requires extra effort. Using Singlish will make it harder for Singaporeans to learn and use standard English. Not everyone has a Ph.D. in English Literature like Mr. Gwee, who can code-switch effortlessly between Singlish and standard English, and extol the virtues of Singlish in an op-ed written in polished standard English.

Everything about Li Lin Chang’s response to Gwee Li Sui’s opinion regarding celebrating Singlish as an unofficial creole, irks me through my skin. She sounds elitist, as if the only people who should be entitled to use Singlish are those who have a level of proficiency of the English language and can code switch. The initial sentence is just condescending to the entire opinion that Gwee has outlined, and has also given more examples about how Singlish is used at an everyday speak.

Never mind that almost anybody who needs to add an air of authenticity to the persuasions, would also use Singlish to connect to the masses. I’ve noticed it in formal education (Any teacher who isn’t an English language teacher, tends to revert to Singlish to communicate complex lessons, and yes, politicians have definitely started to impart their slogans in Singlish or in a dialect.

It’s good to be versed in English since its a global language of business and there have been many merits for being able to communicate with the International market, but Singlish is something that we use conversationally, and not for international business or relations. If anything, it’s a cultural phenomena that we use to be ourselves, to escape from the druddgeries of daily toil. It’s us in our home clothes.

If Singaporeans have a poor proficiency in the English language, it’s not because we use Singlish, but more because we simply don’t practice standard English enough.

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Affairs

The Guardian: Persuading Britain to spend billions on Trident is like convincing a tramp to buy a bazooka

Background on the Trident debate.

Frankie Boyle with a commentary in The Guardian:

As for the supposed threat of North Korea, with their current missile delivery technology it would take years for them to save up for the necessary stamps. Yes, they launched a satellite recently, but remember that it’s much easier to hit a target that is basically The Universe. I’m going to stick my neck out and say that people doing eight hours of gymnastics a day while living on acorns aren’t going to build a viable, targeted intercontinental missile. And if they do, it’s going to be an absolute coupon buster if they decide to send it 3,000 miles to Britain rather than – just to pick a country at random – South Korea.

Boyle doesn’t think much about North Korean threat to Britain and puts it ever so eloquently.

The truly democratic method would be to have a giant button somewhere that can only be pressed by the weight of 51% of the population.

Blistering jab at the powers that be who decide on nuclear deterrence versus nuclear action.

In the final moments of life on Earth, someone will think of arranging their hands to make a shadow puppet, creating a dragon or a dove to be immortalised by the bomb. They’ll know that nobody will ever see it, but they’ll do it anyway. And this, I think, is what it is to be any kind of artist these days, with no posterity to address but still compelled, for reasons you don’t understand, to work in the terrible now.

Ah, a final scene to cap off his own stance on nuclear deterrence by global powers and superpowers while still being able to poke fun at any community of people.

More comedians should write political commentary.

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Affairs

Shangri-La shooting: Trio missed a turn on way to Orchard Towers, Coroner’s Inquiry finds | TODAYonline.

Evidence given by the witnesses — including the Gurkha officers, the two passengers in Mohamed Taufik’s car, and a taxi driver — also pointed to the gunshots being fired after Mohamed Taufik’s car had crashed through concrete barriers at the Vehicle Check Station (VCS), set up as part of security measures for the Shangri-La Dialogue that day.

Bad timing for a wrong turn (and drug possession). I think the security personnel followed their procedures as part of their training, and there was no way to avoid this outcome once you’ve broken past the checkpoint and continuing to accelerate to the final checkpoint, compounded with the gravity of the event’s context that day.

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Affairs

This White Dude Was a Boss in the Chinese Mafia

One of the first things that John pointed out is that gangsters kill gangsters and criminals kill criminals. He said that idiots killed civilians.

VICE interviews the author of the book, White Devil, Bob Halloran. I think it makes for a pretty fascinating story, because the Chinese community tends to be underrepresented in American literature, and there’s this story of someone outside the community who was assimilated into it.

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Affairs

China ‘building runway in disputed South China Sea island’

“China’s work on the [Spratly] islands mostly serves civil purposes apart from meeting the needs of military defence. China is aiming to provide shelter, aid in navigation, weather forecasts and fishery assistance to ships of various countries passing through the sea,” a commentary carried prominently by Xinhua news agency on Thursday read.

Look, we don’t really need you to police the region, nor did we ask for your help.

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Affairs

I’ve been reading with some interest on the recent comments made by US President, Barack Obama on Net Neutrality. On the one hand, Obama doesn’t want telcos and ISPs to be able to restrict the Internet speeds (The slow lane) of users and other content providers, simply because they’re not paying a premium. (Read)

In the other corner, Quartz suggest that “while the big telecoms may be willing to make concessions on discrimination and blocking, they will fight and tooth and nail to avoid any suggestion that the government should consider internet access a necessity of life rather than a consumer good.” (Read)

In the war of words, should an Internet connection be classified as a consumer good? Or is this a case of first-world-problem policy making?

Barack Obama and Net Neutrality

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