Singapore Lies

Singapore Lies
Wednesday June 28, 2006
I always get this feeling that everyone lies about Singapore. It is an extremely modern place, however the lie is about the place speaking English. My friend Stephen sort of broached on the subject last night in a conversation when he said that many of the Singapore people are spoiled. The labor is paid poor wages, and the Singapore people benefit. Very similiar to the indentured servants of past. I would say 65 percent the same or close.
There are about 5 main cultures here.
1. Singapore Native whatever that is.
2. China
3. India
4. Malaysia
5. Indonesia
6. Philippines

I would say the Chinese and a former British mentality sort of run the place, however everyone pretends they speak English.
The Languages that are easy are Chinese and Hindi, and then the person speak English as a second language. The speak better English in the Philippines or much easier to find the person speaking English.
Singapore Lies


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Hi Andy,

Couple of things I'd like to point out :

Firstly, sounds like you haven't visited Singapore in a while.. the Singapore you've described sounds like the 1980s version! We speak mainly english today, albeit peppered with local jargon and carried off with our unflatteringly flat accents (some say it's cute, but up to you lah ^^). Still, we're more likely to understand you better than you understand us. :) Quite a number of locals are more fluent in english than their own mother tongue. Myself *ahem* included ... not that it's anything to be proud of. :p

Secondly, regarding poor wages - it's not just confined to foreign labourers. Many Singaporeans who don't hold executive positions experience this as well. I'd estimate that to be a good 30-40% of the local population. We locals are still having to live with 2nd world work ethics and practices + a bad economy... I've met many taxi drivers who turned out to be retrenched ex-managers / CEOs of companies, and the occasional ex-opposition/PAP party member.. End of the day, it's the elite that benefits from this - whether Singaporean or expatriate.

However, I do agree that many Singaporeans are "spoiled". That's largely because we Singaporeans don't have much say in how our country's run (do look up some singapore blogs, especially mrbrown's), and over the years it turned into complacency and indifference. "Why bother?" says the average Singaporean, "The govt will do whatever it wants, whether we like it or not.. so let them take care of it lah!"

Anyway, you're always welcome to visit Singapore again soon. Preferably have a local around to steer you away from those tourist spots and show you the real Singapore. :)

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