5/13/2010

Let's do away with mother tongue

Why force our children to struggle to learn a foreign language? The language is foreign since my dad and my ah kong had given up using it at home. We are truly native English speakers. Yes, many Singaporeans are truly using English as their mother tongue. And Chinese, I am not sure about Malay or Indian dialects, is really a foreign language. It is better to do away with this foreign mother tongue. The whole country will benefit from such a change definitely. There is a lot of economy of scale and savings not having to repeat and translate so many languages all at the same time. First thing to do is to remove all the signboards with different languages. This should be easy. And we do not need so many translators, especially in Parliament. As for MTL teachers fearing the loss of their jobs, have no fear. The tourist industry is booming, and there are two casinos, and they definitely need a lot of translators and interpretors. Let's see how and what the change will bring about. Our children need not read all those funny tales from dunno where which they cannot relate to. They can truly and happily enjoy Cinderalla, Snow White, and sing London Bridge is falling down. And the youngsters will be glued to classics like Robin Hood and King Arthur and Merlin the magician. What Wu Song and Pan Jin Lian? Never heard of, so uncool. And yes, there will be Davy Crockett, Buffalo Bill, Superman and Batman, all great classics. Not forgetting Harry Porter and his little friends. As for the well heeled and educated adults, talking about Shakespeare or Italian opera will not draw a blank. They will be so comfortable when all the sophisticated citizens sit in the Theatre at the Bay to enjoy a night of high class performance. No noisy wayang and wayang kulit to annoy them. Their taste for good quality entertainment could be well satisfied with the casinos bringing all the world class acts from New York and London. I am already feeling so high and sophisticated just writing this stuff. And the schools should just simply teach English. Such an easy language to learn and oh, so marvellously English. As for second language, let the parents choose an easier language if MTL is too foreign. I think French is equally easier and fun to learn, and so romantic when in Paris. Media Corp could save some money by closing down the rest of the Channels leaving just Channel 5 and CNA. Mike Lee and Jack Neo and all the pretty Channel 8 ladies can go to Taiwan and Hongkong or China to sell their skills. Gurmit and his gang no longer have to labour to try to please the uncool Channel 8 viewers. They can be truly themselves acting in Channel 5, and no need to speak funny. But there still need to have more changes when we do away with MTL. All those difficult to pronounce names like Tekka, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Choa Chu Kang, Sungei Buloh, Tekong etc etc must change to something like riverdale or morningdale, these simply sound so good. We can have Chicago for Choa Chu Kang, Houston for Hougang, Tennysee for Toa Payoh. Wow, I stay in the town of Manhattan East. Where is that, oh, it used to be Gu Chia Chwee, but since torn down and rebuilt. And what kind of name is Changi Airport? How about Kennedy Airport? No this one taken. Obama International Airport will do. And stupid names like ECP, AYE, PIE, etc can be renamed, Ellington Highway, Arlington Expressway, Parkingson Expressway, hmmm, so nice. With a change of policy in MTL, we can change the whole society dramatically to whatever we want. And yes, our children will be happy calling themselves Megan and Oregan. And all the people from Asia will flock to this new city/country called New York or Paris of the East, to learn English and enjoy being a little like Europeans and Americans. I think we have a good case to do away with MTL.

27 comments:

Wally Buffet said...

I am ahead of you ok.

Long ago, my name was Seow Ah Gu. I changed it to Wally Buffet in anticipation of the doing away with Mother Tongue. Now they may be wishy washy about the matter but you just wait and see. Slowly, the mother tongue will be consigned to the rubbish dump and only English will be taught. Now, even the trishaw pullers already have names like Gary, Bronson, Charlie etc. Don't believe? Ask the Korean tourists who risk their lives every night riding in the quaint Asian contraptions in a western metropolis like ours.

By the way, Christo Chua sounds good instead of Chua Chin Leng.

Hehe.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Ya, maybe I shall keep up with the changing time. But I still respect the name my parents give it to me. Heng ah, they never call me Ah Gu or Ah Kow: )

Anonymous said...

But Mr Bean.
I am Goh Ah Gong.I am proud to have a typical Chinese name.
One may not be able to speak their mother tongue and enjoy the benefit of it.One may have lost their cultural root.I am in no position to comment.But we should not discourage others just becos we cannot speak our mother tongue.We are not AngMo.We should be multilingual if not at least being able to speak our mother tongue.English is just another language for me to interact with others.

agongkia said...

sorry,ealier posting by Goh Ah Gong was mine.

Anonymous said...

Mr Bean;

You have said all that were in my heart for donkey years which i was unable to write them in the English Language as well as You have done here.

Thank You very much for helping people like me to show our angsts.

patriot

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Patriot, I am glad that you support the doing away with mother tongue ; )

Anonymous said...

Like to add that the Ang Moes(Whites) were/are not responsible for the deaths of the ethnic languages/vernaculars/dialects and cultures.

Hard to believe, but easy to see for oneself that the Death blows came from some local westernized' leaders. Funnily, these local leaders frequently visit China and Taiwan. Though they are of Chinese descents, they travelled with translators and interpreters to communicate with the Mainlanders and Taiwanese. What have gone wrong with their cultural identity?
Or are there genetic defects?

patriot

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Agongkia, sure your name is Goh Ah Gong?

Our name, just like the language, is a history of where we were and what we have become. Many of our forbears were illiterate and just make do with whatever there was in life. It was live and let live. Life was simple. Having a beautiful name and paying a fortune teller to have one was only for the few very rich.

Some parents went to the police station to register their babies and when asked what name to give, they could simply said,'ching chai' which meant anything lah.

And the half literate policeman would just write in the birth cert, name, Tan Ching Chai or Lee Ching Chai.

A name tells a story.

Anonymous said...

I have M'sian colleagues who grew up not learning a single word of Mandarin, yet they do not seem to be lesser "Chinese" than the younger generation of S'porean chinese. So cut the crap about chinese language heritage and so forth. Bring back the chinese educated schools for those chinese chauvinists and let everyone have a choice.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The babas will be better example of one who still retain their cultural roots despite living with a different language.

What has been so successful here is our balanced and bilingual policy. Even in Europe they are also in favour of bilingualism. And English is a very impt language and no one is against the learning of it.

I still remember the little American boy who exclaimed, ma, the blood of the negro boy is red, like us. One day a Singaporean boy may visit China and exclaim, mammy, why is it that the Chinese boy looks like me?

Language, cultural identity etc are not something that is superficial like wearing a hook on the lip, doing hip hop etc. These are things that have a long historical significance and will have many consequences if we take the wrong step.

We must learn from the Malaysian experience of lowering the weightage of English. Once done, the damage is very serious and cannot be undone easily.

agongkia said...

Ya. I am proud of this humble name but many of those whom I known like to call me Ah Kong.I told them I am too young to be call Ah Kong but they insist that Ah Kong is easier to pronounce .If I dun accept that I am a Ah Kong to them,they want to name me Arthur.So I LL got to answer them when they call me Ah Kong.These are usually my my friends who have fanciful names but do not know how to tell the difference between Ah Gong and Ah Kong.
Nothing offensive ,I hope.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I read your first few lines and decided that you must be joking.

Singaporeans are native speakers of English? No lah, you mean Singlish right?

So those Kay Ang Mo Kias expect to survive with solely Singlish which only an infinitesimal percentage of the global population understands?

You are joking right? We've got potential Einsteins. We can definitely overcome the bilingual/MT hurdle.

Seriously, problem is not MT but Singlish. We need to dump Singlish and master both English and Chinese separately.

Anonymous said...

The discussions on the Mother Tongue Language is more of an emotional/cultural attachment of one to his/her ethnic roots.

As for the commercial and mercantile advantage make possible by knowing popular foreign languages, all businesses are awared of it since time immemorial. BUT WHY ARE THE ANG MOES(WHITES) NOT LEARNING CHINESE AND INDIAN LANGUAGES?? THEY HAD BEEN IN THE ORIENTS FOR CENTURIES AND THEY CERTAINLY KNOW HOW GIGANTIC THESE REGIONS ARE in term of market.

Dare I say only the STUPID and ROTTEN ASIANS think in pragmatic and silly ways. Me am sick of perverted arguments by pragmatist and convertibles.

In the context of SIN, those advocating the adoption of the English Language as Official Language, Business Language, Working Language and First Language are those harbouring political/personal agenda and those sheeple who have given up their ethnic identities through the bastardized process since the brainwashings started when the Vernaculars were murdered.

patriot

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Whichever way the govt decides, it is going to please some and anger some.

Is it time to do the rightful and not the popular. What is the right thing to do and which is the popular thing?

Some think doing away with MTL is the popular thin, some don't. Some think doing away with MTL is the right thing, some don't.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you...

We are all descendants of the Yellow Emperor except for the lesser beings who we are keeping suppressed by not allowing them into our SAP schools or letting them get into the military etc

As superior beings, we need to preserve our superior language as our motherland is already the greatest country on Earth, the center of the universe where peasants live in luxury in even the smallest of villages and kind and wise Confucian officials take very small salaries to rule over billions of people.

Why bother letting people choose what language to learn or whether to learn languages at all?? They should all learn the greatest language of all, then they can become wise Jun Zi!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:31,

Preservation of MTL is for all the major racial groups here. Why are you making such indiscriminate remarks at the minority races?

I doubt you are from the majority group. Your intent in this post revealed your hidden identity.

Anonymous said...

One observation.

The minorities learning their mother tongues do not seem to face such nonsense (I may be wrong) as the majority race, trying to distance themselves from their own roots. This must be the result of the brainwashing years ago and repeated constantly, now reaping the harvest of the seeds sown.

I hope the Chinese in China are not learning from us in this respect, and that their leaders are wiser. Otherwise, that would be disastrous.

Learn English by all means, but do not forget our roots and heritage.

Wally Buffet said...

I've never seen a Malay or an Indian trying to speak and act like an Ang Mo. Have you?

Therein lies the problem.

What you said is quite true about the Chinese in China. Sadly some supposedly emancipated women in the big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are aping those in the western countries, speaking English and forsaking their own language. Not wonder the gwei lous treat them like dirt. Use and discard. Stupid bitches if you ask me. If Mao were alive, they would be shot and their corpses used for fertilizers.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Absolutely true: the mother tongue debate is total nonsense. It should die.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The Chinese language called mother tongue here is not exactly so. The mother tongue of most Chinese Singaporeans are dialects and hardly anyone can call Mandarin his/her mother tongue. This has added a huge burden for them to try to learn this new variation of their mother tongue, and it is not easy.

The Chinese in China also were compelled by the state to adopt Mandarin as an official/national language. There are 56 minority groups in China and they are all learning/using Mandarin, including the Tibetans, Mongolians, Uighurs and many smaller groups.

The promotion of Mandarin in China is to forge a common language for national unity. We are promoting this language to make it easier for the different dialect groups to communicate, and for Chinese Singaporeans to communicate with other Chinese.

The initial stages are difficult but mostly over. The dialect speakers are mostly gone or are going. The pain level will be lighter and lesser. I too will be leaving my dialect behind and adopting Mandarin for common usage. There is a price to pay, sure.

Now some foolish people want to start all over again. In another generation, dialect will be a thing of the past, and the majority of young Singaporeans will be Mandarin speakers, some better, some not that good.

Want to start anew?

Anonymous said...

"I've never seen a Malay or an Indian trying to speak and act like an Ang Mo. Have you?"

Yes, plenty. It's a whole generation brought up on western liberal influence.

They are the main group making noise about how difficult mother tongue is, how it suppresses human rights, is racist, right to choice etc.

This MT episode has been exploited to the full by these "liberals" for political reasons/to fulfill their own agenda, if we care to scrutinize their arguments further.

Anonymous said...

Vincent say
The petition were mostly Signed by
immigrants and new citizens from
China and Taiwan. No Singaporean
signed it.
They just want more Singaporeans
to learn Chinese lanuage so that
they can make big money here.
The Chinese language tuition centers and the MediaCorp are mainly run and occupied by them.
If Chinese language is readily
useful why the Nanyang University
was shut down.

Anonymous said...

Nantah(Nanyang University) was built by Chinese Migrants BUT WAS DAMNED BY A LOCAL BORN CHINESE, sick!

patriot

Anonymous said...

See now even the FTs are dragged in to throw mud on the FT policy.

What's new?

What petition? I don't even know about it. How to sign? Reason could also be that Singaporeans and PRCs have different ways of making themselves heard.

How does fluency in MT disadvantage Singaporeans c.f. PRCs? Why begrudge them for making money if we choose to use their services?

MT is about legacy, heritage and identity first. The utilitarian aspect is a plus.

Tell you what, those who are dying to be white bananas, why don't you propose that the government allows you to change your race to ang mo pedigree, so you can have your French, Spanish, German or whatever ang mo MT you wish to replace your Asian MT.

If you do not wish to acknowledge your Asian heritage, you do not deserve to be classified under an Asian race.

And let's see if your ang mo gods will recognize you and welcome you with open arms into their fold or if they will find it ridiculous for a yellow/brown skinned Asian to be classified as Caucasian white.

Anonymous said...

They are not foolish people who want to start all over again but just people who are proud of their dialect.You have the choice to give up your dialect but that does not mean others who want to continue speaking dialects are foolish.
If one is handicap in learning more than 1 language or think Ang Mor is great,he is free to speak their language ,dye their hair to red,call themselves robert,get themselves converted to what the ang mo practice but pls dun tell dialect will be something of the past.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Anon 5:26,

I think you misread what I meant by the expression of foolishness. I am referring to a system that the govt has worked so hard and so long to make it a success, and it is getting very near to its goal of bilingualism. I think it is foolish to stop it three quarter of the way and change into a new system.

The young are mostly bilingual today, and many have forgotten the dialects. For those who want to keep on to their dialects, it is a personal thing. I am still fluent in my dialect. For those who want to speak English and French and German, it is also a personal thing. The Indians and Malays may have different views on their MTL as well. Some may want to go west but some may not.

A govt policy is meant for the general good of its people and to lead the people into the future. The brutal burning of all forms of writings during the Chin Dynasty was an ancient example of how and why govt did such things.

The consequences of such policies will only be experienced in the future generations. Whatever policies, there are pros and cons for the nation and may be different for the individuals.

Anonymous said...

Nanyang University was shut down primarily due to political reasons, not the usefulness of the Chinese Language.

At that time the influence of communist China's ideals on the Chinese educated was relatively strong, particularly in Chinese schools and Nanyang University. What they did was to remove the roots of resistance. Of course very good reasons were put forward, as always.

As many have pointed out, the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans do not need to marginalise the use of their own language to move ahead, but we have taken a different approach by adopting English to the almost total exclusion of all else.