Singlish? Don't make it part of Spore identity: PM
Jeremy Au Yong
Sat, Sep 22, 2007
The Straits Times

IF the Prime Minister had his way, Singlish would have as little to do with Singaporeans' sense of identity as possible.

Mr Lee was asked by a student from China how he saw that unique language helping to bond Singaporeans.

He was candid in his response.

'I think many Singaporeans will not agree with me but I don't think we should start a new language in Singapore called Singlish. There are too few of us.'

He said that Singaporeans needed to make themselves intelligible to people who did not understand Singlish.

So it was best that they learnt how to speak English, which is the working langauge here.

'We have to have a sense of who we are, but it cannot be based on speaking Singlish. It has to be based on your pride in being a Singaporean, you grew up here...this is where you can make a difference and you fit in,' he added.

He said that there were some indications that Singaporeans were developing a sense of pride in their country.

The PM's evidence? He had been told, he said, that when they are overseas, some Singaporeans have a habit of remarking that 'Ah, but we do it better in Singapore'.

They would say that over a range of things, including food, urban planning and customs checks.

'So as a result, we now have a breed of ugly Singaporeans who are very proud of themselves, which is good, but who just denigrate everybody else, which is bad,'' he said.

'But I think we should keep the first half and try to correct the second half.'

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