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Sat, Jul 18, 2009
The Straits Times
S'pore is her home because of multiracial and religious harmony - and English

I REFER to Tuesday's letters on the emphasis on Mandarin by Mr Mak Sek Hung ('Why not?') and Mr Kelvin Yang ('Unity, that's why').

I am of Chinese-Indian descent and migrated from Malaysia when I was 14 years old. My father, who is Indian, speaks English, Hokkien and Malay. My mother speaks Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese although she is of Fuchian descent.

I speak English, Malay and a smattering of French; my sister speaks English and Malay and is now learning German in Switzerland. Both of us are not well-versed in Mandarin and Tamil because we converse mainly in English.

I made Singapore my home because this is where I feel I belong. Here is a place where people of all races, nationalities and religions exist in harmony because we embrace people's differences and understand each other through one language - English.

It does not matter what China does, or if English is the most popular language in the world. What matters is the importance of national inclusion.

I agree with Mr Yang that unity is the reason why English should remain our main spoken language. We are Singaporeans and are proud of it because we are well-educated and hardworking and a multicultural nation.

Learn another language - be it Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish or Japanese. But no language should have predominance over another here as no one race is superior over another. We are all Singaporeans, so be proud in that knowledge and let us walk the talk - in English.

Sharmala Huey Yuen Bala Raju (Ms)

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

 
 
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