mental indigestion

Angsty English August 26, 2010

Filed under: Mopey mops — mel @ 10:29 pm

For the past week, I’ve been on a rather surreal adult learning course where everyone around me could not really speak English. They are all lovely people, and I thoroughly enjoyed their company….but I felt terrible how I kept wincing in agony every time I heard the English language being crucified (e.g. “The staffs there can helps you, I likes it there because they put the very nice smiles on.”) What was even more disturbing is that the people sitting around me could not spell so they practically copied everything off my workbook just so they could get away with passing the course.

Most of these people are mid-career people, some even in management positions. I really wonder how do they get by with e-mails or reading business documents or  giving presentations for that matter? I’m so, so, so perturbed. After this, I’m actually really doubting that English can pull it off as a first language in Singapore.

However, because these said course mates could not really communicate in English, they did not have much choice but to tolerate my half-baked Mandarin. I bet they were wincing pretty hard too. And I’m starting to understand why the Chinese-speaking camp does not want me to torture their ears with my garbled Chinese.

And you know what’s even more scary? The so-called “next generation”, because of some weird form of language education they received, are not getting any better in terms of English AND Mother Tongue literacy.  In the end, this society has a lot of people not being really good in any kind of language. And with a limited grasp of language, it means a severe shortage of self-expression and meaningful communication.

I’m not sure why, but I find this thought so absolutely terrifying! 😦


6 Responses to “Angsty English”

  1. olduvai Says:

    Oh dear, what course was that?

  2. melch Says:

    a service-related course – it is actually a really good course and i enjoyed myself but was just so surprised at the general english proficiency of the “real world” (and not, as discussed with joan just last night, our sheltered world of people from the same type of schools).

  3. melch Says:

    sigh i realise that the last comment is so snobby. and i’m also killing the caps.

  4. Char Says:

    how strange… i remember that someone had a made a similar comment when we were still in primary school – that the sad thing about singaporeans is that we can speak neither english nor chinese well 😦 but i do like that we have singlish! no matter what anyone says, i still love it!

  5. melch Says:

    @char: 🙂 yeah it’s a pretty special language.

  6. Maite Says:

    Singlish. Ohhhhnoooo.

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