Singapore (Part 2)
I remember my first day at work in Singapore back in 2007. It was at a morning briefing, a meeting that was held every morning before the start of the working day to review the daily operation, and every one that was present had their turn to inform others on whatever they felt was necessary information. And I am sitting there looking at my General Manager with a confused look on my face, he is looking at me with a peculiar smile as if he was saying to me ” I know, I know”. There were some “expats” in the room but the majority were Singaporeans. Going around the table I listened to what the others had to bring to this briefing. Then it was my turn to say something. I paused for a very brief moment, all eyes were on me, and this is what I said. “Good morning all, I am very sorry but I did not understand one word most of you were saying just now”. Then the whole room bursted out in a loud laughter. Although English is the common language in Singapore, I was going to have to really get used to the way it was spoken by the locals.
Statistics says that twenty percent of Singaporeans, or one out of every five cannot read or write in English. I tend to disagree and think that number should be higher. Not only read and write but speak as well. But there is a reason why the Singapore government decided to use English as the common language. More on that later. One thing you will very quickly adopt, and without you probably realising it at first, when you live and work in Singapore is that in no time you will be saying the word “Lah” after every sentence you speak. Wether you like it or not, it’s that catching. Trust me lah…you will lah. And if you visit Singapore after being away for a while, and it does not matter how long that might have been, you instantly will pick that up again. Will……lah!
to be continued…