Plugging Mother tongue gap in Singapore

Anthea Fraser Gupta A.F.Gupta at
Fri Mar 18 00:50:04 UTC 2005

Malay is used in stereotypical commands in the army, but English is the language of explanation, administration, and so on. Being able to turn left, right and stand to attention in Malay wouldn't get you very far in helping people.
I suppose that the older Singaporeans just had a shock-horror experience of realising that the younger generation (apart from Malays) just couldn't have a conversation in Malay any more.  As I've said in print, the drop in knowledge of cross-ethnic languages is an unintended result of the education policy since children were required to learn the language of their 'race', and since virtually universal education in English-medium made English practically the only language used in cross-ethnic communication. That chicken is just coming home to roost.

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: owner-lgpolicy-list at on behalf of Harold F. Schiffman 
	Sent: Wed 16/03/2005 19:41 
	To: lgpolicy-list at 
	Subject: RE: Plugging Mother tongue gap in Singapore

	Anthea, thanks!
	One thing I wasn't sure of: is Malay the (main) language used in the
	military in Singapore, and is that one reason the troops dispatched to
	Aceh were expected to (but didn't) understand Indonesian?

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