Singapore: singin’ no blues in four languages…

Singapore has always had an image–I mean identity–problem. I mean: what do you do when you’re a tiny city-state slash ex-Malaysia cast-off slash Chinese immigrant magnet slash ex-Straits settlement British crown colony commonwealth cultural mash-up without comparison in the modern world? For starters, you speak English, boldly and proudly, and hope for the best. After all, what choice do you have?

City-states are not so common, after all. So Singapore makes its living as the financial center, entrepot and transportation hub of Southeast Asia and South Pacific, culture optional, anything but Pidgin sh*t welcome. So the locals mangle English and Malay and call it ‘Manglish’, while the Chinese try to concentrate on Mandarin as preferable to a dozen lesser dialects, all the while learning English…

The national anthem is in the Malay language, but few people now speak it. And oh yeah, it sits close and central enough to Indonesia to act as a hub for flights originating and terminating there (that doesn’t count as a visa run, though–tried that already). It’s a mess, in gleaming squeaky-clean near-fascist fashion. there’s nothing like it; that’s for sure…

p.s. The other language is Tamil, can’t have a commonweal without Indians…

 

 

 

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