A Word On Singlish

Hello friends,

So this year for our ARC class (that’s GP for all you mainstream students), our topic focus will be on arts censorship! Sounds super cheem and stuff but I’m actually interested in learning about it. And also because… well… I get to talk about controversial stuff in class ūüėÄ

Anyway, while I was reading Wikipedia on it (there’s an entire article on arts censorship in Singapore), I read something about a censorship article in Singapore television. The article states that we should try to avoid portrayals of Singlish speaking characters on TV as much as possible.

I disagree with that.


Let me start of by saying, in no way am I saying that Singlish is superior over our standard form of english. I ain’t saying that we should all use it 24/7, because screw standard english. I’m just saying, that we should really stop looking down on it and that we should be slightly more accepting towards it.

Basically, I really don’t see what is wrong about singlish. It’s english with a few other languages mixed in. And plus, english was also once viewed as a bastardised form of latin spoken by Anglo Saxons, who the then-civilised Romans believed were a weird, messed up ¬†group of people. I’m not saying that Singlish will one day take over the world, but I’m just saying that we should not be so quick to assume that it is necessarily a disgraceful and bad thing just because it’s not the “normal way” to speak english, or that it is a weird¬†concoction¬†of english and other languages.

I also think that shunning singlish to the back closet is not embracing our culture for what it is and personally I was a bit shocked that our censors said that. I mean, it is with reason, but I think that looking down on its use in media is pretty stifling towards the Singaporean culture. Yes, we know the Phua Chu Kang Sdn. Bhd. is very embarrassing but please remember that Phua Chu Kang is still very synonymous to the Singaporean culture.

Thanks for reading my long and not very strong argument for Singlish. It’s really not definite and not the best argument in favour of it but I really don’t intend for it to change the minds of the masses or anything. This is a really big topic, and one post written in a frenzy cannot possibly cover the full spectrum of this debate. There are also many degrees of acceptance towards Singlish and it’s appropriate usage, so I can’t really argue it for “one side”. And plus, I’m also not really very keen on actually arguing it, so just know that my entire post was just my personal opinion¬†However, I just felt that I needed to get it out there that we should be a little more prouder of our own culture instead of pushing it into a space that is only reserved for old uncles and aunties from the heartlands.

And please don’t turn my comment section into a debate arena because I’m really not trying to fight anyone here.

Just my opinion, if you think it’s wrong, blame me and my over the top Sg Pride.


2 thoughts on “A Word On Singlish

  1. Well I’m afraid I’d have to disagree. I am totally not ashamed of using Singlish as long as I’m comfortable with code-switching, which means I know when it’s appropriate to talk Singlish and when it’s more suitable for standard English. However, others might not be as enlightened, or they might not bother as much, or they might just get too addicted to Singlish because it might be hip and cool. Phua Chu Kang, as you’ve mentioned, started off with way too much Singlish until the kids were mimicking him all day long and frankly, it was really bad for the learning of the language. Thus, they scripted PCK to have attended some “upgrading” courses and he came back with a better command of the language.

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