I feel very strongly about this so don’t be surprised if you hear a series of rants from me on this very topic.

Look at this print advertising (image removed so I can’s show it). I think the government, in this case, has it all wrong. First of all, we must view Singlish as a language or at worst, patois in its own right and not English gone wrong. Singlish has evolved out of our multi-racialism and it’s probably the one true thing that has organically developed rather than been manufactured by a campaign. It’s our identity and one element that we all identify with whether we are Chinese, Indian, Malay or Eurasian.

We must also remember that languages evolve. What is considered “good” English today would probably be considered very poor English a number of years ago.  Why kill the only thing that our nation has created that truly is a result of our unique brand of multi-racialism rather than brand it bad and try and kill the language. Yes, I believe Singlish is a language.

Now, let’s look at this ad. The “good” English translation is pathetic at best. It does not connote the sense of urgency that “die, die, must finish” has. In my opinion, “we must finish this” is not an accurate translation and the nuances are all lost, making it a weak and completely washed out excuse of a translation to “proper” English.

When we say “die, die, must finish” as Singaporeans to each other, we understand. “We must finish this”? Sad. Very sad.

Incidentally, I’m writing this in what the government will probably approve as fairly good English. I can also speak Singlish. I will not give it up. I consider myself bilingual in English and Singlish.