Chinese Language Disappearing in Singapore

Lately a lot of importance is being attached to speaking Chinese (Mandarin) all over the world, especially in America. However, Singapore seems to be following an opposite pattern. Instead of Mandarin finding more acceptance among the youth, it is being ignored and even ignored.

Many reasons have been suggested for this. Young people in Singapore mainly identify with the already popular English, while they generally find Chinese to be much more difficult than its rival. In a way they are not wrong. Chinese has around 6,000 characters that need to be learned before you can claim to have learned enough about the language. Compare this to the 26 letters required in English, and the preference becomes clear. Furthermore, young Singaporeans give little thought to the career prospects offered by the Chinese. In addition, many parents encourage their children to be educated in English rather than Chinese, further compounding the problems.

The Singapore government has already taken steps to encourage more people to speak Chinese with its “Speak Mandarin Campaign” and heavily promotes books and CD-ROMs to teach Chinese. These are designed to stimulate interest in (Mandarin) Chinese throughout Singapore.

Sadly, people are forgetting about their own roots in favor of the latest and greatest developments in the world around them. People who come to Singapore from China hoping to find an environment in which they can thrive are quickly disillusioned when they see a place that doesn’t look anything like what they expected. “Even all the signs and instructions are given only in English,” says one immigrant. Aside from China Town and a few other places, you can’t find much Chinese; this despite the fact that an overwhelming 78% of Singapore’s population is Chinese.

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