Don't take use of Singlish too seriously

Mr Ong Siew Chey's concerns are misplaced (Unnecessary to promote Singlish; Forum Online, March 14).

In my years of higher education and interaction with friends and educators who use Singlish, I have not encountered any instance where they used it because of their inability to converse or write well in standard English.

Our excessive worry about Singlish can sometimes be likened to our approach in life, where we take things too seriously and literally, and lose the fun, joy and enjoyment of the light-hearted moments.

While we might, from time to time, use Singlish for tongue-in-cheek responses and advertisements, I think most of us are able to code-switch and understand the different contexts in which Singlish can be used to deliver a punch or bring a smile to the message recipient.

That said, we should not advocate the use of Singlish in an academic instructional medium, so as not to confuse learners, especially younger children.

If we are to micromanage every ad or piece of communication that uses Singlish, just because it comes across as promoting the wrong use of the English language, should we also ban snack or beverage ads because they promote an unhealthy style?

Many of us know better.

Relax lah.

Matthew Lim Hock Kee

IT IS A BRIDGE BETWEEN PEOPLE

Singlish is a language of inclusivity. No one is excluded from speaking it and being understood in it. It is a bridge between people of different backgrounds. It strengthens understanding between people of different races and social classes. There should be no reason why such a unique and inclusive aspect of Singaporean culture should not be celebrated.

CARINA TAY JINGYI (MS)

IT IS PART OF OUR CULTURE

With a rapidly growing population and wide range of cultures here, it is important that we retain Singlish as a foundation of the country. We also should not associate its use with a lack of education. We should be unafraid to use it, where possible. "Creativity" should never be in a box. Creativity has no limits.

EGAN HWAN KUN HE

IT IS FOR EVERYONE

One cannot assume Singlish is spoken by people whose English ability has been marred by Chinese dialects. Many young Chinese Singaporeans, who do not speak dialects, understand Singlish. Crucially, Malay and Indian Singaporeans speak Singlish too. Reducing Singlish to a Chinese-English hybrid erases the diversity of its speakers' ethnicities, flattening the complexity of Singlish's power to unite people across ethnic and social divides. We do not need to put Singlish down in order to teach proper English.

BENSON PANG WEN KANG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Don't take use of Singlish too seriously'. Print Edition | Subscribe