English or Chinese, it's still Singapore

The commentary on Beijing's growing influence asked whether Chinese might replace English as the language of commerce in Singapore ("Will Chinese replace English as facts on the ground change?"; May 8).

We must ask how English reached our shores in the first place. It was a legacy of the British Empire when it ruled a great part of the world.

It is fortunate that we have picked up English, which plugs us into the world. However, not all of us claim an affinity to the language, let alone a sense of belonging to Singapore because of it.

If, by picking up a language, it helps me connect to the world out there, all the better. It is, after all, in line with the call for Singaporeans to venture abroad.

With the resurgence of the Chinese, it will be a matter of time before their reach and influence hit our shores. That English can be replaced is not unthinkable, just like how the yuan has become a world currency for trade and foreign reserves ("Yuan's role in global trade fast expanding"; Oct 22, 2015).

What draws the young to Shanghai or Beijing? It is the lights, sounds and all things novel. Knowing Chinese gets them through the doors. It is hip.

Our identity as Singaporeans goes beyond the language we adopt. It is the people and places that root us here.

Lee Teck Chuan