Hard to feel proud of ungrammatical English

I hear Singlish expressions being used almost every day (Time to improve standard of English here, by Mr Joe Teo Kok Seah; Oct 2).

The last straw was when my son came back from childcare speaking Singlish too.

His teacher speaks good English, so I cannot fathom where he learnt to speak so much Singlish. Perhaps he picked it up from his classmates.

The issue of Singlish is nothing new and has been brought up in the media before.

Linguists consider Singlish to be an independent variety of English that comes with its own set of rules.

But how do we draw the line between errors in grammar and syntax, and language evolution? Does it mean that if a "mistake" is repeated often enough and by enough people, it becomes acceptable or even a "rule"?

Researchers who study Singlish usually have a good standard of English. But locals who cannot code-switch will suffer in their studies, interviews or job performances.

Singlish is a badge of identity for Singaporeans.

However, I do not feel proud of speaking ungrammatical or confusing English.

I hope I can still be recognised as a Singaporean despite speaking good English.

I think this problem needs to be solved before it becomes a disadvantage to learn English in Singapore.

Ng Poh Leng (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2017, with the headline 'Hard to feel proud of ungrammatical English'. Print Edition | Subscribe