Use local voices for public announcements

A photo taken in 2018 showing pedestrians in the central business district.
A photo taken in 2018 showing pedestrians in the central business district.PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

What does it say about Singapore when visitors do not hear the local accent in public announcements, interactive displays in museums and automated phone responses?

As these are all pre-recorded voice messages, surely there are capable Singaporeans out there who can lend their voices to such services?

This year is Singapore's bicentenary and its 54th year of independence. Singapore is globally renowned for its education system, port, airport, banking system, housing and, most importantly, its competent and hard-working people.

One of its spoken languages is English, and top journalism and broadcaster positions are held by Singaporeans.

With a good number of them in such fields, I feel they can represent Singapore when it comes to public announcements and other pre-recorded messages.

I am not saying we should shun foreign voices per se. I simply believe it is time for our Singaporean voice to be the dominant one for announcements in public buildings and museums, as well as in telephone services.

Otherwise, visitors and even Singaporeans will be left wondering where Singaporeans' English ability and diction fall short.

Florence Veronica Minjoot

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Use local voices for public announcements'. Print Edition | Subscribe