Singapore is a multiracial nation where different languages and dialects are spoken. However, the working language is English.
That being the case, I was really taken aback when, during my recent stay at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, practically all the Chinese doctors and nurses spoke to me in Mandarin.
They looked at me, a Chinese patient in his 70s, and decided that I must understand Mandarin.
I had to raise my hand and tell them to stop, as I don't understand a word of Mandarin.
When I visited the hospital again, I stopped a nurse, showed her a text message in English on my mobile phone, and asked her in English for directions to the location indicated in the message. Again, the reply was given in Mandarin.
While I was in the ward, I also observed that when Chinese nurses or doctors talked to one another, they used Mandarin instead of English.
Neo Poh Goon