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Summer Rain, und der Narr June 11, 2006

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Oh, my love it's you that i dream of – oh, my love, since that day;
Somewhere in my heart i'm always dancing with you in the summer rain;
Doesn't matter what i do, and it doesn't matter what i say;
Somewhere in my heart we're always dancing together in summer rain…

Sorry. Allow me to retro a bit – i can't help it if the song's stuck in my head, can i?! Everytime it comes on i just want to stand up and dance. HAHAHA…anyway, it's bloody June now, and we've already seen close to one week of rain. I mean, it's nice. The Earth always smells fresh and wonderful, and instead of baking in the summer Sun we get fresh, cool breezes around the clock. In camp, i'd probably be very happy, because cold days only make menthol fags even colder. And did i mention that rain makes for very good sleeping weather?

Thank Goodness for some rain in the middle of summer.

It's also good weather to reflect, and to pursue your indoor hobbies – these days, i've been reading tons of literature…intending to finish my current book, Straße der Sterne soon…it's about a blind girl's pilgrimage from Regensburg to the westernmost part of Spain in search of the Holy Saint Jacob, who will heal her blindness. All in 13th-century Europe! Too bad the majority of you all don't understand German…hahaha.

But this morning, when i was lying in bed, still considering whether to get up or not, with Class 95 in the background, when i heard something in the news which…amused me to no end. I quote,

'When questioned about the falling English standards in Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Education Minister, mentioned that the Ministry may consider employing native speakers in schools.'

What…balderdash! It's so absurd, it hurts, mister Education Minister. And forgive me, but i think i'm going to switch to German now.

Ich bete Sie, tun Sie nicht mehr weiter so, als ob Sie ein Narr wäre! Falls Sie es vergessen haben: Englisch ist auch unsere Muttersprache. Englisch ist nicht nur eine Sprache, die die verschiedene ethnische Gruppen verbindet, sondern auch die Schulsprache, Wirtschaftssprache, Wissenschaftssprache, und so weiter. Als Kinder mit der Schule anfangen, lernen sie Englisch. Schulfächer wie z.B. Mathematik, die Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften werden auch auf Englisch unterrichtet. Wie sind Sie denn darauf, dass wir kein Mutterspracher sind?!

Sie wollen also Engländer beauftragen, nach Singapur als Englischlehrer bzw. -innen zu kommen? Vergessen Sie nicht, dass die Sprache dieser Engländer vermutlich auch von einer Mundart beeinflusst worden ist. Vielleicht ist es Ihnen auch ganz o.k., weil es doch einen schöneren Klang als unser 'Singlisch' hat, oder? Wollen Sie, dass unsere Schüler- bzw. -innen solches Englisch sprechen:

'Oh!! That was just absolutely fan-tas-tic! Fantabulous! Now you must come with me; it's time for tea and biscuits!'

Nein, das geht überhaupt nicht. Wir dürfen Englisch nicht so aussprechen, als ob wir Engländer wären – wegen der Tatsache, dass wir kein Engländer sind. Es ist doch egal, dass Englisch hierzulande sein eigenen Geschmack bekommen hat, denn so ist es mit der Entwicklung von Sprachen – Jede Sprache wird an unterschiedlichen Orten ein bisschen voneinander unterschiedlich – im Ausdruck, Wortschatz, oder eben Grammatik – wieso nicht? Sie sollten nicht die andere Sprachen unterschätzen – sie verliehen die englische Sprache etwas, die ganz zu uns gehört, und niemendem anders.

Die Aufgabe heisst also: Korrektes Englisch beizubringen, aber nicht so, dass die Umgangssprache vernichtet wird. Es ist kaum zu erwünschen, dass unser sprachlicher Ausdruck dem Schriftlichen gleicht…könnten Sie das sich mal vorstellen? Okay weiter auf Englisch…

There are already Singaporean English teachers who can teach English from the perspective of a native speaker. So, use them! So long as your students know when to use English and when it's okay not to, then there you have it. Suppressing Singlish is probably a very unwise move. Also, learning German actually strengthened my English.

Why?

Because in learning a foreign language from scratch, we actually learnt a lot of grammar. Subject-verb agreement, tenses, cases, genders, sentence structure, et cetera. In English, we were never taught that the verb has to be here, and this has to be there. Instead, we were taught cursive handwriting. Okay, that's probably irrelevant, but we could have used the time better learning a solid grammar foundation. Much of my language is probably attributed to all i've read so far.

In the meantime, we can't expect students to evolve into linguistical geniuses overnight, so perhaps we'll have to start shifting the focus of the syllabus instead, from vocabulary to grammar and encouraging broad reading. And yes, we are native speakers. We were native speakers ever since we were a Crown Colony. Don't ever forget. Singaporeans can teach English just as well as the Brits can teach them, and what's more, if you think Singaporean teachers could never be up to the Brits' standard anyway, then you should've gone ahead and hired them in the same way you attract 'fallenFOREIGN talent' anyway – high pay, good benefits, free education for the kids, yadda, yadda.

It's insulting. And there probably are people amongst us who have English standards equalling, if not surpassing, that of the Brits. Probably you could use foreign talent in training teachers, but…using them to teach students? I doubt you'd see much of a difference.

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