Thursday, 8 September 2016

Jiak Ba Buay

The govt produced a Hokkien info-drama series to reach out to the Hokkien-monolingual seniors to inform them of govt policies that would be beneficial to them (I believe the subject would be about Medishield). 

The comments on FB were generally along the lines of "Finally!" or "Why is it being aired at noon on Friday?"

Here is the music video promoting the series.

Then there were comments like this:

LT: To really reflect the real Singapore den we should have different dialect la where can u see all speak hokkien? Where are the Cantonese n teochew etc...

PY: I am born and bred singapore, cantonese is my dialect. But it seems that the gov only recognize hokkien to be the only dialect among the chinese community in sg. What happens if i dont understand hokkien? So all chinese singaporean must know hokkien? Thats assumption to the max! 

LL: PY, I think your response is the reason why there was an anti-dialect/pro-mandarin campaign in the 70s and 80s. The govt is now realising that the push for Mandarin (at the expense of dialect) has left many of our seniors behind, and resulted in their isolation.
So this is their reach out to the isolated monolingual/ Hokkien-speaking-only seniors. Why not Cantonese and Teochew, and Khek/Hakka, Hainanese/Hylamese, and the myriad of other lesser known dialect groups?

For that matter, what about non-Tamil speaking Indians - those who speak Hindi, Malayalam, etc? 
Why Hokkien? 
"So all Chinese Singaporean must know Hokkien?" You ask. Rhetorically? Not from the context of your comment. 
The obvious answer is no. All Chinese Singaporeans born in the last 51 years are expected to know English. And Mandarin. 
This Hokkien info-drama is intended for Hokkien-speaking seniors. Who only speak and understand Hokkien. 
Are you one?

Obviously not. You commented in English. 
But thank you (and LT) for making this about you, your dialect, and showing me that the govt was indeed right to squash dialect and the latent divisiveness of dialects and promote unity among the Chinese Singaporeans with a common language (Mandarin).

I was going to comment that the govt had erred in the 70s and 80s when they squashed dialects and isolated the dialect-only Singaporeans. How that had resulted in their social isolation - grandchildren could not speak to their grandparents, did not understand them, could not relate to them.

And how this info-drama is both an indictment of their shortsighted policies and an overdue recognition that those very policies have adversely affected the Pioneer Generation. 
Then I read LT's and your self-centred comments. Or if not self-centred, in-group-centred, potentially divisive comments.

So thank you for proving (unfortunately) that the govt (or LKY) was right then. I still think that they owe a debt to the seniors who went along with the policy, even tho it lead to the seniors' increasing isolation.

The fact is most of the seniors accepted the sacrifice they had to make for the progress of Singapore, and the future of their grandchildren. Without complaint.

And they (well, the Hokkien-speaking seniors, at least) will see this as vindication for, and recognition of their sacrifice.

And LT and you chose to complain. 
Well, your implied (you didn't actually ask this, because your focus was all about you) question - what about the Cantonese-speaking seniors - is valid. 
Well, two answers. The first one is speculative - Wait. Maybe there will be a Cantonese-dubbed version in due course. Maybe. Maybe not. Not a satisfying answer at all. 
The second one is personal. You. If you have an (isolated) elderly relative who speaks only Cantonese and cannot understand govt policies that would be helpful to them, why aren't you helping them understand those policies? Why are you adding to their isolation? Must the govt come up with a Cantonese info-drama before your relative is "rescued" from their isolation? THAT is assumption to the max.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Committee on the Elected Presidency (or whatever it is called) has proposed a "Reserved Election" for Minority Candidates if more than 5 elected Presidents have not been represented by that minority group.

And, to be expected, the recommendation had a mixed reception.

Negative online comments included:
Why not hold a national referendum asking Sg citizen if we want a minority president by force
Sounds like propaganda. And please, don't the pap ibs go around trying to convince us we are racists!
As LKY has always warned. racial faultlines are deep-seated, visceral and emotive. It is hard to reason with, be reasonable to, and to rationalise racial faultlines. 

There is a similarity between the pro-Dialectics, and the anti-Reserved Presidency group, tho to be fair, the pro-Dialectics are much smaller in number. From the online comments, the anti-Reserved Presidency group is slightly larger, but I do not think they are a majority.

We are in... no... we have always had to tread carefully in a multi-racial (and multi-dialect?) society. We are still a work in progress as a nation. And we cannot take race for granted, or think that we have overcome racism. 

Especially, if we are part of the majority (Chinese). There is a danger that we see no problems because we do not experience it, we are not aware of it, or we are part of the problem. 

Whenever I go to Malaysia, I get a sense of what it feels to be a minority. 

Or maybe I am just over-sensitive?

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