"Liak Boh Kiew"? "Catch No Ball?"
Today's Sunday Times carried an article about Singapore doctors being unable to speak the dialects. Especially the younger doctors.
Well the question is whether young doctor are expected to know how to speak 3 or more dialects, Mandarin and Malay? Why is it so surprising that young doctors can't speak those languages?
Let's see. In the 80s the government decided that all Chinese TV drama serials from Hong Kong would be dubbed in Mandarin. There was a speak Mandarin and not dialect campaign as I recall. Children studied English and their Mother Tongue ie Mandarin, Malay or Tamil. So it's obvious that young doctors should NOT be expected to speak dialects and 2 "Mother Tongues"!
But the way the article was written makes it sound like it's the fault of the doctors that they are not multi-lingual! That's a tad bit unfair I feel.
The problem is really with the older uneducated elderly majority. (I have previously written that this group of Singaporeans needs special medical care and communicators)
These patients also are one kind. The young doctor may be trying his best to speak whatever broken, half past six dialect to them but these old folks would show unhappiness or disgust and even lecture the young doctor for not being able to speak his dialect! No appreciation for the young doctor's effort are shown most of the time.
Is Singapore truly and English speaking country? Well perhaps for a certain majority of the pre-1965 generation, they are still stuck in that era.