I have no quarrels with the way Ms Ris Low spoke English when interviewed after she won the title Ms Singapore Whatever.
I say boomz to her efforts and boo to her critics for criticising her diction and vocab. Boo2 to her brazeness following the consequent revelations about her.
I also say boo to those who repeatedly urge Singaporeans to listen to the BBC and use that as the model for our spoken English.
I wonder when these bright sparks last listened to the BBC? Haven’t their ears noticed that even on prime time news, standard home county English is no longer the BBC norm but a host of regional accents are in: Yorksire, Scottish, Midlands and anything in between?
I say boo too to the country’s continuous effort to raise the standard of spoken English via the Speak Better English campaign; after more than two decades, isn’t it time to stop flogging a dead horse and give the annual ritual a rest and perhaps a review?
Isn’t there something wrong if despite such arduous efforts, the hoi polloi just can’t get their Ps, Qs n 3s right?
Or is it a case of our nation’s English standard bearers being out of touch with the world, to insist that we write like Thomas Hardy and speak like John Gielgud when most of us speak like Marlon Brando or far, far worse and write like the proverbial Mrs Malaprop?
As for writing, go no further than this Fairprice sign which stands proudly near the entrance of one of its outlets. I don’t need to elaborate because if no one spots the glaring grammatical mistake, then I rest my case re our annual breast-beating.
But then, let’s not be harsh on Fairprice, when another, also something of a national icon, has been, for decades, proudly flying the Singapore flag as a homegrown brand with far flung international reach and appeal and no one has so much twitched a lip about the meaning of its name in plain English!