F: You look Chinese.
*S: I am a Singaporean.*
F: But you look Chinese.
*S: I am a Chinese Singaporean / I am a Singaporean Chinese.*
F: So do you speak Chinese?
*S: Yes, but not fluent.*
F: But you are a Chinese.
*S: I am a Singaporean Chinese, not Chinese from China.*
F: So you are not a Chinese?
*S: I am not Chinese from China.*
F: But your great grandfather is from China?
*S: Yes, but I was born in Singapore, so I am a Singaporean Chinese.*
F: So your great grandfather speaks Chinese?
*S: He speaks dialect.*
F: Do you speak dialect?
*S: No, I don’t.*
F: Why not?
*S: Because our country has a Speak Mandarin campaign that is so successful that the new generation practically do not speak dialect anymore.*
F: So you should speak very fluent Mandarin since it’s so successful?
*S: No. That campaign was effective before, but not anymore.*
*S: Because most people speak English nowadays. We have a Speak Good English campaign.*
F: So English is your National Language?
F: So what is the National Language of Singapore?
*S: Yes, Malay!*
F: Do you speak Malay?
F: Why not?
*S: Because I am not Malay.*
F: Then why is your National Language Malay?
*S: That’s another long history lesson.*
F: So your National Language is Malay and nobody speak it?
*S: The Malays speak Malay. That’s their mother tongue. We have 4 races: Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian. Each speaks their own mother tongue.*
F: So your mother tongue is Chinese?
F: But you can’t speak it fluently?
F: Does the Malay or Indian speak fluent mother tongue?
*S: More fluent than the Chinese speaking Chinese I supposed.*
*S: Because that’s their mother tongue.*
F: Then why can’t the Chinese?
*S: Because we speak English mainly in school.*
F: I last heard that Singapore has a bilingual policy.
*S: Yes, we have, we do learn mother tongue in school.*
F: But you cannot speak Chinese fluently.
*S: Because our country’s working language is mainly English, there is not much places to use the language, perhaps only with our grandparents and when we buy things in the market.*
F: Then how is that bilingual?
*S: I don’t know.*
F: So you are a Singaporean Chinese who can’t speak your National Language, and cannot speak your mother tongue fluently and can only communicate in English with a strange accent.
*S: What’s wrong with my accent?*
F: I don’t know, it is just weird.
*S: Does it sound British or American?*
F: Neither, I thought you should sound British since you have been colonized before?
*S: No, that was long long time ago, dude.*
F: How come you try to sound American?
*S: Because I watch alot of Hollywood movies.*
F: Your English still sounds weird.
*S: Oh, we call it Singlish.*
F: So what are you really?
*S: I am a Singaporean!*
This is an extract from my friend, Simon on WhatsApp.