Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ouch

Oooooh....I feel a tidal wave of reactions coming in response to this letter in today's Straits Times:

"Dec 14, 2006
'Hua Yu cool'? No, boorish Mandarin-speaking youths spoil the image

I can attest that Mr Peter Donkin's observations of young Singaporeans are true. I have many negative opinions of young Singaporeans too, despite being a youth myself.

My observations of inconsiderate behaviour among young Singaporeans almost always involve the Mandarin-speakers. While not implying that all Mandarin-speaking youths are rotten (nor are all English-speaking youth angels), an overwhelmingly large group of offenders are observed to be from this group.

This seems to stem from the Chinese school of thought which advocates 'If I don't take, I lose out' and 'If others can do it, so can I, otherwise I lose out', among other factors.

Before anyone takes offence at my discrimination, go on a MRT ride across the island first, and my theory will come to life.

On a train ride from Jurong East to City Hall last month, I saw three groups of Mandarin-speaking youths huddled with their handphones playing Chinese songs at full blast.

The three groups were in the same cabin. It was terrible. One couple left the cabin for another because they couldn't take the racket.

Many people glared at the youths. A girl from one of the groups declared in Mandarin and English 'Wa, wo men hen attract attention leh!', which translates to 'Wow, we are attracting a lot of attention!'.

Was she thinking that people saw her group as 'cool' just because her handphone played MP3 music and they were the latest Mandopop hits? I was outraged at the inconsiderate behavior.

The Mandarin-speaking Singaporean youths also seem to ignore rules that make the world an orderly place. For example, they ignore repeated reminders to keep to the left on escalators. They also ignore the markings that serve to allow passengers on trains to alight first.

A Malaysian classmate who recently visited Thailand spoke of how gracious the people there were, and their good etiquette on the train.

Step into a shop and you will notice that the Mandarin-speakers are rude to service staff and they never say 'please' or 'thank you'.

Based on their interactions with my peers, they take offence easily,

yet they have no qualms about being sarcastic and rude to foreign teachers.

Many young litterbugs are also Mandarin-speaking youths. When I visited Melbourne some months back, I was greatly impressed at the clean streets. I saw everyone putting their litter into bins, and there were no cleaners around.
While many Mandarin-speaking youths are nice on a personal level, their mentality can manifest the antisocial behaviour that I have mentioned.

My friends and I belong to the minority English-speaking

group and we are ashamed to speak in Mandarin in public. No, we are not elites, just normal teenagers.

Unless the association of bad behaviour with Mandarin-speaking youths can be negated, 'Hua Yu Cool' isn't going to work on us anytime soon.

Ang Lixing"


A rather unfair generalisation on the part of Ms Ang, I feel. There are boors in all segments of society, no matter what language they speak.

However, I must say that this boorish behaviour she describes is becoming more prevalent locally. It's the Me generation - forget about proper & appropriate CIVILISED behaviour.

Pity.

1 comment:

The Galoisian Radical said...

Play mp3s on the train? A rather trivial thing. Besides a lot of us are naturally just attention-seekers. From what I observe, the passengers on the train are just too damn apathetic to even care or speak up (and they hypocritically complain of an apathetic youth...) Perhaps I go play French rap and talk pure French with my friends on the train very loudly ah, to prove their demographics wrong.