Sunday, February 24, 2013

Population change

My preamble at dinner tonight with a waitress at a local restaurant (spoken in Mandarin, translated here into English): "Should I speak in English, Cantonese or Mandarin?"

Such is the state of the nation now, with regards to the population mix of its residents.  Most service staff are non-Singaporean, coming from either Malaysia, Philippines  China, India or even Myanmar.  Hence calling up a restaurant in advance to make a booking may mean speaking to a non-English speaker, with the usual alternative being Mandarin.    And there is a good chance that your server is also a non-English speaker.

Yet there is a huge debate over the influx of foreign talent into the Singapore shores.  And at the same time, many restaurants are finding themselves short of staff.

Finding the balance will be tricky.  I only hope that the resentment against foreign "talent" here will not eventually lead to nasty racism/nationalism.

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