Ms Florence Ang, Director, College Service; Ms Judith D'Silva Deputy Director (Plans Department), NEXUS Ministry of Defence; Mrs Wai Yin Pryke, Principal of English Language Institute of Singapore; Mr Goh Eck Kheng, Chairman, Speak Good English Movement; Mr Kenny Leck, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Books Actually.
I attended the Speak Good English Movement (SGEM) press conference where I have a sneak peek of the programmes and activities they have lined up this year. Launched by then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 2000, the Speak Good English Movement is a nationwide movement to encourage Singaporeans to speak standard English that is universally understood.
The Speak Good English Movement encourages all Singaporeans to improve their English with Ten Simple Tips. Among the tips are to read on a regular basis, listen to the way people speak good English, and think before speaking. With these tips, the Speak Good English Movement wants all Singaporeans to take action this year by actively seeking out the tools and resources that are available to increase their language proficiency. The other tips will be revealed during the campaign's launch on May 15.
Several food and beverage outlets like Toastbox, Ya Kun and Kopitiam have come onboard to help spread these ten tips to more people.
Mr Goh Eck Kheng, chairman of the Speak Good English Movement
Since gaining independence in 1965, English is taught as a first language and is also the most dominant language in Singapore. It is also used as the medium of instruction in all public schools.
Several teacher friends shared with me the situation in our schools recently. They have a real problem in getting students to write in grammatically accurate language be it English or Mother Tongue. Reading some of their essays or comprehension answers, I fear that our advantage in English will be eroded if we do not continue to emphasise the importance of the proper use of the English language. It is crucial to educate people from young.
Singlish has become increasingly pervasive, we hear it on television and even in places of commerce. As Singlish is part of our culture now, it is hard for Singaporeans to speak proper English. (I am guilty of using Singlish in my daily life, I will try hard to use proper English from now on and set a good example to my kids. :P)
Let's have fun learning and improving our English. :) Improve your English