Yesterday, as I was walking down the road, I saw a postman working with great speed and efficiency. He stopped his motorcycle by the roadside and he moved so fast that he was almost running from house to house to deliver the letters. I have seen postmen at work in other cities in the world and they are a far cry from their Singaporean counterparts.
Now, let's look at the tools of trade - the motorcycle.
It's not a small rickety bike you'd expect to see a postman riding in. It's a spanking new state-of-the-art motorcycle specially designed for postal work.
But this is just so typical of Singapore. Everything about the country is top-notch and unbeatable. In the arena of education, Singapore is second to none. Singaporean students have clinched all the top academic awards. International Olympiads in Physis, Chemistry, Biology and Maths are all bagged by Singaporean students. And let's not forget that Singaporean students have consistently topped the World Debating Competition. At least I remember the recent one in Dundee when students from Singapore's top school Raffles Institution clinched the champion's cup in the World Debating Competition.
But there is one area where Singapore descends to the depths of disgrace and humiliation. Singapore has a most rotten English language education. In the EF English Proficiency Index, Singapore is below Malaysia in English proficiency. Let us always bear in mind that Malaysia is not a country we should compete with because Malaysia is so different from Singapore. English is relegated to the position of a foreign language in Malaysia and Malay is the official language and the language of government.
Singapore tries to remedy this problem and it introduced more than 10 years ago the Speak Good English Movement. But I've proved beyond a shadow of doubt in this blog in well over 60 blog posts that the Speak Good English Movement is not just ineffective, it actively ruins the standard of English in Singapore. Click here for a user-friendly page with all the links to the evidence I've gathered on the deleterious effects the Speak Good English Movement has on English proficiency in Singapore. The Movement is so incredibly incompetent and ignorant that it often fails to grasp even the most basic of English grammatical rules.
Here are some highlights of the egregious blunders committed by the Speak Good English Movement (these are what the Movement says):
"Alan and George works as a team" is acceptable.
"He told me to go to bed after I have said my prayers" is correct while "...I had said..." is wrong.
"I'm scared of the dark" is wrong. It should be "The dark scares me".
"You are subjected to your teacher's availability for consultation" is correct.
"Whom shall I say is calling?" is more appropriate.
"You can check yourself far easier" is correct.
"Much" in "much cheaper" is redundant.
"Premises" became singular after a reader disagreed with the "experts".
"As hot as they" is incorrect. It can only be "as hot as them" because "them" is the object.
"High morality" is wrong.
"Do you know who the inventor of the camera is?" is wrong. It should be "Do you know who is the inventor of the camera?"
"Stick no bills" is Singlish.
Why the Ministry of Education does not disband this shamelessly disgraceful Speak Good English Movement is something that will have me puzzling to my grave.