Saturday, January 4, 2014

baby STEPS?!



1) Just FIX IT - Not to dump and buy new 'it'
2) Go cold turkey on Consumerism - 
No more new shoes/clothes/materials classified as wants rather than needs,
i.e. also no more bikes in next 5 years :x
3) Eat not feast - Eh, at least not more than once a month?
(gonna surrender to 1 of my indulgences & on festive, please pardon me...)
4) Volunteer to help, not dodge responsibility, take ownership
5) Stick to schedules, make my word good as gold.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Note to Self (& the Imagined Sir of my Imagined College Community)

Today is the BIG presentation that I've been working so hard for.
  • All the sub-editing, clarifying & vetting of info and polishing of contents? 
  • Checked. 
  • Chased after my group mates into wee hours for their slide contents? 
  • Checked.
  • Being answerable to the very conscientious group leader? 
  • Eh, checked..? *self-doubts
  • Being accused of 'why did you change my contents' by a particular mister, who sent me his part at 2-3am, when our presentation is due 10ish in the morning; and he was supposed to come in early to run his slides with us?
  • Double-checked.
  • Trial-running the presentation in the classroom last week for the fear of 'technical problems' as Sir has so kindly mentioned in the aftermath?
  • Triple-checked. 
  • Presented the final presentation? 
...no.

---

Sir, I'm sorry that this is my 1st time encountering difficulties w/Keynote, failing to connect to the classroom system. As I've already presented 4 times this semester w/o a hitch, I'm truly baffled as to why it only fails me now. Also, not to mention that some of my dear group-mates did make an effort to come an hour and half early to practise. I shall sheepishly admit- I, only arrived a mere 45-minute earlier, hoping to preempt any problems. But alas, Mr Soon's (my high school DM) word is gold - 'On time is late, being early is on time.' Hence, my tardy 'early' is not early enough, as the classroom was used for the earliest class of the day. Unfortunately after the bell rang, it was still being occupied by the Prof. prior and his students. 

Although we couldn't account for why the 1st group's 1st speaker was MIA during the 1st period, our group went ahead to keep up with the schedule. I must apologise that we seem to be caught unprepared, as the fault is solely mine - my Apple products chose to leave me to my own device at such a crucial moment. Yet, I would like to thank you Sir for your generous advice, to access the file with USB drive instead, though it was to no avail too. After class, I'm reminded belatedly by a school friend, that the school has IT staff in every block to aid with any 'technical problems'. But, our allocated 30-minute ticked away mercilessly, w/o any regard for our plight, just as no time extension was offered, hence Ipost-mortemly decide that the aid is too many a step away.

(and I suspect Sir's patience is as limited as my suitors, ie. none)

Despite my carelessness, I try to take responsibility, however small. Sir, I've letted all my group-mates present before I do (didn't get to..), although I'm the designated 2nd speaker. Till now, I'm still editing the final presentation, making very minute changes before triple-checking again. All is done so as to share the oversized file over cloud with the whole class, and for your perusal.

Once again, I apologise for wrecking the otherwise fine presentation and thank you for your guidance.

---

Despite my childish rant above-mentioned, there are important lessons  that I take away and some things to be grateful for. *mumbles on...

In conclusion:
For you, Sir, it's not the process, it's the outcome that matters.
But for me, it's not my grades, it's the trust of my classmates that I value.





P.S. I did the work to the best of my ability, hopefully, he didn't regret trusting me with the presentation slides.  Although it would be totally understandable if he chose to avoid having me in his group at all costs. I just wanted to gain respect... I guess, not quite possible. *sigh

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The morning afterglow is..

that silly smile you can't wipe off my face and those warm 'feel-soooooooooo-loved' tingles enveloping me. Sacrificing her beauty sleep, we do it all night long until the stars fell asleep and the birds start to chirp --- Skyping my one and only CB woman.








GOOD MORNING MS.CHANG ;)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

可能我也是

若非得選一首最愛的情歌,我的選擇肯定是...
「我只在乎你」

這麼多人翻唱過鄧女神的經典名曲,但在這個世紀,能讓我不斷重播的,或許只有這版了。


但,還是,可惜...

可惜。

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

because I can

TO DO LIST

1)  LAUNDRY!!!  X
2)  Unpack winter garments X
3)  Revise for Italian mid-sem exam X
4)  Shop for fresh ingredients (grocery list) X
5)  Deactivate Facebook account

The first step is always the most difficult one to take?
Not really. But I must admit, now, there is less distraction.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weather you like it or not

In Taiwan, earthquakes and typhoons are part and parcel of life. And after three years, I'm in between the stages of adapting well and dreading/fretting too much.

Many fine crack lines crawl on the walls in my dorm room due to the frequent quakes. One of these days, those lines would connect into a web of complicated overlaying routes, looking like the map of Moscow Metro or Tokyo Metro. It would be as intriguing a sight as it's worrying. God bless my dorm when that day arrives...

Thankfully, the windows are sturdy enough to take the relentless pounding of the wind. During the typhoon season, it’s best to stay snug in bed and watch a horror movie. With the wind howling sinisterly, it creates the most epic surround sound ever. It would even put Dolby sound tech to shame!  

I wish I could say it doesn’t rain drearily in Taipei. Well, it doesn't rain, it drizzles. For 16 hours straight, the soft pitter patter doesn’t stop. It gnaws on your nerves because, you couldn't decide if you should be bothered to carry the umbrella or not. Urgh, heck it, you dismiss the feather light drizzle with a shrug. But once the wind hit you mercilessly, you regret it.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

稍縱即逝


    體育館外的樓階有個角落。除非銅板掉到那,不然一般路過不會注意到這一角。有隻蝴蝶躺在那。是蝶選擇不飛,還是.. 再也飛不起來... 哦!它觸角微微顫了一下。還沒死呢!

    起風了。蝶,被擋不住的秋風慫恿,不得不飛。它揮動著翅膀,一次又一次,卻離不開地板表面。輕盈的姿態,這時看來,費勁、傷神又痛苦。在旁窺探蝶final moments許久的我,忍不住攤開了手心,想引它爬上來。我的手越是逼近,蝶的翅膀越是鼓動得厲害。它努力地想掙脫。但,最後還是踏上我厚實卻不暖和的掌心。

    這是...認命嗎?不,我寧可相信,這是信任美好的開始。

    往常,我步行去取腳車不需三分鐘。但一手小心地捧著蝶,一手為它遮風,走一步停一步,用了兩倍的時間才到腳車停放處。全程雙翼張開,但蝶就一直靜靜地倚著我,不掙扎了。我手掌裡生命的重量,如何衡量?是輕於鴻毛,還是重於落葉。

    將來,我也只是一片落葉時,不知道還會有誰把我捧在手心裡。

    當日開始落時,陽光照耀在蝶身上,把它喚醒了。似睡飽午覺後,蝶的雙翼恢復了元氣。揮揮翅膀,蝶飛起來了!往斜陽的方向飛去。眨眼間,就看不到蝶的行蹤了。

    原以為,是我送蝶最後一程,不料卻是它陪我度過了一個午後。這時已快到下午四時,天氣轉涼了許多。我搓了搓雙手,握緊車把,背對斜陽往宿舍騎去。





-大四,入秋

Friday, August 9, 2013

回家


去年,上洪淑苓老師的現代詩時,完成的。
明年,就要畢業了,現在再看看自己的作品提醒自己
回家。


我要回來  聞一多

我要回來,
乘你的拳頭像蘭花未放,
乘你的柔發和柔絲一樣,
乘你的眼睛裡燃著靈光,
我要回來。


我沒回來,
乘你的腳步像風中盪槳,
乘你的心靈像痴蠅打窗,
乘你笑聲裡有銀的鈴鐺,
我沒回來。


我該回來,
乘你的眼睛裡一陣昏迷,
乘一口陰風把我燈吹熄,
乘一隻冷手來掇走了你,
我該回來。


我回來了,
乘流螢打著燈籠照著你,
乘你的耳邊悲啼著莎雞,
乘你睡著了,含一口沙泥,
我回來了。


你會回來  林~

你會回來
乘我的關節還能耐風雨
乘我雙耳中分貝低聲響
乘我渾濁灰目裡含曙光
你會回來


你未回來
乘我的爐日日飄家香
乘我手中信字字起漣漪
乘我在廳房夜夜留盞燈
你未回來


回來
乘我倦怠眼皮不聽使喚
乘記憶像天鵝之歌奏起
乘那項鍊從我掌心滑落
回來

你回來了
乘只能透過相框倆相望
乘風乾的淚贖不回時光
乘我含珍珠,埋了所有話
你回來了




後記:
上課時,老師念了聞一多的〈也許-葬歌〉。眼淚不自覺地流出來。回家找了有關他和女兒的資料,得知他見到女兒最後一面,看到的只是青草悠悠的墓地。雖然我未為人母,但身為游子的我,想到他趕不回幼女身邊的心酸也很擔心自己有一天趕不回年邁的母親身邊。
遲婚晚生育,父母子女之間隔了40年。但,從小到大,女兒就有wanderlust(台語:趴趴走)。幾年後就能畢業的我,很想、也很可能飛往下一個地點,工作或深造、體驗不同的文化。但,父母之年,不可不知也,一則以喜,一則以懼。

Oh, I speak English too.


The current weather in Taipei reminds me of home.

Being a foreign student in Taipei, (thankfully) I'm still treated as an equal. No doubt I pay double the school fees the locals did, but I also get to enjoy the National Health Insurance system, as all full-time students are required to sign up for the insurance. Not only the medical fees are heavily subsidized so are the dental services. (Whether NHI brings about more pros OR cons to the country, be it economically or socially, is altogether another debate.) The school fees are still very affordable despite the recent hike for international students. Rumor has it, that is to curb the influx of PRC students enrolling into local national universities. 

Fact is, I want to pursue my further studies based on my passion for Liberal Arts (mainly Literature). Another fact is, I don't think I can afford studying in Singapore without taking a bank loan. Else, the pragmatic choice that I should have made is to continue my bachelor's degree in Business (related courses) after graduating from Temasek Polytechnic's business school. But no, I refuse to be in debt even before I start to contribute to my CPF monthly. Looking back on my decision after 3 years, I'm still glad I chose this path. Even when there are always raised eyebrows or worse, disparaging voices, I would still proudly say, I read Literature, Chinese Literature. 

Being away from homeland, one still faces many cultural differences and also had to put up with the stereotyping, despite having the same ethnically Chinese face. There were many instances the Taiwanese people have certain notions as to how Singaporeans should speak, (no) thanks to Jack Neo's movies. My peers are envious that I'm (rather, or at least more so, as compared to them) effectively bilingual. (Yes, unlike the characters in the movies, thank you very much.) But I don't feel superior when they asked me for help with their second language, and likewise they don't jeer at me when I don't know some words in their first language despite me being a major in Chinese Literature. We merely learn from each other. 

Yet sadly, this is not the case back home.

Speaking fluent Mandarin, sometimes get me ridiculed?! Trust me, they cringed at me as if I was an unwelcome intruder. Until I explained I'm a born and bred local. (I can only imagine the treatment the PRCs face daily due to the stereotyping.) Each and every one of us is an individual before we're a member of certain nationality, hence shouldn't we have basic respect for the individual before we judge them collectively? Perhaps the tension back home between locals and foreigners is escalating during my absence.

Other than English, I also use Singlish whenever it helps to get my point across better, or it depends on the comfort level of my audience. THEN, tadah, there you have it - the accusation (according to my critics) that Chinese Majors can't speak proper English to save their lives. Seriously, it's already laughable that as a nation, we claimed to be bilingual (sorry, this is not a blanket statement to judge fellow countrymen of Malay or Indian ethnics) when our reputation abroad isn't so. But guess who is our worst critic? Our fellow 'elitist' Singaporeans armed with their powerful ammunition of impressive English vocabulary. Sometimes, it's just tiring that I feel like a misfit back home and just so coincidentally I saw an article on our ESM's take on elitism. 

To quote our dear Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, 'There is a need to guard against elitism because it threatens to divide the inclusive society Singapore is seeking to build.'  HE said: "When society's brightest and most able think that they made good because they are inherently superior and entitled to their success; when they do not credit their good fortune also to birth and circumstance; when economic inequality gives rise to social immobility and a growing social distance between the winners of meritocracy and the masses; and when the winners seek to cement their membership of a social class that is distinct from, exclusive, and not representative of Singapore society - that is elitism."

Hence, this is not a war on the superiority of any languages. This is about the superiority of the elites and their distance from the masses. Being an insignificant member of the masses, I don't even want to think of social immobility right now, when I've to worry about the yet another potential hike in ERP by the time I graduate and go home, not forgetting the fees of public transportation that could easily cost me a decent meal. Immobility, is already an issue. 

(I know this may sound like an exaggeration to many of you, but as a student who supports herself in Taipei, when I don't have a single cent in my pocket at least I don't have to worry about transportation. I commute to school and work by my bicycle, yes, it's safer to cycle here than back home. When there's a need, the bus/metro ride wouldn't cost me a meal.)

I'm not campaigning that living in Taiwan is better than staying in Singapore. Some of the locals here think that Singapore government has done a great job, and as a Singaporean, I'm proud of what my country has achieved too. They have also mentioned that Taiwan should take a leaf out of Singapore's book to bring down the high crime rate. (Well, there is also the other school of thought - a country should be governed according to the Confucian ideals, instead of instilling fear to command obedience.) While the beauty of living in Taiwan appeals greatly to me, I'm not blind to her lacking aspects.

All I'm saying now is, although I miss home, can I go back? My government (yes, we collectively have voted for them, so let's take ownership and pride) have outdone themselves. Sometime I wonder about our next generation of leaders, would they be able to keep up? Outstanding individuals like Darren Woo Hon Fai, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU-HSS) valedictorian for example, I'm not even surprised that he made such a politically incorrect statement, nor am I offended by him, because he's merely one (at least he's frank?) out of the many byproducts of our current education system, which claimed to have the Bilingual advantage, as stated in MOE's brochure. 

Bilingualism is a key feature of Singapore’s education system. The main medium of instruction in school is English, but all students learn an official Mother Tongue Language. Our bilingual policy aims to equip our students with the language competencies to access Asian cultures and develop a global outlook. This will give our students a competitive edge, enable them to appreciate their culture and heritage and connect with people from different backgrounds, so that they can thrive in a globalised world.

Perhaps, such an outstanding student and the likes of him and I have our nationality (or maybe the coincidence of shared love for laska) as our only common denominator. As our outlook on society and life most probably would differ greatly. 

Just like for now, how the 29°C temperature is the only common attribute Singapore and Taiwan share. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

one of those.. little funny things


was listening to Lisa Hannigan

you bought a bicycle,
i heard you were coming over for food...
thus fed my appetite
with a mouthful of you...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

missing you at 4am

read it somewhere online last month, that one loses her/his friends most easily when s/he is in her/his 20s. can't exactly remember the list of reasons given, but i did recall myself nodding with one or two reasons stated. something to do with distance. physical distance.

now that we're all apart, i understand that, it does not matter if you're in your early 20s or late 30s or even into your 60s, we would and could still lose friends easily. as easily as those excuses we gave, so conveniently made, only to realize much later on, it didn't take a lot to maintain that connection.

it's not about how willing we are to go the distance. sometime, it's even not about the distance.
as cliché as it sounds, it's about the heart.

the poet Edward Estlin Cummings said, i carry your heart with me, i carry it in my heart. it doesn't apply to just lovers. and it's definitely not about grand gestures. the friend you found in me, may have been lazy and lacking now. sometimes, i tried and i did. sometimes, i'm tired of taking the first step. 

maybe i could have tried harder.

i would say hi more often, ask about your day and pester you to tell me more about your current love interest, i promise to check whatsapp daily and reply asap, i would take initiative to update you about the life that i now lead away from you, because you're a part of it.

i would do those little things to make you smile,
because you had.



used to always do so.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

О мой русский класс...

я ушел с русского класса в этом семестре :(
но
я все еще здесь у меня разговорный класс! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

...because making a list is easier

THE THINGS-TO-DO LIST (for this winter vacation)


1) Make new sofa covers before Lunar New Year
2) GEOHASHING!
3) Bedroom makeover?
4) REVISE MY RUSSIAN VOCAB DAILY
5)... to be continued

Monday, January 7, 2013

THE LIST OF SOMBRE RESOLUTIONS (#1)

upon close examination, i realised she has more scars and dents on her small frame than i do on my entire body. and that IS serious, considering that i've CSP though not as severe now. still, what a traumatic experience that petite young thing had suffered while serving me so painstakingly...

at least, when she was near her end, i.e. refusal to comply with instructions, i left her high and dry. before anyone accuses me of cruelty, that was for the best, and i bet she knows it too. unless she wanted to suffer the same tragical fate as my beloved nano, which was actually electrocuted, by taking an accidental spin... in the washing machine. that, instead of spinning music as what nano was supposed to do.







NEW YEAR RESOLUTION #1
-STOP ABUSING MY ELECTRONIC GADGETS!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

說不出口的...

和弟弟、好友過了聖誕。
應該是很感恩他們,特地到國外陪我過節和之後一起跨年。
不過,現在有莫名的感傷。這麼快。就。一年了。 突然... 想起了你。

死小孩,一週前(19日)本是你23歲的生日,剛步入大學享受青春燦爛的時刻。
但,三週前(5日)卻已經成為你... 一週年的死祭。你離開大家的365天,愛你思念你的人繼續好好地活著。或許,你的至親和摯愛,有時,難免活在過去地影子裡。不斷播放著和你相處的種種片段,深怕記憶裡的笑容會隨著時間的流逝而退色。或許,也有人因為失去你,突然醒悟,要更加珍惜和把握住每一天,因此他們的2012年過得非常精彩。去了你想去的地方,為你完成些你想做的事,他們並沒有讓你失望吧?

我沒有告訴任何人我想起了你。
應該沒有人能明白我此時的心情。我們不算交心的好友,只是同班同學,畢業後一年難得見上一次面,即使見了面,也不過就是抬槓罷了。這也不是我第一次失去家人或朋友。家人逝世時的悲痛是很深刻的,朋友喪生意外時的錯愕,我也經歷過了。但你的死,為我帶來很大的震撼,真正體會到了事實的殘酷。

在我認識的男性友人中,你最孩子氣,也最討喜。不會在你面前承認,但,你確實比我更有理想,更有年輕人的活力朝氣,像是陽光般的燦爛,討厭的是,你就是那種沒有人會討厭你的golden boy。正因為你這麼有生命力,從來沒有想過你會在大伙的生命中殞落。一直以為在班聚仍能和你拌嘴,將來一起出席其他老同學的婚禮,或者去看你在pub表演,見見你在台上的風采。事實是,這一切都不可能了。

沒有人會明白我在慚愧什麼。

有人說,經歷災難或意外的人,生存者或許會有「survivor's guilt」。這和我應該扯不上關係,不過,我好像能明白那種症狀到底是怎麼一回事了。雖不是因你的死,而感到內疚。但一想到你被剝奪了一切,而還好好活著的我,仍得過且過地過日子。還很奢侈地浪費時間做無謂的事,我就不禁感到慚愧,無地自容的慚愧。

慚愧的是,我還可以用「明天」,當作藉口,在推拖。

事實是,沒有人能保證任何人的明天。
照常理推論,只有23歲的我們,應該還是能一覺醒來,健康地活著,日常生活重複搬演著。但是,又有誰知道我們不會在睡夢中猝死?我們不會發生意外?或是像你一樣,死於非命?即使他們沒有資格,那羣無知狂妄的人還是奪走你的生命,你的夢想,你所有的明天。

_________


在終結判詞時,法官簡短的一句話,就成為了你這一生的縮寫。
The Accused is relatively young and so even after his period of incarceration would still have potentially many years to make amends. Not so for the 21 year-old Deceased whose life had been cut senselessly and tragically cut short in his prime.

但是,你不應該被悲劇化。你不是,不是可憐的人。我不想再記得這些負面的情緒。
我只想記住你帶給大家的歡樂。你仍然是大家和我心目中的golden boy。

今晚,再次想起了你,想起再也沒有機會去實踐任何事的你,我,不應該感到慚愧。我該做的是,下定決心,改掉得過且過的惡習。只要鞭策自己,我也能完成該做的事,過我想要的人生。子軒,你說不是嗎?


下個月,我就要回家過寒假了。到時,和同學聚一聚時,你會看到我的改變...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

moonwalking with Einstein

we forget how rarely we forget.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

you heart breaker..

...two drifters off to see the world
there's such a lot of world to see.

還是會不自覺想起。

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm not

a good daughter, definitely not the daughter you want deserve.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

粉色的謊言

謊言是說了但不算數的話,算數卻說不出口的話。
謊言是太遲出沒的安慰,太早脫口而出不被兌現的承諾。
謊言是個美麗的錯誤我義無返顧選擇相信...你。

世界上不只有善意的白色謊言。
也有裹著夢幻色彩的謊言。
世事並非
,非黑即白。

pastel lies
lies are words said but not meant, meant but left unsaid, words that came too late.. or early hence couldn't be fulfilled. lies are the beautiful words that i choose to believe despite all odds.

there aren't just white lies that are kind.
lies coloured in dreamy pastels exist as well.
it isn't a matter of either dark or light.


十年♥

L: 迷糊鬼一直迷路。
很怕找不到回家的人,怕看不到熟悉的面孔。
日子越長,方向感越來越不好,視線也模糊了。


Yen: 不用担心....
第一, 找不到家?老娘带你回家...
第二,怕看不到熟悉面孔?来facebook看老娘的大饼脸,附送馒头一个!
第三,日子越长方向感越差?老娘有钱有闲就飞去找你,可能顺便再带几个“猪朋狗友”, 再提醒你路要怎么走...
第四,视线模糊?要不就是你近视加深,要不就是你哭道看不清楚,好啦,我会带kleenex去找你的...
有什么疑难杂症,来找老娘,就算我救不了你也会帮你出些馊主意....哈哈哈!
 
 30 September 2010 at 07:02 ·

Thursday, May 31, 2012

《新加坡雙語教育政策成功嗎?》


「由於華語、馬來語、淡米爾語與英語並列為新加坡四大官方語言,國家領導人在許多重要的慶典都會以英語和三大種族的個別族群共同語發表演講。國會議員也可以在國會以個別族群共同語發言,但畢竟仍屬於少數,大多以英語為交流、辯論的主導語言。總之, 華語、馬來語及淡米爾語的社會語言地位並不高,既不是政府部門的行政工作語言,也非 政經活動的主要交際語言。這三大種族的個別族群共同語的主要功能是傳承族群文化和維繫族群交流,社經地位遠低於英語。」-吴英成教授,南洋理工大学国立教育学院


[從電影看雙語]
電影簡介
以詼諧的手法來關心社會現象,新加坡知名導演梁智強的《小孩不笨》系列,電影和連續劇題材寫實,受到不少國人的好評,而在亞洲也十分賣座。故事圍繞著三個小學生(國彬、文福和Terry)的校園生活和家庭狀況。他們在四年紀分流制度下,依學習成績被分類為不同級別。進入學業最差的班級後,三人不只得更盡力達到自己父母的期望,還得面對其他級別同學的家長,甚至是老師,種種對於「笨小孩」的刻板影響。

多語夾雜的環境特質
這些作品不只讓一家大小在輕鬆觀賞影片時,(尤其是為人父母者)能更加瞭解莘莘學子們幼小心靈內的種種煩惱,也讓不少國外的觀眾對獅城的教育制度有進一步的認識。但國外的觀眾看到的不只是獅城的教育環境,而是整個雙語夾雜,更精準來說,是多語夾雜的大環境。電影裡的語言多元性,除了有華語、英語、方言的對話,也包括了中英馬來語及方言煮成的羅雜(Rojak)語言-星式英語(Singlish,簡稱:星語)。

(這一點,是筆者到了台灣後才領略到的。)
劇中小孩們多時是以華語對話,有時也會中英夾雜交談著,而他們的家庭背景不同,父母所使用的語言也不一。國彬來自中產雙收入的家庭,父母像是都受過高等教育,母親是文職父親從事廣告業,都能以較標準的華語或英語對話。而文福來自較底收入的單親家庭,媽媽是小販,教育程度不高,英文程度也不好,頂好是以星式英語和華語、方言和顧客、孩子溝通。至於Terry,家境富裕,父親白手起家擁有中小型食品企業,但並非是大專畢業生,所以也是以星語和華語來表達自己(有時甚至用方言暴粗口)。不過,Terry母親則是典型英校生,能說一口很溜的英語,但中文程度低落,在適當的時候也會用星語來表達自己,或宣泄不滿。三種家庭背景就能呈現出一般新加坡華人語言能力的差異。


[語言能力差異前因後果]
新加坡華人語言能力的差異,除了在上文提到的電影中父母類型
1
)中英兼通
2
)華語行英文不好方言也行
3
)典型英校生華語一定不好,還有其他類型如:
4
)典型華校生英語一定不好
5
)英文行華語不好星語最好
6
)中英都不行只懂方言
7
)中英馬來語方言都行
(筆者把語言程度簡單地分3個級別為:好、不好、還行。)

先輩長輩的語言環境
最早期的移民和過番客,並不是所有人都有接受基本教育,因此多數人都以各地的方言交談,並學習南洋當時原有的語言(英語、馬來語及各類別如爪哇語等)足以溝通。大多數的(曾)祖父母輩就形成了類型(6)和(7)。而他們的子女也就是二戰前在新加坡出世的第一代公民,選擇不是英殖民政府的英校就是宗鄉會館辦的華校。因此,他們就成為了(2)、(3)和(4),只能單語能力強,依據不同家庭背景,他們方言和馬來文能力也可能有被培養。

影響二戰後新生兒、XY時代的教育政策
讓我們加快步伐到國家自主走向獨立。當時剛上位不久的總理李光耀,從決定關閉南洋大學至在1983年底宣布,所有學校到1987年主要都會用英語教學,下一代新加坡華人中文水平的宿命就早已在他們出世之前被安排了。後來,所有學生除以英語為主要教學語言外,還必須修讀所屬族群的「母語」課程。但也毋庸置疑的是,人民行動黨政府基於國家發展和族群團結的原由,而推出的雙語教育政策,是必要的決定。

「在新加坡的華族社群裏,華族學生必須接受「英文為主,華文為輔」的雙語教育體制,在基礎教育階段修讀十到十二年的華語課程。但相對于英語應用能力,華語在新加坡的教育體系只是單科,教學時間有限,本地學生聽說能力還行,「讀寫能力"」卻不斷弱化。」
因此,現在大多數中小學的情況是典型的(4),而不是像政府理念中理想的(1)。但還是有不少人堅稱他們有雙語優勢;不要說精通,單就真正的雙語能力兼併的人,就已少之又少。

雙語對立的角色
原本,政府是希望讓英語帶領人民走向世界,而延續母語能力以保留各宗族的文化、傳統和美德。經過多年雙語教育的推動,英語不但成為國人日常生活裡公領域、私領域的強勢主導工作語言,地位遠遠超過於另外3個官方語言,更令英語能力遠比母語能力強的人,有優越感而且也不慚愧。不過,與其說是推動雙語,其實更像是「母語」教學方針/政策的洗牌,就以中文為例,「母語」分級為「普通華文」和「高級華文」,之後再放鬆制度打造出「華文B課程」,但學生中文水平真的有低落到需要可笑的連新政策名稱裡都出現英文字母嗎?後來,還有研發出一系列「先認字後寫字」的教學模式至今使用,令筆者最費解的是,僅有人本末倒置地推出了用英語教母語的政策。治標不治本的政策屢見不鮮,只求能解決考試應對課業壓力,實際上只是加速「母語」的死亡,因為學生根本不會實際操作靈活運用。這不只是華族所面對的問題,也有越來越多印籍同胞的下一代也不懂自己的母語。有學者說,英語未來還可能取代族群「母語」成為新加坡學生第一習得語言。
實際上,不用等了,這「未來」已經浮現在眼前了。

英語才是「母語」?
以官方統計局每十年所發表的新加坡人口普查來看,2000年,76%華人在家裡說華語或方言,92%馬來人說馬來語以及43%印度人說淡米爾語。還是華族和巫族在私領域使用母語的還是大有人在,至於印度同胞不過半,很有可能是因為調查並不包括類別如泰盧固語、印地語(TeguluHindi)。
最常說英語的華族家庭從1990年的19%增加到2000年的24%;馬來家庭從6%增加到8%;印度族家庭則從32%增加到36%。但在2010年,不只在家說華語的華人滑落了10%至66%,而514歲的華族孩童在家中說英語的人數高達52%,而巫族和印籍孩童也分別增加至26%和50%。

雙語優勢?憂事?
即便如此,還是有學者說:「與其他海外華族學生相比,新加坡學生正規學習華語的時間是最長的,整體水準也比較高。由於新加坡擁有相對優勢的英語和華語應用環境,新加坡華文教師也累積獨特的華語教學經驗,在全球化的浪潮中,新加坡教育工作者如果能善加利用自身的中英雙語優勢,仍然大有可為。」
在筆者看來,這番言論的脈絡仍是陳腔濫調。在中國改革開放後,流行起中國文化風,有外國人真正欣賞並要學習華族文化。而在今時今日中國經濟騰飛,人人都想分一杯羹的情況下學習漢語。不論是海外華族學生,還是非華族的外國人也好,學習漢語的人數每個月是幾倍數的增長。我國整體水準是否真的較高具有競爭力?那就不得而知了。
但是,有一點筆者認為有必要強調的是,新加坡擁有相對優勢的英語和華語應用環境」,並不代表新加坡人就必然有雙語優勢!國人應該有警覺性,在這個地球村的年代雙語已經不再是優勢,而是想在任何一個國際都市做個世界公民的必備條件。因此,只能精英」卻不懂得「精華」的新加坡人可要擔憂了。
此外,在國際舞台上,若真要與其他海外華族學生相提並論,新加坡華族學生中文程度一定得保持在華僑之上,那根本不是優勢,只能算是最基本的防線。不論是印尼華僑、泰國華僑、韓國華僑,還是任何在歐美長大的華僑,他們很有可能都略勝一籌。因為,若一個新加坡人和一個華僑申請同一份跨國企業的職缺,兩人擁有同樣的學歷,那華僑懂得語言一定比新加坡人多最少一個。不論是泰語、韓語、日語或德語。尤其是西方國家的華僑,很有可能會西班牙語和法語會話。、

對症下藥
學習語言,最重要的莫過於環境。在家裡父母不用母語,兒童根本無法多接觸到母語。在幼兒園和學前的豆豆班,老師教學也使用英語,而播發的卡通節目也以英語為主。有些學童到了中小學,才真正接觸到自己的母語,但恐怕有點晚了,在雙語教學的制度下,比例並不是五五分,而是八二分,除英語外,數學、歷史等都用英文授課,而只有在華文課上才講華文。但學童已習慣用英語交談,有些甚至還排斥說華語。所以要年輕一代掌握好母語和英語,就必須確保他們從小就開始接觸和學習兩種語言,為了在孩童接受學前教育的時候就開始為他們打下紮實的雙語基礎。
近日,李光耀宣佈設立一個全新的雙語基金,希望大力加強學前教育機構教導雙語的能力。這個「李光耀雙語基金」將由教育部管理計劃籌集一億元基金將用來設計適合學前教育孩童使用的英語和母語教材以及提升師資為學前教育機構提供更有利教導雙語的環境。筆者認為,加強母語能力,幫助學生喜歡上中文不只是應該一味地把課業簡單化,而是應該能深入淺出,而從小提供一個適合母語文化的學習環境,讓孩子潛意識知道母音並不比英語遜色,也有相同的重要性。這,氛圍,才會是近幾年來最好的政策改變。


[報告的寫作動機]
英文的
幾乎所有筆者接觸到的台灣人都看過梁導的電影,不是《小孩不笨》系列,就是《錢不夠用》系列。當然有不少人和筆者找話題聊時,會客氣地給與新加坡雙語教育制度不錯的評價,也有人會說羨慕筆者有雙語優勢。但讓這些觀眾影響深刻不只是競爭激烈的環境,還包括了星語。以致於筆者在台北還沒開口說英語前,就已經被認定英語程度不及西方人,一定是不標準的英語,而嚐到地域性的歧視。
在申請英文家教的工作時,不只是單純地挑剔著口音,就連膚色也被默默地列入最重要的考量。當家長最後決定錄取那名洋人時,筆者覺得既無奈又可笑,因為對方是個英文程度真的不好的法國人。英文程度遭置疑,不單是因為筆者操的不是美國口音,而是一張亞洲人的臉孔,這是常見的事。自以為英文程度比其他亞洲國家好的新加坡人,整體上他們確實有這自我感覺良好的本錢,畢竟獅城是少數以英語為大環境操作語的亞洲國家。但這並不代表其他國家的人就會如此認同,或接受新加坡人就是把英語當作以第一語言,能算是「native speaker」。就連中國、日本學校在聘請英文教師時,看得也不只是學歷和資歷,首先應聘者就得通過國際的門檻,那並不包括以英語為主流語的新加坡。

中文的不足
至於中文程度,每當國人出門到中國、台灣或香港等華人地區,常常還是不能單以華語和當地人交談,很多時候還是得靠英語補助。就像筆者時常在西門町聽到獅城遊客用中英夾雜的語言和攤販購買東西,而筆者也曾三番兩次為新光部隊的阿兵哥做翻譯。
語言的大環境非常重要,所以筆者認為中文流行文化在獅城也有必要更有吸引力。連續劇、電影都要更有內容更精彩,來興起當地的中文熱。就像「哈韓迷」會特地為了追偶像,去學韓文。在台灣,筆者也認識到原本只懂泰語和英語的泰國華僑為了有機會和偶像溝通,到師大學中文。她無意間在網上聽到台灣女子團旗S.H.E的歌,被吸引了就一張一張專輯地買,也開始追她們三人的偶像劇集。待在台灣的短短一年,不停參加S.H.E的任何活動,甚至有一次拼命消費為了爭取到和Ella共進下午茶的機會。至於筆者,也仍在追求進步中,希望能擺脫「兩頭不著岸,吃力不討好的情況。

參考資料:

1)《新加坡雙語教育政策的沿革與新機遇》吳英成,2007 南大國立教育學院
2)《
我一生的挑战——新加坡双语之路》李光耀,2011 Strait Times Press Books
3)《双语教育李氏父子意见不一》杨晓2009125北京青年报
4Census of Population 2000 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion©Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore
5Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion©Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore