I REFER to the letter by Mr Liang Wern Kang, 'Singapore can't afford to become monolingual' (ST, Aug 6).
Mr Liang urged Singaporeans not to give up their mother tongue. This is so as to prevent Singapore from turning into a monolingual society.
I believe that there is an over-emphasis on mother tongue. He has highlighted that if Singaporeans choose to give up their mother tongue, we would lose the culture that comes along with it as well.
This view is too restricted and laced with assumptions. Singapore is a multicultural society. Besides the Chinese, Singapore comprises Indians, Malays and Eurasians as well. It is unfair to label Singapore an English-speaking country the moment mother tongue is dropped. I feel Mr Liang's fear that Singapore would become a country with an 'Anglo-saxon culture' is deeply unfounded.
Many societies have only English as their official language and they have succeeded in allowing their populations to retain their respective cultures.
The examples are evident in the US and Australia. Although the official language is English, the population does not comprise purely of Anglo-Saxons. Many races still exist in these countries and although they speak English, their respective cultures are still very much intact.
Singapore does not need a population that places so much emphasis on a particular mother tongue. This is because we cannot afford to. We are a society that comprises many races.
In fact, we must be thankful that we have English as our first language because this is the medium that binds our multicultural society together. A move back into the days where ethnic enclaves thrive would be simply too dangerous for our fragile social frabic.
The moment a certain ethnic group demands more recognition for their respective language and culture, there would be unstability.
Indeed, there is a need for the different races in Singapore to get in touch with their respective cultures and language.
However, let's not detract from the fact that we are now Singaporeans. We should respect our original identity but continue moulding our collective Singaporean identity.
Sing Keng Loon