in News Analysis

Can’t understand the Chinese salesperson? Learn Chinese

The Straits Times, in a reaction story on Chinese nationals who do not speak English at front-line jobs, wrote:

There were also calls for Singaporeans to be more tolerant and patient towards China service staff. Several readers urged Singaporeans to brush up on their Mandarin.

Tired of being misunderstood by hawkers and salesmen, Hong Konger Sandy Young, 34, took up a six-month Mandarin course.

Now, the designer is able to order her food in Mandarin and even converse with cabbies.

‘I urge those who do not understand Mandarin to make an effort to learn it; life will be easier,’ she said. (“Readers write in with tales of woe, worries”, December 16, 2007)

Since when did all Singaporeans speak Mandarin?