Chinese Dialects — uniquely Singapore
I think the loss of Chinese dialects in Singapore is one of the saddest things to happen. It’s almost like the loss of an entire language, to me
Many of the Chinese Dialects used here are supposedly also used in China, Malaysia etc. But really, no one speaks it the way Singaporeans do (Of course, no one speaks it quite the way the Malaysians do, but that doesn’t make our dialects any less unique)
In Singapore, much of our dialects, especially Hokkien and Teochew, 2 of the most commonly used, have adopted many Malay words. It’s become so integral to our unique Hokkien/Teochew, that we don’t even feel as if we are mixing 2 different languages. In fact, I never realised the extent to which we’ve made our Dialects our very own, until I started speaking it to the locals when I went to China, or until I started to speak with some of the recent immigrants from Xiamen, Teochew etc.
And even though the Malaysians have also incorporated many Malay words into their dialects, we can always tell the difference when a Malaysian speaks any of the Dialects, including Mandarin.
The evolution of this Dialects reflects our history, at a very personal level. It reflects the journey our families’ ancestors took coming here, the friends they made here, their efforts at becoming Singaprean. I suppose the loss of these Dialects, also tells another part of our story