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Old 02-18-2014, 12:15 AM
 
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Are locals more friendly to people who can speak Chinese or is it not that big a deal? People in China tend to be a lot more friendly towards foreigners who can speak Chinese.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:22 AM
 
Location: singapore
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Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
Are locals more friendly to people who can speak Chinese or is it not that big a deal? People in China tend to be a lot more friendly towards foreigners who can speak Chinese.
I would think most of us won't take it be a big deal .. Don't think we will be more friendly towards foreigners who speak Chinese, but that's just my view, not sure if it speaks for majority of local Singaporeans
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:48 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by singaporelady View Post
As a true blue Singapore, i would think they we do not expect foreigners to chat up locals in mandarin, so if you do that, we may be taken aback a little, but that is just the initial part, we will move over it quickly..
Learning Mandarin is certainly not necessary to live and work in Singapore unless you want to reach out to the Chinese (from China) community. Most young people who speak Mandarin also speak English, if they've got a professional job.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
Are locals more friendly to people who can speak Chinese or is it not that big a deal? People in China tend to be a lot more friendly towards foreigners who can speak Chinese.
I've always use English first whenever I go to Singapore unless they start the conversation and speak in Mandarin to me first. However, I don't think one gets any preferential treatment either way. A lot of the service people in Singapore aren't even locals anyway. I am not Singaporean but can easily blend in with the locals, so a white person might evoke a different reaction. However, I also know a couple of Singaporeans who confessed that their Mandarin is not that good, so I do not really go out of my way to speak Mandarin there. Of course in China, it's a different case. I get so exasperated there speaking English (they cannot understand me and I have a very difficult time understanding their English) that one really has no choice but to speak Mandarin in most cases.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:08 AM
 
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I'm an American who can speak Mandarin and if I'm in Singapore I communicate with them in English as they usually speak first to me in English. It's awkward being in certain countries like Singapore so I usually just speak in English as I do not want to offend them. I'm honestly not clear on how Singapore people's feelings towards China and Chinese so I go the safe route with English.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:11 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
Are locals more friendly to people who can speak Chinese or is it not that big a deal? People in China tend to be a lot more friendly towards foreigners who can speak Chinese.
Singapore's main lingua franca is English - in education, business, law, the most on signage etc. In the PRC it's Mandarin, that's the main difference...
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:39 AM
 
Location: singapore
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Originally Posted by JakeinChina View Post
I'm an American who can speak Mandarin and if I'm in Singapore I communicate with them in English as they usually speak first to me in English. It's awkward being in certain countries like Singapore so I usually just speak in English as I do not want to offend them. I'm honestly not clear on how Singapore people's feelings towards China and Chinese so I go the safe route with English.
From a true blue singaporean, guess you are right to go the safe route...

Hope that have been no unpleasant experiences in Singapore for you..
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:54 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I'm curious, singaporelady, how many non-Chinese Singaporeans can speak Mandarin?
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:01 AM
 
Location: singapore
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Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
I'm curious, singaporelady, how many non-Chinese Singaporeans can speak Mandarin?
Hmm honestly speaking the malay community seem to blend in in this area quite well, chinese singaporeans dont make much effort to learn malay , tamil as much as the malays and indians make an effort to learn Hokkien and Mandarin...

Especially Hokkien, a sizeable no of malays and indian can speak, some can't speak but do understand what is being said...

So we are always careful not to assume people of other races dont understand what we say in mandarin
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Old 02-18-2014, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by singaporelady View Post
Hmm honestly speaking the malay community seem to blend in in this area quite well, chinese singaporeans dont make much effort to learn malay , tamil as much as the malays and indians make an effort to learn Hokkien and Mandarin...

Especially Hokkien, a sizeable no of malays and indian can speak, some can't speak but do understand what is being said...

So we are always careful not to assume people of other races dont understand what we say in mandarin
Well i don't like it when people are speaking in front of me about me in another language anyway...

Yes, I guess Mandarin is the second lingua franca in Singapore now, taking over from Hokkien. I think the main language of business used to be 'Bazaar Malay' a mix of Malay and Hokkien which influenced Singlish and the Singaporean accent. Singlish itself is a product of all these influences, and the Hokkien spoken in Singapore has influences and borrowings from Malay and vice-versa. I think in Penang a lot of Malays and Indians can also understand/speak Malay, maybe less so now, but certainly during my dad's generation. Sadly i hear even in Penang Hokkien is receding because of Mandarin, which is not the 'mother tongue' of the people of Fujian or Guangdong.

Yes, it seems mostly older Singaporeans who have a command of Malay. My mother speaks pretty basic Malay, from what she learned from friends.etc and from living in Malaysia for a few years. She also knows a smattering of Cantonese and can speak basic Hokkien, even if that was the language of her parents, since she began speaking mostly English from an early age. She and her peers were more English educated than some other Singaporeans at the time.
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