Another dot in the blogosphere?

Pledge to question

Posted on: August 25, 2018

There is a kindergarten at the foot of my apartment block and the air is clear enough for the kids voices to travel all the way up.

Some mornings I awake to a chorus of young voices reciting the Singapore Pledge. It is done in the usual sing-song English and in Mandarin.

I ask myself the usual question and give myself the usual answer:

  • Q: Are the nursery-age kids too young to understand they are saying?
  • A: Probably, but the exercise is not one of citizenship or patriotism. It is one of blind (or deaf) memorisation now and possibly deep understanding much later.

Then I ask myself something that someone born into the majority race here might not ask:

  • Q: If the pledge has been written in our four official languages, why do the kids just say it in two?
  • A: …

I do not have a good answer for that one. I grew up reciting the pledge only in English as that was common to all whatever their designated mother tongue was.

I can hazard a few guesses as to why the kids belt out the Pledge in English and then only Chinese.

  • One of the answers to an FAQ is the Pledge “may be recited in any of the four official languages”.
  • The kindergarten operator might justify the extra language as a value-added service.
  • There are no (or not enough) teachers who can ensure the quality of the Malay and Tamil versions of the Pledge.
  • The majority race attends and teaches, so the majority rules.

My guesses have roots that are more rotten the further you go down that list. I offer no solutions, but I pledge to keep questioning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Click to see all the nominees!

QR code

Get a mobile QR code app to figure out what this means!

My tweets


Usage policy

%d bloggers like this: