Thursday, May 13, 2010
For a little while today, I managed to have some quiet moments to myself to watch the rain come down. This afternoon, many commented that compared to my usual voices, I sounded very different when I get up on stage.
For someone who isn't very sociable, I sure like being an emcee a fair bit. It's an easy job. I like how it makes me think on my feet. I'm not a particularly sterling emcee. Competent enough, I suppose. I'm not very good hosting games and fun events. It's positively exhausting, especially when I'm not the bubbly-iest person or the friendliest in the room. But I can do formal nicely. Preferably at conferences when I just need to look solemn.
The one emcee job I regret missing out on was to do this forum last month. By the time I was asked to be the forum's emcee, the flights, hotels and transport in Bali had already been sorted! I wasn't going to cancel the vacation. To even think of being an emcee again, I'd have to wait till 2012- by that time, I might very well not be in this office anymore! :( What to do?!
At this forum, emcees were respectively needed to speak in English and Mandarin. It would be ideal if the emcees were effectively bilingual. It was really the chance of a lifetime. I knew I could do it, and cover for my co-emcee if necessary. Regardless of which language I take, I'd be able to understand the other almost immediately. That can be very helpful. Even more so, I wanted to tell my office that we have good Mandarin speakers around whose pronunciation, at least, can be on par with our counterparts'. I've honestly gotten very sick of hearing colleagues say that their Mandarin/Chinese isn't good enough. It can be. Try harder. It's quite tiring to speak Mandarin with the typical Singapore accent, which I have to do often to assimilate in the typical settings. My friends would know exactly what I mean because I don't put on that accent with them. When I forget and slip into my usual accent, people ask if I'm from China.
I haven't spent 12 years in school studying the language, its culture and history for nothing. I was one of those idiots who did 'Higher Chinese' for A-levels and took an additional 'General Paper' in Chinese. And I come from a home where English and Bahasa Indonesia are dominant. French was painful, but as a kid, I was supposed to have a slightly more than rudimentary grasp of it so that I could understand everything else in life. (My strange English boarding-school educated mother came up with that brilliant policy for her children.) Yes, English is the language I'm most comfortable with, eloquent and properly schooled in. By a quirk of fate, Thai is a close second. The Chinese language lags behind at third place. I don't view it as my mother tongue. I feel nothing for it. It's an unwanted label slapped onto me by virtue of the race stated in my identity card.
I'm glad I don't have children, not now, not ever. I'll not have to deal with the unfathomable depths of the system. You know that one of the reasons I don't want children is because I feel very strongly about certain social policies in this country and as long as I live here, I do not want any imaginary offspring to undergo what I had gone through. It's simply getting worse. If my imaginary kid isn't close to being a genius, she'd better have a sizeable trust fund to back her up. Well, even if I live overseas, while I might be more open to the idea, it doesn't negate the fact that I'm not interested in raising kids or negotiating the competitive path of parenthood. So there.
While I can present my brilliant opinions on it, the truth is, I don't care about the whole issue about the mother tongue weighting. All of us know it isn't just about the weighting.