As a Chinese who doesn’t speak Chinese, I understand how it feels to be left out in a discussion because I don’t understand a word that other people are saying. But I feel that people are too one sided when providing solution to this problem. I mean, isn’t it obvious that both parties should take part and do something to solve this problem?
The most common argument that people say regarding this matter, is that Singapore has 4 National Language.
(Below, I’m not talking about minority or majority races, I’m talking about minority and majority languages in groups)
From the minority side: It is exactly because you know this that you should try to learn the other languages. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in learning about something new, it might even be useful when you enter the working world. I’m going to stress this especially to the Chinese, because most of them as a majority race sometimes think that they are more priviledge, start whining when they are left out in a group just because they are not used to it, bla bla bla.
For the minority races, don’t always play your minority card, step up your game and learn, why not? I mean regardless of the 4 national languages, you know that Chinese language is most commonly used, so go and learn if you have the chance.
From the majority side: It is exactly because you know that Singapore has 4 national languages that you should be more sensitive when talking in a group of people. I mean, I’m going to generalize a bit and assume this : Chinese speaks chinese and english, Malay speaks melayu and english, Indian speaks tamil and english (I apologize if it’s wrong, I’m not familiar with India and their languages), other foreigners speak english.
Then from this bit of information, can’t you see? Our common ground is English language, as much as possible, try to speak a language that everyone can understand. It is not easy as Singapore is a very diverse country, but as I mentioned before, it is exactly because of that, that we should be more aware, more sensitive, more inclusive and speak language that everyone in the group will (almost definitely) understand.