Singaporean man has raised quite the ruckus online after filming a video of himself badgering a Chinese food court worker for her inability to speak English.
“You speak English, okay? You don’t ask me to speak Mandarin, okay?” the man says in the video. “You come to Singapore, this is my country, I’m Singaporean, okay? You must learn how to speak a bit of English.”
After the woman refuses to respond to his harassment, the man tries to blame his inconvenient takeout experience on the Singaporean government. “Here we have another problem with government’s policies bringing in foreign workers,” he argues. “In this case, this lady’s from China and she cannot understand English. I’m trying to get her to separate this…”
At this point, the irritated worker begins to complain in Mandarin about the man to another customer. “If he wants me to separate the bags, then I’ll separate the bags,” she reasons. “He doesn’t have to say I’m not cooperating with him by not speaking English.”
Next, the man tries again to make his point, this time in faulty Mandarin before giving up and returning back to English. “You go back to your country, okay?” This is my country.”
“Can only Singaporeans be in Singapore?” the woman replies in Mandarin.
“This is another case of the government’s low law. Bringing in foreigners and giving us Singaporeans trouble,” the man says to finish off the video.
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Or on Tencent Video:
The exchange was published last week by the Facebook page “Singaporean Peasant,” but it turns out that the video is actually several years old and has popped back up from time to time. In the comments underneath the video, many Singaporean Facebook users call the man a national disgrace:
“This ‘Singapore Uncle’ is an embarrassment to our country. Such intolerance for change has no place in today’s society.”
“If this is a case of government failed policy then blame the gov and leave the lady alone, this is bullying, you would’nt want Singaporeans who work overseas and get such treatment by their locals do you?”
However, others argued that the man did at least have a point:
“She can’t speak English and yet chose to work in Singapore. It’s her choice and she’s partly to blame. Those who are on the anti-uncle camp, what if the worker is from Myanmar who start talking to you in Burmese? And what if she’s Indonesian and can’t speak english? I bet you guys will have a very different narratives if that were the case.”
“I don’t agree with what he did but if you’re going to come to Singapore, you should at least be able to speak the basics. No one is asking them to be fluent, not every Singaporean is going to be able to speak Chinese since it’s a multiracial country. It’s like going to Japan and demanding all the Japanese to be able to speak English just because you’re English.”
While English may Singapore’s most commonly spoken language, the national language is actually Malay with both English and Mandarin serving as official languages along with Tamil. In informal situations, many Singaporeans speak Singlish, a local variant of English that includes elements of Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, and other languages native to the country’s melting pot of a population.
After making the rounds on Facebook, the video has hit Chinse social media this week. One version shared by Pear Video has more than 4 million views and thousands of comments. As you’d expect, Chinese netizens aren’t big fans of the Singaporean uncle.
“In every place you go, you’ll find some trash,” commented one Weibo user. “Sorry, you can’t come to our China, you didn’t learn Chinese well enough,” wrote another.