The Online Citizen

The Satirist Says: Speak Good English Movement incites violence with guerilla campaign

The Satirist Says: Speak Good English Movement incites violence with guerilla campaign
September 14
12:13 2010

Singapore, 14 September 2010 – In an apparent disregard for those who champion Singlish (local colloquialism that mixes English with the various dialects and languages used by Singaporeans) and the blatant persecution of those who are too busy trying to survive in Singapore to bother about proper language use in communication, the Speak Good English Movement (SGEM) launched last week its campaign to post sticky notes on signs that display incorrect use of English (‘Correct’ sticky notes to be pasted on bad signs, TODAY – 8 September 2010).

As TOC Lite was not invited, it is unknown how many of the ’80 people who had gathered at Xin Food Court at the HarbourFront Centre for the launch of the campaign’ were unsuspecting diners who happened to be at the food court to eat. Nevertheless, our analyst who reads the Straits Times avidly pointed out that if an opposition political party had gathered in this fashion, it would have been considered an offence of unlawful assembly under Section 141 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.


141. An assembly of 5 or more persons is designated an “unlawful assembly”, if the common object of the persons composing that assembly is — (e) by means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.

Describing the campaign as ‘guerilla’ and admitting that ‘activists’ have been recruited and armed with kits that include ‘notebooks, posters and stickers that express common phrases in Standard English’, the SGEM has gone on the offensive to push its position. Not unlike opposition political parties that often run afoul of the law in their quest to further their agenda, the SGEM has clearly embarked on an equally destructive initiative to incite violence.

Since there is a significant majority of residents here who do not speak a word of English (illustrated by the number of sales lost by waiters and service staff who remain intent on speaking Mandarin to Malay and Indian Singaporeans), it can be reasonably expected that someone may be incited by this initiative to paste sticky notes on the foreheads of such residents, thereby provoking violence and committing an offence under Section 13C of Chapter 184.


13C. Any person who in a public place or in a private place — (b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another person by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another person, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000.

Also, since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had specifically acknowledged the Singapore Shiok handbook as a good initiative in paragraph 33 of his speech, the move by the SGEM may even be considered a clear act of defiance against the state and thereby even be guilty of an act of terrorism. The handbook created by the Singapore Management University (SMU) for its international students (Singapore Shiok for foreigners, Straits Times, 7 September 2010), includes common Singlish terms that can be used by the reader.

It is therefore widely anticipated that the SGEM activists will now target SMU for their flagrant championing of improper English and it might likely launch a guerilla attack to cover the SMU campus with sticky notes. Our sources understand that SMU is now considering taking a leaf out of NTU’s recent draconian approach to decree students to register their blog activities (NTU’s blogging rule raises eyebrows, Channel NewsAsia, 9 September, 2010) – by requiring students to declare their involvement or affiliation with the SGEM, its members, or its ‘activists’.

TOC Lite understands that the Internal Security Department (ISD) and the waiting to retire so relaxing at a barely-necessary unit master teachers at the Ministry of Education (MOE) are also currently on high alert for the expected fallout of this national threat. It is unclear if the SGEM will choose to desist from its intended clandestine operation.


Headline photo courtesy of Speak Good Singlish Movement facebook group


  • Old Guy

    How to speak good english with SO MANY ‘foreign talents’ in singapore who also DON’T

    lim peh no eng lah

  • Moe Gan Thai

    Where got like this one !

  • http://Website(optional) radiology technician

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  • english teacher

    si~~yaw arh!
    how come foreigners can speak their own country language in spore
    sporean cannot speak own singlish language in spore
    where can one~~~?
    when speaking good english to foreigners, foreigners say what! what!
    what say you?
    see liao~~~lah!

  • english teacher

    dun know singlish, go learn-lah
    very senang one…
    say whatever you like
    dun know also use hands & legs also can one…
    no need to think one…

  • joker

    I want to talk english the way I know best cannot meh? Why not happy want to fight har? come lah!

  • Wiseman

    When you try your best to speak GOOD ENGLISH

    but the ang moh still think you speak bad english

    BECAUSE your face NOT ang moh face

    So how ‘good’ or slang, ang moh still think you speak lousy english and pretend cannot understand you

    Then you LOSE face when you think you speak good english, ang moh still cannot understand you…

    So BETTER use singlish..

    Ang moh don’t understand, their business !

  • Speak Good Singlish Movement

    Thank you for using one of our Post-its Tak Bak Chew Campaign stickies. If you are as eng as gangasudhan, try to make your own post-it too and share it with us: Also come and talk cock!

  • ahkong

    Thanks for highlighting this incidence. SOmeone must write another book Once a Jolly Violence Incitor to expose the hipocricy of the PAP government.

  • Makan Time

    Post It Litterbugs… waste of paper. The cleaner will have to clean up the place later.

  • Jackson

    It’s my mouth. I speak what I wanna speak, ho seh bo?

  • theforgottongeneration

    This SGEM is gonna be a complete waste of resources and everyone’s time. Dun see how it helps one tiny bit on ground issues like jobless, rising costs, immigration influx issues, etc… Which idiot even approve it, MCYS again?

  • Pingback: Daily SG: 15 Sep 2010 « The Singapore Daily

  • Bigfish

    It seems like they got nothing better to do.

  • mice is nice

    let’s start this campaign in our NS camps (army, police & civil defense), see if our 3-stripes & above can maintain up their standards anot.

    2 years of crap very hard to erase wan. wake up your idea!

    “wake up your idea!”
    “dun run like ku-niang.”
    “drop 10/20!”

    what about “dun forget to see if passport got CHOP anot”? & the words “built-in” is also not used in MSM at times.

  • Samantha Wimala

    Haha! I’ve actually succeeded in teaching some of my colleagues in Australia “SInglish”. Ideally, it should be recognised as a dialect. After all, Singlish is probably easier to understand than some of the Scottish dialects, examples being:
    Braw, bricht, muinlicht nicht
    Hoots mon the nou
    Lang mey yer lum reek

  • I no stupid

    How many years we have been talking about speaking good mandrain. And what is the results? Now is the turn for good english, and with this method? I am sceptical man. What talking you.

  • Hades

    Who’s gonna tell our NTUC chief that ‘Upturn the downturn’ is not exactly Queen’s English?

    Or a certain Dragon Prince who decided he is not going to let pilots ‘do Singapore in’. Do what to Singapore in what? Why should only Singlish get the blame when our fair skinned friends in America, Australia and Scotland speak their own versions of the language? So when Singaporeans use American or British colloquial words it’s okay, but home-grown is verboten? It’s not like our Pappie Stars speak ‘perfect’ English anyway. Most of them seem to have vocabularies (and attitudes) of 10 year olds (but mixed with a liberal dose of corporate jargon).

    Have you heard a Glaswegian speak? I could only pick out one in every three words.

    Or Pittsburgh english, ‘Yinz better redd up this room’, which is Pittsburghese for ‘You should clean up this room or something bad will happen to you’.

    My personal favourite english is still Jamaican. I wonder what they would have to say about a ‘speak good English’ campaign in Jamaica.

  • Pingback: “Por Favor LAH” : Singlish, Ebonics, and the role of different dialects | Multilingual Mama

  • Pingback: Foreigner in Singapore – Language |