Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ENGLISH RULES:Stephen and I saw this banner while eating some food whose names we could not pronounce in the Lau Pa Sat hawkers center. We would have used three syllables, but we got the message. The Speak Good English movement is trying to push people to learn the language here in Singapore. (It's one of four official languages here.) The web site includes photos submitted by readers of signs that use fractured English. In addition, readers can submit troublesome words that the site overseers will show how to pronounce. The list on the site that I saw this afternoon included some toughies like "hierarchy" (hahy-uh-rahr-kee)--I mean when was the last time you said that word? The list included commonly used food items such as "sherbet" (shur-bit) and "lasagna" (luh-zahn-yuh).
Also listed, with a nod to the French, were:
Debut (dey-byoo, deb-yoo);
Entrepreneur (ahn-truh-pruh-nur);
Facade (fuh-sahd).
It also included some words with variations, such as "Content" (kon-tent; kon-tent) and "Maldives" (mawl-deevz, mal-dahyvz).
At least one is victimized by what I assume is a typographical error. For "primarily", the guide leaves out the initial p-sound: rahy-mair-uh-lee.

EDUCATION MATTERS: I just read a review, of one of our TidePool Press books (A Liberal Education by Abbott Gleason) in the March 11 edition of The New Republic. While reading it, I noticed a link to another article by Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago. It deals with one of the topics of our discussion: The Ugly Models: Why are liberals so impressed by China and Singapore's school systems. This is very interesting stuff. How are students really served? Who falls through cracks? What happens to late bloomers? It flows with "I Not Stupid", which I mentioned in my March 4 entry. !

IS CRANE-COUNTING ALL IT'S CRANKED UP TO BE? It's been a month now since the debut (as in dey-byoo) of the Singapore Crane Index Limited Economic Indicator based on real-time information from the Tanjong Pagar container terminal. The exercise raises questions about all those containers that are zipping around the world. I enjoyed reading about the fate of one of the 10,000 or so shipping containers that fall overboard every year. Here's the latest report

Date: March 17
Time: 9:00 a.m. (Singapore time)
Cranes Up (bad): 9
Cranes Down (good): 19
CRANES MISSING (unknown degree of goodness/badness): 0.

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