Mandarin speaking requirement for job applicants


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A Straits Times reader known as Nurwati suggested in the forum on 19th December 2006 that "it would be much more pleasant to live and work here if we went back to requiring English as the main language for all jobs".

What are your views on her statement? :)
 

cjl

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A Straits Times reader known as Nurwati suggested in the forum on 19th December 2006 that "it would be much more pleasant to live and work here if we went back to requiring English as the main language for all jobs".

What are your views on her statement? :)
Not trying to be racist or wat, but still, there are jobs which really requires candidates to have some language proficenicy due to the job nature, eg to liase with pple from China, or Saudi Arabia region (considering these are hot places now)

Maybe a full article of the lette might be better for us to judge
 

yanyewkay

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also locale of shop is another consideration, example, a little india store would need tamil speaking employees and geylang serai bosses would want malay speaking helpers.

You can't hire a ONLY english speaking helper in chinatown and expect all the older generation aunties and uncles to know that you want to buy wolfberries to boil soup.
 

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Not trying to be racist or wat, but still, there are jobs which really requires candidates to have some language proficenicy due to the job nature, eg to liase with pple from China, or Saudi Arabia region (considering these are hot places now)

Maybe a full article of the lette might be better for us to judge
Here is the article produced from the Straits Times Forum (Dec 19, 2006) on page H6:

My last - part-time - job was as a call-centre agent. When I left and started looking for a full-time job through the newspaper and the Internet, I was both disappointed and frustrated. Besides requiring them to speak English, companies also require them to speak Mandarin. Even an American MNC required Mandarin-speaking staff.

There were times when I called up a company which did not state anything about language requirements. After telling a staff member about my qualifications, my hopes would be dashed when he/she asked if I could speak in Chinese.

However, I am also aware that there are certain jobs requiring other languages, such as Malay, Tamil or even Tagalog. My concern is, will the minorities in Singapore be able to survive in this job market?

If would be much more pleasant to live and work here if we went back to requiring English as the main language for all jobs.

Nurwati Ya'akop (Ms)
 

Hoky

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Here is the article produced from the Straits Times Forum (Dec 19, 2006) on page H6:

My last - part-time - job was as a call-centre agent. When I left and started looking for a full-time job through the newspaper and the Internet, I was both disappointed and frustrated. Besides requiring them to speak English, companies also require them to speak Mandarin. Even an American MNC required Mandarin-speaking staff.

There were times when I called up a company which did not state anything about language requirements. After telling a staff member about my qualifications, my hopes would be dashed when he/she asked if I could speak in Chinese.

However, I am also aware that there are certain jobs requiring other languages, such as Malay, Tamil or even Tagalog. My concern is, will the minorities in Singapore be able to survive in this job market?

If would be much more pleasant to live and work here if we went back to requiring English as the main language for all jobs.

Nurwati Ya'akop (Ms)

Considering the fact that we have so many PRCs in Singapore, Mandarin will be a better medium to interact closely with them.
The same would go for Tamil or some other language if we have a major faction of these foreign intakes.

Maybe we would be speaking spanish once we import Mexicans.
 

lsisaxon

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Considering the fact that we have so many PRCs in Singapore, Mandarin will be a better medium to interact closely with them.
The same would go for Tamil or some other language if we have a major faction of these foreign intakes.

Maybe we would be speaking spanish once we import Mexicans.
It's not the PRC nationals in SG, some of them come here in the hope to be able to learn to speak English then go to some English speaking countries..

Many businesses now need to deal with China.. BIG market and they are growing strong.. No choice.. Need to be able to converse in mandarin to get a slice of the pie.. If we don't buck up, we will be left out.. Even Taiwan is feeling the pinch!!
 

Tetrode

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In many cases, it is used as a tool to discrimination against the minorities.
 

Nisa

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it's simple actually... if u don't speak chinese, how are u going to communicate with some of the old folks who don't speak english? Most of the staff at my work place are Chinese aunties who are in their late 50s or early 60s. Alot of Singapore who are in their late 50s and 60s, who might only be able to speak their mother language. Just be thankful they did not say to be able to speak some form of dialect!
 

Tetrode

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i've never thought of it this way.. :think: you used this tactic often?
Whenever there is a loophole - you can be sure someone will exploit it.

Why do you assume that I would be the one who has used this tactic?
 

Tetrode

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it's simple actually... if u don't speak chinese, how are u going to communicate with some of the old folks who don't speak english? Most of the staff at my work place are Chinese aunties who are in their late 50s or early 60s. Alot of Singapore who are in their late 50s and 60s, who might only be able to speak their mother language. Just be thankful they did not say to be able to speak some form of dialect!
Of course, some requirements are justified but don't be so naive to think that all requirements are necessary.

Many employers use requirements as a means of cutting down on the candidates that apply for their jobs.
 

night86mare

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I like the Singaporean way of logic.

It usually goes in the same breath as:

We all know XXX..

But frequently :dunno: I don't know leh. Must be your intelligence a lot higher than me, because I don't know a lot of things.

Like mcn says: tell me! In any case, language requirements are only to be set by employers, not 80,000 other people. Every company knows its own requirements and if it does not have that requirement but sets it as such then in the long run it stands to lose out due to certain advantages lost to other companies. Simple as that. That is the beauty of a free market where YOU and YOU alone are responsible for your own actions. No need to second-guess any company or what. If they need it, then they need it. If they don't need it and insist that they need it then they are silly and will die in the long run and you won't have to worry about it after all!

Next time, go visit Batam and try to speak English and see all the funny smiles you get along with the shaking of heads. Very exasperating that all the locals there don't know how to speak English. Which is probably why their tourist industry is limited at the moment, I guess.
 

Prismatic

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I feel that language as a job requirement is reasonable enough, since it's basically a skill. If the job requirements ask for job applicants of a particular race, then that will be harder to justify.
 

yanyewkay

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Whenever there is a loophole - you can be sure someone will exploit it.

Why do you assume that I would be the one who has used this tactic?
no reason in particular, was thinking since you suggested it, thought your company or someone you know uses this.
 

Tetrode

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I feel that language as a job requirement is reasonable enough, since it's basically a skill. If the job requirements ask for job applicants of a particular race, then that will be harder to justify.
Exactly, It is one way of making sure that the majority of the applicants applying for the position of the race you seek. There is already overt discrimination against candidates over 40 - something the government is trying to rectify. So it isn't a stretch to figure out that covert racial discrimination is also occuring/has occurred - you cannot control/police this w/o strict rules/policies.

In other countries, some more multi-cultural as ours (i.e. whose citizens that are of many different races, religions and from different countries), the only language requirement is English (or the first language of that country) and there are anti-discrimination laws that protect against practices like these.

I've seen quite a number of positions where Mandarin is not necessary, yet the requirement is for the candidate to read, speak and write Chinese.

The ability to speak Mandarin is not an advantage when doing business in China as many an Sgrean expat in China has found. The requirement goes further than that - they also expect you to know their culture/beliefs - something many Sgreans who go there, are ignorant of.

Many Europeans, Indians, et al and their companies are successfully wheeling and dealing with the Chinese w/o having the ability to speak the language.
 

night86mare

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You say it like it's the truth. "There is overt discrimination against people over 40."

Discrimination is one thing, pragmatism is another. Young people accept lower pay, and possibly perform the same job as well. Of course companies do not want to hire people over 40 who might have been problematic (since they are jobless over the age of 40). You gotta see it from their shoes, thankyew.
 

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