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Train announcements in English and Chinese only – SMRT explains

Below is the response from the SMRT to a query by publichouse.sg’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Loh, on why announcements on trains are in English and Chinese only. Some have observed this apparent anomaly and have questioned if the other official languages, namely Malay and Tamil, would also be used in such announcements. Here is SMRT’s reply: Dear Mr Loh We refer to your feedback below. We wish to explain that we had received public feedback and suggestions to announce station names in Mandarin. Following a review, we decided to adopt passengers’ recommendations as it is a service improvement that would benefit passengers who rely on announcements during their journey. We had also considered the need for the announcement of station names to be in four languages. During our review, it was clear to us that most station names, when pronounced in English, sound similar to that in Malay and Tamil. Stations names in Mandarin, however, sound different. Take for instance, some examples are as follows: City Hall, 政府大厦 (Zheng Fu Da Sha) Somerset, 索美塞 (Suo Mei Sai) Redhill, 红山 (Hong Shan) Lakeside, 湖畔 (Hu Pan) Pioneer, 先驱 (Xian Qu) In this regard, the announcement of station name in Mandarin will benefit…

Baying for a pound of flesh – and more

By Andrew Loh Can you take the life of someone, anyone, based on dubious arguments alone? It seems you can, from what our ministers said in Parliament recently on the changes to the mandatory death penalty. The amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), which Parliament approved, mean that drug traffickers can now be given the alternative sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum 15 strokes of the cane, instead of the death penalty. This sentence, however, is subject to two stringent conditions, as DPM Teo Chee Hean explained in Parliament in July: “First, the trafficker must have only played the role of courier, and must not have been involved in any other activity related to the supply or distribution of drugs. Second, discretion will only apply if having satisfied this first requirement, either the trafficker has cooperated with the Central Narcotics Bureau in a substantive way, or he has a mental disability which substantially impairs his appreciation of the gravity of the act.” These stipulations by themselves raise many questions, some of which have been asked by MPs and which are left unanswered. For example, NMP Lawrence Lien raised an important point about punishment: “This ‘substantive assistance’ standard…