A Number with An Accent

(This is actually my second half of my speech)

As you may know, I’m not the person with the clearest and the most easily to understand handwriting. And hence some people need to verify with what I wrote to make sure they had my correct information. I can totally understand that.

About 4 weeks ago, I was filling out an application form and somehow the staff did not recognize my phone number and he made a comment as follow: “Oh, I didn’t know that people can write with an accent. HAHAHA” Maybe the staff think he made a good joke, I didn’t think it was funny. In fact, we all have accents when we speak and your accent is part of who you are. I believe that in a civilized society, people embrace diversity, and that includes you race, your gender, your nationality and your accent.

Most of you here might consider speaking American English is very easy because you grew up in thestates. However, to many people who are not from an English-speaking country, English could be our 2nd, 3rd, or 4th language.

I grew up in an environment which I learned British English in the classroom. I also watched Hollywood movies yet I talked to my friends in Mandarin. When I’m at home, I spoke with my parents and siblings in Cantonese. And depending on where I’m at, sometimes I have to mix some Malaysian and Singaporean dialects in an English conversation so I can make friends easier.

So to my dear American friends sitting here, please respect your friends, co-workers, clients, or everyone you come across, who are not speaking perfect American English. People like me are doing our best to speak English. It does take time to speak a foreign language as good as a native speaker, if you have learnt a foreign language before.

You probably know that we are in a global economy now and America is one of the players, but not the only player. Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who reformed the Chinese economy once said, “No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.” I adopted a similar philosophy, “It doesn’t matter if it is British English, Australian English or Singaporean English, as long as I can understand what you are saying, it is good communication.”