Pritam Singh promises to keep working on his ‘limited conversational Mandarin’

After receiving a boost from a longtime Eunos resident to whom he spoke in Mandarin, Workers’ Party chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh said he will “keep working” on learning the language.

Mr Singh has made speeches and appeals in Mandarin and has been caught on video singing in Hokkien. He is of Punjabi ancestry and shared in an Instagram post last year that Punjabi is his two young daughters’ mother tongue. But the 45-year-old WP leader isn’t done with learning yet, based on his Facebook post on Wednesday night (May 11).

Mr Singh wrote that he had come from house visits that night, which was a “very humid one.”

The weather notwithstanding, he had “a good meeting” with some residents, he said, as the Aljunied GRC MP met people who are new to the Eunos neighborhood, as well as some longtime residents, with whom he spoke in Mandarin.

Like the Tan family, whose patriarch Mr Tan had some encouraging words for me on my limited conversational Mandarin! I will keep working at it!”

Mr Singh also had a fanboy moment, writing that it had been “cool meeting a famous person (and her daughter)” during the house visits.

“Siti Hajjar stars in the current Channel 5 TV shows Sunny Side Up and 128 Circle. I shared some plans about the estate with her,” he wrote.

Sunny Side Up is a drama series from Mediacorp headlined by Gurmit Singh

Mr Singh added that the actress “gave two thumbs up for the Netflix movie Gangubai Kathiawadi,” an Indian Hindi-language biographical crime drama film that was released this year.

Mr Singh also shared about the volunteers who joined him that night.

Linda, who is one of my Chinese-speaking housevisits volunteer, and who joined Amos and I today, has also already watched it! I was impressed with the multiracial appeal of the movie. Long story short, it is strongly recommended! And that’s another reason I enjoy my housevisits – I tend to get good tips on a variety of things, including the esoteric, whatever the weather!”

In an Instagram post in April of last year, Mr Singh wrote about the struggles of minority families who need to decide on a second language for their children to study in primary school.

He added that his wife, Loveleen, a theatre practitioner, “is far better at languages,” than he is.

“Our older daughter takes Mandarin in kindergarten, and she seems to be getting on reasonably (gotta thank her teachers!) We hope she can continue with Mandarin for as long as possible because it is a such a useful language to be competent in,” he wrote. /TISG

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Pritam Singh promises to keep working on his ‘limited conversational Mandarin’