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Play now 25 mins

Episode 1

Duration:
25 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 14 February 2012

English has been the dominant global language for a century, but is it the language of the future in rising South East Asia?

In the first of two documentary programmes Jennifer Pak visits Malaysia and Singapore, two countries where colonial ties to the English language are loosening.

In Malaysia a renewed emphasis on Malay in schools and in culture is controversial with many parent groups anxious for their children's economic future and those concerned at losing a language that unites across ethnic backgrounds.

In Singapore we hear how Mandarin is becoming increasingly important together with the street 'Singlish'.

Series Produced by Simon Pitts

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Khairy Jamaluddin of the governing party United Malays National Organisation

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Khairy Jamaluddin of the governing party United Malays National Organisation

  • Commentator Alex Au in Singapore

    Commentator Alex Au in Singapore

    He thinks English used to be the glue language in this multi-racial society but now he thinks it's on the decline

  • Singaporean company Wild Rice performing the pantomime Aladdin in local hybrid language of Singlish

    Singaporean company Wild Rice performing the pantomime Aladdin in local hybrid language of Singlish

  • Shirley Chua and her nine year old son Aw Yee Han

    Shirley Chua and her nine year old son Aw Yee Han

    They live in Johor state, Malaysia but Aw Yee Han goes to school in Singapore, across an international border, every day just to learn good English

  • Students at Taman Tun Dr Ismail school, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Students at Taman Tun Dr Ismail school, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Where many students struggle with the English language

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