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Thread: michelle envoy in sinagpore jan 9-15

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    michelle envoy in sinagpore jan 9-15

    the us department came out she will be in sinagpore from january 9--15th.
    i am loousy at uploading link

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/01/154059.htm

    To post a link, just copy the link from your address bar while you are at the site, then paste it into the Golden Skate dialogue box. The GS software will do the rest automatically.
    Last edited by Mathman; 01-08-2011 at 05:11 PM.

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    Custom Title demarinis5's Avatar
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    Video interview with Michelle in Singapore. They ask her about dating. As usual she gives us no details other than she
    is single. lol


    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ptm/interviews/index.htm

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    I like a person who manages to keep private life private!

    It will be fun to hear more about the visit next week. Isn't there a large ethnic Chinese population in Singapore? Do they speak Mandarin or Cantonese, I wonder? Michelle could address them in both languages by now.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I believe that almost everyone in Singapore speaks English, at least to some extent. I think that the government is pushing Mandarin as one of the official national languages n preference to other Chinese dialects like Cantonese, but many languages are in common use.

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    There are four official languages in Singapore including English which is very commomly used. The official Chinese is Mandarin which is encouraged by the government for "street" use as well in place of many Chinese dialects, including Cantonese which is not as dominent as in N America. (Mandarin is the language learned and used in Chinese schools.) The other official languages are to appease the Malay and Indian populations but they are more localized.

    Olympia, the Chinese make up the majority of the population in Singapore so they are not ethnic.
    Last edited by SkateFiguring; 01-11-2011 at 03:00 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    Olympia, the Chinese make up the majority of the population in Singapore so they are not ethnic.
    Wait. They are an ethnic group, just not a minority. Right?

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    If you would call White Christians in the US or the Han people in China ethnic, then I suppose the Chinese can be called ethnic in Singapore.

    Do you quite automatically consider White Americans in Sudan or Taiwan ethnic?

    A dictionary defines ethnic as belonging to a cultural group, in which case everybody is ethnic. But I feel that a mainstream culture in a particular society or nation is generally not considered ethnic .

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    If you would call White Christians in the US or the Han people in China ethnic, then I suppose the Chinese can be called ethnic in Singapore.

    Do you quite automatically consider White Americans in Sudan or Taiwan ethnic?

    A dictionary defines ethnic as belonging to a cultural group, in which case everybody is ethnic. But I feel that a mainstream culture in a particular society or nation is generally not considered ethnic .
    An interesting question. If everyone is the same, then the question of ethnicity wouldn't come up. But in a multicultural society, I think it would be quite appropriate use of language to ask, for instance, "What is the largest ethic group in Singapore?" -- really wanting to know.

    Answer: the Chinese.

    In fact, I can't think of any other way to ask that question.

    On the other hand, to ask, "who lives in China?" "The Chinese." Yeah, that's kind of "duh!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    There are four official languages in Singapore including English which is very commomly used. The official Chinese is Mandarin which is encouraged by the government for "street" use as well in place of many Chinese dialects, including Cantonese which is not as dominent as in N America. (Mandarin is the language learned and used in Chinese schools.) The other official languages are to appease the Malay and Indian populations but they are more localized.

    Olympia, the Chinese make up the majority of the population in Singapore so they are not ethnic.
    Thanks for the info, SkateFiguring. My apologies if I used the word ethnic in a way that seems impolite. I didn't mean to imply a minority. I did mean, as Mathman says, a group that lives in a multicultural country.

    I knew that English is one of the major languages but thought that because a large part of the population is Chinese, Michelle might out of courtesy address a gathering by making a few remarks in one of the two Chinese languages that she speaks (I think she spoke Cantonese at home as a child and has learned Mandarin), as well as addressing them in English.

    I do hope that we'll hear more about Michelle's visit there! Maybe there will be a write-up on the State Dept. site that Fairly linked to.
    Last edited by Olympia; 01-11-2011 at 09:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    But in a multicultural society, I think it would be quite appropriate use of language to ask, for instance, "What is the largest ethic group in Singapore?" -- really wanting to know.
    The U.S. is a multicultural society. What is the largest ethnic group in the U.S.?

    In fact, I can't think of any other way to ask that question.
    How about "what is the largest racial group in Singapore?" or "what is the majority race in Singapore?"

    I think many people use "ethnic" as a PC substitute for "race" except I feel "ethnic" is more discriminating than "race" which to me is neutral.

    Ethnic is not a word with equivalence in every language. For those with this word in the vocabulary, "ethnic" usually means non-English minority groups whereas "ethnique" would mean non-French. It may sound more PC to question and identify someone's "cultural background", but it is still race about which people's curiosity lies. Race is more of a common identity whereas culture can be quite varied within a race and melded in a multicultural society. "Ethnic" is not inclusive and denotes being socially marginal IMO.

    The Chinese is the largest and least ethnic group of people in the world. Caucasians, the ones with the word "ethnic" in their languages, though, probably have a hard time identifying with being ethnic themselves even though they are a minority race.

    An interesting question. If everyone is the same, then the question of ethnicity wouldn't come up.
    People are interested in easily identifiable differences which usually means firstly visible differences such as skin colours, facial features and dress, generally race related (though not dress). Aural differences, experienced via spoken languages, are the next to be noticed, relating to culture. We don't usually smell and taste other people so we do their foods, and we also often object to strong and different body scents. Touch OTOH does not help differentiate people.

    However, besides appearances such as race, genders, body types, hair and eye colours, etc, it is possible and no less justifiable to differentiate people by not so visible criteria such as blood types, or even ear wax - waxy or flaky, just two kinds of people in this world. I suspect a racist in need of a blood transfusion would be more interested in another person's blood type than his outward appearance. There are real differences that actually matter, n'est-ce pas?

    Olympia, there was nothing impolite in your post, nor was there in Mathman's. I was just providing some facts I knew and here I'm just expressing my opinion.

    eta: I forgot to mention that the national language of Singapore is Malay even though the Malay people are a minority. It was a very friendly gesture due to the political climate at the time of independence. English language and bureacracy are used because of the colonial background. Singaporeans are a very pragmatic people.
    Last edited by SkateFiguring; 01-11-2011 at 10:46 PM.

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    I think you just put your finger on something, SkateFiguring. As you say, in the U.S., "racial group" is considered more discriminatory, while "ethnic group" is considered more neutral! As this proves, even when people all speak the same language, we can run into obstacles, depending on our local assumptions!

    This is why venturing out into the global village is so important, I think. Sure, there are momentary awkwardnesses, but it pays off in the long run, with better understanding of people who are "not us." International outreach is one of the great benefits of the Olympic movement. Up until recently, though, the Winter Olympics were less successful at this than the Summer Games, mostly because very few countries outside North America and Europe had a tradition of or facilities for winter sports. Now that imbalance is adjusting, and the sport we all love best, figure skating, is becoming more truly international.

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    I think many people use "ethnic" as a PC substitute for "race"...
    That is certainly true in the United States. No-one had ever heard of the word "ethnic" until race relations in the United States grew fragile to the point that even mentioning the word "race" was asking for trouble. (By the way, I don't have any problem with being "politically correct" Better to be politcally correct than to hurt peoples' feelings.)

    Would you say that Chinese and Japanese, for instance, are different races? Or Norwegians and Italians? Spoux and Cherokee?

    The U.S. is a multicultural society. What is the largest ethnic group in the U.S.?
    That's a good question. I just Googled it to see what people in general think that question means. Many of the references said things like, the largest ethnic group comprises the Germans, followed by the Irish, English, African-American, and so on. I don't think there is much cultural or racial difference among the first three (and not much cultural difference among any of them.)

    The Chinese is the largest and least ethnic group of people in the world.
    I guess I don't understand how you are using the word "ethnic" here. If it means, belonging to an identifiable culture, speaking the same language, inheriting a common history, etc., then I would take note that the Chinese have the longest continuous civilization in the world, with many common traditions reaching back centuries.

    I just looked up the root word "ethnos" ("the people") and found, "People of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture."

    Edited to add: Here is an interesting site that purports to list the "ethnic groups" in each country.

    http://siakhenn.tripod.com/ethnic.html

    For the United States it says (as of 1992) white (83.5%). black (12.4%, Asian (3.3%), "Amerind" (0.8%) It does not list "Hispanic" because a person of Latin American origin can be of any race. (So here race is more important than language or place of origin).

    For China it lists Han Chinese (91.9%), "Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%."

    It is interesting how they can't seem to make up their mind as to what features they should be looking for. "Muslim," for instance, is an "ethnic group" (not a religion) in some countries, while others are classified by language.

    Congo has over 200 "ethnic groups," the majority of therm Bantu-speaking.

    I guess "ethnic" is not a very well defined term.

    I am very surprised, though, to discover that people in Canada have a negative reaction to this word.

    The reason that "race" is a bad word in the U.S. is because "racists" think that their race is superior to others -- and indeed that people of other races are automatically stupid, lazy, immoral, etc. (After all, if you were smart, hard-working and upright, you would be a member of my race, like decent people.)
    Last edited by Mathman; 01-11-2011 at 11:52 PM.

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    National economies and personal finances play a big part in sport participation. Africa produces the world's best runners because it requires no equipment, often not even shoes, to run and run. In warm climate, the runners don't need facilities either. OTOH, this continent does not have many swimmers. Even in the U.S. black swimmers are glaringly few, like Jamaican bobsledders. The poor simply don't have access to pools. A few decades back, there were just three swimming pools in China! But China is a country that produces whatever talents and results they put their mind into. In no time at all they shocked the world of diving by dominating the sport and they still do.

    Winter sports are generally very expensive, requiring facilities, costly equipments and often means of transport. And snow and ice of course. These climatic and financial factors really limited winter sports to wealthy northern nations. Indoor winter sports however are not so dependent on the climate which is why various sorts of skating have been spreading and becoming popular in many nations, especially in Asia, potentially including tropical countries like Singapore. Quebecers have excelled in several winter sports such as aerial skiing and short track speed skating mainly because they originated here. However, soon enough other nations, especially in Asia such as Korea, started challenging Quebecers. Once a skating rink is built, skaters just have to have skates and they can skate and skate, round and round in the case of speed skating. The beauty of figure skating is very appealing to Asian girls and even the boys are not so obliged to be constantly exhibiting outward masculinity like in the U.S. I believe the popularity of figure skating will continue to rise with the wealth of many nations.

    Famous skaters like Michelle Kwan and Patrick Chan, who was in Singapore and other Asian countries last summer, can really help popularize the sport in unlikely nations. I wonder how big a difference Stojko and Cranston have made in Mexico.

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    What exactly is an envoy? I know Michelle is a diplomat or ambassador or something, but I'm not sure what her job description is. Is she one of those pretty ladies you see at those ribbon cutting ceremonies?

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