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Singapore businessman's Hindi flyer irks Tamils
A Chinese-origin businessman in Singapore has drawn flak for publishing pamphlets in Hindi instead of Tamil, one of the four official languages of the country.
The local public were also incensed over the poor quality of Malay language translation – for which Google translate was used instead of an expert.
The pamphlets, meant to announce the relocation of a common “Wet Market” where fresh food is sold, was printed in English and translated into three other official languages: Mandarin, Malay and what was meant to be Tamil but ended up as Hindi.
Wayne Neo, a Chinese-origin market operator, prepared a letter of apology in the four official languages and submitted it to the authorities to vet, The Straits Times reported.
It was an Indian-origin woman, Vijaya Kandasamy, who highlighted the error in a social media post on March 22. “I think you need more people who can read and write Tamil. What language is that?... Please remove the person from your team if they don’t know our very own official languages!”
Netizens also pointed out that the Malay portion was poorly translated.Indian-origin MP for Sembawang Group Representative Constituency Vikram Nair told the daily that the pamphlets were put up by the operator, who had not consulted any MPs or the town council. The MP added that the operator does not speak Hindi or Tamil. Neo has repeatedly apologised for the mistake.
A spokesman for the market said: “It was a bad mistake on our part, there are really no excuses.” Initially, the plan was to print the pamphlets in English but the firm was concerned that some elderly residents in the area might not understand it. It was then decided to print it in the four official languages. Neo and his team used Google Translator. “We also mistakenly selected Hindi instead of Tamil,” Neo told the daily. He intends to display copies of the letter of apology on the stalls at the market’s current location.