Task 1A: Exploratory Research

1. Current Issues Confronting Our World Today:

Plastic Waste

Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-41866046/the-giant-mass-of-plastic-waste-taking-over-the-caribbean

The over consumption of resources and creation of plastics are creating a global crisis of waste disposal. The more developed countries are known for producing an excessive amount of waste or garbage and dumping their waste in the oceans and, less developed countries. Plastic, fast food, packaging and cheap electronic wastes threaten the well being of humans. Waste disposal is one of urgent current environmental problem.

Dying Dialects

Sources: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/world/asia/china-beijing-dialect.html

The declining use of dialects among the younger generation has significantly reduced over the years. This issue is not just happening in Singapore, but also countries like Malaysia, China. etc. Articles have shown that Chinese parents from different dialect backgrounds do not want to burden their with learning dialects as it has no economic values. Parents are more concerned with the two main languages English and Mandarin. Even for my family, my parents tends to speak to us in Chinese or English. And they communicate with each other in Hokkien. Dialects are more commonly used among the older generation and this slow death with be an irreversible trend. We would hardly hear any youngsters speaking in dialects. 


Sources: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singaporeans-respect-all-races-but-racism-still-an-issue-survey

Despite Singapore trying to support multiracialism and cultivate racial harmony, with many saying they respect people from all races. However many said they have experienced racism or indicate that they hold racist attitudes. One of the most recent campaign featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew dressed in brownface while impersonating an Indian man and also cross-dressed to look like a Malay woman. This advertisement have sparked a controversy in Singapore as it is not the first time it has happened which have angered a lot of minorities. 


Sources: https://www.tnp.sg/news/others/maia-lee-people-judge-me-my-tattoos

To the public eye, tattoos are a taboo. The idea of leaving a permanent visual on one’s skin doesn’t favour with most people. Many people would imagined tattooed individuals to be unapproachable and fierce, going anywhere near them was a violation. Personally I feel times have changed now, younger generation now see tattoos as a form of art. However, the older generations still associated tattoos are ” bad” person. Some companies/ occupations like hiring manager etc.. do not accept employees to have tattoos.

2. Why is this issue important to you? Who does it affect and how?
Chosen Topic : Dying Dialects

Singapore has become more globalised over the years. Most young Singaporean are not able to speak their own dialect; Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew and more. There are much more fluent in English and Chinese. Similarly for myself,  I am unable to speak fluent Cantonese to my grandparents, my grandparents speak primarily in dialect. I am also ashamed to say, my grandparents tried speaking to us in Mandarin instead as they are trying to build better relationships with their us, grandchildren. 

  • Keep Culture and Languages Alive

I feel that although most Singaporean speak English as our first language, it is also important to maintain a link in our roots, or a part of our culture would be eased in the next generation.

  • To Build Bond with Elderly

Next is many elderly in Singapore speaks in their dialects. Being able to connect in the same language makes interaction a more human experience. You break down the walls of the individuals who require help, allowing them to open up to you. Communicating and connecting with the older generation in dialect will help in rekindling the relationship between all generations.

  • Dialect helps to Save Lives

Dialect is also very important in our healthcare industry. Doctors, nurses, social workers and even volunteer have to know dialects as they need to interact frequently with dialect- speaking patients. Imagine a situation where you meet a senior, the conversation could not go further than a few phases.

3. Who do you need to communicate to, and why?

Target Audience: Younger Generations (After the 1990s)

Target to youths in Singapore between 16-28. Younger generations who understand the importance of communicating with elderly, giving them a chance to speak for themselves, they deserve to be heard. Or for grandchildren to learn simple phases to form greater bond with their grandparents. Or anyone who are interested in learning a new language to keep our culture and language alive and to pass down these culture to younger generation.

4. How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?

Example 1:

Designer/ Organization: Simple Learn Hokkien by Simon Bacher , Medium: Mobile application, Year: 2017

Mobile application was created to teach those people who are interested in learning Hokkien. The icons were simple and direct, which makes it easy for users to understand. It teaches more advanced Hokkien like forming sentences. However I felt that this application lack of images and colour.

Example 2:

Example 3:

Designer/ Organization: Koh Kuan Eng , Medium: Flashcards and Books


The 46- year-old ex-creative director, Koh Kuan Eng created a series of flashcard, books and many other items for his seven year old nephew who could not communicate with his grandparents in their native Hokkien dialect. Each flashcards come with the illustration of an object, objects we faced everyday and its dialect pronunciation.

The used of bright colours and playful fonts make it very suitable for young children. Children tend to have shorter attention span, hence the simple and straightforward words and illustration helps to convey the message quickly.

“Dialects is like an old friend. A friend who grew up with us. And we have lost touch with this friend for quite a number of years now. It’s time to get in touch again with this friend; a friend who not only reminds us of who we are but also where we come from.” – Kuan Eng

Leave a Reply