A War of Words Over 'Singlish'

A couple of months ago, Singaporean officials unintentionally made cinematic history. They slapped an NC-17 rating on a film—which means children under 17 cannot see it—not because of sex or violence or profanity, but because of bad grammar. Despite its apparently naughty title, Talking Cock: The Movie is actually an innocuous comedy comprising four skits about the lives of ordinary Singaporeans. The censors also banned a 15-second TV spot promoting the flick. All this because of what the authorities deemed "excessive use of Singlish."

Given the tough crackdown, you would expect Singlish to be a harmful substance that...

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