Is Tamil not on the directional signage of Changi Airport?

By May 5, 2022 Society, Transport

We came across this post on Facebook:

According to the video, filmed in Changi Airport which is Singapore’s major civilian international airport, the directional signage there contains only three of the four official languages of Singapore, omitting Tamil in favour of Japanese.

Looking into this, we found that the lack of tamil signage is not a recent controversy, with an article from the Japan Times from 2008 discussing how ethnic Indians in Singapore had felt snubbed by the signs at Changi Airport. The article also cited the decision to include Japanese in the signage as part of a deliberate policy to make Singapore more tourist-friendly to Japanese speakers.

The addition of Japanese in Singaporean signs is not relegated to just the directional signage in Changi Airport however. Many popular tourist locations have Japanese translations as well, most likely due to the same tourist-friendly approach.

While the directional signage shown in the aforementioned video does not have Tamil on it, an article from the Straits Times dated 18 February 2019 found that this is not true for all the signage in the airport. When they conducted a check on the signage, they found that Changi Airport now has all four official languages and Japanese on its signs at Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, which opened in 2017. However, most signs at Terminals 1 and 3 have yet to be updated with Tamil. Nonetheless, it is true that there are signs in Changi Airport with Japanese instead of Tamil on them.

Leave a Reply