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English speaking cities in SE Asia (other than Philippines)?

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English speaking cities in SE Asia (other than Philippines)?

Postby Johnny1975 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:03 pm

Are there are cities or regions in SE Asia (other than the Philippines) where english is spoken to a reasonable extent? Including 2nd or 3rd tier cities.
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Re: English speaking cities in SE Asia (other than Philippin

Postby Jester » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:34 am

GREAT idea for a thread Johnny!

YES there other places.

Here's what I know from web research, not personal experience.

Malaysians (Malaysian Chinese and Indians, not Malays themselves) are MORE comfortable in English than the average Filipino.

Singaporeans all speak English, though they lapse into Chinese like Filipinos laps into Tagalog. So I would rate them equal to the Philippines in English-proficiency.

Hong Kong is lousy, most people do NOT speak English.

Hoping to read comments from others.
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Re: English speaking cities in SE Asia (other than Philippin

Postby The_Adventurer » Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:03 am

From my time in HK, people in and around the city centre, whether they worked in fast food or in offices, spoke English. People on the outskirts running a noodle stand, spoke no English.

We had a group of 30 students from Hong Kong come to train here in Shanghai. They stayed in the same hotel I use, so I ran into them often outside of work. All spoke decent English.

We had a huge class from Singapore come to visit us here. I did all my presentations in English and had a good Q&A afterward in English. Some of them did not speak any Chinese. Two of them were white. (I didn't ask why)

We had a group from Malaysia come in. All spoke English.
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Re: English speaking cities in SE Asia (other than Philippin

Postby Yohan » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:02 am

Many people in Malaysia/Singapore speak and write excellent English.

All of my friends from Malaysia are Malaysian Chinese from Kuala Lumpur (West Malaysia) and Kota Kinabalu (East Malaysia) and all of them are fluent in English and also, as far as I know them, their children and their parents too. However some of them cannot write/read Chinese anymore.

People in HongKong, but only if they were born and educated in Hongkong, are also good in English, but the territory is full with low educated workers from China mainland with a zero knowledge of foreign languages.


During my trips I found people in Cambodia very talented in studying foreign languages, much more than the Thai or the Vietnamese.

Now only elderly people in Cambodia can often speak remarkably fluent French, but the younger ones all prefer English.

Even more than 50 km outside of PhnomPenh and Battambang (2nd largest city in Cambodia) in poor villages when moving around with a motorcycle I had no problem to meet young boys and girls who were only 11 to 15 y/o and could speak slowly but correct English and when meeting elderly people always some came forward to me and could speak French. In Buddhist temples in Cambodia also I met many monks who could communicate in some foreign languages.

Unlike Thai and Vietnamese, Khmer is NOT a tonal language. It seems this makes a difference when they try to speak English, French and sometimes even German and Japanese. Their way of pronunciation is really good and easy to understand, better than English from the Thai or Vietnamese as there is no 'tonal melody' in it.
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