One challenge even in daily
commerce is to find a common
language. Singapore's linguistic
diversity is not exceptional.
However, a tsunami survivor
who speaks only Malay will have
a tough time communicating
that he or she is diabetic and
needs insulin to a doctor who
speaks one or more Chinese
dialects. The situation becomes
more complex if the survivor is
unconscious or in shock. After a
major disaster it is typical for
friends to send rescue teams -
this expands the language
spectrum. The situation cries out
for both biometric identification
and for hand-held computers or
cellular phones which can
translate a basic vocabulary.