3 reasons your child should master Chinese

By Tr. Hippo

Two weeks back I was on my way home when I bumped into the grandma of one my students.

I teach her grandson Chinese.

Their family is a good representative of the average Singaporean Chinese family, who converses largely in English at home.

He is a lovely boy who consistently pushes himself to attain higher goals and he excels in all the subjects, except Chinese.

When I first met him, he was constantly failing Chinese.

According to an MOE research, more Singaporean families are speaking English at home, which translates to more children overlooking the importance of the Chinese language.

Anyway, I had a chat with his grandma about her grandson, her face full of pride and love for him – which was really heartwarming!

And the conversation went this way:

Me: He is a very smart boy, always sharing his perspectives with me, which often turn out to be really mature for his age. Hopefully he knows Chinese is really good for him.

Grandma: No lah! Nonsense! Don’t believe all that nonsense about Chinese being good. He won’t need it what! He will only need it if he deals with China. Everyone is using English everywhere, right?

I knew better than to argue with a lady who has lived for at least six decades on Earth.

So here goes my perspective on why Chinese is important, and why I took to teaching the language..

On a sidenote, I am a Singaporean Chinese teacher in my mid 20s and I chose to teach Chinese.

1. Chinese is in Our Blood.

If you are Chinese and you speak mostly English at home to a point you cannot speak fluent Mandarin, it is a shame.

Call me traditional but I believe that if I am Chinese, it is my responsibility to at least be proficient in the language.

There is nothing to boast about when you are yellow-skinned and yet rambling away in English and claiming to be Westernized.

Something is amiss.

The younger generation does not have the bond to overturn perceptions of Chinese being boring, and they are not proud of their own Mother Tongue.

Why are you not proud of who you are?

2. China – Endless Opportunities

Realistically, this is true.

Heard of this going around: If every single person in China gives you just 10 cents, you would be a multi-millionaire.

Every business wants a piece of the market share, and every businessman should know the Chinese prioritises human relationships. If a jobseeker or businessman cannot communicate without a translator, human relationships are greatly discounted.

Fact is, the more languages you know, the better – and Chinese being one of the languages you should master.

3. Most Commonly Spoken Language in the World

Search through social media, and you will see how many non-Chinese are taking up Chinese as a second or third language.

Learning a language is always beneficial, even more so for Chinese, statistically proven to be the most commonly spoken language in the world.

You will spot Chinese communities in all parts of the world, a majority of them in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, etc.

If you cannot speak the language, at least be able to understand it.

And if you can speak it, might as well speak it so well you are able to persuade, negotiate, convince, inform and influence.

Is Chinese only used in China? I highly doubt so.

In fact, the skill of speaking sentences in purely Chinese is something almost all Singaporean Chinese lack.

Just last month I was speaking with a new Singaporean Chinese colleague, when I asked (in Mandarin) the subject he was teaching, he stumbled on ‘ke xue’ and ‘shu xue’, not really sure which was referring to Mathematics.

Don’t let our heritage slip away.

The above article was posted with the permission of Chinese educator who goes by the online moniker Tr. Hippo. This first appeared on his BLOG.