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Language Skills

Roden has left a new comment on your post "Problem With Today's Young Graduates":

I believe a lot of Chinese face the dilemma to choose what language you want to master, mandarin or English? Especially in Malaysia and Singapore, English is so important in commercial world, it is a tool, a key to access various source of knowledge.

However, language is our soul, it has reflected our culture inherent from thousands years, it shape our mind and thinking. Some people see the Malaysia Chinese fighting to against using English to teach math and science in primary school, I think they would doubt it is necessary. Chinese school boy from Chinese speaking community should be having their "inner-conversation" with their mother tongue, which is easy for them to think and to learn in their mother tongue.

Using other language to learn, it could be a mental process obstacle. One thing for sure, whatever language we learn, we must masters it before we could use that language to express in deep and profound idea. It is extremely difficult to master Chinese and English at the same time, even Singapore MML in his book has admitted, which he wrote his experienced to learn Mandarin. It is naïve to think you would be smooth in China business world or comunity if you can speak mandarin, your mandarin should reach to certain level to understand their metaphor which related to china ancient history.

However, it is matter of choice, if you choose to master your Chinese, then say bye bye to MNC companies, u unlikely reach the top or high ranking in MNC Companies, you unlikely to be some one like Dali, able to access various kind of knowledge in financial industry for the first hand information, and write such a great blog. However, the door is open for you to understand the masterpieces of china ancient knowledge and philosophy, some Chinese ancient book lost most of the meaning when translate into English. How wonderful and complicated that every Chinese character actually is a picture. You master Chinese; you should be able to swim like a fish in China man Company, where the rule is “no rule but hidden rule”.

Personal opinion, Malaysian Chinese should fight on using their mother tongue to learn math and science. Whereas, the other group of Chinese forgoes the mandarin and master in English, heading to specific industry that could not do without English. After all, although using different language, other race still calls us Chinese.

p/s photos: Zhou Wei Tong


UltimaSquare said…
Hi Dali,

My thoughts on this ... The chinese educationist groups(example: Dong Jiao Zong) are fighting for the preservation of a basic education system where the chinese parents, if they choose to, can send their children to learn basic reading and writing skills. Malays or indian can too, because there are no restrictions of race in its enrolment.

Chinese parents also have an option of sending them to national type schools where bahasa melayu is used. In short, the choice is left to the parents.

However, my feeling is that sometimes this chinese educationist group is painted as separatist or radicals, or even worse an obstruction to the unity of Malaysians. The recent remarks about abolishing vernacular schools to foster greater unity implys those vernacular schools currently foster polarisation??? I cannot agree to that. For most students there are still 6 years of secondary school and at least 3-4 years of tertiary education in a more racially mixed environment. This is not a short span of time either, where students go thru the exact same syllabus using bahasa melayu as the main medium of teaching. Surely there must be other factors causing the polarisation.

I find your comments which imply mastering chinese impedes advancement in MNCs, oversimplified. Street smarts, analytical skills and problems solving skills are equally important in climbing the corparate ladder . Surely the mastering of chinese will not impair us from sharpening those skills above, would you agree?

As for MML, I presume you're referring to LKY. I again assume, you're referring to the period he was trying to improve his oratory skill in mandarin and the dialects to appeal to the chinese voters. But, it was probably during his 30s or 40s, which I think is always difficult. Its easier to pick up languages when you're younger I guess.
easystar said…
Hi Dali,

No lah.. People like ECB chairman Trichet can't speak english fluently and properly and I am sure if he wants, MNC will put him on the board.

Russian Oligrash don't speak english properly but they are also on many boards.

I don't think speaking english properly will get Chinese Malaysian onto board level at Merill Lynch etc. There is still a instituitional bias because Malaysian Chinese (or Malay etc) will tend to different ways of doing things (which may not be viewed favourably) due to the entire cultural background (not just speaking chinese). The glass ceiling is there - and it does not go away simply because one speaks perfect english.

Strangely, on the other hand, a chinese speaking trader who can generate billions in revenues will get to the top no matter what.
Ivan said…
Hi Dali,

If we can master in both language, I am sure that is a great :D

The wealth is transforming from West to East. We shall not shock if one day, China is the biggest shareholder in all the big company trade in NYSE. So how? Does US plp need study Chinese when they want to deal with East?

I might be wrong. . .
jazrul said…
I don't think speaking english properly will get Chinese Malaysian onto board level at Merill Lynch etc

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