Thursday, 11 October 2012

Learning a Language

A fellow mommy blasted my mind open on Singapore's bilingualism policy. 

This fellow mommy (let's call her J) is the mom of one of Medium Boy's classmates.  The Husband and I typically stop off at a hawker centre after we drop Medium Boy off at school.  J stops at the same hawker centre too.  After a few days of smiling and nodding at each other, I decided to be bold one morning and plonked myself on the seat next to J.  From then, we exchanged pleasantries mainly about our sons, then parted ways to our daily activies.

One morning, I found out that J comes from KC.  Ah.  I come from a ching-cheong-Chinese school and yes I got my requisite B3 for Higher Chinese after studying like mad for 4 years, but it was really a tough time learning a language which is not my mother tongue.  Singapore's bilingualism policy obviously sparked off a tinder within J.  She spoke more and more passionately about how confined and restrictive it is

[Background: J's son, Medium Boy's classmate, is the product of a bi-cultural marriage.  J is Singaporean Chinese.  Her husband is Thai.] 

J: My son's default is 3 languagues - Chinese, Thai and English... and Singapore is content to have our people learn just 2.  We constantly whine that Chinese is difficult to learn.  Well the ang moh (=Caucasian) children are learning Chinese.  Oh my.  If we continue to be so complacent, the Indians and the PRCs and other will leapfrog over Singapore. 

Ahhhhhhhh.  I love my country and I certainly do not want to be leapfrogged over.
Time to enter Popular bookstore again and seek Chinese audio CDs for Medium Boy and Small Boy to pick up the language!

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