Chinese "华语"- A "taboo" word for some of us...
Ever since English is used as the main medium of communication in schools and businesses, the language has emerged as the lingua franca of Singaporeans over the last 10+ years.
At present, a lot of Chinese Singaporeans speak Mandarin at a conversational level- spiced up with a "rojak" of English, Singlish, Hokkien, and even Malay etc. especially when we are lost for the suitable Chinese words.
Quite a number are quick to switch to English whenever we want to talk about any professional or technical content.
Sad to say... I am one of them...
During my primary and secondary school days, I scored distinctions for my Chinese Language in PSLE and 'O' level. However, I have lost touch of this language after stepping out to the society to work.
Well...there was a slight improvement when I had to constantly fly to China during my 1st job. The environment and the frequent contact with PRC agents, students & parents "forced" me to speak authentic Mandarin but thereafter, the language was considered "lost in transition".
The only time I write Chinese characters is when I send CNY cards to my relatives and each time, there is still a need to check the dictionary and "perfect" the strokes on rough paper before I can write them "professionally" on the card. Hee...
Some may feel that Chinese language is not very "IN" but I beg to differ...
I seriously think that Chinese is a beautiful language and its words are just so rich and flavourful!
On another note, we always talk about a LOVE for China.
But like it or not, an inadequacy in the language will inevitably hinder effective communication.
Wonder how many of you are like me?
We always say that we want to improve our Chinese but not much action has been done? :p
Perhaps, it is time to stop procrastinating.
"If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." - Ecc 11:4 (NLT version)
The word "PURPOSEFULLY" has been ringing in my head ever since Bro Ed popped up the word during one leader's meeting a few weeks ago.
Isn't it true that we have to make "PURPOSEFUL" actions to fulfill our goals!
One of my goals this year is to PICK UP Chinese once again.
Like learning any other language, we always look into these aspects: LISTEN, READ/ WATCH, SPEAK and WRITE.
Here are some practical ways that I have adopted for the past few weeks...
Listen- FM 933 (Can listen to Chinese songs and at the same time pick up how the DJs talk)
Watch- News or shows on Channel 8/ Channel U... Can't remember whether it is Channel 8 or Channel U... Chinese "subtitles" appear on the screen as the news broadcaster speaks. I find this USEFUL!!!
Read- "我报" ("My Paper" is a good way to start... They have articles in both English and Chinese)
Speak- Practise speaking (I will "parrot" what I have just heard in order to remember it)
Write- Practise writing the characters + strokes to get the feel of the "spelling"
In order to have a fluent grasp of Chinese, I hv to "PURPOSEFULLY" include Chinese into my everyday life...
"... become all things to all men, so that by all possible means, I might save more."
- 1Cor 9:22
To effectively connect with my Chinese-speaking friends, I use their language and understand their culture.
Probably, you may ask... "Why the love for Chinese?"
Cos I hope to do mission work in China and while God gives GREAT DREAMS, a vision alone is NOT ENOUGH! I have to do my part to improve myself.
I love it durg SOT days, the Chinese interpretator Jia Qi or Sis Lulu will translate what the Pastor taught. I will then jot down the Chinese term for different words. (To all SOT students... Cherish these privileges... It comes in handy in the future!)
"A dream comes true after much activity" - Ecc 5:3
Two months ago, Diana asked me to be the Chinese MC for her wedding... but I politely declined cos I am not too fluent with the language... but after some "Ding-Dong", the arrow pointed back to me...
"God, are you trying to make me face somethg I want to avoid?"
Ok ok... I cannot be like this forever...
Imagine our Chinese-speaking parents or friends want to accept Jesus or you simply want to offer a prayer of blessing for them, you have to excuse yourself apologetically and say "Can I pray in English?"
This is what I have been doing for quite a while until the Holy Spirit prompted... "Joanne, it's time to get out of it!" Hee...
Of course, prayer is simply talking to God and our God can understand all languages, but wouldn't it be good to pray in Chinese so that the friends can better identify with the prayer?
I really hope to be comfortably bilingual in Mandarin.
Minister Mentor Lee recognizes the importance of the language too.
"...because I don't use it so much, therefore it gets disused and there's language loss. Then I have to revive it. It's a terrible problem because learning it at adult life, it hasn't got the same roots in your memory.”
May 2005, as Lee released a book, Keeping My Mandarin Alive, relating to his decades of effort to master Mandarin–a language which he said he had to RE-LEARN due to DISUSE.
Even our very own Pastor Kong is actively pickg up Mandarin as well.
Remember his interview with FIR, Jack Neo and "刘畊宏" (Liu Geng Hong)? His Mandarin has noticeably improved!!! *Salute*
I hope in time, I can be comfortably bilingual in Mandarin.
Rem... dun AVOID but... ... COUNTER!!!
So... what are we waiting for? Pick up our Mandarin today!!!