Thursday, 3 November 2011

An Analogy Is An Analogy Whether It Is Ancient Chinese Or Not.



Suddenly, it is ‘cool’ to speak Mandarin in the Parliament.  The cool wind has received mixed feelings among Singaporeans as some of them think that analogy based on ancient Chinese may not be relevant to today’s Singapore.  Furthermore, how many Singaporeans really know about ancient Chinese, not to mention whether they are proficient enough to understand the analogy?


Singapore has four official languages even though English is the main language for administration and government.  However, in the Parliament, a Member of Parliament can choose to speak in any one of the official languages. Discouraging the use of other languages will not be good for Singapore and it will only show the mono-lingua, single culture of Singaporeans.

To demonstrate to the world Singapore’s multi-culture, multi-language and multi-race, we should encourage the use of all four official languages inside and outside of the Parliament. The old normal and practice of (either intentionally or unintentionally) Speak English only should not be continued, especially if we really want our bilingualism policy to work.

This is also inline with the worry of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who said the lost of Chinese language was like losing our (Chinese Singaporeans) roots.   

Chinese is a ‘continuous’ and ‘live’ language.  Without the past and ancient, there is no present Chinese. It will be extremely difficult to understand Chinese and Chinese thinking without understanding the ancient Chinese analogies and idioms.  

With the increasing popularity of Chinese language in the West, there are more and more new Chinese terms and names being accepted by the West. In the Wall Streets, one will find some Chinese names that are not known to Singaporeans but are already being traded in the financial sectors.

Even in the internet and social media, you have the similar words, with the backup of Chinese meanings, like facebook, tweeter, cloud computing, etc.
    
Without the ancient Chinese culture and history, there is no soul in the Chinese language. Just like the western civilization. Without the ancient Greece, what actually is the civilization of the western world?  

If we can accept the Emperor’s new cloth, Snow White, and other English idioms; why can’t we also accept the Chinese analogies with our open hearts?   

One day, we, Singaporeans, will suddenly wake up and discover that the Americans and Europeans have more knowledge of Chinese analogies and idioms than us even though they may or may not master the Chinese language.   

Do we really want to be a banana republic?

Can the cool wind of speak Mandarin sustain after the debates on the President’s address to the Parliament?  Can it last under the new normal environment?

Our current standard and level of Chinese language is rather poor.  If we continue to practice the old normal, it will end up like what Ix Shen has described below:  
  
Ix Shen: Singaporeans can't speak Mandarin


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