With the establishment of Asean Chinese news centre in Malaysia by Xinhua news agency (http://www.newchinesenet.com/), Singapore is fast losing the status of Chinese centre of Southeast Asia to our neighbour.
In fact, our Chinese education has gone back to pre-school level as announced by PM Lee during NDR 2012. He had expressed his support of the setting up of Chinese Institute by the Hokkien Huay Kuan.
What does it mean?
We are going back to pre-school education, teaching and encouraging our young to learn Chinese in a “private initiative”. We do not have enough Singaporean Chinese to have the mastery of the language to attract Xinhua to co-operate with us to set up their regional centre in Southeast Asia.
We hope to use the “private initiative” like the past, before our independence, to get back the Chinese regional centre status. Now with the strong government support, will this initiative materialise?
We can’t even do it in primary and secondary schools, in what way we are so confident to do it in the pre-school level?
The loss of the Chinese centre of Southeast Asia is a painful experience. To gain back the status, it will also be a painful route. Are we ready to take it?
While in Malaysia, they have sufficient “Chinese knowledge” manpower to co-operate with Xinhua. With the approval university status of Southern College by Malaysian government recently, Malaysia now has the complete Chinese education from primary to university level.
They must have the critical mass to attract Xinhua’s partnership.
Despite our strong relationship with China, our good location, our international reputation, we are not able to attract this co-operation. Are there any long-term consequence? Have we seen our weaknesses?
Does it mean Zaobao or SPH is not good enough for Xinhua? Even Xinhua wants to co-operate with us, does Zaobao have enough talents to carry out the task, besides importing foreign talents? An Asean news centre should have Asean inputs and this requires local manpower support. Apparently, we do not have this capability even though we are financially strong.
So, money is not everything, you must have contents; you must have substance.