Sunday July 22, 2012
I WAS impressed that a Malay family was keen to learn the Chinese language and Chinese culture after reading the article “Fluent in non-native tongue” (StarEducate, July 7).
Chinese education has always been a priority for the Chinese community and it goes back to the time long before the country’s independence.
Despite the challenges, Chinese education has had a role to play in adding value to the nation’s education system.
Most Chinese parents send their children to National Type Chinese Schools and Independent Chinese schools.
There are some who have allowed their children to pursue tertiary level courses at the three Chinese institutions of higher learning in the country.
Even Malay and Indian parents have recognised and acknowledged the importance of the language globally.
Many are even sending their children to Chinese schools as can be seen from the Zulkarnain siblings, who were mentioned in the article.
The article mentioned 19-year-old Zainatul Fadhilah’s determination in becoming a dentist and her keen interest in mastering Mandarin so that she could communicate with her patients in the language.
It had also mentioned that her brother Zulfakar Arif, 21, a third year medical student at Universiti Malaya was of the view that learning the language had boosted his confidence.
Malaysia, as I see it, is the only country in South East Asia that has a complete Chinese education system right from primary school to university level and we must take pride in this unique achievement.
There is no doubt that many Chinese educated students have done well and excelled in their careers both locally and internationally.
A case in point is Datuk Pua Khein Seng who was from a Chinese school in Sekinchan, Selangor. Pua later went to Taiwan in 1993 to complete his degree in Electrical Engineering at the Chiao Tung University.
He founded Phison Electronics Corporation which created the Pen Drive, the world’s first USB “flash removable disk”.
And in view of China emerging as a world economic giant and political power, our ability in being multi-lingual, will certainly give us an advantage and make us more competitive than the others.