Thursday, November 15, 2007

Article In ST Forum (15 Nov)

Read a very interesting article in Straits Times Forum! Haha... It spoke to my heart too...

" Learning Chinese was painful but fruitful
I READ an article in Melbourne's The Age, bemoaning the lack of students taking a second language. It argues that savvy students are giving themselves an edge in their future careers by taking a second language.

I was one of those that went through most of my Chinese lessons kicking and screaming. Only comics and pop music managed to sweeten the deal. It took hours of tuition, blood and sweat to coax the grades out of me.

And yet today, I would gladly trumpet the Ministry of Education's valiant campaign to keep learning and passing a second language a requirement for almost every level of primary and secondary education.

I have made firm friends, enjoyed the sights and sounds of China and Taiwan, and earned the respect of crucial people in my career, all because I can communicate decently in Mandarin. And on days when that section of my brain hits a barrier, people still give me kudos for trying. It is all too easy for parents and children to try and find ways to bypass the system, but can they really say for sure that the second language won't be needed in the future?

I urge all students to try and see the positive side of learning a second language, though it may sometimes feel like torture. The homework may seem like a painful drag but, sometime in the future, you will be pleasantly surprised by what you can do, or can choose to do.

I often look back, glad that all the pain of learning Chinese was more than worth it.

Sarah Wong Su Yen (Miss) "

I totally identify with the "kicking & screaming" part! Hahaha... It took a LOT out of me to get through my O's & A's. Err... Make that my PSLE, O's & A's! Haha... In P6, my Chinese teacher gravely came to me one day after we finished a Chinese paper and said that I did "very well." Made me so happie... But in the end, I obtained a B grade. Can you imagine? Hai... hope deferred made the heart sick.

Thankfully in TKGS, I hung out with a more "cheena" crowd, listening to songs by 林志颍 and Aaron Kwok and this made Chinese more bearable as I had to memorize their lyrics to be a true-blue fan!

And as a vindication, I even obtained an A1 for my O Levels!!! Hahaha... What a miracle of God! Shows the power of cramming! Till this date, Nic still cannot believe my grade, cos he only obtained an A2 and he comes from a Chinese-speaking family. Coupled with the fact that my Chinese pronunciation goes off at times... This is the only time I bested him in any subject (other than English la). Must milk it for all it's worth!

Anyhow, I do thank God for my Chinese training too. Having gone to Taiwan & being able to read the road signs, haggle at the night markets and hold a decent conversation with the Taiwanese cab-drivers, I am thankful that I am adequately proficient enough in Chinese to hold my own over there. =)

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