Hartono sings 'Learn Chinese' message

ST VIDEO: SERENE LUO
Hartono taking a photo with students of St Margaret's Secondary School, where he gave an assembly performance to promote the learning of the Chinese language.
Hartono taking a photo with students of St Margaret's Secondary School, where he gave an assembly performance to promote the learning of the Chinese language.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

There were no Monday blues for St Margaret's Secondary School students, who were serenaded by local crooner Nathan Hartono in a surprise assembly performance yesterday.

There in his new capacity as the ambassador for the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning's (CPCLL's) new campaign, Hartono said his mastery of Chinese was poor before he appeared on TV competition Sing! China last year.

"Terrible," the Nanyang Primary School and Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) alumnus said of his level of mastery. "I found Chinese difficult and meaningless and was not interested in learning it."

Speaking in Mandarin and English, he said that since his participation in Sing! China, he has been drawn to the language and was determined to master it. "I discovered that learning a new language is not just for grades... Learning a new language opens up a whole new world.

The campaign, Ai Shang Hua Wen - which loosely translates to Fall in Love with Chinese - will see him embark on a series of school visits to share his experiences.

Secondary 4 student Tanita Giri, 15, said Hartono's story has inspired her. "He is very courageous. To start learning Chinese songs from scratch is not an easy thing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'Hartono sings 'Learn Chinese' message'. Print Edition | Subscribe