Speak Mandarin Campaign 2016 to feature music programmes in restaurants and pubs

The 37th edition of the Speak Mandarin Campaign was launched at the National Gallery Singapore on July 9, 2016.
The 37th edition of the Speak Mandarin Campaign was launched at the National Gallery Singapore on July 9, 2016.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A performance at the official launch of the Speak Mandarin Campaign 2016.
A performance at the official launch of the Speak Mandarin Campaign 2016.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A public talk on the significance of a Chinese character's strokes and writing, and Chinese music programmes at restaurants and music pubs, are among the activities of this year's Speak Mandarin Campaign.

The 37th edition of the campaign was launched at the National Gallery Singapore on Saturday (July 9).

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, who was guest of honour, said building a foundation in the language from young is important.

"It will allow you to build up proficiency to the level that you choose later in life," he said.

In his speech in Mandarin, Mr Teo recounted his experiences learning the Chinese language. Although he studied English, Malay and Chinese in primary one and two, he had to choose just one second language when Singapore merged with Malaysia, and his parents chose Malay.

From then he only studied Chinese half-heartedly from his cousin and used it sparingly. It was only when he entered politics that he tried to improve his command of the language.

Mr Teo said: "While I may not have reached the stage of 'Mandarin gets better with use' (the slogan of the campaign), I would certainly say one can only get better with practice".

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu, who was also at the launch said Mandarin is an important means for the Chinese community to pass on its values and traditions to the younger generation.

"That is why we have continued to place emphasis on the use and learning of Mandarin over the years," she said.