The recent debate over Singapore’s bilingual policy has seen the emergence of two opposing camps on the issue.
On the one hand, some believe the standard of the Mother Tongue Languages should be kept high for all students.
But others argue that there should be more flexibility to cater to the less linguistically-gifted.
Taking a step back from the sometimes emotionally-charged debate, Jeremy Koh finds out how hard is it for non-Chinese to master Mandarin, a notoriously difficult language to pick up.
This is 23-year-old Bill Albertson’s self-introduction in Mandarin.
“My name is Bill, I stay in Japan and I’m working as an English teacher now. I stayed in Beijing for a year. I like to play computer games, and I like reading Chinese books too. I also like learning foreign languages, like French and Italian, and now i’m learning Japanese.”
Bill, who’s from the United States, learnt…
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