28 Nov '11, 11pm

Mr Lee Kuan Yew launches fund to boost bilingualism

Mr Lee Kuan Yew launches fund to boost bilingualism

'In 1955, I contested the General Election as a candidate for the Tanjong Pagar constituency. My opponent challenged me to a debate in Mandarin. I naturally refused to debate with him in a language I was completely unable to speak. His intention was to show my ignorance of the language to the majority of the people who were dialect and Mandarin-speaking. There were then few English speakers. I started learning Mandarin but discovered that it was spoken by only a small proportion of those who have gone to Chinese schools, but who often switched back to dialect when they leave their Chinese schools. The most understood language for the majority of Chinese back then was Hokkien. So I started to learn Hokkien. For more than 20 years I spoke Hokkien.' ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHINESE-EDUCATED AND ENGLISH-EDUCATED 'I had a high regard for the discipline and seriousness of p...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/...

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