28 December 2004


A national survey in China reveals that barely half of the population can communicate in Mandarin Chinese.

So much for Singapore's Speak Mandarin Campaign slogan, "Chinese language for Chinese people"?

The China Daily even says:

"A standard, commonly used spoken language is also in the interests of the country as it helps promote national identity and cohesion..."

"Promotion of putonghua should not necessarily mean stifling other spoken languages. We must respect dialects. This is the unswerving policy of the country. Dialects carry culture."

And so much for Singapore's "Chinese language carry Chinese Culture" or even its "More Chinese, less dialects" slogans as well.

In fact, Singaporean businessmen will find that dialects and local knowledge would go a longer way to seal a deal than speaking Mandarin and having an understanding of elite Chinese customs.

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