Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's never too late to learn... [Re-post]

Just saw this from a fellow Chinese-Irish's blog, the rather boldly-biculturally-titled "Chinese Blood, Irish heart". Ed Lee is currently in Beijing covering the run-up to the Olympics, and uploaded a few videos of some stuff he's done recently, one of which is re-posted below. I just can't help but smile at the elderly Beijingers' enthusiasm to pick up a foreign language :)



Just wish that there are similar classes for ordinary Hongkongers to embrace English as a prelude to the Olympics - after all, English is meant to be HK's traditional advantage, right? But somehow I'm afraid that the English standards in much of HK these days are not a patch on the Beijingers... Please do correct me if I'm wrong on this...

[Update: I guess I really spoke too soon... Just checked out ESWN and discovered some of the most embarrassing office signs imaginable - and this is not your typical chinese office, this is an official government department! See here and weep: The Most Embarrassing Signs At The City People's Congress Office. However bad the general HK public's conversational English might have become, at least I don't think HK government offices will display such laughable, and lamentable, signs.]

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6 Comments:

At Sun Jun 22, 05:45:00 p.m. IST, Blogger 梁巔巔 said...

唉, 香港人嘅英文, 一早已經唔得喇....

 
At Mon Jun 23, 10:41:00 a.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Yes, LDD, and it's such a pity that this is the case, at least where conversational English is concerned, and things will only get worse if people are not inspired to learn. I'm afraid it's hard to find the same level of enthusiasm for learning English in the general HK public as it seems to be evident in the Beijing public.

On the other hand I do think that HKgers' grasp of official English is still far superior to the Mainlanders', which offers us at least a glimmer of hope. But this won't last long if people simply rest on their laurels and don't nurture what is traditionally their strength.

 
At Mon Jun 23, 11:59:00 a.m. IST, Blogger 梁巔巔 said...

以前英國狗統治之下, 冇得講.

我唔明點解香港而家唔好似星加坡咁, 將英文列做官方語言?!

 
At Mon Jun 23, 03:16:00 p.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

"我唔明點解香港而家唔好似星加坡咁, 將英文列做官方語言?!"

My rather humble theory is that it's become politically-sensitive now in Hong Kong to push for improvement in English, let alone make it an official language, when the so-called "patriots" are trying to get rid of anything associated with HK's British colonial past. Whereas Beijingers have no such hangups and could go ahead with holding publich English classes precisely because they don't need to pretend to embrace the motherland by ignoring English education as they are already at the heart of the motherland?

 
At Tue Jun 24, 07:01:00 p.m. IST, Blogger Alice Poon said...

Hi Snowdrops,

I don't know if you read this blogpost of mine titled "Mother-tongue Teaching A Flop" (which contains a link to an earlier post titled "English Skills in China and Hong Kong"):-

http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1118&Itemid=158

The whole business of language skill education (and the entire education system for that matter) in Hong Kong is just lamentable!

 
At Wed Jun 25, 11:00:00 a.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks so much Alice for the links. I read both of your blogposts now and can very much feel the pain of HK parents caught in this mess. I need to further develop my thoughts on the topic of HK education though, as dire the whole thing may seem to HK parents, it is perhaps not all that bad, especially its primary school education, compared to for example the Irish primary school system (where ONE teacher teaches ALL subjects for his or her class!). And although I only had 1 year secondary school education in HK, it was immeasureably better than the rest of secondary schooling I received here (in fact, I would say that it has given me a solid foundation before I moved overseas). However this was way before the whole mother-tongue learning thing started of course, so more likely than not I managed to get the best out of the HK system before it all went downhill...

 

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