Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The 2013 Speak Mandarin Campaign - If I Can Do It, So Can You!

In 1979, the Prime Minister of Singapore at the time, Mr Lee Kuan Yew launched The Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC). The intention of the campaign was to "transform a deeply entrenched social-linguistic habit of Chinese Singaporeans who were long used to the speaking of dialects".

The objectives of the campaign were as follows:

1. To simplify the language environment for Chinese Singaporeans.
2. To improve communication and understanding amongst Chinese Singaporeans.
3. To create a Mandarin-speaking environment conducive to the successful implementation of our bilingual education programme.
Now 34-years on, the campaign is once again gaining momentum. This year the 'Promote Mandarin Council' has teamed up with OMY, to challenge all Chinese Singaporean and Permanent Resident parents to create a five minute performance and stand to share in up to $8,000 worth of prizes.

There are two categories - Open Category and Parent-Child Category. Participants may choose to participate in either one or both categories. Parent-child interaction must be shown in submissions to the parent-child category.

So bring in Aussie Pete and the kids!! A couple of weeks ago, we attended the studio to produce our own sample video for the website and to promote the competition... ours was only around 40-seconds thank goodness - 5-minutes of me speaking mandarin would be an absolute nightmare for me, the producers and my kids who can already speak three languages fluently!!

Check out our video below: 

Now that you've stopped laughing and poking fun at me, be sure to jump on board and create your own videos and perhaps share in the wonderful prizes.

All the details of how to enter, the timelines, process and of course the prizes, can be found by clicking here.  

According to the Speak Mandarin website:

"Singapore is a young country of many races that heralds its immigrant population from all over the Asia-Pacific basin – Chinese, Indians, Malays, and many others. Their diverse backgrounds make Singapore not only a culturally rich city, but also one with many potential divisive lines. The forefathers of the Chinese community came from many parts of China, belonging to a multitude of dialect groups and speaking different languages. The Malay and Indian communities have less problems with dialects as they each have their own common language to communicate in. Being the majority race making up more than 70% of the population, there was thus a need to unify the various Chinese dialect groups via a common language, Mandarin.

For the Chinese community, our aim should be a single people, speaking the same primary language, possessing a distinct culture and a shared past, and sharing a common destiny for the future. Such a Chinese community will then be tightly knit. Provided it is also tolerant and appreciative of the other communities’ heritage, able to communicate with them in English, and work with them for a common future, Singapore will grow to become a nation."

 – PM Goh Chok Tong, 1991 Speak Mandarin Campaign Launch

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