A Mandarin Anchor In A Changing World


“…Given the Speak Mandarin Campaign’s history, it is timely that we publish a 35th anniversary commemorative book to trace how it has changed over the years and the impact it has made. This book gives a comprehensive update on the Campaign, and provides an independent analysis on the relevance of the Campaign in Singapore. It comprises interviews with stakeholders, key players of the Campaign, personal stories of Singapore – including the post- 1980s generation – on how the Campaign has impacted them. It is presented in English and Chinese, with each language offering unique insights into the campaign.”

- Extract of Preface by Mr Seow Choke Meng, Chairman, Promote Mandarin Council

“…Basically, parents today have accepted that there is value in learning Mandarin. They may have issue with the pedagogy or the curriculum, but they have basically accepted that children should learn Mandarin. Nobody is saying that it is a waste of time. People know that if you do not learn Mandarin, you will definitely regret it later in life.”

- Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister, on learning Mandarin and the rise of China

“…When people are unable to use language effectively to express the subtleties and complexities of their thoughts, they become culturally shallow…Language is a weapon. If Singaporeans do not have this weapon, they cannot, in a manner of speaking, access the world.”

- Ms Lim Sau Hoong, Chairman, Promote Mandarin Council, 2008-2011

“…When your attitude to Chinese language , culture and history is one of fun, discovery and adventure, your children will also see the Chinese language and culture in the same light.”

- Guest of Honour, Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Speak Mandarin Campaign launch in 2011

“…Using (theatre) shows as a means to spark a love for language is a good tool because the children enjoy it… No five-year-old will listen if you tell them that they have to speak Mandarin because China is a major world economy.”

- Ms Kuo Jian Hong, Artistic Director, The Theatre Practice

“… I feel strongly that reading aloud is most important. Because you can hear your own voice, you will slowly have a sense for the language.”

- Mdm Heng Boey Hong, Principal of Nanyang Girls’ School, on tips to learning Mandarin.

“Speak Mandarin not because it is a campaign, but because it is a part of who we are and we should be proud of it.”

- Ms Tanya Chua, award-winning Singaporean singer-songwriter


The book is available for borrowing at all national public lending libraries.

To download a PDF version of the book, please click here.  (File Size: 80MB)