If you walk the streets of Singapore, you will encounter various ethnicities and hear many different languages being spoken, so it is obviously a multicultural place. And for a long time, representatives of all these different cultures have been using English as a lingua franca to communicate with one another.
Despite 2/3 of the population being ethnically Chinese, the laws, regulations, and even the constitution are all written down in English, and the English language is taught in all schools in Singapore, which, of course, has its benefits.
English is an international language, and it has helped Singapore become a global hub of finance and trade by establishing ties with other developed English-speaking nations. Tourism, finance, and banking are just some of the industries that benefited greatly from the English language being widely taught in Singapore.
The 20th century was dominated by western English-speaking nations (particularly the USA). Singapore‘s ability to speak the English language made communication with these nations much easier, which was one of the things that put it on the international map.
Winds of Change
However, in the 21st-century, power is starting to shift eastward. This century is already called by some the “Asian century, “since Asian countries (China, in particular) are emerging as the dominant players on the world stage.
The prestige of any language is determined by the economic and cultural influence of the country where it is spoken. China is one of the leading economies in the world, and some of the largest global corporations are now Chinese. With China playing such a significant role in the world economy Mandarin Chinese is logically becoming a popular language to study.
In fact, the entire world is recognizing the importance of Mandarin Chinese as the new lingua franca. For example, former US President Barack Obama presented an initiative that would help 1 million Americans learn the language, and it is estimated that currently, there are 200,000 people in the United States studying Mandarin Chinese.
President Obama hoped that this program would help Americans gain a better understanding of Chinese culture and facilitate cooperation between the two nations. This is important because, in the future, many American workers will either have to work with Chinese companies or even move to China for work.
Why learning mandarin is crucial for Singaporeans?
Learning Mandarin is even more important for the new generation in Singapore. We are living in an increasingly competitive environment, and the children nowadays have to make a lot of effort to get into decent universities and colleges. But even if you have a good degree from a prestigious university in hand, it still may be difficult to stand out from the competition and get a good job.
Being able to speak Mandarin gives Singaporean professionals a greater chance to land the job they want, negotiate better deals, or even work or continue their studies abroad.
We should also mention that Mandarin is not exclusively spoken in China. The language is also spoken by a large portion of the population in various regions of the world, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and so on. So if you want to do business with any of these countries, knowing Mandarin is certainly an advantage.
It is also one of the official languages of the United Nations, so learning the language can help you if you are considering a career in international diplomacy.
Additional benefits of learning Mandarin.
It enables you to travel to different countries.
We have already mentioned several countries with a large Chinese population. So if you travel to these countries, you will be able to converse with locals in Mandarin. However, nowadays, Chinese people live all over the world, even in the most remote locations, so no matter where you decide to travel, you will be able to find a fellow Mandarin speaker to ask for directions.
If you can speak the language, you will also be able to make friends with representatives of different cultures and who doesn’t like having interesting friends from around the world?
Nowadays, with the advancement of Internet technology, it is easier than ever to make friends with foreigners, and knowing how to speak Mandarin will increase your chance of having an interesting social life.
In addition, knowing Mandarin enables you to learn about Chinese history and view Chinese culture from a different perspective.
Learning new languages improves your brainpower.
Although learning Mandarin is most beneficial for the younger generation, it doesn’t mean that middle-aged people cannot do it as well. In fact, doctors recommend learning languages as one of the ways to prevent mental diseases and age-related deterioration of the brain.
So if you decide to study a new language in order to keep your brain active, why not learn Mandarin? You will maintain the fitness of your brain and gain access to one of the most interesting cultures in the world at the same time.
You may think that learning Mandarin is hard, but it is actually easier than it seems. You also don’t have to worry about tenses, plurals, and verb conjugations.
Learning any new language requires a bit of effort, but Mandarin is spoken by over 1 billion people all over the world, so it is certainly not impossible to master.
Invest your time in learning Mandarin now!
So to conclude, investing your time into learning Mandarin will be one of the best decisions you have ever made in your life. This may seem like an exaggeration, but it is not; when you consider all of the advantages (both financial and personal) learning Mandarin can bring to an individual, it is well worth it.
China has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the last 20 years, and it shows no signs of stopping. It goes without saying that knowing the language of a strong dominant country will give you better economic opportunities. No matter who you are, a prominent business owner, or an ordinary employee, knowing how to speak Mandarin enables you to climb that corporate ladder.
However, the ability to advance in your career is not the only benefit Mandarin offers. You will also gain access to rich Chinese culture and history, which goes back thousands of years. Above, we have listed just some of the benefits of learning Mandarin.
It is just the tip of the iceberg. In the end, no matter what your motivation for learning the language is, once you have mastered it, you will be pleased that you made this decision.