5 Mar 2020

Business China’s role in the bilingual efforts of Singapore

MP for the MacPherson Constituency and Business China CEO Ms Tin Pei Ling stressed the importance of bilingualism in Singapore. She asked the Ministry of Education during the Committee of Supply 2020 Debate to share how it plans to provide a suitable learning environment to foster interest in Mother Tongue, and whether there are any new initiatives to encourage bilingualism.

She expressed that at a macro level, in the context of the rapid globalisation era, Singaporeans must continue to build upon their bilingual abilities and bicultural recognition. Multilingualism and understanding of multi-cultures also serve as an advantage to Singaporeans. It will ensure that they remain relevant in an increasingly competitive society. In addition, mastering the Mother Tongue is beneficial to personal development. Various forms of languages, terms and expressions affects our ability in observing and understanding the world. It will also enhance communication between various cultures.

As such, to establish a widespread appreciation and acceptance of Chinese language and culture among Singaporeans, Business China aims to nurture an inclusive bilingual and bicultural group of Singaporeans through extensive use of the Chinese language as the medium of communication, so as to sustain our multi-cultural heritage, and to develop a cultural and economic bridge linking the world and China.

Ms Tin believes that Singapore’s bilingual policies have underwent changes over the years, laying a good language foundation for Singaporeans. However, due to changes in the global economy, Singapore's bilingual advantage is being tested and challenged.

In aligning with Singapore’s goals, Business China aims to fulfil 3 strategic objectives, namely: (1) Grow premium SG-CN network of influencers, (2) Nurture Singapore-China savvy talents, (3) Develop deep & wide-ranging relationships and strengthen commitment to Business China. To achieve the strategic objectives, Business China organises a diverse set of activities, including forums, dialogue sessions, advanced courses and scholarship programmes.

Firstly, in the aspect of Growing premium SG-CN network of influencers, Business China organises the FutureChina Global Forum (FCGF), with the motive of establishing Singapore as an integrator, fostering collaborations and connections between China and ASEAN. This will allow relevant business parties to leverage Business China’s extensive network to explore international business opportunities.

Secondly, to Nurture Singapore-China savvy talents, Business China offers programmes that aim to motivate and facilitate mass understanding of China among Singaporean youths, for example; Business China Youth Forum, Business China Youth Showdown and China-based internships, providing opportunities for youths to interact and build relations. The Youth Interns Exchange Scheme (YES) led by Ministry of Education, Singapore and implemented by Business China allows Singaporean youths to gain experience working in China, and a deeper appreciation of its economy and rich culture and foster new friendships and ties. It will also enhance mutual understanding and cooperation for the long term between Singapore and China. In addition, Business China launched the Business China Summer School Scholarship Programme during the Business China Youth Chapter 10th Anniversary Celebration to offer more opportunities for Singaporean youths to enrich their academic experience beyond Singapore and learn more about China.

Lastly, to Develop deep & wide-ranging relationships and strengthen commitment to Business China, the Business China Advanced Leaders Programme allows participants to have an all-round understanding of China’s latest trends and developments, appreciate Singapore’s competitive advantages as a partner with China, and strengthen Singapore as a bridge linking China and Southeast Asia.