Is Mandarin Chinese good for Singapore?

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7627178One of the most wonderful things about Singapore is its incredible level of ethnic and linguistic diversity. English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay make up the country’s four official languages, and beyond these, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, Hindi and Punjabi can all be heard on the city’s streets. But every country needs a working language to function and a lot of controversy has surrounded the various languages of Singapore, especially with regard to which one should be the dominant language, or lingua franca. In recent years, many people have suggested that Mandarin Chinese become the lingua franca of Singapore, and indeed, the country has seen a huge increase in the numbers of Mandarin speakers, with a major push to learn Chinese among all of the Asian residents of the city.

Is Mandarin good for Singapore?

Certainly, arguments can be made both ways, but Mandarin Chinese is a very beneficial language for Singapore, for several reasons.

1. Widely Spoken

Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, with over a billion speakers around the globe. With a population of fluent Mandarin speakers, Singapore can join the international ranks.

2. Tourism

The large numbers of Mandarin speakers around the world represent a huge tourism market that is drawn to Singapore for its Asian influences, food and, of course, exciting metropolitan city life. If Singaporeans speak fluent Mandarin, they can better cater to this huge market, bringing in droves of business and spurning on Singapore’s economy.

3. Asian Heritage

In 2010, more than 74% of Singapore’s residents were of Chinese heritage, nearly 60% of which spoke Mandarin or a Chinese dialect at home. By learning Mandarin, Singapore’s largest ethnic group can preserve and better understand its heritage.

4. World Business

Since it is the most widely spoken language on Earth, Mandarin Chinese can also help drive Singapore forward in the business world. Many of the country’s corporations are already looking to China for the country’s economic future, proving that Mandarin Chinese will be a viable language for Singapore in the future.

5. Efficiency

Not only is Mandarin Chinese important to Singaporeans’ heritage and economy, but it is also a wonderfully efficient language that is useful for daily life. While other languages, such as English, can be used on a worldwide scale, none match the grammatical and spoken efficiency of Mandarin.

In a nutshell, it is easy to see that Mandarin Chinese is good for Singapore! As the country drives ahead into the future, it will certainly see more people learning Mandarin Chinese and discovering, whether for the first time or as a heritage learner who once spoke it at home, the benefits of knowing and speaking Mandarin on a regular basis.

Photo credit: taylorandayumi, Flickr Creative Commons