Do the Chinese really need to be able to speak BM?
There is a long discussion thread in my yesterday’s posting – ‘7 out of 10 Chinese see themselves as Malaysian First, claims J-Star survey‘.
Below is one reader’s opinion. Commenting @ 2015/05/12 at 6:13 pm, HH asked me to “take a calculator and work out the percentage of minority in those countries” while additionally throwing in “everybody’s favourite, Indonesia as well”.
- Turks in Germany – 3.7%
- Chinese in Indonesia – 1.2%
- Koreans in USA – 0.6%
- Chinese in Malaysia – 24%
So, what do the figures tell us?
According to HH, mastering the national language for the above minorities, i.e. Turkish Germans, Chinese Indonesians and Korean Americans, is an “essential survival tool 101 in view of their low population where it is not sustainable for the minorities to strive on their own”.
HH believes that the example of the minorities above speaking their national language fluently is “hardly helpful in our current discussion” or Malaysian context. Or in other words, if the minority percentage is not small (0.6% – 3.7%) but instead rather significant (24%), then it sustainable for ethnic minority on their own even if the national language is sidelined.
Since HH has implied that the Chinese population in Malaysia – at 24 percent – may not require BM competency as a survival tool, I brought up a counter-argument with regard to the blacks and Hispanics in the USA. Together these two communities make up 24.8 percent of the American population, mirroring the percentage of Chinese in Malaysia.
I asked @ 2015/05/12 at 3:41 pm if the quarter-of-total-population blacks and Latinos in the USA “need not speak English either?” just like how the quarter-of-total-population Chinese in Malaysia are seemingly not required to speak BM.
HH‘s response @ 2015/05/12 at 6:13 pm cited “the importance of English”.
To my question – don’t the blacks and Latinos have to speak English, the language of the majority in the USA? – HH countered,
“Learning English is most useful. In fact, Malaysians should brush up theirs. Especially those whom are overly complacent with the usage of National language which, incidentally is also their mother tongue. Think globalisation.”
So now you’ve heard one side of the debate, i.e. that English is most important and useful.
What do the national language side have to say?