He may have belted out many a hit song in Chinese, but did you know that Nathan Hartono failed Chinese in secondary school?
Struggled with Chinese
In fact, Nathan’s struggle with learning Chinese dates back to when he was in upper primary and opted for Higher Chinese. The New Paper quotes him as saying, “Chinese became an unclimbable mountain.”
Things worsened when he got into secondary school; he started failing Chinese. “It discouraged me and since I didn’t have to use Chinese on a daily basis, I began to avoid it like crazy… I learnt just enough to survive,” says the singer, who was runner-up in the reality singing contest Sing! China in October last year.
Realised the importance of learning Chinese
The importance of being bilingual dawned on Nathan when he got into junior college. He says, “I realised that mastering my second language could open up a lot of opportunities.”
However, it was his stint at Sing! China that proved to be a turning point and a wake-up call of sorts. He realised that he was clearly lagging behind in Chinese language skills, “We had pre-production meetings and it was quite evident that I was out of their depth. I could barely string a proper sentence together.”
The four months spent in China turned out to be a boon though, as Hartono could finally complete whole sentences in Chinese, without pausing or using English words. “It’s all about proactive speaking – a lot of the time, people are afraid to speak their second language because they are not confident. But if they keep practicing, their confidence will rise”, he says.
Ambassador for The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL).
Well, his efforts have paid off, and today, the 26-year-old singer has all the more reason to be proud. Nathan Hartono has just been appointed ambassador for The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL).
From avoiding learning Chinese to being an ambassador for the same, he has certainly come a long way.
He writes on his Facebook page, “Had the best time today at St Margaret’s Sec announcing my partnership with The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning. I remember avoiding these campaigns like the plague back in school because I was so unwilling to improve my Mandarin. Now, after my recent experience in China, I’m kicking myself for not trying more. So today I’m announcing my ambassadorship with the CPCLL, not as a leader, but a fellow student. Learning and growing with all of you willing to do the same.”
We wish Nathan good luck in his new role. We hope students get encouraged by his experience, and strive to overcome their barriers in life.
Learning a second language is more than a matter of getting grades in examinations. What are the benefits of your child being bilingual? Go to the next page to find out!
Learning more than one language has many practical advantages as we are living more and more in a globalised multilingual world. Here are some benefits of raising a bilingual child:
- Helps your child become future ready: Studies show that because bilingual students are able to use two languages at the same time, switching consistently, they often perform better on tasks which require multi-tasking, decision making and problem solving, even though they have nothing to do with the language. Apparently, it even makes one “smarter” and enhances math, science and even English language abilities.
- Prepares him to be a global citizen: Learning a new language helps the child to learn about another culture. With various languages come folklore, literature and music, specific to that culture. The child becomes more aware of different traditions and ways of thinking and behaving. It helps shape his personality and global outlook.
- Enhance family ties : Learning one’s own mother tongue forges a deep sense of identity in the child. He understands his lineage and heritage better. Being able to communicate with grandparents helps to increase a sense of belonging with the family.
- Opens doors to extra opportunities: Finally, let’s not forget future employment opportunities. A person who knows two languages will have an edge in the job market as he can communicate with a greater number of people. Especially in the world of the future where our children will have to constantly communicate with people living in different parts of the world.
Also READ: How to raise a bilingual child
(Source: The New Paper)
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