Straits Times, Sept 8, 1979
MR LEE KUAN YEW made repeated pleas last
night to Chinese parents to drop dialects at
home and speak Mandarin to help lighten the
learning load of their children.
In driving home this point, he departs
several times from the text of his speech at
the opening of the "Promote the use of
Mandarin" campaign at the Singapore
The choice for these parents, he said, is
a stark one English-Mandarin or
"Logically, the decision is obvious.
Emotionally, I know it is painful. But as
rational parents, I have little doubt that
given some time, the right choice will be
made," he added.
Once it is clear to the government that
parents want their children to use Mandarin,
a series of administrative measures will be
taken to support their decision.
"All government officers, all
government hospitals and clinics, all those
manning counters will be instructed to speak
Mandarin except to the old, those over
60," the Prime Minister told his
audience of ministers, MPs, community leaders
and others and, via live telecasts
over both channels as well as FM radio, the
Mr Lee also made the point that learning
and using Mandarin, apart from being
culturally worthwhile, would also be
economically useful because China, after
successful implementation of its "Four
Modernisations" programme in 20 years,
would become a major trading partner --
accessible not through Hokkien but Mandarin.
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