Monolingual expatriates should get out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 February, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 February, 1996, 12:00am

I FOUND Jonathan Braude's 'From The Gallery' column (South China Morning Post, February 1) very interesting reading, as I totally support Martin Lee Chu-ming's proposal to give better terms to employees who are multilingual. In a place like Hong Kong, monolingual people in top political, managerial or administrative positions, especially expatriates, should adapt and change or be replaced by equally-competent, multilingual professionals.

People who are fluent in more than one language always have to work more and harder than those who are fluent in only one.

I have in the past proposed better terms, that is, remuneration for those who are bilingual, at my place of employment, only to be met with loud protests by expatriates, all monolingual. Unfortunately, all my locally-born colleagues could do was nod in silence, but understandably, that is a matter of upbringing and personalities. Nonetheless, I do hope more people begin supporting Mr Lee's proposal as I am doing through this letter. With the increasing rate of unemployment in the territory, I don't see why any company might want to employ people who cannot communicate with the majority of the local population.