VOCATIONAL PUTONGHUA CAMPAIGN SHOULD BE LAUNCHED

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 12:00am

I accept that English is an important language, especially in a commercial and international city like Hong Kong.


However, we should not neglect Putonghua. Because of economic changes, the mainland is now Hong Kong's most important trading partner.


Take, for example, the tourist industry.


A high proportion of tourists visiting Hong Kong are mainlanders. If service industry staff in Hong Kong can speak fluent Putonghua, this will encourage more people to come from the mainland for a holiday.


Many businessmen in Hong Kong also have to visit the mainland and if they cannot speak the language they risk losing contracts.


An increasing number of people over the border are learning English and so many of them may become proficient in the language and, of course, are also fluent in Putonghua. This could give them an advantage over their Hong Kong counterparts and mean they have better job prospects.


I appreciate that there is vocational English campaign in Hong Kong.


I also think a similar Putonghua campaign should be launched.


If an increasing number of people here are proficient in both languages this will make Hong Kong more competitive.


TONG HO-YAN


New Territories