Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Importance of English

This evening, I was one of three assignment speakers at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters Club meeting, delivering my CC speech # 2, titled “Servant Leadership – What It Really Means”. My speech today was really incredible because it was totally extemporaneous. Amazing, kan? Julian Gan who was supposed to be the General Evaluator couldn’t make it, and I had to scramble to find a replacement GE. I had contacted 13 other Toastmasters friends and phew, at the eleventh hour, managed to get Jamila Khan. Honestly, I am ever so grateful to her for agreeing to be the GE at short notice. Anyway, she is no stranger to our club – having been here three times already. Importantly, this was the first meeting I organized as the Vice President Education – and despite the last minute withdrawals, I still managed to put together a successful, if not enjoyable meeting.

Authorities in Beijing plan to make most residents – from hairdressers to police officers – learn English under a drive to convert the Chinese capital into a “world city”, state media said yesterday and reported by today’s The Sun (p 5). A minimum of 60% of shop assistants, receptionists and hairdressers under 40 will also be required to pass English tests by 2015, as will 80% of police officers, the Global Times report announced.

If the Chinese in China realize the importance of English – why do Malaysians shy from learning English? Writing English? Speaking English? In today’s connected world, the English language has travelled everywhere. Indeed, English has become a global language, a common language for the world. If we can acknowledge this, that means we have come to accept how important this language is. So important that the English language has become the popular standard for international communication.

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