On being an ummikko in East Asia.

橋 守 hsmr at pacific.net.hk
Sun Nov 14 14:38:15 UTC 2004

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Dear List Members,

I would like to reply to Trond's November 10th post.

In Hong Kong it is not a matter of everyone learning English to cater
to the 10% (5% residents and an estimated 5% tourists) who do not speak
Cantonese; rather, it is a matter of using those 10% as an excuse for
all Hong Kongers to have to learn English. The true motivation for
compelling everyone to study English appears to be quite different.

By the way, I find nothing wrong with being an "ummikko" provided that
you do not use your "ummikko-ness" as a means to shut others from
learning about and becoming a part of your own society. An important
myth in East Asia is that you must speak English to be international.
Indeed, from the point of view of foreign residents, who see themselves
as something other than post-colonial residue or neocolonial commercial
globalists, an important international quality of one's host culture is
its willingness to make its culture, language, and institutions open to
its foreign residents.


R. A. Stegemann
EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349
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