Chinese language learning hot in Indonesia

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Jun 22 14:53:54 UTC 2005

>>From XINHUA online


Chinese-language learning hot in Indonesia 2005-06-16 14:05:24

    JAKARTA, June 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese-language courses are
mushrooming across Greater Jakarta, as Indonesian businessmen, impressed
by China's rapid economic growth, rush to establish contacts with their
Chinese counterparts.  Staff members from the Wen Hua Mandarin Institute
and the Han Lin Mandarin Course, the major Mandarin-teaching institutes in
Jakarta, have said that many of their students are studying the language
in order to establish ties with Chinese businessmen fromChina and around
the world.

    "Most of our students who are executives at Jakarta-based companies
say they want to study Mandarin to broaden their business contacts with
Chinese people," said Wen Hua's program coordinator Tanny Chenying.
Tanny, a Chinese citizen who started the course in 2003, believes that the
students' interest reflects how Indonesians havecome to understand the
importance of mastering Mandarin, the official language of the People's
Republic of China.

    She said that Mandarin has become a second international language as
it is being used by Chinese people around the world.  "Based on the size
of China's population, at least 1.3 billion people speak Mandarin, while
the number of people who speak the language outside of China could double
that number," she said.  Tanny said that aside from attracting Indonesian
businesspeople,the course is also popular with expatriates working in

    "We have Australian, French, Korean and American students attending
our evening classes. All of them say they are motivated by economic
reasons," she said.  She gave an example of a South Korean student, an
executive at Samsung Indonesia, who was studying Mandarin so that he could
ask his company to transfer him to its branch in China.  "He said he
wanted to experience working there," Tanny said.

    Iwan Lee, president director of the Han Lin Mandarin course in Bogor,
said that besides business interests, learning Mandarin canalso help
businesspeople better understand the widely varied Chinese culture.  "To
understand a culture, you must first master the language. To understand
Chinese culture, you have to be able to read and communicate with Chinese
people to see how they think and act," said Iwan, whose course is also
attended by traders of Indian and Arab descent.

    About 10 million people live in Jakarta, with about 5 percent of them
as Indonesian-Chinese. Most of the middle-aged Indonesian-Chinese here can
not speak Mandarin very well, as the language hadbeen censored during
President Soeharto's rule.  Meanwhile, the Sino-Indonesian economic ties
are booming. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce hopes trade volume with
China to reach 15 billion US dollars in 2005, and up to 20 billion dollars
in 2006.

Copyright 2003 Xinhua News Agency.

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