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Chinese Fluency Opens Doors in South East Asia

The Philippines

In the Philippines the ability to speak Chinese can be a big advantage for job applicants.

Many Filipino-Chinese speak Hokkien and Cantonese rather than Mandarin, since most of them are descended from southern Chinese.

“Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages and it’s an advantage knowing how to speak the language fluently,” said Danica Priscille Bermas Ablong-Bongat, a 26-year old mother, who is planning to enroll her child at a fee-paying school where pupils are taught in Chinese.

Many Filipinos can’t afford such schools and consider them elitist. Most of them are managed by private Chinese groups, who also control local business.
There are several Confucius institutes in the Philippines, most based at major universities such as the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of the Philippines.

(Darwin Wally T. Wee)



Thepphaphone bounyavong, who is currently doing a masters in Beijing, recalls that there were only seven students in his Chinese class at the National University of Laos in 2006. He says that more and more Lao schools are now teaching Chinese, and the language is attracting more university students.  


“Large-scale Chinese investment is growing rapidly in Laos, and you also can see smaller trading businesses spreading,” said Manichanh Pansivongsay, who hopes his daughter will get a head start from studying at a Chinese nursery in Vientiane.


“Our relative who works at the Lao Ministry of Education and Sport told us that Chinese companies often contact the ministry asking for Lao graduates from Chinese courses,” says Latdavong Nhommalath, whose son studies at a school in Vientiane,  where Mandarin has just been added to the curiculum.

 (Souksakhone Vaenkeo)


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