Parents and students share their experiences...

Both my 12 and 16-year-old children study at Chinese schools because I want them to be able to speak English, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and Mandarin. Malaysia is a multiracial country so I think mastering the different languages makes it much easier for them to communicate and understand each other. When my daughter was four, I sent her to a Chinese nursery. She was never made to feel different. My daughter even picked up Cantonese over the years. When she started Year One, she had no problems keeping up with classes. At home, we speak to the children in Tamil, which they are also fluent in. Admittedly, I was initially a little worried that they would have trouble coping in a Chinese vernacular school but when I saw how well the teachers and other students treated them, I was confident that they would be okay. Children, especially at a younger age, learn languages easily. We live in Kepong where the majority are Chinese so it’s been very conducive for my children to practise speaking in Mandarin. Even at home, they speak among themselves in Mandarin. Because they started learning the language when they were young, they never questioned why we sent them to a Chinese school. To them, it’s natural to speak Tamil at home because their grandparents only speak Tamil; and to speak in Mandarin when they are in school. They have many friends in school and have never experienced any form of prejudice nor have they ever been teased for being different. I have no regrets sending them to a Chinese school because I feel that it has been very good for them.

Mother-of-two Thiru Selvi, 46

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vernacular , Chinese schools , multiracial


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