One may wonder, why the sudden change, and who are the students that will truly benefit in this decision that will inevitably lower the standard of our younger generation's mother tongue, especially Chinese, yet again?
Well, just like what Agent Mulder will say, the truth is out there.
The following article was published on LianHe ZaoBao on 22nd January, 1999:
And thanks to a friend, this is the English translation:
Three students from Anglo-Chinese were interviewed when MOE first introduced Chinese B classes in 2001. All of them come from English-speaking families with almost no contact with Chinese and almost all their reading materials are in English.
Jonathan Ng Yuan En (黄元恩) who is in Sec Three expressed that he wishes that Chinese can be taught in a more interesting manner. To him, English is interesting because text books do not matter, and instead they have debates and words games etc. to make learning English lively and relaxing. Whereas the Chinese lessons are too stern. It is as if everybody just got serious and stern during Chinese lessons.
He also feels that Chinese can never be as important as English. It is just a subject and it does not matter as long as he can communicate with others in Mandarin. But English is different. He needs to be efficient in English because it helps in other subjects like Maths and Science.
Jonathan Ng's father Ng Eng Hen (黄永宏) is glad that Chinese B classes will allow his son to concentrate in other subjects. He laments that even when his son was spending 30-40% of his time in Chinese alone, he was not making any progress in his result at all. With the new scheme, he can now spend his time more efficiently on subjects he can understand better.
And for those who have spotted and find this Mr Ng Eng Hen sounding kind of familiar and ringing some bells in your head, oh yes, Bingo. His current job now is Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence.
Yes, I did notice that his youngest girl should already be 16 years old by now, so is he not kind of late in implementing this weightage reduction at PSLE? Well, for a clue, turn around and look at other younger ministers in the cabinet and make a guess whether their kids speak Mandarin and write Chinese. I'm sure you do your colleagues some little favors at times right?