While reading the monthly “Topic” by Taipei’s American Chamber of Commerce, I chanced upon an article, “Guiding Taiwan’s Internationalization.” The article was about the government efforts to elevate English-speaking competence to benefit both foreign visitors and residents. I quickly read on…
I was surprised to find that the Taiwanese government has formed a 20-member taskforce charged with spurring Taiwan’s internationalization. The task force oversees an overall estimated budget of NTD$520 million (US$16.5 million) to improve the five following areas:
1. Romanization (how Chinese characters are rendered in Latin alphabet)
2. Resident services
3. Tourism services
4. Investment and employment services, and
5. Strategic policy planning.
I had never heard of this task-force but I am clapping enthusiastically as I type. Amongst the four “Asian Dragons” (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan), Taiwan ranks near the bottom in its overall English fluency. One can logically assume that foreign operations would want to base their Asian headquarters in either Hong Kong or Singapore. I can recall several conversations with middle-aged businessmen who complained about the Singaporean superiority complex partly due to their English superiority; I guess Singlish trumps Taiwanese chinglish for the most part, yes.
2009 The TOEFL Average Scoring in Asian Countries
(Just a friendly reminder)
With this initiative, and with already NT$110 million allocated for various English-improvement projects, I hope that foreigners can feel more comfortable living here, and that Taiwanese will feel more comfortable conversing with people from all parts of the world. My friends who have visited Taiwan have all commented their feeling of “Gemütlichkeit” (German word connoting sense of belonging and coziness) when in Taiwan. This sense of belonging comes from the genuine friendliness and kindness of the Taiwanese people. Now, just think how much friendlier the Taiwanese can get when they start telling you about their favorite karaoke songs. Also, I bet foreigners either living or traveling in Taiwan would be “cozier” when the Romanized street signs remain consistent.
Well, now for our part. We want to make the audio-video content we are bringing into Taiwan—mostly in English—not only more accessible to the Taiwanese, but also more educational. So take a look at our efforts in elevating the English-listening competence through our trailers and children’s content.
If you additional ideas of how to elevate anything in Taiwan, please email Jay Lin at firstname.lastname@example.org