Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Getting ahead in life, thanks to Chinese [AsiaOne]

Getting ahead in life, thanks to Chinese
By SARAH CHANG
Source – AsiaOne, published June 08, 2010

FOR Ms Jeslyn Tan, the Chinese Language Elective Programme (Clep) holds a very important place in her life – it helped her build a successful career.

The deputy finance director of SingTel, who spent two years in Shanghai a few years ago, said: “I excelled in my job there because I was able to converse fluently in Mandarin.

“(However), it is not just conversing with (Chinese people) in Mandarin, but being able to share a common understanding and perspectives with them.”

Ms Tan, 36, was in the programme when she was a student at Temasek Junior College.

She was among Clep alumni who gathered at Hwa Chong Institution in Bukit Timah Road yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of the programme.

At the celebrations, Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Education, praised the many Clep alumni who had excelled in their professions because of their grasp of the Chinese language and culture.

One of them, Ms Sim Ann, director of the National Population Secretariat in the Prime Minister’s Office, was among the first Clep students to be conferred the President’s Scholarship.

She was among five successful Clep alumni who shared their experiences yesterday on how the programme had benefited them in their different career paths.

Ms Sim, 35, said that her knowledge of Chinese language and culture allowed her to appreciate the classic, The Dream Of The Red Chamber.

It was this book that “has given me the best lesson in the way I look at life”, she said.

How does one keep the spirit of Clep alive long after he or she has left school, a student asked during a question-and-answer session.

Ms Tan had this to offer: “Be in touch with Mandarin continually. Don’t break away from it.”

schang@sph.com.sg

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