Thank you for a chance that I can express my concern over English
in Hong Kong since the hand-over.
can understand why people say that the Hong Kong standard of English
recall when I was little, my father used to teach me English anywhere,
anytime of the day, as there was so much English about. They were
on buildings, shop signs, posters, commercial organizations, building
lounges etc, etc.. Every time we went out together, he would point
out words and ask how do you read that, what does it mean. I used
to hate it to the point that I sometime made excuses not to go out
with him. Later I realize I know so much more than my class-mates.
Just because these opportunities. Especially poster were bilingual,
one can learn so much from it. Even from shop names I pick up so
much, simple words like "store, company, department store,
restaurant, etc, etc."
remember once my daughter ask me how to spell "astronaut".
I had to think. She said to me "did you ever go to school Mummy".
I told her that when Mon was at school, astronauts were not about,
there is no such word. I had to learn it myself picking up from
I look around, most of the advertisings are in Chinese only. Even
in the airport, I come across poster in Chinese only. These are
advertisements of various trade. Airport is an international place.
How would a non-Chinese speaking visitor feel welcome. I do have
a number of non-Chinese speaking friends, they said that before
1997, they can get around HK much easier and can guess what's round
them. Now they have no idea, as most of the notices they do not
have a clue.
also notice posters of Hollywood movies, they are all around bus
stops. Again the English on it is to the minimal. The casts' names
are in Chinese in huge print (like what we Chinese call "mother
hen size".) often on the top of the page. While the English
prints, one almost have to read it with a lens at the bottom of
the page. We call HK an international city, we are not even familiar
with the names of some people with international recognization in
English, unless they are long time movie stars like Paul Newman,
Julie Robets etc, etc. Is it that difficult to put down the English
as well, or is it that poster designer think we cannot handle English
anymore (now that the English has gone), or is it mainly commercially
cater for non-English speaking people.
do think that since 1997, we have been stripped off a lot on the
opportunity to learn English. I am missing those opportunity my
father use to have as teaching material to teach myself now of new
words, new phases, new terms.
quite often wonder if this lack of English is noticeable and if
anything can be done to restore it.
Christine Manville (Mrs.)
I am infect Chinese only I married to an English name.