Kevin Rudd, the PM of Australia, a Chinese speaker himself, recently attended a conference of the Chinese Language Teachers ‘ Federation of Australia.
He spoke about the importance of Australians learning Asian languages.
1. It is incredibly cool that the PM of Australia can speak a bit of Mandarin. I’ve heard his welcome to China’s President Hu, delivered in Mandarin, and while I can’t give him high marks for pronunciation and diction, I give him great credit for being willing to open his mouth and speak Mandarin to China’s President.
2. There are apparently over 150 Chinese teachers in Australia. For a country with Australia’s population, that’s a fair number. I expect to see it grow over time. Despite my doubts about the effectiveness of many Chinese teaching programs in the English-speaking world, I applaud efforts to increase understanding of Chinese language and culture.
3. This has nothing to do with speaking or learning Chinese, but I freaking love Australia. Incredible place.