15 December 2010

Language in Taiwan

I am now in Taipei for the next two weeks. One of the things I love is being surrounded by Chinese. There are about 100 TV channels, pretty much all of them in Chinese (Mandarin), with no mixing in English. Ever. You can sometimes hear a bit of Taiwanese (Hokkien) mixed in, and I've heard some Hakka, but never English, which suits me just fine.

In Brunei, I mostly watch Astro Awani, and even its Malay-medium news broadcasts have quite a lot of English, particularly when they interview Malaysian politicians, bankers, or doctors. Similarly for the Malaysian TV1 channel. (I can't receive RTB, so I can't comment on the Brunei channels.) Now, I know that mixing is normal, and maybe the regular inclusion of English segments is constructive for developing the language ability of people, but I personally find it really irritating. I can already speak English, so I don't want to hear it on the TV. Furthermore, I detest the way that Astro Awani keep on repeating the same tedious English-language advertisements for their own programmes every single hour. They seem to be doing their best to annoy viewers.

I just love being surrounded with Chinese for these two weeks. I wish I could get the same for Malay when I am in Brunei, but I guess that is not going to happen.