Amercian Indian girl Meera came to settle down in Singapore with parents when she was 1-year old. The first language she picked up is Chinese. Her mother arranged her to learn Chinese from a neighbor working as a Chinese language teacher. They make Chinese conversation for two hours every day to practice the speaking and pronunciation.
Nine years later, Meera won the third place of the national Chinese story telling competition in Singapore, with clear articulation and mellow tune. In the past one year, she has won twice the third place in two Chinese speech contests.
Meera’s mother Subra understood the importance of Chinese language and started to cultivate the her daughter’s interest in Chinese language. She said, “We hope that she gets the spiritual connection with Chinese culture, especially when people from all over the world gather together, we cannot ignore the multi-culture because of our Indian origin.”
Meera is a fourth-grade student in Anthony girls’ school, studying Chinese as her second language. Since the second grade, she has been always assigned to the best Chinese language class and leading the way. When she joined Chinese drama class, Meera was praised by the teacher of her acting talent.
Meera said, “I like telling stories and won’t feel nervous at the stage. I want to participate in more such competitions in the future.”
Because Meera’s parents can’t speak Chinese, she went to the cram school for Chinese language classes from 4 to 8-year old. When she goes to bazaar with parents, she will grasp the opportunity to practice the dialogue with the vendors. Subra said, “Once we ran into one taxi driver, he insisted on not charging us because he thought Meera’s Chinese is so great.”
At home, as a Hindi language teacher, Subra communicates with Meera in Hindi and Meera’s father in another Indian dialect Konkani to make sure that Meera masters the mother language. Meera can also speak basic Philippine Tagalog and Spanish. Her parents plan to let her study one Chinese dialect such as Hokkien or Teochew.
It is reported that Chinese story telling final match of Singapore national primary schools was held recently in Tao Nan School, with a total participant of 56 schools and 106 students. The competition has marked its 12th anniversary.