Foolish to Ignore Language Heritage

First published: 05th August 2009

Would Cynthia Sze (letters, 5th Aug, "Expat mindset has no place in modern city") care to say what percentage of the population speak Putonghua?

By couching her argument in terms of "English vs. Chinese", Ms. Sze tries to make the issue patriotic, but the fact is that the majority of the Hong Kong population speaks Cantonese, which is unlikely to become the new language of international business. Hong Kong's heritage includes three main languages: Cantonese, Putonghua and English, why that happened may be a cause for regret, but it would be foolish to fail to build on it. All three are important for Hong Kong's future, glossing over the gulf between Cantonese and Putonghua is as short-sighted as ignoring the possibility of Putonghua becoming dominant in business.