The class is held at the headquarters of Correctional Services and is open to all SIG officers and interested citizens.
Twenty-eight officers from Correctional services, Foreign investment and Bio-security have participated at the first day’s class on January 24.
Deputy counselor from Taiwan embassy, Mr. Oliver Weng, Mandarin program coordinator, Ms. Kuei-Mi LI, Deputy Training director of CSSI, Inspector Alison SALU, CIO of prisoners affairs, David Bosokuru have attended the opening ceremony.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr Weng said the Taiwan embassy is very willing to offer Mandarin language training to all Solomon Islanders, as learning a new language will surely broaden their horizon, open their eyes to the outer world and gain deeper understanding of different cultures.
“Through this language training offered to SIG officers, we want to help Solomon Island government to level up its human resource’s linguistic capacity, so that the communication will have fewer barriers.
“We also hope the participants will learn the core values of our culture, like discipline, hard-working spirit and democratic thinking,” said Mr Weng.
Mandarin program coordinator, Kuei-Mi Li also said she is very happy to have the opportunity to give classes to SIG officers and so excited to see so many people show up for the class.
“Having stayed in Solomon Islands for more than 2 years, I can notice that Solomon Islands have more and more contact with Mandarin-speaking world, whether it’s through studies, traveling, businesses or juridical and criminal cases.
“I myself have been solicited to help interpreting for various occasions, and I can feel the need for Mandarin proficiency in the country,” Ms Li said.
She added that Mandarin has more speakers than any other language in the world. It’s the official language of Taiwan, China, Singapore and UN, and it’s spoken in all the oversea Chinese communities, including here in Honiara.
“The importance of this language is self-evident, and I’m very happy that more and more Solomon Islanders are aware of it by supporting our program and attending our classes.
“Our Mandarin program aims to train the learners’ linguistic skills but also introduce Taiwan’s diverse and rich culture.
“I’m sure that at the end of the program, students will gain some basic Mandarin speaking ability and also have a deeper understanding of Taiwan’s culture,” she added.
Meanwhile the Deputy Director of training of CSSI, Alison Salu on behalf of CSSI, also thanked the Taiwan government for this Mandarin learning opportunity.
He said the program is necessary for Solomon Islanders.
“We are very grateful that this training is given to our officers. It’s important for our officers to learn this language because we deal with Asian, Chinese people a lot in our job.
“I hope the participants will make use of this opportunity and learn as much as you can,” Salu uttered.
Most students said that they enrolled because they want to communicate with people speaking this language in the country or overseas, to learn more about other people’s culture, to facilitate their job in the workplace, or to prepare for further study or job opportunities.
On this first day’s lesson, the students have learned to say the most common daily words, to practice the tones, and to sing a Chinese New Year song.
They all find this day’s session interesting and fun and want to continue learning.
Marlon Maemania, a Principal investment officer said he want to learn Mandarin because he normally communicates with Chinese business people in his office every day.
“In today’s lesson, I have learned how to pronounce new words and about the Taiwan New Year culture.
“The lesson meets my expectation, it’s really interesting.
“I like most the singing part, and it’s really fun and enjoyable,” Maemania said.
He added that he will continue learning because he wants to be able to speak Mandarin and get opportunities to study in Taiwan.
Correctional Officer, Ronald Alley Junior said he want to learn Mandarin because he wants to understand more about other people’s culture and their language.
“Today I have learned how to pronounce the words with tones and also a Mandarin song.
“The lesson really meets my expectation, I like it because it will equip me for workplace purposes,” Alley said.
In the meantime, Ms Li also extended her appreciation to Mr. Chris Akosawa, deputy Director of Immigration, for liaising with different governmental services and making the course possible.
Having stayed in Taiwan for one year studying Mandarin, Mr. Akosawa speaks fluent Mandarin and uses this language in his work and duty as Immigration officer.
“He realizes the importance and usefulness of Mandarin in Solomon Islands’ context and it’s only natural that he supports this initiative of Mandarin class for SIG officers.”
Mr Akosawa was not present at the opening but his written remark was well received.
“I think it is important for Solomon Islands to learn Mandarin so that we can understand, communicate and create relationship with Asians in areas of business, trade, relationship and also will build confidence and trust among Asians and people of Solomon Islands.
“I suggest these Mandarin learners study seriously to speak mandarin fluently and advance their studies.
“Mandarin learners should enjoy and feel proud of learning a foreign language because among many Solomon Islanders only you can speak Mandarin,” he said.
Mandarin is important as it helps us to communicate and learn from each other, said Akosawa.
“It is also exciting to speak Mandarin as in the work Asians are everywhere. It is a global language.
“I went around the world doing my meetings, trainings in Africa, Asia, Europe, USA and the Pacific, Mandarin is one of the languages we should be able to speak next to English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
“Asian countries, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China they are developed nations in the world,” the deputy Director of Immigration said.