This is another confusing topic for me. I was born in Taiwan, lived in Taiwan for around 20 years, and I still like to go back to Taiwan sometimes to enjoy the best food in the world. Oh Yeah! And visit my family as well. I went back there for a week during October. The food is still as yummy as ever, all my family members are still looking fine as before. However, something is different, something made me uneasy, something is strange!
When I was young, our government said Mandarin is the official language. We were not suppose to speak other dialects at school. These days, the government says that we should pay respect to our “traditional” culture and learn as many dialects as possible. Hence, when I went back to Taiwan in October, a lot of TV shows are broadcasted in Taiwanese or other dialects. Some of my friends who did not know how to speak Taiwanese before are now also learning how to speak Taiwanese.
Not only different dialects become more and more important, English is also a very important language in Taiwan. Now, universities require students to pass TOEFL in order to obtain their degrees in Taiwan. Understanding English has already become a basic requirement for most organizations when they are looking for new employees. A person’s promotion also depends on how much he/she can get by taking TOEFL or TOEIC exams.
I cannot really see anything done to promote Mandarin. I have a feeling, in a not long future, I won’t be able to communicate with other people in Taiwan unless I speak Taiwanese or English.