'Serious mistake' to use wrong Chinese character in Speak Mandarin Campaign tagline: Grace Fu

'Serious mistake' to use wrong Chinese character in Speak Mandarin Campaign tagline: Grace Fu

speak mandarin campaign tagline
The Mandarin tagline for this year's Speak Mandarin Campaign which means listen, speak, read and write.

SINGAPORE: It was "a serious mistake to make," using the wrong Chinese character in a tagline of the Speak Mandarin Campaign, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu on Wednesday (Jul 12).

The tagline was displayed on stage at the launch of the campaign on Monday. Organisers meant to use the Chinese word for "read" but instead used a character which means "to show disrespect".

The two Chinese characters look similar and share the same pronunciation.

In a statement, Ms Fu said: "It is a serious mistake to make, much less by an advocate for the proper use of Mandarin."

She noted that the Chinese language is wonderfully intricate, and the slightest variation in strokes can result in distinct characters with completely different meanings.

"These distinctions, which may seem subtle at first glance, represent the rich heritage behind the language," she said.

Ms Fu, who was at Monday's launch event, thanked the public for pointing out the mistake.

"Indeed, the proper use of words in any language, especially in our multi-cultural society, is very important," she said, adding that the Speak Mandarin Campaign team has assured her that "processes will be strengthened" to prevent such incidents from happening again. 

Organisers had on Tuesday described the mistake as an "erroneous rendering of the character" that was introduced during the production process, and apologised for the "gravity of this oversight."

"I hope that the public will continue to support the Speak Mandarin Campaign," said Ms Fu, saying it has done good work over close to four decades in promoting the use of the language.

Source: CNA/aa