Nathan Hartono chosen to promote Chinese language learning
Nathan Hartono has another string to his bow. The singer is the new ambassador for The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL).
The announcement came at a press conference held today at St Margaret's Secondary School. Also in attendance was Guest of Honour, CPCLL Chairperson and Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Ms Low Yen Ling.
The 26-year-old singer hit a new level of success when he came second in the reality singing contest Sing! China in October last year.
Hartono's journey learning Chinese was not smooth but he has learnt first-hand how useful it can be.
His struggle started when he took Higher Chinese in upper primary.
"Chinese became an unclimbable mountain," explained the former Anglo-Chinese (Barker Road) student though his struggle really began when he entered secondary school. He was failing Chinese and that had a knock-on effect.
"It discouraged me and since I didn't have to use Chinese on a daily basis, I began to avoid it like crazy... I learnt just enough to survive."
Avoidance could not last forever and the urge to learn Chinese dawned on him in junior college.
"I realised that mastering my second language could open up a lot of opportunities."
Even then, he had a lot of ground to make up and it was during his experience in Sing! China that provided a very clear wake up call.
"We had pre-production meetings and it was quite evident that I was out of their depth," he said.
"I could barely string a proper sentence together."
However, the benefit of spending around four months in China was that Hartono could finally complete sentences without pausing or inserting English words.
"It's all about proactive speaking - a lot of the time, people are afraid to speak their second language because they are not confident.
"But if they keep practicing, their confidence will rise."