Why I Teach Mandarin – Chinese In English

I always have lots of topics to blog and talk about. But during this period of national mourning on the passing of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, I feel totally numb. My heart is welling up with tears, ready to burst out crying. We knew the day would come.

I have always loved his take on using language as key to educate our minds. I have wanted to give up on Mandarin but for my daughter’s sake I had to continue. The late Mr Lee showed me through his book Keeping Mandarin Alive that it’s never too difficult if you have the conviction to learn. I thought he started learning as a child. No. he did it as an adult.

We insisted on 听写。。。madness! We have teachers who are teaching in completely Chinese Schools and they don’t want to use any English to teach English-speaking children Chinese! Turn them off completely.

“Why don’t you teach your daughter yourself since you know Mandarin ?”

Each time I got a job, I just could not keep it. I was told I was not a good team player. On another occasion, I was told the company needed only ethnic Chinese teachers. I do not seem to fit in anywhere.

Someone asked me, “Why don’t you teach your daughter yourself since you know Mandarin ?” It was not that easy. I was actually reluctant because I needed money to pay for her education. But I took that route , I started to teach her, learn about the language from her textbooks. Then we were overseas and resources were scarce.

12 years later and I finally understood why I was stuck in that frame of mind and could not work full time. I had to discover a way to teach Mandarin using the English language.

I teach Mandarin Chinese for business adults and students. My daughter continues to take this language as her second language also. This is me. I teach Mandarin – Chinese and  personal development in parenting and business. I am also a published author .

Tired Of Trying To Get Attention From Your Kids? Tell A Story Instead


Do you find yourself having difficulty getting your kids’ attention?

Are you so worried about your children’s progress, you cannot create any more room or space to engage in discussion?

How about telling a story to your children instead? 

A very important element in teaching is to be able to tell a story to our children. So I have included this in my parenting. Kids love to listen to stories. If you are good story teller, kids would gather round you and enjoy your every gesture and facial expressions.

I find it easier to tell stories from my personal experiences to teenagers. There are two types of stories you can tell. They are either imaginative or stories based on your true social life experiences. Do not use stories which you have not heard it yourself from your parents, read about in books or experienced before in life. Kids are sensitive. They can pick out irrelevant information or ‘lies’ .

The key is to end the story with a joke or inject laughter throughout the process. You need this skill in your parenting or teaching. Without story telling skills, you have no other method to get your children’s attention except with constant nagging and advice. Nobody likes that. Here are some examples where stories can come from:

1. Grandparents 

Stories about your experience with grandparents are the easiest to begin with. Start asking questions to the grandma and grandpa in front of your children. “Mum / Dad. how do you cook in those days?” You do not have to be the one to tell the stories here. But you can be assured there will be a lot of good advice that would come with them telling stories for you.

2. Spouse

Whilst you are still in a marriage, you are always learning about your spouse’s childhoood experiences. Share these experiences during meal times. Stories of adventures to places your kids could only imagine or read about in books are lovely to share.

3. Read

Of course, this is no brainer. Bed time stories. Have to be an old time favourite activity for kids and parents.

My daughter loves to bake. Now she loves to sing and play the piano.

4. Look at photo albums

Photos tell lots of stories. Whenever you have visitors coming over, bring out a family album and share your experiences from when those pictures were taken. Invite your children to join in and listen.

On board Moonshadow Cruise, Port Stephens, N.S.W. Australia

On board Moonshadow Cruise, Port Stephens, N.S.W. Australia

5. Memorabilia /gifts / souvenirs

These items are collections from your travels , gifts from friends and presents for your birthdays. Ask you child to retell the stories of the gift you bought for them. How did they feel when they received these gifts? How about the pair of earrings which they choose for you for mother’s day? Or the pair of new sports shoes from an uncle or aunty?


My daughter’s name was inscribed in this grain of rice. Bought in Jakarta, Indonesia


6. Pictures on the wall.


Painted this item to raise funds for Tsunami victims in Aceh at a school I worked for.


Why do you hang pictures on the wall? For purpose of admiring the art or simply decorate an otherwise empty wall? Any picture tell a story. Where and when you got the picture framed. If you had bought the painting, describe where you got it from and why you bought. These are stories which are real and will definitely connect .

7. The house you live in. 

Why did you buy the house? Who painted the walls? How much time did you take to get the kids’ room ready? Where did you go to shop for the furniture in the room.

8. Newspaper cutting 

Here is a huge piece of history you can be proud of. When an article about your family appears on the newspaper.


And article about my family on Berita Harian



I was a childhood star; I have been indeed blessed.

I was already learning Mandarin at kindergarten. I was featured at primary school.


Everything you do for your kids is done out of love. Pick and choose the items and people you know will add flavour and value to what you intend to do, that is to reach out to your children and have a little bit of extra attention from them.

The key is to end the story with a joke or inject laughter throughout the process. You need this skill in your parenting or teaching. Childhood memories totally depend on good stories, so let us learn to tell it well.