Anyone that has had the pleasure of spending an extended period of time in Asia, namely in countries heavily influenced by China, will be well aware of the mentality towards studying and developing mad skills. In my experience of both Hong Kong and Taiwan, if your kid isn’t learning another language and a musical instrument by the age of 5 then they’re behind the curve by a long long way. I’ve had conversations in English with three year old Cantonese kids that have been better even than a native speaker. Time is dedicated to study and skills and it really does show in their mentality and their ability. I used to kind of hate that kids are allocated so little time to play, and I still do to an extent, because I’m fairly certain I wasn’t sat learning Mandarin in a classroom with no windows at the age of three, and I like to think I’ve turned out just dandy. That being said, if I had been shoved into school to learn another language at that age, it would definitely be saving me the difficulty of trying to wrap my head around Chinese at the ripe old age of 23. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that the attitude the UK has towards learning other languages is absolutely ridiculous. Most people in Asia are bilingual, where as some people I know in the UK have no interest in even mastering the word ‘Bonjour’.It was a bit of a roundabout way to arrive at my point that most kids here have been encouraged to become more magnificent at everything by the age of 6, than I have ever been or will ever be.
I spent my Sunday being taught Chinese phonics by 8year olds, which I will need to continue practicing further because I have developed an attention span of approximately three seconds. That was after going to watch their piano concert on Saturday night where I saw a series of children play the most incredible and beautiful music. In conclusion, kids here are incredibly talented and will do wonders for lowering your self esteem once you realise how painstakingly average you are at everything.