Milestones

The Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC) was launched by then Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 1979. The task was to transform a deeply entrenched social-linguistic habit of Chinese Singaporeans who were long used to the speaking of dialects.

2017

  • Inaugurated the Speak Mandarin Campaign “My Story” Public Speaking Competition, which provides a platform for students between 13 to 18 year old to share their own stories.

2016

  • Inaugurated pre-school category at the fourth Speak Mandarin Campaign Parent-Child Talent Competition.
  • Introduced a new series of immersion programmes, including Story Challenge Roadshows, Music Showcases.
  • Conducted a Public Lecture with Professor Yu Dan to inspire educators and parents in creating a positive learning experience for students and the younger generation.
  • Collaborated with Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall to present the Wan Qing CultureFest 2016.

2015

  • The third Speak Mandarin Campaign Parent-Child Talent Competition was successfully held.
  • Organised a series of popular storytelling sessions with the National Book Development Council of Singapore and National Library Board.

2014

2013

  • Jointly organised the Speak Mandarin Campaign Parent-Child Talent Competition with St Nicholas Girls' School and Thumbs Up.

2012

  • iHuayu 讲华语(商用), a bilingual mobile application with business-specific and Singapore terms was launched.
  • Introduced Speak Mandarin Campaign's new theme song, Shuo 《说》.
  • "Mandarin. It Gets Better with Use." Short Video Clip Contest.

2011

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign Theme Song Contest was launched.
  • The Chinese Challenge, with a focus on students in 2011. 6 students were selected to participate in the televised grand finals.

2010

  • Replay of television commercials featuring non-Chinese children speaking in Mandarin, challenging Singaporeans to be heard in Chinese. The commercials won MediaCorp's Viewer's Choice Awards 2009 and have been nominated for the 2010 Awards.
  • 2nd run of Yang Sheng series of talks about Eastern philosophies of health in both English and Mandarin.
  • The Chinese Challenge 2010, with an added Student's Category. A team of 2 students won 1st Runner Up in the televised Grand Finals.

2009

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign’s 30th Anniversary.
  • Series of "Be Heard" in Chinese television commercials featuring non-Chinese children speaking in Mandarin.
  • Yang Sheng series of talks about Eastern philosophies of health in both English and Mandarin.
  • The Chinese Challenge, a nationwide contest, with a series of quiz questions ranging from the language to Chinese history and popular culture.

2007

  • Theme of Sports, Culture, The Arts, Design & Lifestyle. 20 new activists, including Team Singapore sportsmen and other prominent personalities.

2006

  • Theme of Music, Movies, Metaphors.
  • Cool Speak in ST becomes Cheng Yu Cool.

2005

  • Ambassadors included JJ Lin, Hossan Leong, Fanny Lai.
  • Launch of Cool Speak Guide.

2004

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign’s 25th Year.
  • "华语 Cool" slogan was launched with Tan Swie Hian’s painting/calligraphy.
  • Ambassadors included Joi Chua (with song by Liang Wern Fu), choupijiang (臭皮匠).
  • Launch of "Cool Speak" in Straits Times, a series featuring personalities and their stories of using Mandarin.
  • Mandarin Movie Appreciation Series and Mandarin Moviethon held at Golden Village cinemas

2003

  • Campaign ambassadors included Tanya Chua, Kenny Yap.

2002

  • Launch at annual World Book Fair.

2001

  • Launch of Mandarin Festival.
  • Speak Mandarin Campaign Celebrities included Fann Wong, Tay Ping Hui, Sharon Au, Dasmond Koh.

2000

  • The Campaign was launched at the premiere of a Chinese movie “A Tale of the Sacred Mountain”.
  • The Mandarin Film Festival was the first film festival organised by the Promote Mandarin Council. It was held on 17-22 September at Golden Village Grand, Great World City. The Festival screened 12 critically-acclaimed films produced by some of China’s best producers and directors.
  • Singapore’s first Mandarin a cappella CD album entitled “A cappella Fanatix - Mandarin a cappella” was jointly produced by Young Musicians’ Society and Promote Mandarin Council.Singapore’s first Mandarin a cappella CD album entitled “A cappella Fanatix - Mandarin a cappella” was jointly produced by Young Musicians’ Society and Promote Mandarin Council.
  • The forum entitled “Mandarin for the Family” was held on 18 November. The speakers comprised educators who discussed teaching methods for the learning of Chinese, as well as well-known personalities who shared their experiences in learning Mandarin and using it both at home and in the office.
  • The Chinese Heritage Series, which comprises arts and cultural performances ranging from xinyao, hand puppet to Chinese orchestra was held at shopping malls.
  • SMC celebrities’ webchats – a series of webchats with well-known personalities was held.
  • A Speak Mandarin Campaign commemorative book entitled “Mandarin: The Chinese Connection”( 华人,华语,华文) was produced.
  • The first CD-ROM on learning Mandarin was produced. Entitled “Speak Mandarin? No problem!” (讲华语?没问题!), it is an interactive learning CD-ROM catering to adults who know basic Mandarin and have a desire to improve it.

1999

  • Four television commercials featuring well-known entertainment personalities were aired on TV to illustrate the slogan "Speak Mandarin. It's An Asset."

1998

  • The Committee to Promote Use of Mandarin was changed to Promote Mandarin Council to reflect its wider role in promoting Mandarin.

1997

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign webpage was officially launched.

1996

  • Production of radio jingle.

1995

  • The campaign launch featured a Chinese crosstalk performance and a skit by the cast of TCS sitcom, Under One Roof.
  • The Ministry of Education and Television 12 jointly organised the pre-university Mandarin debate series.

1994

  • Official launch of the campaign was held at the Shangri-la Hotel. The proceeds from the launch charity dinner was donated to National Arts Council to promote Chinese culture and arts.
  • Production of Transitlink farecards for sale to public.

1991

  • Campaign focused on Chinese Singaporeans, with increasing emphasis on those who received bilingual education.

1990

  • The Campaign targeted senior executives.
  • Ministry of Education, Singapore Telecoms and the then Ministry of Communications and Information jointly produced telephone Mandarin lessons on Chinese proverbs, which were published in Chinese newspapers too.

1989

  • Promotion of Mandarin was once again targeted at the Chinese community in general.

1988

  • The Campaign focused on white collar workers. Ministry of Health developed a series of telephone Mandarin lessons on health education.

1987

  • The Campaign moved to the shopping centres.
  • To encourage the use of Mandarin at the Zhongyuan Jie auctions, lessons were developed and transmitted by telephone throughout the festive month. A total of 640,000 calls were made. These lessons were repackaged on cassette tapes and distributed to the Zhongyuan Jie organisers.

1986

  • The Campaign moved to food and drink establishments.

1985

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign focused on transport workers.

1984

  • The target audience for the year was Chinese parents.
  • Production of Speak Mandarin Helps Brochure.

1983

  • Mandarin was promoted at markets and hawker centres.
  • Production of "Dial for Mandarin" Booklet.

1982

  • Speak Mandarin Campaign focused on promoting Mandarin at the workplace.

1979

  • The Speak Mandarin Campaign was launched by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew