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This post was edited by wchao37 at 2018-11-10 20:44|
The examples invoked here are factual and they do reflect what parcher has labeled in post #21 as supporting the phenomenon of "the new kid on the block."
Naturally I am aware of these facts and the attention Mandarin as the "new kid" has attracted from around the world, but my feeling is that the two situations are fundamentally dissimilar, and the key difference here is PRIORITIZATION.
Every person on earth has 24 hours, and this five-year old is certainly no exception.
His parents are presented here as executives of a waiqi-- American-owned Ford Motor Company in Shanghai -- who presumably as BUSY individuals aren't given to having much time teaching their son themselves.
So it is reasonable to assume that the task of providing their son with an after-school education has befallen upon someone else, and whoever is responsible for teaching the son English is not just reading selected paragraphs from the book to him, since we are told here that this is the kid's "English reading list" and not his "read-to list," but is also making sure that the kid actually reads and understands the content of the 500 books.
And that's just a small part of the kid's recorded 'achievements.'
If that's not a tall order, what is?
Even if we take a thousand steps backwards and believe the parents' claim, note that the braggadocio on the 'reading list' doesn't include any books in Chinese, and therein lies the problem -- the parents are not teaching their child to take more than a lukewarm attitude towards Chinese studies.
On the other hand, the examples we are given here do not allude to the kids' prioritization of studies. Yes, Ivanka's daughter and the British royalty's kids are being taught Chinese, but these are normal after-school activities whose parents happen to be in a position to see where the world is heading, and that's why the element of surprise is non-existent. The main emphasis on their education is still their own mother language -- English.
The problem with this 5-year old child's parents is that they are not giving their son the proper linguistic orientation during his most formative years as far as language development is concerned, and since language is the fundamental carrier of one's cultural heritage, it seems that they have failed their son in this respect.
For those that read Chinese, please note how the parents advertise themselves by self-aggrandizement -- their jobs/titles/positions, how great the parents are, etc. So this whole thing is likely to be nothing more than a blatant attempt to attract more curious customers to the Ford Dealership to look at its gas-gustlers.
That's also why I asked if this is an atypical case, or if Shanghai has allowed itself to be contaminated by the ill winds from Hongkong and Taiwan to a point of no return -- now that there is little if any barrier to cultural exchange amongst the three Chinese communities.
If you ask me, I would tell you that flowers that open early do not blossom.
This is because the child's natural inclination to learn is unlike that of a mechanical robot. You can't force a child to forego his playing activities and expect him to develop his mind at his most vulnerable developmental stage.
Life-spanning high academic achievers are always those who have developed unquenchable thirst to study at their own initiative at their own pace and according to their own needs at specific moments of their lives.
By enforcing strict discipline upon a 5-year old child to 'read 500 books a year' in a foreign language is a criminal offense punishable for child abuse by being locked up in a Shanghai penitentiary instead of being allowed to woo credulous customers through false advertisements into their Ford Dealership showroom.