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Sun, Jan 09, 2000 - Page 2 News List

OFF THE BEAT

Speaking in tongues

The Ministry of Education has decided to make it compulsory for primary school children to learn one of Taiwan's three native languages -- Taiwanese, Hakka or an Aboriginal language -- beginning in 2001.

Education Minister Kirby Yang said Friday that from the next academic year, first- through sixth-graders in the country's primary schools will have to spend one or two hours a week learning one of the three languages, in addition to Mandarin.

Classes will become optional at the junior high school level.

The ministry has already approved compulsory English lessons for fifth- and sixth-grade primary school children.

When asked whether written tests will be used to assess the results of the native language lessons, Yang said that this will be left to the schools' discretion.

Croquet anyone?

The President Cup International Croquet Championship opened in Changhua County yesterday, with teams from Japan, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan participating. In a speech during the opening ceremony, Vice President Lien Chan extended greetings to the players from home and abroad.

Lien said that croquet has become a popular sport since its introduction to Taiwan in the 1980s, evidenced by the fact that more than 1,700 teams participated in last year's croquet open. Lien noted that not only is croquet good for the health, it is also good for promoting friendship among local communities and across cultures.

Shop underground till you drop

Taiwan's largest underground shopping mall, covering over 10,000 ping, is scheduled to open beneath Chengchou Road (鄭|{路) in Taipei on March 29. A total of 187 stores will grace the underground mall with an array of fashion boutiques, grocery stores and consumer electronics emporiums adding to the mall's diversity. Many of the mall shops were originally situated in the Chunghwa Market (??華商3?/CHINESE>), a shopping center that was torn down in 1992, and store owners are reportedly very excited about the March grand opening.

"Seven years is a long time to wait," one former Chunghwa Market shop owner said.

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