Wed, Sep 25, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Yu tells legislator `my English is very bad'

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

TSU Lawmakers Cheng Chen-lung, right, and John Wang speak in the legislature during an interpellation session yesterday, during which Wang, who represents overseas Chinese communities, questioned Premier Yu Shyi-kun in English.


Premier Yu Shyi-kun's English skills were tested to the limit yesterday at the legislature when TSU lawmaker John Wang (王政中) quizzed him in English during an interpellation session.

"I heard from abroad that MOFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] is arranging a meeting between the first lady and the first lady of the US, Laura Bush. Is this a correct assumption?" Wang asked in fluent English.

The legislator, representing overseas Chinese communities, was referring to the recent itinerary of first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍), who is visiting Washington.

Failing to understand the question, the premier looked perplexed.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新), who stood next to Yu, came to his rescue and gave Yu a translation.

Yu then replied in Mandarin that he had had a bumpy educational process and that his skill in languages was not as good as most people's. "[Therefore] my English is very bad, I only speak a little English," Yu added, in English.

"This is quite OK because I think it is important that you try as a leader of the nation. I think it is a good start," Wang said.

Wang, who grew up in the US and has a very limited Mandarin ability, said the reason he questioned the premier in English was to remind people to improve their command of English as part of Taiwan's globalization drive.

"Leaders such as Yu or President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should take the lead," he said.

The lawmaker is the son of Kenjohn Wang (王桂榮), chairman of the Taiwanese-American Foundation, a pro-independence group in the US.

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