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6:29pm 15/07/2022
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Chung Ling alumni set up Chinese school in Bangkok

Chung Ling is a renowned Chinese school in Penang and its graduates are in many parts of the world.

A group of Chung Ling alumni is setting up a private school Chung Ling School in Bangkok to teach Chinese, English and Thai.

Chef Walter Lee, a graduate from Chung Ling High School who has settled down in Bangkok since 1989, is one of the founders of the school scheduled to start in 2024.

Lee hopes to have a Chung Ling School in Bangkok for the Thais to learn Chinese as a way to pay back to the community.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Lee shared the idea of setting up a Chinese school in Bangkok with some of the alumni and they were all keen to start a Chinese school outside Malaysia.

While Chinese private schools in Bangkok focus on the teaching of Chinese and Thai, Chung Ling School will stress on English, science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, critical thinking, communication, cooperation and creativity.

“Chinese school students in Malaysia know three languages – Malay, Chinese and English. I believe the Thais can master three languages too,” said Lee.

Walter Lee (L) and Boo Hwee Khim: keen to start a Chinese school outside Malaysia.

The school, which will start with a primary school for 600 students, has successfully raised 50% of the 100 million baht, mainly from Thai investors.

Boo Hwee Khim, chairman of the Malaysian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, is one of the investors.

Boo, from Foon Yew High School in Johor Bahru, is another Malaysian married to a Thai.

She has lived in Bangkok for close to 30 years after graduating from University of Connecticut in the United States with a doctorate degree in chemical engineering.

“The standard of Chinese language in Thailand is lower than Malaysia. Young Chinese Thais do not speak Mandarin as they do not attend Chinese schools.

“While private and international schools in Bangkok and Chiang Mai offer Chinese language classes, the tuition fees are high,” she said.

Older Thais who speak Chinese are those learning the language when they were young.

Majority of Chinese in Thailand live in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The older generation speak Teochew while the younger generation are not interested in Chinese dialects.

Wu said she communicated with local Chinese in Teochew when she first settled down in Thailand.

Due to the rise of China as an economic giant, it is getting more important now to learn the Chinese language in Thailand.

Wu said if Chung Ling School in Bangkok charges affordable fees, more people would be able to learn Chinese in Thailand.

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