By Leota Marc Membrere, Government of Samoa Press. Samoan Police officers have taken the first step in a journey to learn one of the most spoken languages in the world.
With a first for the Samoa Police Services, their officers are learning the Chinese language, enhancing their abilities to handle matters involving Chinese speakers and be able to communicate with the community in Samoa more effectively.
The training offered by the National University of Samoa (NUS) is made possible through the Confucius Institute.
Officially launched on Saturday at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China at Vailima, Ambassador Fei Mingxing speaking on behalf of the People’ Republic of China said he immediately approved the initiative when he heard it was in the pipeline for launching.
“I remember when I was in South Africa, people like to quote Nelson Mandela. He said ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk with him in his language, that goes to his heart’.
“So when my colleagues said to me this programme is going to be launched, I thumbed up immediately. I said I would love to be there to witness it,” said the Ambassador.
He says it would be great for Samoan police officers to approach Chinese tourists and welcome them in Chinese.
“Chinese is one of the working languages of the United Nations and Chinese language popularity is rocketing across the world now, and this programme is surely to enhance the capability of the police officers to handle matters related to Chinese speakers but also deepens your understanding of China, Chinese people, and Chinese culture,” he says.
The Ambassador says that since his arrival, he has been told that about 20% of Samoa’s population is related to China or Chinese culture because they could trace their roots back to China.
“So I think people of China and Samoa are part of the one family and our historic blood is deeply interwoven,” he says.
“In ancient China there is a well-known philosopher called Lao Zi. He said the journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.
“Tonight we are going to witness the first step of our police officer brothers and sisters.”
Speaking on behalf of the Samoa Police Services, Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo says that this will be the first time the Samoa Police will be taking part in a Chinese language school.
“We are very honored to have this opportunity opened up for our police officers to engage in a different language apart from Samoan and English, but now we are going to start learning the Chinese language,” said the commissioner enthustiastically.
“Thank you very much for offering up the opportunity,” he says.
Auapaau admitted that he was one of those people who put in his name to participate but due to work commitments he had to withdraw and give the opportunity to another police officer.
The Police Commissioner says that the world is getting smaller and smaller and they need to learn each other’s language, and learning the language will be useful especially with the number of tourists from China travelling in to Samoa.
The President and Vice-Chancellor of NUS Tuifuisaa Patilla Amosa attended the event and says that the Chinese language is a fascinating language, with a rich history and culture.
“Learning Chinese I believe will not only help you better understand the Chinese culture but also lay a solid foundation for your career development.”
According to Tuifuisaa, this training programme delivered by the National University of Samoa through the Confucius Institute will provide the best learning experience to help officers master the basics of the Chinese language and skills.
“I wish you all the best in your training.”
Photos by: Leota Marc Membrere