You Either Learn Chinese or You're Out of the Game
One of the major problems that is facing the Nairobi-Thika Highway Project is the language barrier. The Chinese are speaking mandarin while the Kenyan counterparts, Kiswahili/English. This hindrance is currently being tackled by using sign language where the communication is vital. Practically speaking this project would be way far ahead if all were speaking a common language.
Lets face it, the Chinese are not going anywhere in the coming future. You don't expect China Wu Yi, Sheng Li and SinoHydro to import large construction trucks for a single road project, think economically. It will come to a point where knowing how to communicate in Chinese will be an added advantage. From Thika Road to Bypass, Kasarani to Real Estate, the Chinese have infiltrated the construction industry from every corner. You as an engineer in Kenya have a chance to join this investment bandwagon of be left out simply because you cannot communicate well in Chinese. NON_UTF8_CHINESE_CHARACTERS (I can't speak Chinese very well) The rules of the game are simple. So its either you abide by the rules or be left behind.
Graduate Engineers should stop wasting time studying other languages and learn Chinese. Your engineering degree will come in handy if you can speak Chinese. Failure to this our engineers in Kenya will never be able to work with the Chinese in realization of their full capacity. One of the reasons why the Chinese are successful in their projects is the management policies that drive their companies. If these skills are passed to our local contracting companies then we might pick up some of these skills. BUT how is this going to happen if we cannot speak the same language? How will this happen if we sit back and watch?
Surprisingly a humble labourer who has been working with the Chinese on Thika Road since 2009, and has managed to pick up the mandarin and actually speaks it well, will be able to secure a good job better than a graduate engineer who cannot speak Chinese. This will be the trend if our local engineering students do not take up this initiative.
To harness this investment boom to our advantage as a developing nation, Kenya should put a curriculum in the primary and secondary school so that Chinese is introduced at an early stage in life.
In everyday English, "Mandarin" refers to Standard Chinese, which is often called simply "Chinese". Standard Chinese is based on the particular Mandarin dialect spoken in Beijing, with some lexical and syntactic influence from other Mandarin dialects. It is the official spoken language of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the official language of the Republic of China (R.O.C./Taiwan), and one of the four official languages of the Republic of Singapore. It also functions as the language of instruction in the PRC and in Taiwan. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, under the name "Chinese". Chinese speakers refer to the modern standard language as NON_UTF8_CHINESE_CHARACTERS (on the mainland), NON_UTF8_CHINESE_CHARACTERS (in Taiwan) or NON_UTF8_CHINESE_CHARACTERS (in Singapore), but not as NON_UTF8_CHINESE_CHARACTERS.