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Singapore draws kids in 'China's century'

world Updated: Sep 01, 2012 00:41 IST

As far back as 25 years ago, US investor Jim Rogers already believed China would be the next economic superpower and young people the world over should prepare for the future by learning Mandarin.

Now 69, the billionaire had a chance to practise what he preached when he moved in 2007 to Singapore with his wife Paige Parker, 43, after visiting Hong Kong and Shanghai in search of an ideal place to bring up his children.

Their daughters Happy, 9, and Baby Bee, 4, are studying in public schools in Singapore, which promotes Mandarin as part of its own ethnic Chinese heritage.

"Singapore has the best education in the world, the best healthcare, the best everything. I think that the best gift that I can give two children born in 2003 and 2008 is to know Asia and to speak Mandarin," he said.

Rogers, who is also an author and financial commentator, is among the growing ranks of Western parents keen to prepare their children for the 'Chinese Century'.

Singapore has been a major beneficiary. English is the main language of instruction, but students in public schools are required to study a second language. Mandarin is mandatory for the ethnic Chinese majority and optional for the rest.