For nine years, Sutoyo Lim’s son studied Chinese with private tutors and at language schools. He learned to write in “simplified script,” characters with thinly spread strokes commonly used in mainland China.
But that all changed when Lim’s 15-year-old son began taking Chinese classes at Arcadia High School this year. He was given two months to make the transition from “simplified” to the more intricate “traditional” script used in Taiwan.
Once the grace period is over, homework and exam answers written in simplified script will be disqualified — regardless of accuracy. “To me, it does not seem right,” Lim said. “I’m not happy with being forced to choose the language that’s going to be obsolete.”
When Chinese classes were introduced at Arcadia in the mid-1990s, Taiwanese parents pushed administrators to adopt the use of traditional script used in Taiwan and pre-communist China. The traditional form is distinguished by a series of complex and intersecting strokes.