The China Civil Engineering Corporation Company (CCECC) recognized that its workers are struggling with language in their day-to-day work therefore, has taken step to address this.

Language barrier is a common problem in businesses or work places.

For locals working for Chinese companies operating in Vanuatu, it is frustrating when they do not understand what their non-English speakers are saying and vice versa.

CCECC is the first Chinese company operating in Vanuatu to have organized a Bislama Competition for its Chinese staff with aim to improve communication; get everyone on the same page to avoid confusions, problems hindering an effective organization.

CCECC Chinese staff on Malekula and Tanna traveled to Port Vila to participate in competition at the CCECC Headquarter with others.

The two-hour competition held last Sunday was attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Liu Quan, the Minister of Climate Change Ham Lini and the First Political Advisor (PA) to the Ministry of Trades, George Iapson, and an officer from the Prime Ministers Office representing the government.

In her opening address, the CCECC Media Officer, Lilyrose Welwel said : “It’s vital our Chinese staff learn Bislama to communicate better with local workers.

“We believe this Bislama competition will help them (Chinese staff) interact better.

“And also for them to understand our local culture and traditions of our beautiful country where CCECC is implementing projects.

“We can become one only when we speak the same language and understand our cultures.”

CCECC will be hosting a workers up-skill competition later this year to train workers to be better at specialised jobs, she said.

The Bislama competition comprised of four stages: self-introduction, dialogue, question and answer and race to be the first to answer. Prizes were given to winners selected by judges.

Ambassador Quan said attending the Bislama Competition triggers the need to start doing the same in the Chinese Embassy.

Such initiative is very useful to strengthening relationship between Chinese people and the local community, he said.

“Vanuatu and China are familiar in certain ways. We are friendly people and we have strong cultures.

“Chinese workers will immediately become part of the local community when they know the language.”

While he applauded CCECC for the approach, PA Iapson urged that the competition be well structured in the future. He requested the organizers to develop a standard course for Chinese learning Bislama.

Minister Lini said he wants CCECC to do the competition again.

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