Ever wished that you can watch videos with conversations spoken in fluent Teochew language and actually understand what it means? For many of us born and bred overseas this has been a long-held dream. Thanks to the enthusiasm of a fellow Teochew, this is now possible!
Teochew In English is a website that showcases a wide collection of videos on YouTube for the main aim of helping elderlies to find them easily. Where feasible, videos are also subtitled in English to enable the English-speaking to understand the contents. Set up by Allan Tan from Singapore, it is dedicated to all Teochews worldwide. The URL address of the site is http://teochewinenglish.weebly.com/. Alternatively, you may wish to view the videos directly from Allan's YouTube channel 1. Allan Tan.
A large number of the videos featured are from drama series produced by the local television stations in Teochew and they are ideal not just for entertainment pleasure, but also anyone of us who wants to improve our Teochew listening and vocabulary. As of the date of this article, the menu list of the Teochew In English site has the following categories of videos:
Below is one of many well-viewed videos subtitled and shared by Allan:
The Teochew Store spoke with Allan to understand more about his website and YouTube channel:
The Teochew Store (TTS): Would you like to briefly introduce to our readers your website and YouTube channel?
Allan Tan (AT): About three years ago, I found out that my two elder sisters, who are in their 60s and 70s, had problem using smartphones and the social media. Through their daughters they started to learn using Whatsapp about two years ago and were slowly sharing contents. But Teochew language contents were hard to find as they did not know how to watch on YouTube. I decided to search for these videos and sent to them for viewing. These were mostly comedy videos.
After a few months I wanted to share these Teochew videos with my non-Teochew friends. So I learnt video-editing on my own and added English subtitles to them. Subsequently I decided to put all these videos on YouTube to benefit more viewers. Response was good and a few viewers sent encouraging comments.
Then it occurred to me that these Teochew videos were scattered all over YouTube and there were many more that I had not subtitled. This led me to set up a website to link as many Teochew videos as I can so that viewers do not need to search for them on their own. There are many such websites for Cantonese and Hokkien videos, but none for Teochew ones! I did not wish for us Teochews to be left behind in this area.
TTS: Are there any videos from your channel that you specially like and wish to recommend?
AT: I choose only videos that I think are good for viewers. Thus I like all the videos that I have subtitled and linked.
TTS: Do you do all the work by yourself, or is this a family/team effort? How much time do you typically spend in preparing the English subtitles and uploading each of the videos?
AT: I am doing it all on my own as my strength is in I.T. and the English Language, and this is my personal passion. Uploading a video on YouTube takes only minutes, but subtitling and packaging a 5-minute video can take up to 40 minutes of deep-thought and careful planning. I just bought a new PC to speed up processing and also for full HD video output.
TTS: What motivated you to start such an undertaking and what do you hope to achieve from it?
AT: As a teacher for over 30 years, I observed conflicts between students and their parents, particularly when the parents are not English-speaking. I realised that the inability of the younger generation Chinese to understand and/or to speak their mother tongue could be a major cause of these conflicts.
Therefore I started my mission to reach out to the English-speaking youth through subtitled Teochew videos, with the hope that the young and old can watch them together as a family.
TTS: What is the value of the Teochew language in your life? Why do you feel it is important for us to keep it alive, especially among the younger generations?
AT: I value it a lot as our Teochew culture is rich and should be preserved for as long as possible. Speaking a common tongue at home helps immensely in keeping a family together, as it serves as a common platform for communication. Hence the young should try to learn their mother language and keep it alive.
TTS: What are the plans for your website and YouTube channel in the second half of this year?
AT: Video-editing is very time consuming and energy sapping. I will try hard to keep producing English-subtitled Teochew videos and to put as much information as possible on my website about others involved in keeping our language alive.
TTS: Learning Teochew can be challenging for someone who speaks mainly English or another language. Do you have a word of advice for them?
AT: I personally observe that languages and dialects are best picked up via videos. Hence young people who wish to learn Teochew should watch more English-subtitled Teochew videos (maybe a few times for each video). It would be best to watch them together with those who know it for faster learning.