My parents only let my sister and I speak Chinese at home. Every Saturday they would send us to Chinese school. Although I hated learning Chinese when I was a kid, my parents always told me to keep going.
Now that I've gotten older, I feel a bit confused. How is it that I only recently started falling in love with Chinese and my cultural background?
My parents were born in Taiwan, so the Chinese I learned was phonetic (Zhuyin and traditional characters.) When I was twelve, I found a Chinese character with pinyin that was simplified. I wondered how two characters could look so different. In high school, I really began to understand the difference between simplified and traditional characters.
I remember my first month taking Chinese at school. I wondered why are some radicals missing in simplified characters? For example, "love" in the simplified form "love" doesn't have a heart! Where did it go? When writing the character "inside" in simplified form it means "miles" in traditional!
After a year I still do not understand Chinese characters are simplified. Doesn't that make it harder to picture the words in your mind?
Many people say simplified characters are easier to write and that people who want to learn Chinese have an easier time learning the language with this script.
But in my opinion, traditional Chinese characters have their own unique features. Each word has its own radical, not just represented by a straight line or dot. I think losing this type of Chinese writing style in the future would be a very sad thing.