I remember a Caucasian lecturer from New Zealand telling me before that he wished he was bilingual. He only knew the English language and he didn't think he was totally proficient in the language either. He said he thought the Singapore government did the right thing in schooling us in two languages.
It seems that learning to speak a second langauge also makes us smarter if what I read in a magazine is to be believed.
Bilingual children performed better than monolingual children in a series of tests that assessed ability to solve complex problems. This is according to a study by Toronto's York University.
People who are more effectively bilingual also are less likely to suffer from dementia and other symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. This is from a study by the University of California, San Diego.
Seems that I should spend more time brushing up my Mandarin. Time to buy a copy of the Chinese language papers, perhaps.
Reference: MensHealth.com, 27 March 2012.