The Chinese comprise approximately a quarter (1.3 billion) of the worlds population. a high proportion of the Chinese community originates from the new territories in hong kongs rural area but it is also important to note that there are many Irish born Chinese people living here as well. a high percentage of the Chinese community resident in Ireland are employed in the catering industry.
The three main spoken languages of the Chinese language are: Cantonese, mandarin and hakka. There are many different dialects of the Chinese language, but only two written forms, traditional and simplified Chinese. Although the universally accepted official Chinese language is mandarin, it is recommended that this language should not be used in translations in the republic of Ireland. This is because most Chinese people who experience English language difficulties in the republic of Ireland originate from Hong Kong, where written Chinese is taught using traditional characters, which differ from the shortened form. Some Chinese people particularly older people,who came to this country were illiterate in their own language, they found English difficult to learn and have little or no English at all. This is also not unusual for individuals who have moved here in more recent years, particularly those who are employed in the catering business. They have had little opportunity or incentive to learn English. In these situations, Chinese is spoken in the family home at all the time. Young children are of the unable to speak English when they start school.
The Chinese do not have an institutional religion. Traditional Chinese religion is a rich mixture of beliefs and practices taken from thousands of years of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and folk beliefs. Some of the Chinese community in the Republic of Ireland are Christian. Although Confucianism is a social philosophy, some practice it as a form of worship. Several Gods may be worshipped and their favours sought by offering prayers and gifts. The God of wealth and good fortune (Ts'ai Shen) and the kitchen God (TsaoWang) are most often worshipped. It is common in Chinese homes, offices and businesses to find a shelf. reserved for the display of images of traditional deities ( See section on 'Faith Groups').