I just could not stand the sweeping statements made by several individuals suggesting that having a poor command of mandarin is a shameful thing for a Chinese. My question is, how Chinese you are? What is the most authentic culture?
The challenge of the day is to connect people who have a poorer command of the language with the Chinese culture, language and customs, albeit assisted with artificially simplified texts or translations.
Even poems by Li Bai was written in an era when the Hokkien language was the language used in Imperial Tang China. How Chinese would want be if he claims to be proficient in Standard mandarin today, when he clearly could not fully appreciate the beauty of the poems expressed in Hokkien, unless he studies classical Chinese?
If language is a form of identity, why aren't the majority of the Chinese today speak classical Mandarin like Confucius? Or to wear Chinese traditional Hanfu?
The fact that words were simplified, the language are made easier to be spoken was intended to allow the populace to connect themselves to the Chinese core.