3. If you do want to learn Chinese characters, choose the appropriate system
Simplified Chinese characters are used in China and Singapore. Traditional characters are used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and will also be seen on most Chinese menus and newspapers found overseas (US, UK, Australia, Canada, etc).
Character simplification was part of Mao Zedong’s pre-Cultural Revolution in 1960’s China, which explains why Hong Kong and Taiwan continue using traditional characters. Because the simplified system is based on the traditional one, many characters are actually exactly the same in both systems.