Let’s learn Chinese

Our youngsters will soon start writing love letters in Chinese because all boys and girls in university and schools will be able to learn the language under a Sindh government plan, Mr Right said.

By Najmul Hasan Rizvi

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Published: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 9:04 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:56 AM

“Why Chinese?” I asked. “Is it the language that is going to rule the world now, that’s what the government thinks?”

“Perhaps educationists feel it is necessary to make it part of the curriculum as our local languages have failed to bring the people together and promote feelings of love and brotherhood.”

“Chinese is a sweet language that’s why it is called ‘cheeni’ (sugar) in Urdu,” I said. “But we should give a serious thought to all its merits and demerits before introducing it as a new subject in colleges and schools as we are fully capable of making a mess of every good concept.”

“They think it is an excellent idea as it will wean the people away from the languages which are used only to create hatred and spread enmity among them,” Mr Right pointed out. “By learning Chinese we can also further strengthen friendly ties with the people of China and will move closer to them.”

“But before that we must think whether it can heal the wounds of ill-will inflicted on society by the speakers of local languages through their tongue-lashing,” I stressed.

“Nobody should blame the languages,” Mr Right argued. “It’s they who make the language their weapon to stir trouble. As a matter of fact, I would suggest that they should be forced to learn Chinese before addressing any public gathering.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Nobody will be able to understand them,” Mr Right grinned.

“It’s a brilliant suggestion,” I said. “Let’s ask the government to enroll all these ‘trouble-makers’ in Chinese courses. “And they should be told to address their party workers, media people, and the general public in Chinese only. This will definitely bring peace to conflict-ridden areas in Karachi and elsewhere.”

“But for the sake of maintaining friendship with our great neighbour, I would not like any preachers to learn Chinese,” Mr Right said. “Because preachers might be used as ‘drones’ for attacking foreign territories.”

“It means the Chinese language project should be implemented with utmost care as it may have both positive and negative sides,” I said.

“The advantages of learning Chinese are more no doubt,” Mr Right said. “Instead of always preferring chicken corn soup, we would be able to place order for some new dishes at Chinese restaurants. And temperamental husbands could fight with their wives in Chinese without fear of retaliation. The learning of the language would surely open new opportunities for everybody.” “I am sure those learning Chinese would get jobs in China at least as their expertise in local languages is not enough for recruitment in domestic market,” I pointed out.

“But if you learn Chinese you will surely get a job as a teacher in local schools,” Mr Right said. “The Chinese language project is also aimed at creating vacancies for the country’s jobless people.” “I am, however, worried for some of our great orators such as Zulfikar Mirza, Altaf Husain, Rehman Malik, Babar Awan and others who might lose some of their ‘fire power’ while speaking in Chinese,” I said. “Will they still be able to keep their listeners glued to the TV sets?”

“Why not?” Mr Right replied. “The people like to see their acrobatics; the listeners are not bothered about what they actually say. Their utterances are Chinese to them.”

“Chinese is the language of a large country and I hope the people who learn it will develop ‘large-heartedness’ and try to rebuild a liberal and tolerant society in Pakistan instead of dividing it into a narrow-minded lingual and ethnic entity,” I said.

“Every language is meant to unite and help the people of a country to swim through a tide,” Mr Right said. “But if it fails to unite them they become helpless in a crisis like the man who knew many languages but could not swim. He could do nothing to cross the swollen river but only cry for help in nine languages.”

Najmul Hasan Rizvi is a former Assistant Editor of Khaleej Times

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