Forward: For past five years in thiscity, many readers and bloggers often asked me a fairly simple question “Can you speak and write in Chinese ?” Frankly, I felt that I was kinda “insulted” by such presumption. Isn’t an irony, about 19 years of my life, I lived in China and finished my college, then all of the sudden, my origin and my mother tongue are questioned. Where is the justice in this world ? J
Normally, I’d rather dodge the question since I am afraid that no matter what and how I’d explain, there would be still doubts hung around; of course, unless I’d write my blog post and comments in Chinese. Then, an easy follow-up question would be “ Why don’t you do it?” Well, it’s more complicated than that you may think.
Thanks to 九月’s inquiry (refer her question below), I’d like to take an opportunity to give an an over-due explanation, hopefully allowing me come clean. J
Inquiries from 九月:“Allow me change a subject here, just be curious,you write fluently in English, oh, no, I should say that you write not just fluently but actually so elegantly in English, but I've not yet seen you writing in Chinese, can you write in Chinese? The reason I'm asking is that'cos in real life I hardly have opportunities speaking and writing Chinese,that's why I'm so fond of writing in Chinese, meeting and making all differenttype of friends... I miss Chinese language, a unique and beautiful language inthe world...would love to communicate with you in Chinese one day, if it'spossible? ^o^”
You asked me if I am able to write Chinese. The answer is an absolute “yes ”. First and foremost, I am proud to be a Chinese, and I adore Chinese Culture and its Language art. The fact is that I spend more years of my life in China than in America. Put this way, if I did not speak and write Chinese proficient enough, there was no way that I could graduate from the University in China.:) So if there is anyone out there who has doubted my Chinese language capability, I am going to assure you once for all, it is safe to let your worries go, okay please ? I am fine for speaking and writing Chinese. J
Why you never saw me writing in Chinese ? Well,it’s because I have been trying to keep it as a big secret from you guys. :) Alright, I am kidding you .:) The real truth is that to me, using English to write is really a life-saver because time is one of most luxury items that I wish I could have more if you’d be aware of what I am doing for living. Further, similarto you, most of my days in the office or at home I have to use English as the primary communication tool to convey, express and execute my ideas and thoughts. The only times I use Chinese are a. calling my folks in China b.going out with my Chinese friends 3. hanging out in this virtual city to educate myself with those interesting articles that people wrote to share their views including your contributions as well. Now, to satisfy your curiosity – have I ever left my comments in Chinese in bloggers’ blogs ?. Yes, I did. Sometimes when time permits, and people I knew well, I wrote my comments in Chinese with a aim to ridicule myself a little and amuse others. Please don’t get me wrong, like you, I am a fan of Chinese language art, which is, in my opinion, one of the most functional and fascinating languages in the civilization of mankind. During my tender years inChina, Reading novels & poetry and playing video games would pretty much summarize my entire pastime.
Why don’t I write more in Chinese ? you may wonder. Besides to save time - typing Chinese is much more time consuming than that doing English; in large extents, the postmodern Chinese language art has evolved into a “strange” platform where subtlety and poetic depictions which have been cherished for generations have been replaced with brutal bluntness and fast-food typed homonyms. So “To be, or notto be, this is the question:” To me, to assimilate my Chinese writing style for pleasing others or doing otherwise as usual is the question left for me toanswer. I’ve chosen to mute.
If you don’t mind. I’d also to present another angle for you to contemplate a bit about language usage. You see, typically a language itself consists of merely a bunch of symbols and characters. They only become substantial and materialized when those tidbits are put together to communicate our thinking and feelings. Having said that, I mean which language to use is less important than what we’d actually express ourselves because after all, which languageto use is relatively irrelevant since it is our thoughts do the talking insteadof language(s). Taking music as an example, no one would argue it is a language we share universally. There are only 7 basic notes, yet combined with scales,intervals, pitches, tempos, styles and composers ... the melodies and sequences of sounds created are adequately to express our emotions and sentiments in 360 degrees unlimitedly through history of mankind. Especially, these inspiring music have successfully surpassed the purlieus restricted by time, spaces and nationalities. In my mind, a language is useful only if a speaker makes the messages across to his or her listeners who can understand and appreciate them. That brings to my conclusion: I have made my conscious decision to use English to write in the city. I believe that only those people who bother finishing reading and understand what I wrote would be able to appreciate. For the majority who forage the net, seeking thrills and for quick gratifications, the barrier built by the language - English, I use may serve as the natural “fortress” to protect me from being the "prey", and at the same time as a fasten agent to facilitate and foster a lasting bond between those who are able to appreciate and me.
I hope I’ve had a clean slate here.