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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Evil Putonghua requirement or evil values?
    2018-February-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Tan Yifan

cicitan2011@gmail.com

VIDEO clips of the stink-eyed face of a young Mandarin teacher staring at rude students were among the most-watched online videos related to students’ boycott of the Putonghua test at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The teacher, who told Shenzhen Daily that she studied very hard in Hong Kong to earn her MA’s degree in Chinese linguistics and has often worked overtime to prepare for her classes, must now avoid using social networking apps so as to escape strangers’ annoying and even abusive messages.

But she was not the only one who felt threatened.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a group of 30 students led by Lau Tsz-kei, head of the Baptist University student union, occupied the office of the school’s language center for about eight hours to protest the university’s Putonghua proficiency assessment.

Lau, who pointed at teachers at the language center with a thick black stick, used foul Cantonese while addressing a female instructor. He roared in the office and urged teachers to hand in detailed grading rules.

In a letter sent by the student union to the language center, it questioned the criteria of the test and explained that one student failed because “his tone did not fit the character designated.” It also called to halt the “evil” Putonghua Proficiency Requirement.

In fact, after a fierce boycott of the requirement, which requires students to pass the Putonghua proficiency test to get their graduation certificate, in November 2017, the school introduced an exemption test, allowing students who pass the test or show proof they have passed a national language exam to be exempted from the Putonghua class and a further test to graduate.

According to the language center, since the implementation of the requirement, only five students’ graduations were delayed for failing to pass the test.

After thorough research into the exemption test, one may find that the rule makers have made efforts to reduce the level of difficulty; one could even say that nearly no other language graduation test is easier than this one.

Lau and the other students who are against the requirement said there was no need to learn Putonghua as they can speak English with foreigners and use Cantonese when communicating with others who speak in Putonghua.

If Lau resents learning the official language and is keen to speak Cantonese, he should be confident enough to use Cantonese in all circumstances instead of forcing himself to learn English.

Logically, as the younger generation of the Hong Kong people who were once treated as second-class citizens under British rule, Lau should reject learning English, not Putonghua.

Lau said he doesn’t think Putonghua has become one of the major official languages that are in use by most people in the world. He must not be aware of the fact that his country’s population is the biggest in the world, not to mention the millions of overseas Chinese and foreigners who are learning Chinese. There are over 500 Confucius Institutes in 146 countries, which means a great number of foreigners he adores have taken a step ahead of him, trying to learn not only oral Putonghua but also Chinese characters and culture, which he seems to feel ashamed of.

To avoid speaking Putonghua he also has to avoid visiting the mainland and Taiwan and have no further connection with those who conduct business with the world’s second-largest economy.

As some critics in Hong Kong have said, Lau and his followers have not only damaged real democracy by using lousy behavior but have also harmed his school’s reputation and the interest of schoolmates.

As the saying goes, it’s better to know which way the wind blows. How far Lau can go and how big his world will be are all determined by how open-minded he can be. It is actually very sad to hear a man’s yelling from his evil heart.

(The author is a Shenzhen Daily reporter/editor.)

 

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