Sonntag, 18. November 2007


By Rafael Marcelo Arteaga

On the way to Guangzhou I met a Brazilian friend Flavio. We were lost in a bus station from a "small" Yiwo, a two million people city. He does not speak English well but that was not the problem, the real problem was that nobody here (outside of the five stars hotel reception or some chic or wholesale shops), speaks a foreign language! Inside China many dialects are spoken: in Beijing, Shanghai, close the borders of Tibet, for example. Everywhere is another language. The authorities make effort to have united the country with a same language: the mandarin. The education centres, the official matters, the army; but it is impossible. Here there are more than 155 local of then, each province or -in this case-: each state has an own language. The country is too big to have just one. Somebody must be born and live here to understand the language variation from the official Mandarin!

I've learned some useful Shanghais phrases but outside of this province I couldn’t understand or speak, because nobody understood those words. Perhaps my pronunciation was terrible. And that made me sad. Once I was sick in the hotel. Two days inside of my room and nobody at the reception understood by telephone that I needed: water and some food. As I was better ordered again with a universal phrase in any hotel: room service, please! Ten minutes after a nice lady was at my door: Hi, darling! -she told me, did you order room service?

A girl friend from Spain ordered in the restaurant a coca-cola light. How difficult was to explain that, but the waiter sent her to the lavatory! Of course in expensive hotels and restaurants for west business people is not problem, then they pay for a guide and translator, who are anytime with then and help step by step during their trip in China.

Foreign governments arrive anytime here. All want to do businesses, all want to sell or to buy something; China is a warehouse of the world. It purchases raw materials, invests, causes the rise of many key products, and shakes the market. China buys and sells all. The big companies have their seats here, the great and famous marks.

The Chinese president Hu Xiantao receives to anybody in his office. As soon as a third world president arrives in Beijing, a second line authorities pick up him at the airport and bring him to the main house, where if he has a lucky day and something good to offer to China, can have a twenty minutes conversations, with a hand shaking and pictures for the world press. And that is a successful step for him! The red carpet, the army review , more ceremonies and diplomats protocols are just for the most important world governments. The main news papers here don't take care or inform if a Nicaragua or Angola president is here. Most of the people ignores that or is interesting in this matter.

Important business, global strategic and political dialogs are just with rich or big countries: USA, Russian, Germany; oil price, the war in Iraq, etc.

This nation is too great as to depend on others. Two thousand years was locked up behind a wall. Centuries before west, they have already invented the press. The medicine was outpost. And today is more. And when they opened again their doors was for giving us new lessons of optimism by the work. It was for contributing with their knowledge with the world.

Flavio told me: they don't speak English and I don't speak Chinese either. That is good for me! It is the first country where I feel cool. It is as at the beginning of the world or as if I were lost in Babel. A friend from Pakistan said: why should they learn English? We need them, not they us. How he is right: China is the fabric of the world! Most of all that you have in your home was made here. Don't you believe it? Look around your house and confirm it.

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