Last week I attended the Sprachen und Beruf conference - an annual get together in Berlin dedicated to the use of languages in business. There were the usual things you find at conferences – a panel discussion, plenary speakers and a range of smaller group discussions. I was there to present Chinese 4 Europeans, which as it turned out was a timely intervention.
I went to a presentation from one of my students not too long ago. It was about the perceptions. Where does the western mythology about China come from and is it justified? Clearly not. But what was interesting was the view put forward that all many people really know about China dates from the Cultural Revolution. We know Mao, Tiananmen Square 1989 and the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. We lap up the notion that China has become the factory of the world, that China’s growth is to be both admired and mistrusted.
I was walking down the main road near where I live in London and, in common with most main roads in London, buses whizz up and down it. Normally I don’t give the adverts on the buses a second glance, but one advert caught my eye recently. It was completely in Chinese.