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More Nepalis want to learn Chinese

By Manoj Rijal (Xinhua)

14:22, March 03, 2013

KATHMANDU, March 3 (Xinhua) -- When Asmita Khadka, 30, a lady journalist from Nepal, crossed the Himalayan mountain, the first barrier to reach China last year, she had to hurdle yet another barrier, this time created by language.

Khadka visited people from different walks of life, ranging from peasants and wage earners to political leaders and civil servants.

She wanted to talk with them as freely as she used to do with her peer groups and friends back home. However, this was not possible as she had a poor grasp of the Chinese language.

"I felt suffocated since I could not communicate properly and get closer to the people because of my poor knowledge of Chinese language," she told Xinhua, while attending the inaugural session of the Chinese language workshop held Saturday in Kathmandu.

"It is a better idea to lower the number of interpreters when a Chinese and a Nepali are talking," said Nepal's Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel, the chief guest of the program.

"The knowledge of Chinese language has become very essential these days. It is far more necessary for journalists, as their role is important in taking our bilateral relations to a new height," he said.

Deputy Charg D'affaires of Chinese Embassy in Nepal, Wang Lixin, lauded the initiative by concerned groups to teach the Chinese language to the locals, saying that the Chinese language has been very crucial for Nepalis who intend to further their studies in China as well as for career advancement.

"This training is a forum through which you can contribute towards strengthening our two countries'cordial relations," she said.

The Confucius Institute at Kathmandu University is organizing the three-month language training course that will begin Monday. Classes will be thrice a week, while teachers of the Institute will train the Nepali journalists.

"We have Confucius Institutes in 83 U.S. universities. In Nepal, we have been able to open up 10 units so far and the media component is the 10th one," said Prof. Zhang Shubin, the institute 's director in Nepal.

According to Kishor Shrestha, chairperson of Nepal-China Media Forum, the co-organizer of the training, there is an overwhelming demand among journalists to learn the language of Nepal's northern neighbor.

"We are finding it difficult to accommodate all. Initially, we thought it would be only 10 to 15 journalists. Now, there are more than 35 journalists interested to join this session. Our maximum capacity is 40," Shrestha said.

"This is the first instance of Chinese language training for journalists, but it is not the last one. We have many collaborative plans for future, too," he said.

Hopefully after the course, when the Nepali journalists now receiving training visit China, or talk to Chinese people in Nepal, they don't have to say "thank you" as they can say "xe xe". Or, they would not say "water" as they may prefer "shui" then.

"I'm really excited about the course," Asmita said.

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