Dear China, 你好(Nǐ hǎo). For me, you are not just a country which has awed the whole globe with the accelerating pace of her economy, or a country known for having the great wall in her possession, or a place Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have placed on the map of global entertainment. You are a cradle of civilization, a land of unspoiled beauty with her mountains, lush green valleys and now the bustling metropolises known for their skyscrapers. You’ve been a land that has been continually invaded by different countries in past, but still you’ve maintained your peculiar character in the midst of all invasions and all attempts by outsiders to eradicate your Chinese identity. I have always been quite eager about exploring you, as you are the one with which my country’s relations have always been exceptionally great and honestly speaking you’re the only friendly neighbor Pakistan has got in recent times and that friendly part (manifested in joint ventures like Karakoram Highway and JF-17 Thunder aircrafts from past and now CPEC) was enough to augment my curiosity to explore you. However, at the moment, I’m unable to visit you on my own expenses as a student (who is also working to pay hefty amounts of fee to his college).Because of such financial barriers to accessing what you and your people really are, I decided to explore you through the medium of music and cinema.
My beloved, you often do get media coverage in my country but that coverage is unfortunately only confined to political affairs and nothing beyond that in cultural or some other non-political artistic realm.This uni-dimensional media coverage furthered my curiosity to explore you beyond your global politico- economic achievements and to explore the lives of your people through listening to the kind of music they love listening to and through learning wee bit of their language through my several attempts at picking up few popular phrases and words of the beautiful language which is Mandarin. Chinese pop music and films, like The Honey Enemy (translated name), were my only resort to exploring your true self that is different from the one portrayed in media. My first-ever foray into your culture was through songs of your singers like Liu Zengqi and Zhuang Xinyu.
One day, while I was looking for some new song of Rihanna on YouTube, I came across “劉增瞳–多想留在你身邊「聽完後給摯愛的親人一個擁抱。」動態歌詞版MV”by Chinese singer Liu Zengqi, and that song was even better than the Rihanna song I was looking for. And that is when my exploration of you started, along with the eradication of all the stereotypes I had about your people. Liu had a mesmerizing voice that soothed me, and I practically had ear orgasms even though the song melodiously sung by Liu wasn’t in my native language or in a language I can fathom easily; it was in Mandarin, and from then onward I also fell in love with the Mandarin. I then also started studying wee bit of Mandarin on my own, and I found this legendary language full of beauty as its speakers are. I also started eagerly discovering the historical background of Mandarin, and I was astounded when I discovered that Mandarin thrived throughout a greater period of your history as a language which has always retained a wider currency throughout your mainland. I found your Chinese writing system fascinating too when I found out that within your mainland and your overseas Chinese community in general, it has acted as a primary force of unification since you as a huge country has got innumerable, mutually unintelligible dialects.But what is indeed more impressive about Chinese language collectively is that it has loaned different words to the English language which has been a part of my life alongside Urdu ever since I was born. In Pakistan, English words are being regularly used even in Urdu sentences and surprisingly few of those words have got Chinese origin as well and this revelation has endeared you more to me. Like the word for the warm drink which is being regularly consumed by millions across Pakistan and which the Englishman has given the name of “Tea” has its origins in Chinese language’s Hokkien dialect’s word 茶(tê). Even the word for a vehicle, I just like million other Pakistanis often commute on, has also got Chinese origins and that word is “Rickshaw”. If we break the Japanese neologism “jinrikisha”(from which the word Rickshaw actually originated) then all those who are familiar with Chinese language can easily analyze that it has got three Chinese elements in it which are人(Jin meaning human) 力(riki meaning power, and 車(sha meaning vehicle) .
Not just words but you’ve also given new paradigms of friendship to world as manifested in your time tested succor of ally Pakistan and for this reason Pakistanis like me will always have a special place for you in our hearts. It is one of my biggest desires to visit you at least once in my life — to witness your greatness with my own eyes, rather than vicariously via a foreign writer, photographer, actor or singer. 再见 (Zàijiàn).