Prompt: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
Any feedback will be appreciated! Thank you!
On July 5, 2010, the Committee for Handling Proposals for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference submitted a survey to the mayor of Guangzhou, the third largest city and a key transportation hub in China, suggesting that as Guangzhou had become increasingly international, the TV programs on major channels should be produced and broadcasted in Mandarin instead of Cantonese. According to the Committee, their recommendation was brought up for the sake of the city's image and the upcoming Asian Games, which will be held in Guangzhou in mid-November.
When I heard of this news, I was stricken by helplessness. I was born in Guangzhou, where I played basketball with my friends, tasted the delicious dim-sum, speeded down the labyrinthian lanes, and napped in the leavy parks. While Guangzhou is getting more and more urbanized and industrialized, the concrete play yards, the street side shops, and the aged buildings can only be found in our memories now. As I grow older and have come to the States for high school, I cherish Cantonese even more, because it is more than a dialect, connecting me and my hometown; it is a vehicle that fills my passions, my remembrances, and my roots.
Inspired not by a political but a personal motivation, I knew that I needed to do something.
By means of searche engines, I discovered a Chinese social network group called "Protect Cantonese," and soon got acquainted with the promoters and some of the members in the group due to their similar life experiences in Guangzhou. Since I am a painter and a guitar soloist, I volunteered to help design the protest slogans and posters and pick several songs sung in Cantonese that could embody our ideas. In addition, I went on different Chinese internet forums to inform and organize people for the forthcoming activities.
On July 28, two days after I went back to Guangzhou from America, I immediately jumped in a unique march organized by the "Protect Cantonese" group. Considering the fact that protest is prohibited in mainland China, we decided to demonstrate our will in a more moderate and harmonious way. With the slogans set up and the posters pasted on, we circled around in front of the prosperous People's Park and began to sing Cantonese songs. As we were getting increasingly enthusiastic, more and more people joined in the circle and sang out their zeal. Looking at people's faces--some were naive and some were wrinkly; listening to their voices--some were clear and some were deep; tasting swinging with the melody of the song, War of Resistance Against Aggression written by a Chinese band called Beyond, we sang: "Wherever I go/My origin will always be engraved on my mind." I couldn't help but grinned and let my tear dropped: To become international, Guangzhou must also learn to be tolerant. Be tolerant to the immigrants; be tolerant to the exotic cultures values; be tolerant to its indigenous language and strong backbone--Cantonese. Guangzhou would have what the other cities in China have--such as skyscrapers and modern shopping centers--eventually in the future; however, the other cities in China would never have the typical Cantonese parks and the 300-year-old lanes. A city that lost its backbone might still have a chance to thrive, but would simply become a flamboyant copy and soon shrivel in silence without any identity. Fortunately, the residents in Guangzhou gave me faith and convinced me that Cantonese wouldn't be replaced, and Cantonese culture would never fade away.
Although my schedule in July was intensely busy and tiring on account of the "Protect Cantonese" activities, I'd seen and sensed a lot from this experience, through which I improved my leadership, organizational capability, and critical thinking. I would have still held a passive and indifferent attitude towards life, had I not made up my mind to save what I cherished. I wouldn't have met a group of like-minded friends via the "Protect Cantonese" network, had I spoiled my summer playing video games at home. It is fortunate that I have done something to help foster Cantonese, because it is not only a salvation of the soul of Guangzhou but also a salvation for me.