Years ago, 9-Year Old Daughter used to watch a show called Dora the Explorer. It was a program designed to teach rudimentary Spanish to Caucasian suburbanite children. I thought it was a pretty clever use of programming for the pre-K set. I reasoned that aside from English, Spanish would be the most useful language learn.
Flash to four years later.
I was walking though the family room and 4-Year Old Daughter was watching TV. It was another foreign language primer but it wasn’t Dora or her cousin Diego. She was watching Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. This program teaches basic Chinese words and phrases to children. Boy if THAT isn’t a sign of the times! (Ni Hao = hello and Kai-Lan is the character.)
I find this all a bit unsettling. I’m not a fan of China. The government is one of the most corrupt and oppressive on the planet. China’s economic success is built on stolen and pirated American technology. They are guilty of keeping the Yuan artificially low on the international currency markets, the result of which is contributing to a sustained high unemployment rate for the world and an overheated inflation-prone economic headache for them. And don’t get me started on their bullshit Olympics with their computer-generated fireworks cute girl lip-synching “Ode to the Motherland.”
On a personal note, not long ago I worked for a woman who was Chinese. She was the stereotypical high strung, shrill-voiced, joyless, workaholic, dragon lady slave master. She was single-handedly responsible for nine months of unrelenting misery.
So I’d prefer that my daughter not develop warm feelings for China or its culture. Does anyone know how to say “bugger off, Kai-Lan” in Cantonese?