This week it was my absolute pleasure to take part in a long chat with Lino Faelnar from Defenders of Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago. A lawyer, linguistic expert and language preservationist, Lino is also a genuine renaissance man. Our conversation was all over the map, both literally and figuratively as we bounced around from indigenous Filipino languages to the history of Crimea, Suharto and E. Timor, strange coincidences that seem to connect the Vikings to China, the Basque, Celts and the indigenous Melanesians who inhabited the Philippine islands before the Austronesian migrations. From Dr. Charles Tart to linguist Noam Chomsky and concepts like linguistic fascism or intellectual piracy, we covered quite a bit of ground in a little over 2 hours. Endangered languages and cultural genocide to the importance of folk tales and how stories and language affect our window on the world and much more today on through the plastic screen…
Unfortunately this was the last episode of the podcast for a while. I’ll be on hiatus until I can get the cost of the surgery taken care of and recover from that, but once I have that out of the way, already have several amazing guests from artists to best selling authors and ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
This week on through the plastic screen podcast… I randomly happened across the #takeUsBackToChina hashtag at the beginning of June. It only took a few minutes of reading before I was drawn to reach out to some of the students so they could share their stories with me.
There will always be obstacles when you work to create a better life, but in the era of coronavirus, there are even more hurdles. Especially for international students. In some cases online classes are offered, but in between drastic time zone differences, needing to work and the impracticality of trying to use Powerpoint slides to learn surgery make online classes impractical for most.
One common thread seems to be the existence of China International Students Union and the community gathered around the hashtag giving students some hope. For more information I recommend following Joyce Lau of Times Higher Education as well as the Twitter and Instagram profiles for CISU.
In the past few months, China’s Global Times has reported on a similar situation faced by Chinese international students unable to return to the US for studies. The Chinese government and the students themselves have a right to be upset, but a very similar situation is faced by students from Europe, Russia, the middle East and throughout Asia.
Here’s hoping with more eyes and ears on the situation the plight of these students will be heard and China’s “soft power failure” as Curtis Chin put it. For those interested in learning more about this situation, in addition to just perusing the hashtag I highly recommend following Joyce Lau of Times Higher Education who has been reporting on this since 2020 and recently did an update at the end of May.