Ein­stein Ig­nited Zhou Youguang爱因斯坦启发周有光

Special Focus - - CULTURE - By Jian Ai 文 |简爱

After the anti-Ja­panese war, Zhou Youguang, an econ­o­mist, was dis­patched by Xin­hua Bank to work in New York, where he hap­pened to meet Mr. He Lian, once his su­pe­rior and col­league in Bureau of Agri­cul­tural Fi­nance. At that time, He Lian was hon­ored as a dis­tin­guished vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor in Prince­ton Univer­sity.

One day, He Lian talked to Zhou: ‘‘Ein­stein is free, are you will­ing to visit him if he wants to chat with you?’’

Zhou agreed with plea­sure and paid a visit to Ein­stein. Ein­stein had heard a lot about Zhou be­fore, so they seem old friends at the first meet­ing. What’s in­ter­est­ing was that nei­ther Zhou was in­ter­ested in the rel­a­tivism of Ein­stein nor Ein­stein was in­ter­ested in econ­omy and fi­nance that Zhou was ex­pert in. They just started their con­ver­sa­tion by pick­ing up a topic of the news­pa­per with­out any prior con­sul­ta­tion, or laugh­ing when they had the same opin­ions, or ar­gu­ing when they had dis­agree­ments.

When re­fer­ring to “ac­com­plish­ment”, Ein­stein said that how peo­ple make use of their spare time re­ally counted. Al­though seem­ingly nor­mal, the words did ig­nite Zhou. He main­tained that ex­cept eat­ing and sleeping, a man has much more spare time than work time when he reaches old. It is ab­so­lutely pos­si­ble that a man could be an ex­pert in some field by study­ing in spare time. Be­ing aware of his ex­pe­ri­ences in lan­guage study­ing in spare time, he de­cided to give pri­or­ity to lan­guage study after pon­der­ing for a while.

Sure enough, Zhou Youguang be­came an ex­pert by mak­ing good use of his spare time in study­ing lan­guage and draw­ing ad­van­tages from oth­ers. That’s why the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment would ap­point this over-fifty-year-old econ­o­mist es­pe­cially to be re­spon­si­ble for the na­tional lan­guage re­form.

(From Speech and Elo­quence, Is­sue 14, 2017. Trans­la­tion: Feng Yuhong)











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