So, I’ve been learning (with abject results) Mandarin, and to help me on my way I’ve been given a Chinese dictionary. It was bought in a second hand book shop and judging by the copyright page (which is all in Chinese) was published in 1979. It is very clearly geared towards Chinese speakers learning English, and huge swathes of it thus remain utterly unintelligable to me. However, browsing through its stained yellowed pages I kept coming across passages that the author of the dictionary had felt would be useful to translate into English for the well-equiped traveller. As well as how to say the actual word in both English and Mandarin, there were extensive musings on how to use the word within other phrases that you could wittily deploy in conversation while on your trip to the West. As a history student, I’ve always been interested in the Cold War, and just quite how the ideologies of capitalism and communism managed to entrench themselves to the point where people on either side were quite prepared to die – in fact, for all of humanity to be wiped out – just to prevent an alternative economic model taking over their homelands. (Or other people’s homelands, as luck would have it.) And as a writer, I’m always fascinated by language in general, particularly how it can be abused to the point where it influences thought, rather than the other way round. With this in mind, I have a few useful phrases for the everyday traveller considering a trip to the decadent West in 1979…
Communism: The ultimate aim of the Communist Party of China is the realisation of communism.
Capitalist: remnant forces; see Imperialism.
Imperialism: is the monopoly stage of capitalism
Industrialization: bring about socialist industrialization.
Industrious: the brave and industrious Chinese people; run the communes in an industrious and economical way.
Intellectual: must integrate themselves with the workers and peasants.
Intelligent: the lowly are most intelligent; the elite are most ignorant.
Lead: Chairman Mao leads us from victory to victory. A local poor peasant led the guerilla fighters through the forest. In grasping revolution and promoting production, this commune lead the county.
Leadership: March forward heroically under the leadership of the Party. Give correct leadership to the struggle.
Nuclear: smash the nuclear monopoly and nuclear blackmail of the two superpowers.
Propagandize: Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
Religion: the pursuit of super profit is a religion to the monopolists.
Revisionism: It is revisionism to negate the basic principles of Marxism and to negate its universal truth.
Revolution: revolutions are the locomotives of history. The theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.