Recently, I wrote a letter to the Hamilton Chinese school.
Today, I contacted you to find support for a plan to preserve the Cantonese language. The plan is a bit complicated, but with your school’s support, it can definitely succeed.
Before I explain the plan, I want to first explain how I view Chinese words. Outside of places with a lot of Cantonese speakers, a lot of places will have Chinese schools, but the reality is that these schools have been unable to transfer the ability to read and write Chinese literature to the next generation. Our people have failed for generations to impart basic reading and writing ability to our kids. If we were to honestly face this problem, it isn’t because of teaching methods or particular shortcomings of particular teachers, but because our revered and beloved Chinese characters are too hard to learn overseas.
A lot of teachers when they encounter this situation will decide to teach as many Chinese characters as possible. However, the end result will be the same as by teachers in the past.
Culture is more like a plant than a rock. People are creative. Now, there are some people who, like me, feel that people who use Cantonese should concentrate effort into acquiring a set of phonetic, daily usage writing system. What I mean is not another set of pronunciation letters to help teach Chinese words. I mean that besides teaching only Chinese words, one must also teach how to use a Cantonese alphabet!
Besides being used in the classroom, I want printed newspapers, books, dictionaries. I want computers to be able to input it. I want to see the words in movie subtitles. I want Hong Kong, Guangzhou, China, Vietnam, Canada, the United States of America, Europe, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapre and the entire world to know how to read with the cantobet writing system!
Jooksings want to do a lot of stuff with Cantonese, but they often don’t know how to speak, write, or type into their computer. If a cantobet can allow the whole world’s jooksings to share in the joy of reading and writing in the Cantonese world, I feel teachers have an obligation to support the development of the Cantonese alphabet.
Besides helping Jooksings, the development of the cantobet is actually very important to the dignity of our people.
If a people feel that their words are worth preserving, would it be the case that everyday Cantonese words cannot be written. Can you write le he(clumsy)? There are a lot of Cantonese phrases that Chinese words cannot write. Even if they can be written, not a lot of people can necessarily read it. Phrases will slowly disappear from usage because everyday writing influences the terminology that people use.
If a people can accept being unable to write their own language’s phrases and the disappearance of their language’s terminology, it means that this people does not feel their language is worth sharing. If the cantobet becomes a reality, it shows that our people love their language.
More importantly, this alphabet shows that our people know how to appreciate creativity, know how to strive for the best for ourselves, and are willing to put effort to face an ever changing world.
TImes do change. Our people’s writing system should also change. Today’s computerized world needs an easy input method. A cantobet can simplify the problem of computer input.
An alphabet is actually not a set of symbols, but an attitude that a people take towards writing. Its existence is not on the page, but inside people’s minds. In order for a people to have an alphabet, they must first have the determination to make it a reality.
The help I need is your support. I am a jooksing. Every time I use Chinese words to wrtie a letter, it takes me several days because I need to continually use the dictionary to look up words. This letter has already taken me three days and three nights. I spent eight years to achieve just this slow writing speed. If you are unwilling to help jooksings get an alphabet, it will be very arduous for me to find another chance for someoen to help me.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact me.”
Unfortunately, I was not able to get their support. They initially thought I wanted to make another Jyutping. After I clarified my wishes, they did not respond.