CHITWAN, Sept 16: "How to say 'where are you from?' in the Chinese language I tell you, listen carefully!" When Liu Fang Hwa (Sujan) says this to his students, Nepali students look very excited. Some even answer back 'Ni Laaizi Naali' though they are not sure whether they are correct. The instructor Liu then asks the students how to say 'What is your name?' in Chinese. They try their best to impress him. Employees and people's representatives of Bharatpur Municipality have spared two hours of the morning time to learn Chinese from Liu who is popularly known as Sujan. Both according to the instructor and the students, it is difficult to learn Chinese, but 'where there is a will, there is a way'.
"It is not that easy, but we are trying hard to learn it," said Arun Bhandari, chairperson of Bharatpur Municipality – 10. "Chinese is totally different from the Nepali or English language, the pronunciations sound wired sometimes," he added.
Bhandari has been attending the class for the last few days. And he will quit once he will be able to communicate simple things in the Chinese language. "I have not desired to become an expert in this language, I just want to be able to handle it if I am around Chinese language speakers," he said.
The municipality team has formed two groups of students and for the first group the class started on 10 September. It is likely to get over on 16 September. "It's just a week-long class, hopefully we can break the ice within a week," said Bhandari. "Or else, we will see."
From 17 September, another group will join the class. There are a total of 43 employees and people's representatives in those groups including Mayor of Bharatpur Municipality Renu Dahal, Deputy Mayor Parbati Shah Thakuri and Chief Administrative Officer Netra Subedi.
The sudden craze for the Chinese language in Chitwan has to do with China's growing interest in building infrastructure in the city. China has started the process to build an industrial park at Shaktikhor of Chitwan. Last week, investors from China held talks with the stakeholders and representatives of the municipality and they even visited different places looking for a suitable area for the park.
"It is not just due to this development that the Chinese language has gotten priority. Chinese teams keep visiting us for coordination for other projects as well," said Renu Dahal, the mayor. "We realized that we would be able to articulate things better if we too could speak Chinese," she added.
Dahal further stated that the municipality also liked to take advantage of the availability of the language instructor.