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Pet Sins January 2004

Turks ask, 'Why learn Chinese?'

I am a student from Turkey who is studying Chinese language and history. People in Turkey often ask me incredulously, "Why do you learn Chinese?" They can't understand why anyone should be interested in Chinese. Many people in Turkey only look westward towards Europe as the source of inspiration and learning. If I were studying European history I wouldn't be getting the same questions. I think the attitude that other Asians are not worth learning about is sad because Turks have so much history with other Asians.

In a similar vein, when my sister was staying at a hospital in Turkey, she observed that the hospital staff were fawning over a woman from Spain, just because she is European. They did not paying nearly as much attention to the Turkish patients. This special treatment for Europeans irritated my sister to no end.

2002