I went to a language exchange meeting over the weekend, where we spent several hours helping each other practice English or Chinese. It was fun & I met a lot of interesting people.
One man was particularly interesting. I guess he was around 65 years old. He'd had a lot of diverse life experiences & was happy to share them with us. He'd been in the army, suffered the Cultural Revolution, seen Shanghai turn into a bustling metropolis, & much more.
He said he had learned to speak five or six foreign languages so that he could have access to books & newspapers that hadn't yet been translated into Chinese. His life philosophy seemed to boil down to this: Knowledge is power.
As I listened to him, he just kept spouting off one great quote after another. I was able to write some of them down, but many more escaped me. Here are just a few.
"Foreign languages are like windows. I live in a black house & I want more light."
"In America, they have a weak government but a strong society. But in China, we have a strong government and a weak society."
"Modern China is made by Japan."