The Challenge

Taxi drivers are, by far, one of the wisest group of people you can ever meet. Sure, every now and then, you’d come across scary weirdos or really obnoxious ones with absolutely no common sense trying to impose their world-saving doctrines on you. But, the bulk of them, with their age, and experience from meeting all kinds of people every single day, have lots of really good stuff to say. That’s why I really enjoy chatting to them whenever I take a cab.

A couple of months ago, a taxi driver challenged me to brush up on my Mandarin. Most just tell me how ashamed I should be for not being able to speak Mandarin well. Anyway, I told him that it’s too difficult a language to learn. In response, I got rebuked by him.

He said, “No matter how difficult something is, if you really want to learn, you’ll learn it anyway. I never knew English, but I learnt that and Thai just from my many years of driving this taxi. Don’t you dare tell me that it’s difficult to learn.”

Do I want to learn? Oh yes I sure do. And Cantonese too! My love for Chinese culture and the desire to immerse myself in it has been hampered for years because of the obstacle for language.

I don’t think I should procrastinate any further. I’ll be learning Chinese philosophy soon, and this would really prepare me greatly.