Chennai

‘Tamil as ancient as Chinese’: Beijing’s China Media Group staff express their love for the language

Kalaimagal, Poongothai and Nilani, all working with the China Media Group in Beijing, have a passion for Tamil. The three women have painstakingly learnt the language in Beijing, and have fallen in love with the culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu.

“Other languages do not have such a long history. It is as ancient as Chinese,” says Ms. Nilani, about her love for the language. “After learning Tamil, we have developed an attachment to the language,” says Ms. Poongothai.

Zhao Jiang, who has adopted Kalaimagal as her Tamil name, first visited the T.N. in 2003, and since then, has visited the State six times. The only other place she has visited in India is Delhi. “That is only because I have to change flights. If there was a direct flight, I would come directly,” she says. She now heads the Tamil department at the China Media Group, which was earlier known as China Radio International. She has read Akilan’s novels and was impressed with the social life of the period the author described.

Ms. Poongothai alias Liao Liang and Ms. Nilani (He Liyuan), are her colleagues. While Ms. Poongothai’s interest in the language was triggered by a book on yoga and the experience of practising yoga, Ms. Nilani spent six months at the Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, learning Tamil. Her favourite couplet from Tirukkural is the one dedicated to education. “China gives importance to education, and therefore, the children are educated. This is why China has done well,” she says.

The women have their favourite Tamil dish too — masala dosa. Ms. Nilani has tried her hand at making it at a reality show too. For Ms. Kalaimagal though, it is idli and dosa. Their favourite restaurant is the Indian Kitchen that serves dosa.

They are part of a delegation from the China Media Group, whose head of the South Asia division, Sun Jingli, will also address the audience in Tamil at a presentation ceremony on Thursday in the city.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 7:37:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tamil-as-ancient-as-chinese/article29630728.ece

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