I’ve been living and teaching in Taiwan for three years. I have to confess something. Even though I teach English, and am supposed to have insights into what makes our linguistic clocks tick, I’m a slow language learner myself. To date, I still only have the barest skills which allow me to peacefully coexist with vendors and a few of my neighbors.
Nonetheless, I do continue to acquire bits of useful language, and from time to time get nuggets of wisdom from conversation.
When I find a particularly resonant little saying, I’ll make a computer desktop from it. A year ago or so, I made one from this old proverb:
The pronunciation is "Loo\ shr\ ren/ dzoh(v) chew- lie/ de" (where "\" is a descending tone, "/" ascending, "(v)" the falling-rising, and "-" the high, flat tone).
Strangely, I find this easier to translate into French than English: "Les gens promènent: voilà, la rue!" (Hope I got that right!) The best I can do in English is, "The road is made when the people come out to walk."
I feel the spirit here is very much like when Christ said, "The Sabbath was made for Man, not the other way ‘round," or (and most pertinent to the Kossacks), as when one diary writer pointed out that The President Serves At the Pleasure of the American People.
At the time when I made this desktop, I reflected on how unaware the average American is that he or she is the engine of change, and so I incorporated the image of people making up "the road," driving change.
It was in that spirit that I created the desktop. It’s 1024x768, and can be found here. (Note: Sorry about the non-pbucket link, but they shrink big images.)
If you’d like to understand the semantics of the statement a little better, an explanatory graphic can be found here.
Keep the faith, people. You are the road. You are the engine of change. Don’t ever forget that.