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“What would you do if you had only one day left to live?”
I asked this question to my young students when teaching English this winter. What were their answers?
“I would watch television!” the first answer. “I would play with the computer!” the second one. “I would play with computer TOO.” The girl finished her sentence perfectly with a serious smile. Indeed how cute and innocent that smile was, but how seriously my heart was hurt. I was too frightened to listen to more answers like that.
Ten years ago, at their age, I had a different answer: I would spend the last day of my life gazing at the face of my dear grandmother until I inscribed every detail of it onto my mind.
When grandmother was getting old and weak, my family bought her a telephone so I could save time and the trouble of traveling to her home by making phone calls instead. Later we bought her a television so she could watch modern dramas by herself. Then grandma must have been, we assumed, very contented and happy.
But I never really knew how grandma felt. She silently passed away without a word one night. When I heard about her death, a chilling pain pierced my empty heart. The pain grew even sharper as I tried to remember in detail exactly how grandma looked and I failed completely! How could I remember? I had not visited her for ages—it seemed like a century! My memories of her dissolved into thin air and leaked away like water.
Even though I have a telephone, can she hear me now?
Even though I might be on television, can she see me now?
Even though I have modern telecommunications, can she still communicate with me now?
With all these “tele”s, I was powerless.
Don’t people just love the word of “tele”, which means far away. Indeed this is how modern technology has changed our world. But please don’t forget this other word with “tele”: telepathy: which refers to human beings’ inborn ability to connect to our loved ones. Our minds are supposed to read each other’s minds; our hearts are supposed to feel each other’s hearts — and fulfill these without any forms of tool!
But the moment I desperately struggled to remember grandmother’s face, the telepathy between her and me had shut down forever. With the help of modern technology, I killed our telepathy.
This shall never happen again! The “tele”s are great inventions. But “telepathy” gives them the warmth of a human face. Let’s harness the power of television to excite our kids to develop their telepathy with nature… so that they can read the secret language of flowers. Let’s make the telephone lines provoke us to preserve our telepathy with each other, so we can connect in a warm and feeling way. Let technology keep our “telepathy” ALIVE! We need to wake up and make this happen.
I told my grandma’s story to those young kids that day. They got very quiet. They asked me for a second chance to answer the question. They had come to a new understanding – that very moment they had made to me and to our future together, a dear promise.
Thank you very much!
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