I do not know Chinese. Neither the official Mandarine, nor Cantonese, nor Hokkien nor Teochew – none of them. From that perspective – I am illiterate. Does it make me dumb? Does it say anything about my intelligence or lack thereof?
When little kids in Singapore point my illiteracy out to me – unintentionally, simply by doing their primary school homework in front of me: all of it in those mysterious Chinese characters – does that insult my intelligence? – Obviously not. Nor shall I feel insulted by discovering my illiteracy as a newbie in any field.
- Intelligence – is my toolkit, my ‘inner game’.
- Literacy – describes my knowledge of a specific subject or mastery of a certain skill.
Being literate empowers me to ask intelligent questions and expect expertise growth – provided that I put the effort in.
is a domain below. If I am illiterate I am not able to ask intelligent
questions – the ones that are going to lead to my further growth. If I am
illiterate then no matter how hard I try – I’ll never go beyond the copy-paste
repeats/parroting of what I hear or see. I’ll be an easy prey for whoever wants
to abuse my trust since I won’t be able to tell a friend from a foe. I’ll
wander aimlessly getting more and more desperate and becoming an even easier