31. Reading Skills Comprehension: American President

By | February 6, 2020

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American President

Read the following passage carefully:                                                                                                                 

The best time there was nervousness surrounding the name of an American President or the presidential candidate, was when  Bob Dole was running against Bill Clinton for the White House top job. The Arab world wants into a tizzy not because it had something ideological sounded against the 1966 Democrat presidential candidate, but because ‘Dole’ sounded like the Arabic word’slang’. So when Mr.Clinton did win the Presidency, much more than the Beach Boys-loving ‘did not inhale’ liberals, Arabs breathed a sigh of relief. After all, who wants to read a headline-‘ Slang new US President’? This time, the rustle over how to spell Barack Obama’s name in Mandarin is, therefore, a small print stuff. As Mr.Obama hit the Chinese road on Monday, some mandarins were scratching their metaphorical goatees about how to spell his name. Is it ‘Aobama’, as the Han would have it? Or should it be’Obama’ , the way US officials want it to be? Coming from the land that made us change MAO Tes-Tung to Mao Zedong and Peking to Beijing- not to mention Tibet to Tibetan Autonomous Region – one should have thought that more important matters related to US-China ties would grab attention than spelling a Kenyan name.B ut the politics of names do matter. If the Americans want to spell their president’s name in Mandarin in a certain way, it should be the prerogative. Just as the Chinese way of having the surname before the name-Mr.Wen, not Mr.Jiabao- should be respected. 

Thankfully, we Indians with our Babel – speak give names a wide berth. It really does not matter whether we are writing’Cheen’ for China and ‘Umrika’ for America in Devnagari. Frankly, we know that whatever way we spell Manmohan Singh, he will still be the mild-mannered gent in the blue pagdi. Or is it purgee?

Choose the most appropriate option out of the following:                                                                              

(i) Who was running against Bill Clinton for the White House?

     (a)Barack Obama               (b)Bob Dole                           

     (c)Hillary Clinton               (d)None of these.

(ii) How did the US officials want to pronounce Mr.Obama?

     (a)As Obama                      (b)As Alabama                        

     (c)As Obama                    (d) None of these.

(iii) There are more important matters relating to US-China ties than?

      (a)Spelling an Arabian name                                             (b)Spelling an Urdu name                        

      (c)Spelling a Kenyan name                                               (d)Spelling a Chinese name.

(iv) What is the Chinese way of having names?

      (a)Do not use the surname                                                 (b)Use surname after  the name

      (c)Use surname before the name                                       (d)None of these.

(v)What importance do we Indians give to our names?

       (a)A wide berth                                                                (b)A title importance             

      (c)No importance at all                                                    (d) All of the above

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