English 'language of success'
Manama, April 9, 2008
Young Bahrainis must learn the language of success if they want to get on in the world, a leading publisher said.
They should see mastering English as the key to succeeding in the global arena, rather than a form of cultural brainwashing, said Dar Akbhar Al Khaleej Press and Publishing House chairman Anwar Abdulrahman.
He was speaking on the opening day of Bahrain University's second International Conference of Language, Literature and Translation in the Interdependent World.
The event has been organised by the College of Arts English language and literature department, and is being held under the patronage of Bahrain University president Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Janahi at the Sakhir campus.
Department chairman Dr Abdulaziz Buleila opened the three-day event, which was attended by Education Ministry and university officials, deans and students.
Akbhar Al Khaleej, Bapco, Alba, the US Embassy and British Council are sponsoring the conference.
Abdulrahman stressed that studying the English language was the key to opening doors for today's youth and that the challenge was also to keep up to date with its constant development.
He pointed to the fact that the language was now almost divided into three forms, British English, American English and international English.
"There is no doubt English is a profession by itself, but today it is more than that," he told the audience.
"When you master this language you read the literature of the world and some times the translation is almost better than the original, because the original was written by one man and with translation comes another mind and something extra."
Abdulrahman said he discovered the importance of English at the age of 15, while serving a scholarship at Bapco.
There he learned the importance of books in helping to master the language and he urged people to read at least one book a week.
No-one should go through life without buying a copy of Glimpses of World History, a collection of letters that Jawaharal Nehru wrote to his 13-year-old daughter Indira from a prison cell, in 1934, during India's struggle for freedom.
Nehru wrote to her about the history of humanity and the world, to educate her.
Put together as the "mother of all books", the letters amounted to an invaluable insight into history, said Abdulrahman.
He presented a copy of the book to Buleila, who accepted it on behalf of Mr Janahi.
Some people in Bahrain often shout for their rights, but rights have to be earned, said Abdulrahman.
"We will have no future if we don't take this life seriously," he said in his 19-minute speech.
"There is opportunity in this country, but are you willing to work for the opportunity, or just sit and criticise?"
If people read the autobiographies of successful men from different cultures, they will see the hardship they went through to reach the top, said Abdulrahman.
"The most important thing that we should have is interest," he said.
"Education cannot be taken lightly. Education is the best thing you can have and you ought to be very, very serious.
"Life is tough. You are living in a house of knowledge and you have to achieve knowledge."
Abdulrahman said the only reason the ideologies of capitalism, socialism or communism failed in the Arab world was because people did not take life seriously.
He pointed to the productivity of the Japanese, British and European workforces during an average eight-hour day, compared to those in the Arab world that lag behind.
"We are backward and we should admit we are backward, but the key is how to march forward," the top publisher said.
But answering questions from the audience, Abdulrahman refused to blame lecturers for the apathy of students.
"It depends how hard the students take their teachers seriously," he said.