On 25Mar11, BBC stopped the Mandarin Broadcasts, after nearly 70 years, because of the budget cut from the British government.
It was really a sad news to me. When I was in Primary school, radio was always my best friend, not only the local FM program, but also the shortwave stations. At that time, there were many Mandarin broadcasting stations, such as BBC, VOA, and RFI. Personally I liked KBS, CBS and BBC the most. KBS, from Korea, had only one hour Chinese broadcasting a day, but very attractive, I even wrote to them to seek for pen-pals, not so many wrote to me though. CBS was from Taipei, it had its 24 hours Mandarin service. Its news in 1990s was quite interesting, Beijing was called Beiping, and Chinese Government was called Chinese Communist Party, fairly different from Chinese news, but the way they spoke Chinese were sweet. Then the following is my favourite BBC, different from the stations from small countries, BBC had lots of programs in China News, so did VOA, RFI and Radio Australia. During those days, VOA had huge reports against Chinese government, whenever I listened to it, it’s like I lived in the hell. So from the first day on, I don’t like VOA till it was ended in last month. Whereas BBC was quite different, it has negative and critical news on one hand, but lots of suggestive discussions as well, I should say it’s quite neutral in many ways. I knew some rare news in those days because of BBC, for example the Tiananmen Massacre, Culture revolution review, Gay rights in China, which were nearly taboos in China. Undoubtfully in many ways BBC changed my ideology, into a broad and tolerante way. Also from the Radio, I knew God and Bible from the Gospel stations, and this belief never changed till now. My small radio was accompanied me till high school, after that I went to Beijing for university, where most of the short wave radio stations receptions were not good, but still full of joy whenever I had chance to listen to them back to my parents.
Until graduation and went to work, I started to listen to English programs more and more. I also changed the way from radio to Podcast via mobile phone. I admit compared with Internet and TV, radio listeners are less and less, and it might be a right choice to stop the broadcasting service, however it’s like my childhood’s toy was stolen, though it’s old and no one cares about it but my precious memory was far far away.
Today I listened to BBC last hour’s Mandarin program online, when the host said goodbye, it’s a real and painful goodbye. 70 years is like a human’s age, if a person is passed away, perhaps he can disappear in a same way. Take care BBC Mandarin Broadcast, I will miss you.