A year ago, I wrote "Zhou Youguang, Father of Pinyin" (1/14/14) to celebrate Zhou xiansheng's 108th birthday and his many accomplishments in language reform and applied linguistics. Included in that post were a portrait of ZYG in his study and numerous links concerning the man and his works.
Today I wish to honor my ageless friend for his indomitable courage and brilliant acumen in confronting China's social and political challenges as resolutely and rationally as he tackled China's language issues over sixty years ago.
Zhou xiansheng's mind is still sharp as a tack, and every day he sits at his little desk to write articles and books on the tiny Sharp typewriter that he helped design (the first workable electronic Chinese typewriter; pinyin inputting, of course, and using floppy disks for storage). All of this is quite remarkable for a man who was born while the Manchus still ruled China. Even more astonishing for a man of his great age, Zhou xiansheng is arguably the most outspoken proponent of democracy and freedom of speech in China at a moment when such topics have become increasingly dangerous to broach.
Happy Birthday, Zhou xiansheng! May you continue to enlighten and inspire us with your good sense and bright spirit!
[Hat tip Brendan O'Kane]