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Netizen: We're not illiterate, we're computer-literati
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By Shen Li

I cannot not agree with Wan Lixin, regarding his article titled "Will the illiterate inherit our earth?" (Shanghai Daily, March 26)

Mr Wan lamented that the younger online generation has become more or less "illiterate" as computers take part in their writing.

However, reading habits have changed as well as the daily literacy standard.

Frequently used words and a series of marks make a new language throughout the online world.

A generation of online-readers is nurtured.

The new literacy system renews itself and maintains an amalgam with the relatively "Old World" of literacy. "Literate" will take on a new definition that covers most online readers.

In the ancient times, the literacy rate was low and the power of calligraphy rested in the grasp of a small number of elite intellectuals.

In those times, literate people were popular letter writers for the illiterate masses.

In modern times, mass education offered handwriting as a tool to eradicate illiteracy, and today the tide changes as the tool for writing turns into electronic input devices in the Online Age.

Yet, this ancient art is still worshiped by a small number of people as young as the online age or even younger.

They still keep the art and technique of writing so that this art is not lost and is as lively as the ancient times.

People are still amazed and attracted when these people demonstrate their outstanding calligraphy.

(Shanghai Daily April 8, 2009)

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