Dubai: Gaoli Liu is a great fan of the Urdu language. She speaks Urdu, with a tempering of Mandarin. Popularly known by her friends as Zahra, the 37-year-old anthropology scholar has made Pakistan the focus of her academic pursuit. Presently she is hosting a travel show titled ‘Agla station’ (Next station), introducing people to the places around the country.
Gulf News quoted Gaoli as saying: “I had already booked the return ticket at that time, but the idea was very attractive to me. My basic purpose at first was going around Pakistan, especially some of the places where I have never been to, such as Balochistan and the northern areas. The TV programme was also happy to find me because their original idea was simply to get someone who is Chinese and show them the country. They adjusted the programme according to my situation and since I can speak Urdu and also know the regional culture, I became the host and introduced people to Pakistan.”
According to Gaoli, her Urdu skills are still at a basic level, however, she is eager to improve her conversational skills and on the lookout for studying Arabic and Urdu further.
The report further added that her love story with Pakistan started almost a decade ago. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she enrolled as a volunteer and had to learn Urdu to interact with the Pakistani visitors. That is when she was given the name Zahra.
Gaoli is extremely interested in folk culture and meeting different people.
Regarding her nickname Zahra, Gaoli Liu said: “Our Pakistani professor gave me the name Zahra because it is a tradition in China that when you learn a new language, the teacher would give you a name used in that language. Because I like the Z alphabet, I requested the teacher to give me a name that starts with ‘Z’.