What do you think if when you hear the word “politician?” Eleanor Olcott is a Cambridge University graduate, who studied political science. She shares with ShaoLan the reason why she became interested in politics enough to study it at university, but says that she’s never considered becoming a professional politician because she doesn’t want to be rooted to one place for too long. Bringing it back to Chinese and ShaoLan teaches Eleanor lots of extra Chinese words that relate to politics and University departments, subjects (and students).
The Chinese word for “politics” is 政治. The first character 政 means “to follow the rules” or to “correct” something, with a sense of “keeping the population in line.” The second character 治 has a similar meaning, but has an added sense of “managing” people, correcting them when they go wrong. Together, 政治 has a sense of “governing” and “ruling” and has, therefore, come to mean “politics.”