Sesame Street is a program most Americans cherish with warm memories, and now its expansion into various countries such as Pakistan hope to achieve similar results. It promotes literacy and in Pakistan’s case, female empowerment, by choosing the lead character to be a girl. Not without controversy, “…progressive values in one culture can be interpreted as transgressive in another.” However I believe that the people working with the new program, Sim Sim Hamara, will find cohesive and creative solutions to the nuances between cultures.
For a 3-year-old who has yet to master the use of the personal pronoun, Elmo is a whiz at foreign languages. Already fluent in Chinese, German, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic, among others, the fluffy red icon has just picked up Urdu, the most common language in Pakistan. At a time when the U.S.-Pakistani relationship is at its worst in more than a decade, Sesame Street — the quintessential American children’s television program — has burst onto the Pakistani scene in a flurry of fake fur, feathers and infectious ditties about the letter alef, or A.
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