Saturday, 21 May 2005

"English pls"

Say, you're Chinese and asking directions from a random passerby who happens to be obviously Chinese. Will you use Mandarin or English?

I heard something on the radio a few days ago. Topic of the day is speaking and learning Chinese, or more generally, native language.

Tis caller said she had encountered a Chinese woman who asked him to speak in English when he was asking directions in Mandarin. It was ok except that she sounded like she despised that he was speaking to her in Mandarin.

I was disgusted.

Can't stand it that some people consider English a more high class language just because it's our working language. Worse, some give up their native tongue totally. I'll speak only in the context of Chinese from now.

It's sad that serious interest in the Chinese language is dwindling. I say seious because the current thrust is that you need to know the language (oh and of course, learn the culture as well but from books, yah right..) to have a place in the future since China is an emerging power.

Hello? Wrong!

I always feel my Mandarin sucks, especially when I'm talking to true blue native speakers from PRC/ Taiwan. Don't stone me, I know my Mandarin is ok enough but I feel inadequate speaking to them cos I can't express myself sufficiently with my limited vocab bank. I realise that I can't even write well in Chinese these days without a dictionary. Gone were the days when I could easily throw up essays with minimal reference to a dictionary. I remember I was so amazed with myself when I reread my essays from JC some time last year; they were so good I forgot I wrote them!

Have been trying to re-acquaintance myself with the language since forever. Think I started out by reading
Dream of the Red Chamber in third year. That took me a year! Then I read half of this book on Chinese history and I was lost =( Will dig it out again. Or find some online source which is easier to digest..

I can't sit here anymore; mosquitoes are sucking me dry!!


  1. Hellow. Im sorry to hear bout Chinese(as a language)... one of my friends from singapore is chinese and can understand Chinese, but he said he is not good at it... Yah thats sad...
    Japanese ppl are fluent in only Japanese, though. I sometimes feel frustrated when Im trying to make mysekf understood in English, and I think the situation is just like when you are trying to make yaself understood in Chinese... I guess ya more fluent in Chinese, though! I started studying English since 12 years old, but Im still not fluent in English! Im a lazy learner!

  2. lol.... i am so happy! Almost all the people around me are PRC! I can speak to them in chinese... but alas! guess what, i almost can't get to where i am now because i flung my GP=F9?!



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