A couple of weekends ago I had the privilege of going to Guangzhou with three fun people: F, J and AW. The following debacle ensued. (See article below)
What didn’t make it into the piece was the photo of S being revenge-tortured after the visit to the torture chamber. Here it is:
廣州 (Gong Jau – Guangzhou)
博物館 (Bok Mat Guhn – Museum)
按摩 (On mou – massage)
洗腳 (Sai geuk – wash feet/foot massage)
It’s happening! I’m upgrading this website so you can download films and podcasts. There will be two long videos to begin with, and the above is the ‘for total beginners’ one. One hour and 14 →
There is something about the internet that brings out the worst in people, like road rage. But also, of course, the best. People become so kind on behalf of others, on the internet. Last week, →
Wei wei, everybody! Summer has descended with quite blue skies and the accompanying 34 degrees, and my students are leaving town in droves. This clears up space and time for you. But you don’t have →
So! Yesterday was the last day in the studio followed by three pre-recorded programmes in the series Naked Cantonese on RTHK. And the last episode ever was, very appropriately, recorded in the same public toilet →
My first experimentation with iMovie’s trailer software. Wow – not half fast and furious cutting! But the point is: Soon you’ll be able to download a new and comprehensive Cantonese information video from this very →
It is with great sadness I must inform our irate but faithful listeners that Poddie Castie number 200 is soon coming up, and that it will herald →
Wei, wei, are you doing anything this Saturday? Or: Are you doing lots of things but have two hours free to learn Cantonese in the afternoon? Join Happy Jellyfish People’s Democratic Language Bureau’s YAM CHA →
This week was my third week of Russian lessons, and although the teacher insists stubbornly on talking about Anna who is a ballerina and Anna and Maria being ballerini, I’ve decided to practise what I →
Yesterday we did a live show on RTHK with ah-Sa shivering with fear as usual – what would I say this time? Last time I said “screw you” about the evil students castigating our dear →
That’s right, to sympathise with my clients’ plight and understand once again what it is to learn a language from scratch, I’ve decided to learn Russian. That and the fact that I’m going to Kazakhstan →
The New China Bookshop in Guangzhou, or actually, the New China Bookshop in general, is a real treasure trove. Look what I found there last weekend, a map of Mexico with all the towns and villages in Chinese characters! Simplified, but still Chinese.
There were many other maps there too, but the one of Mexico particularly caught my attention. Because I really want to go there. Is it because of Breaking Bad? Or all the western movies I watched as a child, with one hombre chasing another hombre across the endless plains of I knew not what? Or is it because of this photo I took on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang province? I just feel it’s taken in … Mexico. 墨西哥 (Mak Sai Go – Ink West Older brother)
In the last couple of articles about that 嗰 (go) We discussed that one 嗰個 (go go) and those 嗰啲 (go di). But there’s more to the 嗰 – heaps more!
All my students learn 呢度 (li dou – This Location or Here) with ease. But when it comes to 嗰度 (go dou – That Location or There), up come the frontal cortex (or something) barriers. I don’t know why. 呢(li) is everything that’s close and here, this, and 嗰 (go) is everything that’s further away or something we’re talking about, that.
我想去墨西哥城！(o seung heui Mak Sai Go Seng! – I want to go to Mexico City!)
嗰度有好多博物館 (GO dou you hou do bok mat guhn – THAT location have well many erudite-matters-hall [there are many museums there]).
Yesterday was July 1st, what was meant to be a good opportunity for Hong Kong people to worship at the altar of the mainland, thanking its kind government for rescuing us from the slimy claws of those Limeys.
Instead it has become this; March Against Everything Day. Good on the Hong Kong people! This year the turnout was just incredible, like triple the last time I joined two years ago.
Ah-On (Andrew) and I joined in, but instead of calling for the resignation of our unpopular and unelected Chief Executive, we encouraged Hong Kong people to speak Cantonese and not use simplified characters:
We had standing ovations along the way, and everybody wanted to snap a pic of the foreigners who apparently had no idea of what it said on the posters we were holding.
That’s the impression I got at least, based on the amount of people who came up to me asking – in English – “Are you know what’s the mean?” The worst was a higher-ranking policeman who took the poster away from ah-On.
“Do you know what it says?”
‘係呀， 係我自己寫既’ (yes, I wrote it myself) I naturally answered in the language in which the posters were written.
“Yes, but do you know what it REALLY means?”
Everyone who wanted to take a photo and all the newspapers (many) who wanted to interview us addressed us in English, explaining that although I may have written the posters, I wouldn’t actually understand Cantonese. After a while it got really tedious.
So there you have it; not even writing their own language and holding it right in front of their faces can get Hong Kong people to fathom that a whitey can understand Cantonese. So yesterday was a kind of victory as well as yet another gigantic slap in the face.
Still, it was a brilliant march, absolutely electrifying. And at least 150 people got to hear foreigners speaking Cantonese. We’ll have world domination, one July 1st at a time.
One of the most wonderful of many wonderful things about mainland China is the train. Last weekend we went to Guangzhou for some r and r and it was good, but the best thing was sitting down to the moveable feast that is a mainland train journey. It was wildly exhilarating although it’s only the short trip from Guangzhou East to Hung Hom.
This time they even had draft beer!
We had all bought tickets separately so were in separate cabins, so what could be more natural than meeting in the restaurant car for some beer, peanuts, cards and fried eggs with chives?
Well, it wasn’t a chance or leisurely meeting, sauntering into the restaurant car and happen to bump into each other. It was “Dash! Dash to the restaurant car! Grab a table quiiiiick!!!!” because that restaurant car is damned popular. If we hadn’t been able to secure a table, I think there would have been some serious wistfulness:
After two hours of splendidness, all I wanted was to stay on the train and make it go back, up north, into the provinces. In fact I feel a serious China trip welling up in me. Who’s in?
火車 (fo che – fire car, train)
餐車 (chan che – Meal Car)
大陸 (daai luk – Big Landmass, Mainland)
生啤 (saang beh – fresh beer)
廣州東站 (Gong Jau dong jaam – Guangzhou East Station)
花生 (fa saang – peanuts)