Trouble in Hong Kong…

an outsider's perspective of hong kong

give yourself a voice

with 2 comments

when i went to china for the first time to work, i spoke very little mandarin. i had a little situation with my toilet at the hotel  and i called the guy over to have it checked out.

i said ” wo te cesuo kwai ler” ( my toilet is out of order) he was puzzled and said shenme ?( why)

i was confused and puzzled with the whole situation. i called my colleague who was in the room next to me and told her what had happened.

she laughed so hard and said – you bloody idiot, you just told him your toilet was happy.

i laughed so hard and i laughed for the next few days.

after the humor subsided, i thought about languages in general. i told myself, i was never going to put myself in this situation again whereby i fail to relay my intentions.

a few months ago, i have been teaching my friend’s kid english. there are personal reasons to why i chose to do it – the primary one – i recognize talent when i see one. i believe i need to take a proactive step to give this young person an opportunity to advance.

not being able to vocalize your thoughts and articulate your emotions is like having your human right stolen. from i what i see everywhere in asia, there has been a general decline in the mastering of languages – which i feel is a shame. this is because when you fail to master a language properly, you are denying yourself from absorbing ideas and the opportunity to present people your thoughts which are unique.

lately my little student has been lazy, she hasn’t been calling me asking me to come over to her house. i leave the decision up to her. i want to give her right. i hope she sees it. she tells me over and over again, learning english is so hard.

is learning anything new not hard? i have been waiting for her call.

if any of you reading my blog – wants a language exchange. please let me know. i am eager to learn.


Written by smalltroubleinhk

September 2, 2010 at 3:41 am

2 Responses

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  1. No, I think the hotel guy is the one with the actual problem. If “kwai ler” could mean “happy already,” then I reckon the person has got to be brain damaged to think you mean the toilet bowl has become happy.

    If you said the same thing to me, I could actually hear the words “happy.” But I would also see that your pronunciation might be off and that you mean “broken down”: it takes a really unimaginative, rigid, inflexible, unadaptable, fixed-minded person to just take things at face value.

    As to your little student, she’s showing signs of being brainwashed by your schoolmasters. They drum into schoolchildren that English is hard. English has never, ever been hard – and I know this to a moral certitude.

    Teachers in Hong Kong are sooooooo jealous of anyone who even show the slightest signs of doing well in the English language. I sit on a bus and talk to some Indian fellow, and I could feel the burning green jealousy around me. Three-quarters of our teachers can’t even pass the piffling standard of our own benchmark assessment – speak volumes, doesn’t it?


    September 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

  2. well, it’s not too long ago that i ask myself why we are surrounded with dumb people all the time.i am not sure if it is a productive thought because it makes me angry when i think about it. instead, now i prefer to think maybe it i fail at communicating with another person, i ought to think about better ways to do it.

    the way i see it, we all know the problem with teachers and the system. i can complain about it, dwell over it and bitch about it. at the end nothing is done. i am from malaysia – we sit around complaining about shit and shit just gets bigger. instead, i choose to proactive about it. i can play a role in educating my little student. when i teach her english, what i am teaching and imparting onto her are concepts which i believe in. but i don’t want to force her because if she doesn’t see what i do is important for her, then i have to move on. we dwell far too much on things.


    September 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

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