Jul 27, 2008

Stupid Mental Blocks! - A Silly Story

I posted this in my personal blog, but I'll post it here too... this is just a silly story about something that happened today....

It's been a family tradition to go to Yumcha (飲茶) every Sunday and today was no exception. During the past few years I've been studying Mandarin, I always try to use it when I order anything at a Chinese restaurant, but after living in China for 5 months, I pretty much don't bother using Mandarin when ordering food because I'm simply over that stage... Instead,I've been trying to use Cantonese. I can usually pull it off... but today I had a sudden mental block. I was trying to order a plate of spring rolls and just after I called the waitress' attention by saying 唔該
m goi (excuse me), I was preparing my 'mental subtitles' (when I speak Cantonese I tend to have subtitles in my head, because I'm sort of directly translating from Mandarin), and I had the sentence 唔該嚟一碟春巻 m goi lei jat dip tsoengyun . However when it was time to speak, I couldn't remember the pronunciation for 碟 (a small plate), and somehow I said pan instead of dip. I instantly knew I was wrong when I said pan so I quickly scanned my brain for the Mandarin pronunciation (when I know the Mandarin pronunciation I can usually guess the Cantonese one), but unfortunately "file not found." So I just said 一份 jat fan (one order) instead. To top it off, when the waitress confirmed what I said 一份呀 jat fan a? (so one order?), I panicked and answered in Mandarin saying 對,對! dui, dui (yes, yes)! The waitress gave me a confused look. LOL Luckily, later on when I ordered some 油炸鬼 yau dza gwai (deep fried bread sticks) and some 豆腐花 dau fu faa (sweet beancurd dessert), she still talked to me in Cantonese. I hate it when people stop speaking to me in a foreign language just because of a simple mistake.

6 comments:

Theresa said...

yes, i hafta agree on this. i don't enjoy it when people look at me weird when i try to speak their language.

my friend had this really awful experience in korea when she tried to use korean and the person scolded her and said 'if you don't know how to speak, don't speak'. i found that really harsh and my friend was really bothered by it.

yum cha is great! i love dim sum! especially har kow [prawn dumplings]. you can try dipping yau dza gwai into coffee too. i'm not kidding it's fantastic.

Nicholas Cripps said...

Hmm interesting... in Spain people dipped 油条 into hot chocolate, just like they eat Churros. Some people even think that 油条 is Spanish... hahaha I bet the Spanish (or perhaps the Portuguese) imported it from China centuries ago...

I love 凤爪 the best...

Wow that is horrible experience, I've never experienced something as rude as that...your friend better not have let that experience discourage her from learning Korean...

Nicholas Cripps said...

So wait, you can speak Cantonese too? 你都識講呀?

Theresa said...

nope, i don't speak cantonese. i can only understand reeeeaaaally basic stuffs like "hou m hou?" [good or not?], "hou yit ah" [very hot], "sek fan la" [eat].

i have cantonese friends so sometimes i pick up a line or two. my neighbour's kid is cantonese and she used to say "hak ma ma" [it's dark] and it's really cute when she says it.

oh yes. alot of people like the claws too. but i don't know how to eat them. haha.

Cody said...

I really dislike it when people just look at you like you are stupid when you try to speak their language. There is a chinese restaurant here where the owner's son is chinese raised in korea, so he is fluent in both languages and I tried to talk to him in Korean one time and he just kind of looked at me and then walked away. I've also tried to talk to him in chinese before (just saying hello and thank you) and again, just some like like "Uh..."

Rude -_-;

Anyway, your tradition sounds fun. My family's tradition is to go out to dinner every friday night. This friday, we're going to try out a hibachi steakhouse. The show they perform is really cool! I can't wait to go~

Yiwei said...

Hi,I've met the same situation as yours...^_^...let me tell you my ¨rude¨way to ¨rude¨people...

I paid for an English institut to learn English, but the receiver seemed impatient to listen to my English...so I told her toughly, directly ¨Miss,I have the right to speak English, and you should listen to me...because I pay it for you...¨

Could you image a language teacher who teaches French only to foreign students is a racist? What a calamity! But I met someone like this not only to Chinese but also to people come from ¨the third word¨... they don't understand, if school lost these ¨poor¨ or ¨ugly¨ students, the rate of unemployment in France will be raised...

In China, lots of people haven't yet understood how to respect the others...not only to foreigners, but also to our own native people...normaly, when I met people like them in China, I wasn't ¨tough¨ or ¨rude¨...because I know it's useless in this situation (as they'll be more ¨cruel¨than me...^^)...so I've often two choices:
1)I'll teach them the human's reason with a ¨special¨ attitude (perhaps I'll show you later ^^);
2)I'll look them as nothing...^^