James Hilton’s “Shangri-la” is a mystical harmonious valley isolated from the world by the Tibetan Plateau, and home to people who live years beyond the normal lifespan, in peaceful harmony with the earth. Continue reading
Yes, we all enjoy having a giggle over the myriad of ‘Chinglish’ mistakes we see all around us in China. I myself was posting a picture of a menu offering “catch-up sauce” when it occurred to me: what about the other way around? Do our mistakes in Chinese get laughed about? So I investigated the most common and the most embarrassing mistakes made by foreigners and have distilled my favourites into a nice list below – over which you are welcome to ‘LYFAO’. Continue reading
What could be more simple than ordering a cup of milk tea?
After a few months of being restricted to cafes with picture books as menus, I began to rue the loss of my eloquence as I could only point to things I wanted with a childlike, “这个”（zhège: this one) and “那个” (nàgè: that one). Feeling like an idiot soon became a bore.
So I decided to expand my vocabulary range using café menus as my textbook. One morning I decided to take the plunge and order a milk tea… properly. As I waited in line, I looked up the words I thought I would need: Continue reading
As you begin learning a new language, the most common problem you may encounter is the temptation to translate directly from your mother tongue, and end up saying things the same way essentially, just using different words. It is only when you pick up the natural rhythm and character of your new language that you can truly own it. Continue reading
To a non-tonal language speaker’s ear, Chinese can sound like just a jumble of similar sounds:
“Shi si shi shi si, si shi shi si shi.” Continue reading
When I first moved to China, I was working full time and only had a few hours a week set aside to tackle the language beast. I didn’t have the opportunity to join a class at the time, and just learnt by going through a textbook with a teacher. Continue reading
First milestone reached: six months in China. What does that feel like? What am I supposed to feel? Acclimatised? Adapting to a new culture, apparently, is supposed to happen in stages:
Step 1: The Honeymoon Stage
When you first arrive in a new culture, differences are intriguing and you may feel excited, stimulated and curious. Like any new experience, there’s a feeling of euphoria when you first arrive and you’re in awe of the differences you see and experience. You feel excited, stimulated, enriched.