May 27

Expats and the Chinese Language

Written by: Legalist | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:, ,
No Comments » newest

Chinese is a difficult language, at least for me. When I was growing up in China, many aspects of the language seemed very challenging, one of which was the units of counting for countable quantities. In English and many other languages, it’s a breeze: 3 computers, 1 apple, 4 books. Very easy to master it. In Chinese, it’s a different story: san tai diannao, yi ge pinggou, si ben shu. First, you needed to learn tai, ge, ben. Then you needed to know when to use which. Very challenging indeed. As English shows, they aren’t really necessary. San dianno, yi pinggou, si shu. I don’t think there’s too much confusion dropping them, consideing the savings of time and energy required of learning these words.

I think we should start speaking Chinese without the unit words. Maybe the expats can make a big contribution to the Chinese language by leading by example. And it will save their time and energy of learning them in the first place.

What do you think?

Wo Yao Yi Pinggou (I want an apple).

Mar 26

On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him.  He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.

After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed  one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.

For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.

Nov 26

Shanghai Style: Pajamas in the Great Outdoors

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, General | Tags:, , , ,
23 Comments » newest 2011-02-05 22:36:15

Shanghai PajamasIt seems the long held social custom of Shanghainese to walk down the street in their pajamas is causing some discomfort to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo scheduled for next year and a campaign has been started by the municipal government to end the practice.

It’s not that unusual to see middle aged women milling around on the street in their pajamas, or even walking to the subway or local shopping mall. So the slogan “No Pajamas in Public – be Civilized for the Expo” has been coined to end what the government feels is uncivilized behavior in a modern, world class city. As China Daily columnist Raymond Zhou said recently in “In Defense of Pajamas”:

“So, it’s not really about whether we like it, but rather about whether we are liked. Again, it’s the quintessential concept of “face” and “saving face”.

Not many Chinese are shocked to see a street full of pajama-wearing pedestrians, but if international visitors feel squeamish about it we should stop doing it. Or so the implied rationale for the crackdown goes.”

The city’s tactic to stamp out street pajama wearers was to create a team of 500 volunteers to use persuasion at bus stops and other venues to convince pajama wearing Shanghainese residents to change their clothes.

Continue reading »

Aug 13

Cross Cultural Dating

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, education, General, language | Tags:, , ,
166 Comments » newest 2016-02-10 05:55:13

17m Now that many non-Chinese have moved to China and many native Chinese live throughout the world, cross cultural dating has become far more common. For someone leaving mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and moving to a western country, what are some of the cultural pitfalls and traps you need to avoid and adjustments you need to make? For someone moving to any of those four areas, the same questions apply. Are the “rules” different for Chinese women dating outside their culture as compared to Chinese men doing the same?

My direct experience isn’t too pertinent since I met my wife in Phoenix and she had already been living in the States for nine years, but there were still many adjustments we (mostly I) had to make. She was the first Asian woman I had ever dated so I didn’t fall into the “yellow fever” category. However, when I was living in mainland China and Taiwan, I had a chance to observe, ask questions and learn more from others involved in cross cultural relationships.

Continue reading »

Apr 15

I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”).
Continue reading »

Mar 13

minipost-Numbers as Language

Written by: berlinf | Filed under:-mini-posts, language | Tags:,
40 Comments » newest 2009-04-30 17:31:51

NPR once broadcasted an interview talking about why Asian students are better at math (if I can be excused) . The speaker explained that in these mostly agricultural societies, the mindset is you reap how much you plant, hence their greater commitment. In America, there is more emphasis on “working smart” than “working hard”. Translated into educational jargon, he is saying that time on task still makes a difference. Continue reading »

Mar 10

minipost-German and/or Chinese?

Written by: berlinf | Filed under:-mini-posts | Tags:, ,
24 Comments » newest 2010-09-17 16:24:38

In a recent commentary in the Chronicle of Higher Education (March 6, 2009, A33), Professor Brockmann (professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University) pointed out that the study of foreign languages should not be a zero-sum game.His commentary is a response to the University of Southern California’s plan to eliminate the German Department to usher in studies of Eastern Asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese. I think he has got a point in saying that this is not a zero-sum game.

Continue reading »

Mar 06

Chinese student sue for infringement of rights

Written by: miaka9383 | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:,
2 Comments » newest 2010-06-05 07:23:17

I was looking at back news for the last month or two in the society section of Xinhua.
This news is extremely interesting… A chinese student had to change his name because the official told him they can’t issue him a new ID card that represents the letter C.
So he sued in court but he ended up having to change his name anyway.. what justice is that? The only benefit that he seemed to get out of it is free id card.

*sigh* poor kid that is all I have to say…
And I think the government of Jianxi Province should upgrade their computer system.
Chinese student, police don’t “C” eye-to-eye over name on ID card
www.chinaview.cn 2009-02-26 23:39:29 Print

NANCHANG, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — Is a strange name a crime?

When a certain Zhao family in east China’s Jiangxi Province had a son 23 years ago, they decided to give him a highly unusual name– namely, C. As the family tells it, C stood for China, and it was also intended to encourage the boy to learn English.

But it caused the college student trouble with the police, and he had to change his name.

The Yuehu branch of the Yingtan public security bureau in Jiangxi went on trial Thursday afternoon, as Zhao C sued it for alleged infringement of his rights, a court source said.

The court hearing started at 3 p.m. in the Yingtan Intermediate People’s Court. After a three-hour hearing, Zhao agreed to change his name, but he has yet to decide a new name comprising Chinese characters.

In return the police bureau has agreed to issue him a new ID card free of charge.

Zhao had told the court the police office refused him a new ID card as part of a nationwide replacement program. The police claimed that it was technically not possible to put English letters in names and told him to get a new name.

“I was registered at birth under that name,” Zhao said. He contended that allowing the first registration meant the name was accepted by local security officials.

“I like my name. It is easy to remember and my classmates called me Cici,” he said.

The case first went to court in January 2008, when Zhao’s father, Zhao Zhirong, who himself was a lawyer, sued the Yuehu branch on his son’s behalf. The People’s court of Yuehu District sided with Zhao and ordered the security bureau to issue a new ID card.

But Wan Cheng, director of the Yuehu branch, refused, saying: “It is against China’s regulations to include letters in people’s names.” The branch appealed last June.

According to the fourth clause of the Law of Citizen’s Identification Cards, characters, numbers and symbols could be used on people’s new ID cards.

Zhao Zhirong argued that “C” as a symbol could be used in the name.

However, lawyer Liu Xiqiu noted that the clause actually meant characters, numbers and symbols could be used in “different areas of the card”. “Just as characters are used in names, numbers and symbols are used in the birthdays, addresses and ID numbers,” he said.

Filling the spaces incorrectly would result in the computerized registration system failing to accept the application, Liu added.

“If you fill the name space with letters in the computerized registration system, you won’t be able to submit the form,” he said.

But in 1985, when Zhao was born, registration forms were hand-written, and there were no such problems.

Some students of similar age to Zhao sympathized. “It is unique,” said Lan Tian, a student from the Nanchang University. “The name has been used for so many years and it was the fault of the government at the beginning that resulted in the lawsuit, why should Zhao be punished?”

But another student, 21-year-old Liao Zhenhua, said changing the name was the right decision. “Adding a foreign letter in the name is an erosion of Chinese culture.”

“People should be serious with their names, as they are symbols that will accompany you throughout life,” said Ma Xuesong, head of the sociology research institute of the Jiangxi Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

“People’s names should be in line with their nation’s culture. If you want uniqueness, you can have strange pennames or online nicknames,” he said.

Liu Xiqiu believed that the case reflected a flaw in the Law of Citizen’s Identification Cards.

“Relevant clauses should be specified so as to prevent similar problems,” he said.
Editor: Yan

Sep 17

Note: the following 5 posts were sent to us by ksjqjy, the host of 民考汉 forum (http://mkh.5d6d.com)



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我想这种事情,一定还有很多,果然,我在百度里打入:维吾尔族 汉族弃婴,残疾,除了喀什的,我知道的,还有很多我不知道的:















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其次,我在<<反对信仰投机:我对当前维吾尔族信仰基督教的几点看法 >>贴子中,一再强调了个人是可以选择宗教的,前提是,他对自己的宗教了解,知道自己在做什么,对自己的宗教一无所知而改信别的宗教,尤其是目前最强势的宗教,难道没有投机的成分,追求时尚的成分在里面吗?






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Sep 14

In a previous discussion on Malaysia’s ethnic politics, I was surprised (and dismayed) to sense the depth of dejection some ethnic Chinese in Malaysia may feel toward the political situation in Malaysia. There however may be hope. Continue reading »

Aug 24

Just saw a China-related Post Secret (I swear it’s not mine! 😉 ). Continue reading »

Jul 16

Let’s be brutally honest… it’ll be both funny and enlightening!

The reality of culture stress applies to any kind of foreigner anywhere, though obviously different people have different experiences. I have no doubt that Mainlanders in North America are just as easily annoyed by Western culture as Westerns living in China sometimes are by Chinese culture. I assume they could easily whip up a list based on their own experiences of how culturally annoying different things are, and provide lots of personal examples. In fact, that’s what I’m hoping some of our Chinese readers will do.

Continue reading »

May 06

Learning Chinese while having fun

Written by: admin | Filed under:culture | Tags:,
No Comments » newest

Zon is a flash based interactive multiplayer online game for learning Chinese and Chinese culture. The project is co-sponsored by the Office of the Chinese Language Council International and Michigan State University. The game itself is still in early beta, but any efforts that makes learning fun is worthy to be applauded.
Zon: Chinese learning game

You can find the game play guide here.

Apr 27

What do you want from us?

Written by: admin | Filed under:video | Tags:,
1 Comment » newest 2008-05-03 05:48:58