Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chinese people LOVE me! (4)

"Chinese people love me because..... I am always happy to converse with them in English, and am not forever trying to practise my lame-arse Mandarin on them."

I have a particular scorn for students of Mandarin, who have, during my time here in Beijing, become rather like the plague of Hamlin rats. Many of them seem to just fritter their time away partying. Even those that do apply themselves steadfastly to their studies are not usually able - in a year or less - to make much significant progress in this most intractable of languages. And yet they all, all want to show off the 10 words they've learned this week to every Chinese person they meet - usually with the most abysmal pronunciation that actually seems somehow to exaggerate their native accent (Australian Chinese is a particular wince-maker; although Kiwi is even worse...). It is just excruciating. Most Chinese are in fact charmed or amused by this; they're a very indulgent bunch, the Chinese. It makes me puke.

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