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Travel Anecdotes

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Travel Anecdotes

Postby Ram08 » Sat, 23 May 2009 12:04 pm

Travel Anecdotes: destination - Shenzhen, China

I'm on assignment here in Shenzhen,China and something new happens everyday whilst my struggle to communicate.This is because English is not commonly spoken here outside the workplace but its fast catching on. I can already appreciate that their soon-to-be proficiency in English coupled with thier natural brilliance and great infrastructure, China will be one of the most desired place for more and more MNCs to do business at.
Its a matter of time indeed.

However my point from the below note is :
Its an invaluably enriching experience to live somewhere where they don't speak your language.
It teaches patience, tolerance (for people whose native language is not English) and hopefully a new language.
I only stand to benefit in the long run from this temporary bout of helplessness.

Here are some light moments but isolated incidences !... :-).... Read on ....


First day in Shenzhen, China - evening walk out of my hotel to get dinner.
Walked into a restaurant and sat down, oblivious of the continous stares I was getting.

The menu was in Chinese, there was nobody who knew English and thus started my struggle. I wanted Chicken - English was unsuccessful, I tried several times in vain to hand gesture what I wanted. Unsuccessful ! So I tried a new trick " Cock-a-doodle-doo !! " went my next few words, softly, so I dont alarm the other customers. That did the trick, the waitress smiled and led me to the kitchen area where there was pork, chicken and duck meat hanging from hooks inside a glass chamber. I pointed to the Chicken.

That was easy, wasnt it ? Actually no, it wasnt !!

So I decided, It cant be that hard - I must learn the local lingo ! - I asked some colleagues here at my IBM,Shenzhen office whats the word for "Chicken" and whats the word for "want".
I was told "Ji" is for 'chicken' and "yow" is for 'want' .

So at the next instance I walked boldly into another restaurant and a sweet looking girl came and said " Ni hao " (how are you) and gave me the menu. I didnt even look at it - looked confidently into her eye and said " Yow ji ".
I was beaming even as I was waiting for the girl to express appreciation at the fact that a foreigner was speaking chinese. She looked alarmed at first and then burst out laughing - she then called somebody else for help and I told him "Yow ji" - he looked amused too. Not wanting to embarrass myself further, I just looked around and pointed to a dish somebody at the adjacent table was having. They brought me the same - it was sweet and sour meat and rice which I dont like but was hungry.

Next day I asked somebody at office what does " Yow ji " mean and he said " I want prostitute " !! (its like a slang used here for "get me a chick" ).
He advised me to use "Ji rou" which means chicken meat.

Somebody called my mobile and I answered. I could make out that it was a young chinese local however both of us could not understand each other as he was speaking in Chinese and I, in English. I cut the line.
After a couple of minutes, I mustered up enough courage and called him back, struggled with my broken chinese but of no avail - then I asked him slowly in English " Who-is-speaking? "
He waited a minute and then said slowly in English " I-am-my-Mother's Son !" :-( . I couldnt even reply " Arent we all ? " - it seemed he wouldnt understand that either ....

Thus continues my everyday struggle in Shenzhen.... I now have a book with English Chinese translations that I carry around and I'm going to get better !
Widening my social circle

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Postby DragonyxXL » Sat, 23 May 2009 12:59 pm

Good stuff, waiting for more. :P

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Postby pykee » Sat, 23 May 2009 4:46 pm

enjoy your stay!

Posts: 73
Joined: Mon, 28 Jul 2008

gr8 exp..

Postby funksg » Tue, 26 May 2009 4:38 pm

hahah.,really so exhilarating exp. ram..amazing...
nice to read them..even reading them was making me laugh..surely exp. them n then rembering them u wud b LOL..
have a good time..

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