Mandarin grouse

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macaroonie
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Mandarin grouse

Post by macaroonie » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 3:17 pm

How do people feel when everyone around them is speaking mandarin and you are the only one that doesn't. People do know you don't speak mandarin but they continue to do so for the entire lunch... is this acceptable?

Hope it doesn't come across strongly as a complaint, it can be any language really...i always thought i was quite rude to speak in a language that not everyone understands.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 3:33 pm

It's unintentional. Most local have no sense of courtesy (that's why the courtesy campaign is still running after over 30 years without as much as an iota of change here) so even though you are sitting there at the table with them, they are oblivious to the fact that you don't understand them. Kinda like them walking into you on the sidewalk. They don't mean to walk into you, but, as they don't have any concept of spatial awareness, that's why they look so surprised when they do. They just figure everybody will move outta their way.

At least, it sounds better that way, instead of saying that they are just plain rude and uncouth. Which is the unfortunate truth. :( :(
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by dazzlebabe » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 3:41 pm

I think it's all unintentional.

I go out for lunch/drinks with my colleagues and they all talk shop (nothing to do with my dept) so I just sit, eat, drink and absorb.

It also gives me a way to learn their work lingo and what is happening at work!

If I am not mistaken, you are trying to learn mandarin? If so, when you hear certain words, ask them what it means. Else, speak singlish to them and ask them to tune back to Channel 5 and no more Channel 8!
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Post by nakatago » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 3:55 pm

Yup; Hanlon's Razor. :twisted:

(Sorry; I'm on a mean streak lately.)

Don't worry; almost everyone is guilty of this. I even remember receiving a broadcasted email in French and then 20 replies telling the original sender that he should have used English--from other French people. Also happened to me when I hung out with a bunch of fellow Filipinos who all could speak a different dialect. The Indonesians from work also do this a lot. Ditto for the Malaysians. The Japanese from my previous life did this to us too when we're around them. They just think you're probably not interested anyway so they don't bother using a language you know. I usually just look at the speaker and nod, as if I understood something. If I'm asked if I understood anything, I reply, "I have no [optional f-word] idea what you just said."
:P
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Post by x9200 » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 4:14 pm

It's unintentional.
Typically it is unintentional but do not be surprise if under very obvious circumstances and still in an apparently friendly atmosphere they will switch to Mandarin/whatever to discuss something that you do not suppose to hear. I had a number of such situation with with the landlord and the landlord's agent.

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Post by x9200 » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 5:01 pm

By the way, I guess local Mandarin is like Singlish so you typically can hear tons of English words inside and very often get what is the conversation about. Give it a try and jump into it. Seeing the faces - priceless.

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Post by macaroonie » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 5:23 pm

Thanks everyone! i guess it's one of those things that can't be avoided or resolved. It's impractical asking for a translation when they are off full ball talking about this and that...

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 26 Apr 2010 5:33 pm

x9200 wrote:
It's unintentional.
Typically it is unintentional but do not be surprise if under very obvious circumstances and still in an apparently friendly atmosphere they will switch to Mandarin/whatever to discuss something that you do not suppose to hear. I had a number of such situation with with the landlord and the landlord's agent.
And it's always fun when traveling with your wife (Indian) and young kids on the MRT and conversation erupt between the Chinese aunties about the Ang Mo and his Indian "helper" and their kids and a precocious daughter starts scolding them in fluent Mandarin. :cool: I'd like to have a buck for each time that's happened (every time we ever gone out!).
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by februus » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:14 am

its also better that they speak in their own language and there is some conversation rather than the embarassing silence that occurs when they realise that you don't understand so they stop talking altogether, especially in the lunch environment! it can happen if their english isn't too strong...

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Post by macaroonie » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:22 am

You got a point there, but if their english is strong yet they converse non- stop in mandarin?

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Post by dazzlebabe » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:53 am

macaroonie wrote:You got a point there, but if their english is strong yet they converse non- stop in mandarin?
Then choose to have lunch with others or alone. I am sure you can make these decisions yourself and not come to us for solutions.

You are an adult, you don't always have to lunch with your colleagues. Go out alone, share a table, speak in your native language and you may meet new lunch buddies.

:roll:
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Post by macaroonie » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 9:56 am

Dazzlemebabe, of course! but i was invited to this lunch! hence i went along.

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Post by dazzlebabe » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:07 am

I may have misunderstood that you have lunch with them all the time.

You now know - so the next time they invite you, politely decline and say "I am sure you girls have lots to talk about. I will eat my lunch at my desk" (Cue puppy dog eyes)

:P
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:07 am

Hey DB, look like you...

Image

... on this one! :lol:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by dazzlebabe » Tue, 27 Apr 2010 10:10 am

Nope! Strictly valid point. OP wasn't clear in her post and yet was asking a really trivial question.

(It's like my niece running home saying her mates are not talking to her as she wore blue socks instead of pink)
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