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R.P. BenDedek

Finding Myself in China Chapter 15
By R.P. BenDedek
Sep 29, 2013 - 12:23:24 AM

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Excerpt From Chapter 15

Learning Chinese

In my Chinese lessons at WuDa, it was not possible for our teachers to teach us in English because none of them could speak it, and even if they had the ability, not all students in the class spoke the language. I remember one occasion in which we students had difficulty understanding the meaning of a word in our text. The new word list for that chapter provided a translation that did not fit the rest of the sentence, and it caused some confusion. I had to explain to the teacher that we were confused and needed time to work out the correct meaning. When I finally figured out what it must have meant, I got permission to call Eunice who confirmed my guess. Then the fun began. I told the meaning to the French Girl who then told the Brazilian girl. I then told a South Korean boy in English and he told the others in Korean but one of those then needed to explain it to the Vietnamese boys.

The students from Bangladesh understood my English so there was no problem there, but that left the Japanese boy. Poor bugger! He was the only person in the class who spoke Japanese and he didn't have a second language.

The reason foreign students can learn Chinese so fast is not because they live in a Chinese speaking environment, but because like Children, they have to absorb the language through their various senses. The teachers don't tell you in your language what they are going to say, they just say it, and you have to figure it out. I don't know how many times our teachers would say 'This word is a ____ and this word is a _____'. We would all nod in agreement but be otherwise totally lost. It took me a long time to understand that she was differentiating between nouns and verbs.

As I've already indicated, I learned Chinese in local dialect and dialectic pronunciation (of standard Mandarin). Whilst this often meant that I understood the teacher and could easily answer, it also meant that I was constantly being corrected. Conversations went something like this: 'Not that pronunciation but this pronunciation'. I would answer 'Yes'. This was followed by: 'Not that pronunciation of YES but this pronunciation'. I would say 'I know!' which was followed by 'Not that pronunciation of I KNOW but this pronunciation'. And I would say 'Right!' Then the teacher would say 'Not that pronunciation of RIGHT but this pronunciation'. It used to drive me crazy!

One of the Bangladeshi boys (beside whom I always sat) constantly mispronounced the Chinese word for 'teacher'. When one day I finally used his mispronunciation, I figured it was time to change seats. I moved over to sit with 'Ba Hao' (a Vietnamese boy using a Chinese transliteration of his name). I always called him 'Bu hao' meaning 'Bad / not good'. Despite sometimes being right royally cheesed off with me for calling him that, he was a wonderful kid studying in the college with a group of other wonderful Vietnamese boys. In the mornings before class they would often stop to talk to me at the canteen which lay between the dormitories and the classroom. I have fond memories of them and often wished I had had the time to really get to know them. They often invited me to join their group for activities, but as I have said, after class I had to morph from student into teacher and head off to another college. At the end of that semester studying Chinese, Ba Hao invited me to travel home to Vietnam with him for the summer, and I certainly wished I had, but unfortunately my plans for the summer were already under way.

R.P. BenDedek
Email: rpbendedek@hotmail.com

Writers Journal Kingscalendar

2013 Social Commentary Articles

The Dysfunction in the Religion of Peace
R.P. BenDedek
Sept 28, 2013

Muslim belief is that ultimately everything is Allah's will. Whether they approve or disapprove of the Kenyan massacres is irrelevant. It is Allah's will! Whether ordinary Muslims approve or disapprove of those terrorists is irrelevant. It is Allah's will! Whatever a Muslim may say with his lips, his true meaning is hidden in the back of his mind. It is Allah's will! Every Muslim, like every other true believer in every other religion, dreams of seeing the world converted to their god. For the Muslim therefore, every action that leads to the defeat or conversion of the infidel must be Allah's will.

Giving the Finger to Comrade GOOGLE's brand of Communism
By Comrade R.P. BenDedek
August 26, 2013

I have come to the decision that the only thing I can do is take a page out of Comrade Google's 'Little Red Book' and say: 'Screw You!' Comrade Google didn't like the way the Communist Government of China kept changing the rules. Comrade Google would not submit to a 'totalitarian authority'. Comrade Google decided to pull up stakes and leave. Is there a lesson to be learned in that?

Political Islam is full of hypocrisy and lies
by R.P. BenDedek
August 11, 2013

Politicians care only for themselves and nothing for the truth unless it suits their purposes. What they do call truth is usually nothing but lies! The general population - never seem to notice when radicals of all nationalities, religions and persuasions turn to 'ad hominems' rather than to logical debate when someone disagrees with them. The honest man will argue his point honestly. The perverted man ignores the argument and attacks the man (ad hominem) as though truth is not found in discovering and weighing the evidence and facts but in the character and 'Politically Correct Nature' of the person speaking them.


R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (
http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.

Writers Journal Kingscalendar

"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls


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