Chapter 12: The Things People Say
- This Chapter depicts real life and real conversations that will give offense to some people. If bad, foul or four lettered language offends you, then please skip this chapter.
I have already related how QC told me that he wanted to come to my house and play with me and sleep with me. In Chinese that expression has no sexual value but translating it into English it does. In Chinese the correct expression for 'boyfriend' is 'nan pengyou' (nun pung yo) whilst the correct expression for 'male friend' is 'nan de pengyou'; a friend who is a male. In regular Chinese however, most people use the 'boyfriend' expression. One day when I used 'nan pengyou' I was immediately informed by a student that because I am a westerner I should not use that expression. While Chinese do not sexualize the expression, Chinese people know that foreigners are deviates and so if I use that term, people will think I am talking about my male lover. I was talking in the street with a student one day and decided to quickly buy something from the local shop. I asked the student to hold my cigarette while I ducked into the shop. The shopkeeper asked me if the boy was my 'boyfriend'. I looked at him and said: 'No! He is my male friend'. He started laughing and I said: 'I knew you were trying to trick me!'
On the first day of any new class of students, I will ask several boys if they have a boyfriend; if they love him; and if they sometimes sleep with him. 90% of the time they will all answer 'Yes!' to each question. When I tell them the English meaning of those expressions, the class usually cracks up laughing, and the teaching point is made that idiomatic expressions take first priority over 'grammar'.
Sometimes yellow language or other hilarious mistakes enter a conversation because whole words or certain vowels and consonants are mispronounced; sometimes because of accidental idioms; sometimes because Chinese has been translated literally.
Sometimes hilarious mistakes enter a conversation because a student didn't really understand the meaning of a word they have used. For instance a boy once proudly told me that he was a 'gay boy'. Under questioning it turned out that he meant that he was a 'happy' boy. Before I commence with examples of errors made by students and others, it is only fitting that I list several of my own.
In 2007 I sometimes helped Chiara to teach 7 boys Italian. I had these boys in a special English class and they were as lazy as the day is long. One day Chiara was taking turns asking us questions. When she asked me how old I was, I made a slight error and instead of saying 'I have 53 years', I said 'I have 53 rectums'. On one occasion I was in the school store trying to buy a lighter and unfortunately confused the Chinese expression for (cigarette) 'lighter' with the expression for 'masturbation'. Each has 3 characters/sounds/syllables and I got the middle one wrong. That incorrect expression in local language is, apart from intonation, exactly the same for 'take an airplane'. Imagine the consternation I caused in class when, because the students didn't understand the story on the cassette tape, I tried to explain in Chinese that the man was at the airport 'to take a plane'. On one occasion I mixed up 'jiji' (penis) with 'didi' (little brother), and told an old couple that 'My penis went to Fujian'. The old lady literally fell off the little stool she had been sitting on.
..................I sometimes wonder where everyone's 'joy and happiness' have gone. Money, power, ideology, self-righteousness, control and manipulation seem to be the only motivation for living that people have. Life is a reality that must be faced, and if the realities of life have a funny edge to them, then why can't we enjoy it and have a good laugh?
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
2013 Social Commentary Articles
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?
Terrorism the Media doesn't want to report on
by R.P. BenDedek et al.
August 13, 2006
Every time Israel takes action against Hamas in Gaza and starts blowing up tunnels, the 'western activists' start gushing tears from their eyes and blood from their hearts. The purpose here today is simply to provide information to counter the irrationality of 'agenda driven' activists who seek to control the emotions and minds of the silent and somewhat mindless majority. I am still 8 years old, hospitalized in critical condition. Screaming from pain. Bandaged from head to toe. And my head is not the same. No longer full of golden long hair. The head is burnt. The face, back, the legs and arms, burnt. I am surrounded by family members, but my mother is not with me.
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