5 Nov 2009


After I stepped down from stage, the audience congratulated me on my Putonghua.

That was funny. I was almost the only speaker not using Putonghua as the mother tongue. You know what it means. No one has ever praised my Cantonese before. It is like watching a toddler throw a basketball. You say “good boy”, but actually mean it is kind of cute.

Putonghua is getting more and more important. I would keep practicing. Indeed, a taxi driver in Beijing asked if I came from Guangzhou. My Putonghua improved by 174 km to the north!

At least I did not suffer from serious misunderstanding.

A decade ago, YT participated in a project in northern China. This is his conversation in a restaurant:

Waiter: Do you want something to drink?

YT: White wine, please (喝白酒). (He meant beer - 喝啤酒.)

Soon the waiter returned with a big bottle of colorless liquid that could support combustion.

Waiter: How much do you want?

YT (waving his hand ferociously): Eight taels (喝八兩). (Though he meant he could not drink that - 喝不了.)

The rest is history.

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