Chinese or English, That Is the Question (图)

(2011-12-04 18:00:48) 下一个

Forward: For past five years in thiscity, many readers and bloggers often asked me a fairly simple question “Can you speak and write in Chinese ?” Frankly, I felt that I was kinda “insulted” by such presumption. Isn’t an irony, about 19 years of my life, I lived in China and finished my college, then all of the sudden, my origin and my mother tongue are questioned. Where is the justice in this world ? J

Normally, I’d rather dodge the question since I am afraid that no matter what and how I’d explain, there would be still doubts hung around; of course, unless I’d write my blog post and comments in Chinese. Then, an easy follow-up question would be “ Why don’t you do it?”  Well,  it’s more complicated than that you may think.   

Thanks to 
’s inquiry (refer her question below), I’d like to take an opportunity to  give an an over-due explanation,  hopefully allowing me come clean. J      

Inquiries from :

Allow me change a subject here, just be curious,you write fluently in English, oh, no, I should say that you write not just fluently but actually so elegantly in English, but I've not yet seen you writing in Chinese, can you write in Chinese? The reason I'm asking is that'cos in real life I hardly have opportunities speaking and writing Chinese,that's why I'm so fond of writing in Chinese, meeting and making all differenttype of friends... I miss Chinese language, a unique and beautiful language inthe world...would love to communicate with you in Chinese one day, if it'spossible? ^o^

Chinese or English, That Is the Question

You asked me if I am able to write Chinese. The answer is an absolute “yes ”. First and foremost, I am proud to be a Chinese, and I adore Chinese Culture and its Language art. The fact is that I spend more years of my life in China than in America. Put this way, if I did not speak and write Chinese proficient enough, there was no way that I could graduate from the University in China.:) So if there is anyone out there who has doubted my Chinese language capability, I am going to assure you once for all, it is safe to let your worries go, okay please ? I am fine for speaking and writing Chinese. J 

Why you never saw me writing in Chinese ? Well,it’s because I have been trying to keep it as a big secret from you guys. :) Alright, I am kidding you .:)  The real truth is that to me, using English to write is really a life-saver because time is one of most luxury items that I wish I could have more if you’d be aware of  what I am doing for living. Further, similarto you, most of my days in the office or at home I have to use English as the primary communication tool to convey, express and execute my ideas and thoughts. The only times I use Chinese are a. calling my folks in China b.going out with my Chinese friends 3. hanging out in this virtual city to educate myself with those interesting articles that people wrote to share their views including your contributions as well. Now, to satisfy your curiosity – have I ever left my comments in Chinese in bloggers’ blogs ?. Yes, I did. Sometimes when time permits, and people I knew well, I wrote my comments in  Chinese with a aim to ridicule myself a little and amuse others. Please don’t get me wrong, like you, I am a fan of Chinese language art, which is, in my opinion, one of the  most functional and fascinating languages in the civilization of mankind. During my tender years inChina, Reading novels & poetry and playing video games would pretty much summarize my entire pastime.  

Why don’t I write more in Chinese ? you may wonder. Besides to save time - typing Chinese is much more time consuming than that doing English;  in large extents,  the postmodern Chinese language art has evolved into a “strange” platform where subtlety and poetic depictions which have been cherished for generations have been replaced with brutal bluntness and fast-food typed homonyms. So “To be, or notto be, this is the question:” To me, to assimilate my Chinese writing style for pleasing others or doing otherwise as usual is the question left for me toanswer. I’ve chosen to mute.

If you don’t mind. I’d also to present another angle for you to contemplate a bit about language usage. You see, typically a language itself consists of merely a bunch of symbols and characters. They only become substantial and materialized when those tidbits are put together to communicate our thinking and feelings. Having said that, I mean which language to use is less important than what we’d actually express ourselves because after all, which languageto use is relatively irrelevant since it is our thoughts do the talking insteadof language(s). Taking music as an example, no one would argue it is a language we share universally. There are only 7 basic notes, yet combined with scales,intervals, pitches, tempos, styles and composers ... the melodies and sequences of sounds created are adequately to express our emotions and sentiments in 360 degrees unlimitedly through history of mankind. Especially, these inspiring music have successfully surpassed the purlieus restricted by time, spaces and nationalities. In my mind, a language is useful only if a speaker makes the messages across to his or her listeners who can understand and appreciate them. That brings to my conclusion: I have made my conscious decision to use English to write in the city. I believe that only those people who bother finishing reading and understand what I wrote would be able to appreciate. For the majority who forage the net, seeking thrills and for quick gratifications, the barrier built by the language - English,  I use may serve as the natural “fortress” to protect me from being the "prey", and at the same time as a fasten agent to facilitate and foster a lasting bond between those who are able to appreciate and me.        

I hope I’ve had a clean slate here.

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阅读 ()评论 (19)
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 回复九月独处的评论:

Sorry for causing your trouble and “pain” :(( And thank you for trying to save me this early morning. :)

I was swamped with work yesterday and later I had to run some errands at night, so I didn’t get a chance to make the necessary correction to the error from my editing incompetency. :(

I will try to fix it tonight, worst comes to worst, I will delete this entry and redo it tonight. Thank for your kindness and patience.
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复九月独处的评论:

Give up now :-( :-( :-(

Got to run, Ciao~~~
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复九月独处的评论:

Oops,I guess the system doesn't like the code, so anyways, please add the following behind your video, then it will work:

九月独处 回复 悄悄话 Morning~~ before I'm leaving to work, figure that it might be a good idea that I give you the code to replace the video in your latest post("Any Questions?")... Please don't say thank you,since I'm doing this solely for my own selfish benefit (so I can ask questions in that post~~),also, please don't feel obligated to use my code (if you don't want to answer my questions),Aha-ha-ha~~ A great day!!~~~~~

九月独处 回复 悄悄话 I was just trying to raise up my first question at the article "Any question?", apparently, at the same time you were posting that youtube song, but didn't leave space at the bottom of the article... then...my 1st question was swallowed into a black hole, Ouch :-(

Now, I'm going to keep my 2nd question till you fix that article, is it ok? :-)
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 回复响地的评论:

Thank you very much for taking your time to deliver comforting words and give kind compliments, appreciated.

You are right, sometimes I got carried away by net friends’ comments on my language of choice. As pointed out by you correctly, they may just tease me rather intend to give me a hard time. In either case, I should learn to take it easy over handling criticism with a sense of humor even my original intend might be misunderstood by chance. Laughing out loud with net friends definitely is one of the best relaxations available in high tech era. :)

Your observation and understanding over human natural reflected in cyberspace really make lots of sense. I’ll take a note on that. Hopefully, we may exchange our thoughts and compare our notes again at九月’s blog soon.:)

Sorry for your QQH. I normally hesitate use this website’s native msg systems, sometimes, I got a feeling that someone might have read my qqh before I did, call me paranoia if you will. :(

Please allow me to wish (sorry for kinda late) you and your family: A healthy, happy and prosperous new year!
响地 回复 悄悄话




半个月前在九月博主的留言里"见过招",后给你写过一个悄悄话,没见回复。不过现在我已经得到了我的回答。很高兴看到了你的博客文字, a great place!

纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 Dear 九月, Reading your new year greeting and well-wish after an exhausting ski trip, I felt heartwarming and exhaustion-free. :) Have you ever noticed that it’s kind of irony that we actually need a mini vaca to unwind the burnout resulted from the travel after a vacation ? Luckily this year's long weekend may fit the bill perfectly.

“ maybe a little mature” you sound just like my mother; “成熟一点, 好不好!“ is a phrase that I heard a ton from her lately. :)) Alright, I am kidding you. I know what you mean exactly, but I am sorry to inform you it is kind too late for a guy like me to arrive at where maturity lives. :( Does that intone a bit of pessimistic before New Year Eve ? How about this ? I will try to be more responsible in 2012, okay ?

Now please allow me to wish you and your family a happy, healthy, prosperous and productive year ahead. In addition, you would be even more stimulating, statuesque, sweeter and smarter in your blog.

P.S When you get a chance, please check out Delta Goodrem’s song “A Little Too Late” . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jiUD-bt3wI&feature=related Oh, please drink more Champagne this evening, I think it's going to be a better year in 2012 contrast to the conventional wisdom.
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:


祝朋友新一年更加自信从容,更加幽默诙谐,更加豁达宽容。。。当然,maybe,a little mature (even though I know nobody like to be called mature,Ahahaha~~~)

It's really nice getting to know you in year 2011,thank you,my friend! :-) ^&*
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话
Good evening 九月,

I read you new post and think it contains a pretty good moral/theme; not too shabby from ladies’point of view,:) actually fit men’s way of think as well.

I also believe, ladies may change their wants, needs and desires at the different stages of lives. More importantly, they know how to leverage their knowledge and senses to fulfill them. In other words, they are more intelligent, practical, sensitive and adaptable than most of us when it comes to pursue a more meaningful life. We are just a bunch of kids trapped in grownup's bodies. :(

Please have a good rest during this Christmas weekend, try not thinker any provocative and controversial subjects, at least for a short while.:)

BTW, Thank you for diligent handwork and thoughtful facilitations for the passing year, for that, you should be rewarded with lots medals.
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:

Haha-haha...."stay away from provocative and controversial topics", then how about this:


Morning, "layman and the outsider"!~~~~
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 Hmmm ... let me think... it appears that time is ripe this time around. :)

People often say, "Timing is everything." I know you'd agree with me on this one.

Don't forget to raise your glass to world peace and city peace this year at your holiday feast table.

Observing your music taste, I think that you might like Christina Perri's song "A Thousand Year" (check it out at this weblink http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHkvan-NFnM)

Enjoy your holiday vaca and stay away from provocative and controversial topics. :))
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This time is not too early, is it? :-) :-)
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 Wow, running 15 miles per serving, that is fantastic stamina and discipline of you! You clearly beat me on daily “ration” for brain. So rewarding yourself with a giant portion of chocolate cake is definitely justified. :) Keep up with the good work.

I appreciate your token of flexibility and willingness to accommodate my request. Trace of evidences indicated that you might be a good negotiator, knowing when to use compromise to bypass an impasse and make both sides having something in their hands before walking away. BTW, on the street, people rarely bargain wholeheartedly; instead, people “grab”, “extort”, “devout” and even strike the preys when they are bleeding or at their weakest moment. I am assuming you are not a pure moralist to judge us.:) Well, look bright side in other shed of lights, “cold-bloodiness” might be necessary for future growth in a larger picture. If you ever visited Safari in Africa, you would notice, many sick, wounded and weakened animals in the herds are constantly being “cleaned up” by the predators. It is natural way to recycle sacred resources and keep the nodes on the food chain healthy.

The replaced photo looks better, at least in my eyes. :) The little boy seems smiling without visible signs of being pressured or inveigled.:)

You sounds certainly as a mother raising a boy for the way you described the little guy’s thinking.:) Still, I think he might be “coaxed” by his parents’ promise, which is targeted for his “weakness”. Just a hunch, please don’t hold me responsible. :)

“women usually mature much faster and earlier than men, is it right?!” Absolutely! For blessing or curse, deep down in our psyche, regardless of ages, we, men, would remain as a bunch of boys who would mature at the snail crawling speed, some of us may even be incapable of growing up. That might explain we go craze on toys - sports cars, sports & video games and babes consistently throughout outlives. :) To majority of women, such behaviors would be considered as childish and immature, even irresponsible. But, unfortunately that is how our brains function and develop trough time. Part of reasons is that we are drawn to and reined in external stimulants such as speed, power, excitement, and arousal. In good part, our overcharged sensors and receptors motive us to achieve and to create, yet with a price tag, sometimes a hefty one, mentally we are often less matured comparing with our female counterparts in similar age group. Having said that, I didn’t imply that men are incompetent to differentiate right from wrong; what I mean is that it may take considerable time for us to reach the acceptable maturity. Believe me, it is a battle and a struggle we face , many of us are fighting against tide every day. Well, the bottom line is that it is gender difference, and man and women are different. In some situation, women may need a bit more time than me to reach the same page as we do. So we are even.:))
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:


Let's be on the cup half full side,embracing the positive perspective --- you've been enjoying your freedom,your independence, your party nights with singles,while I had sleepless nights, changing diapers,rocking my baby,checking his temperatures......

BTW,women usually mature much faster and earlier than men, is it right?!~~~

At your request, I changed that pic, I thought that boy was cute, he had a cold-feet,but he was biting his tongue, 'cos he was so touched by that little girl's enthusiasm... so, he said, what a heck,I'm in! Hahaha...

I just did a 15-mile run this morning, followed by a giant chocolate cake for breakfast ^&*

You too, have a great weekend!
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 Geez, rub it in! That is really great sensitivity from you.:) You came to the states when you were 19, now on the top of all your successes, you have a son in middle school, who is able to speak and write perfect Chinese. And me ? zéro. :(( You’ve almost “assassinated” my self-esteem. For such unlawful act and pain and suffering caused, you should compensate me adequately in order to redeem your “crime” committed against me. :)

Seriously, If you feel more comfortable to write Chinese, please do so. I can promise you that I won’t misinterpret your intention.

There is one small request if you could do me a favor: Could you please replace an “inappropriate” photo on the top of your recent post about a pair of love birds. In which, a little boy kneels down, presenting a bunch flower to a “princess” in entire pink outfit. Comparing with little girl’s happiness, the little toddler seemingly suffers some real pain as a twinge of fear shows in his face. :( Whoever did this to him should be ashamed. :)

Please have a great weekend ahead, and adding some good chocolate would be highly recommended, too. :))
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 回复纵然平行的评论:


(1) No, I knew you would finish reading my comments, very thoroughly, I just tried to imply that Chinese maybe a more concise language than English, my comments could be a lot longer if I wrote in English :-)

(2) No, I would never make a statement that any Chinese's Chinese is worse than mine, especially you and I both came to the states when we were 19 :-)

(3) Yes, I could tell you are an inward person, that is why it's so much fun to communicate with you and "extract" all your thoughts "outward", just kidding :-)

(4) Hmm...my son can understand most of the Chinese songs, but he could hardly write in Chinese, ^&*

(5) No hint, I'm not a lady like to give hints, I'm fairly straightforward... unless you and I are at the opposite sides of the negotiation table :-) Holiday season is coming, I actually really like the chocolate necklace you had in your last year's post, that's why I am saying Merry Christmas! :-)

Have a great evening!~~~~~
纵然平行 回复 悄悄话 As instructed by you, before I am starting writing this response I did read your thoughtful reply to my comments that I left last night in your blog. :) Honestly, I worried about you and your fan base might take a hardline approach to my “dissenting” take on Audrey Hepburn who was undeniably one of most beautiful and accomplished actress and philanthropist in our century.

For the record, I didn't never believe that you were trying to mislead anyone in that article. It’s just my nature to encourage myself and others who I think may have the guts to be more objective to a subject under discussion in an amicable manner from different angles. Without doubts, I appreciate your tolerance and open-mind stance.

Okay, we settled one count; let’s move the next item on my “plate”. :)

Reading your comments is making me smiling (it’s kind of funny though) since you might have subconsciously implied that 1). I wouldn’t have patience to finish reading your comments. 2). Worse, my Chinese is so bad that I’d need to a Chinese translator standby. Okay, I am tormenting you. I am sure that you wasn't thinking that way. :)

You are absolutely right that many people would shun away from me since the language differences; as a direct result, I may miss the opportunity to make friends. I think you make a convincing point, and I appreciate your concern and goodwill. However, that is a calculated risk and an opportunity cost, I’d have to take and shoulder, giving limited resources and aligned priority. Here is a thing: Each and every day, we have to make choices, a small one like a cup of coffee or two and big one that may involve huge asset allocation, but when you look at these choices you make, there is one thing that is strikingly similar, we’d be inclined to choose the relative values instead absolute ones. In certain way, using English contains the relative values rewarding me most.

You know, as I admire you and others for the abilities and talents to make friend on the fly, I felt inadequate on this front. To a large degree, I am an inward person at the core. It is hard for me to make new friends, but once I did, I’d keep them for quite a while. It’s just me.

Please hold your thanks :) ; in fact, I should thank you to put me on the spot and motivate me to give an over-due explanation to people whom I owed for years.

I am glad that we both like the singer - 汪峰。 A bonus question for you to think, if I can enjoy Chinese music without any issue, that means …?

Isn't too early to say Merry Christmas ? Unless you are politely to hint me for not visiting your blog before the holiday. :))
九月独处 回复 悄悄话 纵然君:傍晚好!~~



第三,我想说,我知道你其实是懂中文的,否则你不会喜欢,噢,至少不会愿意浪费时间在我的博客发表你的观点思想。所以结论是:你我是appreciate each other的,所以用你的话来说,it is very much possible "to facilitate and foster a lasting bond between you and I who are able to appreciate each other",嘿嘿嘿。。。


最后,我想说的是,People who are your friends will be your friends no matter you use what kind of languages to communicate,they would appreciate you no matter what。。。(无论你是用英文写博还是用中文写博,是你朋友的人都会appreciate你,都会是你的朋友),but you may miss some opportunities of making friends who do not really like to read in English,but could be connected to you in Chinese(但是你可能会错过一些机会,交到一些可能的朋友,或许他们并不喜欢读英文。。。)

圣诞节快乐!Merry Christmas!~~~

你的朋友,Your Friend!~~~