Happy Cantonese!

Body language/word battles, Entries, Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

15th May 2017

Today I am very happy, because I had my first “kind of proper” CANTONESE conversation with my landlady when I was going to pay the rent at her home.

My landlady is a typical Hakka lady in her 80ies. I used to communicate with her with the help of her daughter, the property agent and/or my friends. Although I know she does not understand Mandarin, I kept speaking with her in Mandarin, in the big desperate hope, she would understand one or two words.

Her house’s door is always open, when she is at home. She does not have a bell, the only way to ask her come out, is shouting.

Me: Po po! Po po! Jou san! Jou san! chin lai a!
Me: Old woman! Old woman! Good morning! Good morning! Money arrived!

She ( somewhere from the house): bin ghoh x x x  ngo a?
She: Who x x x  me?

Me: ngo hai a! Ngo hai Nobu!
Me: It is me! It is Nobu!

She: dang dang! Ngo lai x x x
She: Wait for a while! I come x x x

[…]

She: lei x x x  hoi sum
She: You x x x  happy!

Me (to be humble): m hai! Po po, lei sik jor fan mei a?
Me (to be humble): Nooooo, I am not! Old woman, have you eaten?

She: sik jor la! Lei le?
She: I have eaten already! What about you?

Me: dai sik jor la!
Me: I have already eaten, too.

Frankly, speaking I have not understand each word, but I think I got the key words. I also did not know the word for “rent” or “pay”, I just used words I have learned in my Cantonese class during the last 4 weeks so far.

The conversation was simple and yet so fruitful and so happy!

Everyone, have a happy Monday!

Wushu competition in Wan Chai 2017

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12th May 2017

我参加了我第三个武术比赛 (省港澳武術邀請賽 2017): 比赛对我来说,不是赢或者输的问题。比赛只是一个目的,通过比赛面对自己的弱点,不再抗拒。是一个会让我进步的办法。最大的对手是我自己的不自觉。
2年练习的结果是在比赛裁判看着的两分钟。活在当下。只有一次机会。
这次我最自豪的是打破自己的记录。得到了8.95分?!
我一定继续加油吧!

★〓★〓★

★〓★〓★

Last month I have participated at the Hong Kong Macao Wushu Competition in Wan Chai together with my Kung Fu sister Mariko, who is also a student of the Natural Energy Academy under Joe Lok. Our master, Jenny, Fanny and James came to support and assist us.

Compared to the Shatin competition, which I have mentioned earlier, this competition was much smaller (only half day!), more expensive (individual with one performance cost 250 HKD) and much more exciting! There have been more “rare” martial artists, which I have not seen before and they are so awesome!

For me, competition is not about WIN or LOOSE the game. It is about having a target. Through this target I am facing my weakness: there is no way to run away from difficulties and resistance. It is my way to improve my form. The biggest enemy in the competition is not my opponent, but my own unawareness.

This time I have performed “5 elements punching form” with slightly changes. (Coming to this point, I had the thought that I could add an video link here to invite you, to have a look at the competition. Let me think about it!)

Everything what I have learned, experienced in these 2 years, was squeezed into 2 minutes of my life during the competition. This made me so nervous, that I forgot my steps during the warming up! In fact, I only have this chance, there is no next time in this moment. NOW. Live the moment. Do not expect anything. I can do it!

I did it. And I enjoyed it! I felt powerful and calm! And you know what?  I broke my own record again! I got 8, 95 points (out of 10!). And not only that… I even got a gold medal! Wow!! It was my first time to win something and I could not believe for a while (^▽^;).

I will definitely continue to practice and improve! See you at the next competition!

The sound of Cantonese language

Entries, Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

11th May 2017

Recently I have started to learn Cantonese. Not just words here and there. And give up. And pick it up again. No, in a course with a teacher, classmates, on a regular basis, daily practice with strangers as well as friends.

I have been here so long time, and all these years I did not really need Cantonese. There was always a way to communicate with body language, English or Mandarin. In fact, I resisted learning Cantonese. First of all, I felt Cantonese is an aggressive language. It sounds like a machine gun. Every time when I listened to the news I had the feeling that the reporters were angry, and that they quarreled and shouted at each other. Not seldom I got headache by just listening the news. Secondly, I was afraid to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

So, why did I start learning Cantonese now?

I have a desire: I would like to communicate with my local friends, join more volunteer activities,  gain a deeper knowledge about the local life and be able to communicate with my landlord (without translator).
PLUS I am confident enough that I am not going to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

During the class, I have realized Cantonese is not an aggressive language, but an energetic one. It requires a lot of mouth and face movement. It is almost like a mouth+face yoga!

The Cantonese teacher encourages the students to write the sounds in our own languages, additionally to the Yale-System (= Cantonese Pinyin).  I found it quite helpful to use another language to learn a new language (without getting confused!). I am using now Japanese and German to remember the Cantonese word.  Can you recognize them in the picture?

Not only that, it is also fun! In this way, pronunciation is much easier and – in my case – also lowers the resistance level to talk. (P.S. Tones cannot be remembered by this method.)

Through the Cantonese lessons, I have discovered again the joy of learning a new language! There will be further entries about Cantonese! So, stay tuned!

Cantonese Slang (1): 掃街

Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

10th May 2017

I came across an interesting Cantonese word while I was reading a food magazine:

“掃街” (sou3 gaai1*)

What is that!?

Ok, let me breakdown this word first. It consists of two words

掃 (sou3*)  = to sweep, to broom  &  街 (gaai1*) = street

So, it literally means “sweep the street”.

But why  “掃街” is mentioned in a food magazine and what is the relationship between “sweeping the street” and food?

Well, “掃街” describes the action of walking along the street and eating different street food and snacks e.g. egg waffle, stinky tofu, curry fish balls, sweet-sour soup, chicken wings, deep fried veggies, . All kinds of food-to-go!

In fact, “掃街” is a popular activity in Hong Kong. I also did it a lot, especially when I have just arrived in Hong Kong. Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Hung Hom etc. –  without knowing that this activity has a Cantonese word!

What is your favorite district/area/street to “掃街”ing?

 

* Cantonese Pinyin is based on “Yale system”.

Wushu competition Shatin district 2017

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4th May 2017

With some delay, I would like to share with you my experience on the Wushu competition for Shatin District at the beginning of this year.

This competition is quite a big one in Hong Kong. In 2016 as well this year, it was held on 2 days from 9 am to 9pm!  It seems this competition is well known among Wushu and Chinese Martial Art Lovers. Last year and this year, a wide range of age groups – from 5 years to 80 years old – and various styles of Chinese martial artists gathered together to participate at this competition and to demonstrate their skills.

This year I attend the competition with 3 of my Kung Fu sisters. And other Kung Fu sisters came to support us! And our master also came!  We all are training in the Natural Energy Academy under master Joe Lok.

I performed “5 elements punching form”. And i broke my own record! I am so so happy! In the previous competition I have received only 7.xx points with almost the same form. This “5 elements punching form” was more powerful. But now I achieved 8.14 (out of 10) points!! What a progress!! Well done myself! So happy!

I am very proud of myself, that I decided to participate at this competition. I used to hate competitions. I had put down my fear to loose, to fail. Joining a competition means (for me) to set a target and practice and improve until the competition came and enjoying every little progress. What I have learned from this process was “Expect nothing and appreciate everything!”

The Shatin District Competition is usually held beginning of the year. And enrollment would start around 3 months before that. Participation costs are relatively low. It starts from 60 Hong Kong Dollar/per person/per form. It is reasonable. And even you do not do any martial art, watching the performance is pretty awesome! Some of the moves I have seen before just in one of those Jackie Chan movies. WOW! It is so exciting! So, maybe I see you there in 2018?

HOW to learn and improve Chinese: Nobu’s methode

Learning Chinese & HSK, 中文&英文 Bilingual entry No Comments »

25th April 2017

“Purpose +(Love+Passion) = Improvement”

A lof my friends asked me how I am learning Chinese.
很多朋友问我怎么学中文。

There are a lot of methods of learning a language. Beside that, everyone has her/his own preference of learning method. Some people prefer to learn by her/himself, some people prefer going to language school.
学语言有很多不一样的方法。而且我们都有自己的习惯。因人而异。有人比较喜欢自学,有人比较喜欢去语言学校。

In fact, the method is not that important. From my point of view, the purpose is most important: Why I want to learn Chinese? What I want to do when I am able to speak Chinese? This is something (for me) I need to think about and define before I start.
其实呢,方法不是最重要的,但是对我来说目的是最重要的:为什么我想学中文?学完以后我想做什么?一定要考虑清楚。

When I started to learn Chinese, I had a dream: One day I will move to China, settle down there, get married, enjoy the Chinese culture, make a lot of Chinese friends etc.
我开始学中文是因为我有一个梦想。有一天搬到国内,在那里安家,结婚,了解国内的文化,交很多国内的朋友。

Learning a language is not that easy. Not seldom I face the resistance or feeling of give up. In such situation, I remind myself about my own purpose, which I defined earlier. I came so far. Do I really want to give up?  By reminding myself,  I would be able to find back my confidence and continue learning.
我觉得学语言不是那么容易的。想放弃时,让自己想起目的,为了目的重拾信心,会继续再努力。

Beside the purpse, passion and love towards the Chinese language are important factors as well. If I do not have these, I can use a book, CD, DVD, APP or what so ever, there are just useless tools and/or my progress will be slow.
除了目的,还有对中文的激情很重要的。如果没有的话,即使有书,CD,DVD,APP 等,也是没有用的或者进步很慢。

Frankly speaking, when I have just started learning Chinese, I did not have any passion at all. I tried different methods, my progress was very slow, I was afraid making mistakes and I was basically unsatisfied.
真诚地说我开始学中文的时候,我对中文没有激情。我试过很多方法, 进步却不太大,一直很怕说错了或者不满意。

Learning Chinese at that time, was just a struggling process. And I have changed teachers several times.
那时学中文很辛苦,换了几次老师。

One day, when I was traveling in Guangzhou by my own, I got lost. The only way to find my way back was talking to a local. So, I did. And the lady did not understand at all what I was talking about, because my pronunciation was not that good. I used body languages, drew pictures on the map, finally she understood what I was talking about. I got the help I needed and in the end I was able to arrive safely and relieved in my hotel.
有一天在广州旅行时,我迷路了。但是没有方法,问本地人路。因为我说得不好,所以她听不懂我说什么。我用手话,加上在地图上画画,最后她才能明白我的意思。我终于安全地回到了酒店。

This experience reminds me that not the method, but the target/aim and being are very important.
这个经验让我才知道方法不是很重要的,但是目的和感觉是很重要的。

There are not any limitation for learning and practicing Chinese. As long there is motivation, every method works.
学中文或者练习中文没有限度。有动机的话,什么都可以。

Beside learning with a book and with a teacher, I am making friends from Mainland China living in Hong Kong, learning Chinese songs, reading books, watching Chinese dramas and TV –Shows as “You are the one!”, and talking to random people I met in the supermarket, in the air plane, in the train, on the street, in the restaurant etc. This way, I created my own Mandarin Chinese environment in Hong Kong,
除了用书和跟老师学中文以外,我还交了在香港住的国内朋友,学中文歌, 看中文书, 看中文的电视剧和电视节目 “我们约会吧”,跟任何地方 -例如在路上, 餐厅, 超级市场, 飞机里, 火车里,- 月遇到的人说中文等。我创造自己的语言环境。

This way of learning Chinese is much more interesting and amusing.  My Chinese has improved ever since.
这让我觉得中文越来越有趣,我的中文也越来越好了。

HSK6 preparation with Zootopia’s support

Learning Chinese & HSK, 中国 Mainland China No Comments »

16th February 2017

Last night I was in Shenzhen’s bookcity* -which claims there are the largest bookstore in the world –  in order to buy HSK6 appropriate reading books. I prefer to have the books in hand, have a close look inside and read a bit before I buy, rather then buying online. Some of the literature are labelled with the language level, including a vocabulary list and some exercises to check my reading comprehension. I really love these books. It is simply a great way to improve Chinese by reading!

Frankly speaking, I was a bit disappointed. Compared to the other levels like  HSK3, 4 or 5, the choice of the books for HSK6 is not that wide or … maybe it was sold out and I just had a bad timing. I am not very sure about this point, but I was sure that I did not want to go back home with empty hands.

When I was strolling around the book shelves – in a hope, there might a suitable book, wrongly sorted in the shelves – , one book drew my attention: “ZOOTOPIA”! Did you watch the movie? It is one of my favorite movies in 2016! I watched at least 3 times!  And should you not have seen it, watch it!   “Try everything!”,  “Anyone can be anything!”,  “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” are few quotes out of many others, which touched my heart.

I got so excited, that I started to sing the song quietly “Try everything!” from Shakira ( ˘ ɜ˘) ♬♪♫:

” [..] I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail […]

Oh oh oh oh
Try everythi~~~~ng”

Yeah, why not give a try! I grabbed the book – wohoo nice soft cover  and very handy in my hand- . I found out that is an English learning book made for Chinese students. That’s why it has a  Chinese text, too. I guess, in case the students may not understand the English part, they may have a look at the Chinese text as well. Additionally, English vocabularies are explained in Chinese!

RESULT: I bought the book not for learning English, but Chinese. For around 35 RMB (!!). How it can supprt me for learning Chinese?

  1. Learn new vocabularies.
  2. Practice  writing summaries. (HSK6 includes a writing-summary-exercise without having the text in front of you.
  3. HSK6 is more less native level. And this book’s Chinese is “brutal” real Chinese regardless any HSKlevel.
  4. High motivated simply because I love “Zootopia”.

Try everything, right?

“这里是动物城,所以每个人都有无限可能!- This is Zootopia, and anyone can be anything. ” quoted by Zootopia

“这是我人生,所以我有无限可能! This is my life, and I CAN be anything.” quoted by myself (^_-)≡☆.

 

*How to go to bookcity (Chinese: 书城) in Shenzhen:

  1. Should you come from HKG, cross the boarder in Lok Ma Chau.
  2. Walk over to the  FUTIAN CHECKPOINT metro station (Chinese: 福田口岸站). It is around 5 minutes walking distance.
  3. Take the metro, line 4 (or also called red line or Longhua Line).
  4. Get off at the 4th station called CHILDREN’S PALACE metro station (Chinese: 少年宮站).
  5. Exit D or follow the signs.

All life is encounter

Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

14th February 2017

Back in 199x, I met Yang Wei Wei in Shenyang. If I had not met her and her family, I would probably never be interested in China, their language and their culture and …. I would never had the dream of working in China …. and ….  I would be never here in Hong Kong!

My mom asked me whether I still have contact with her. And I answered that I have lost the contact with her. My father asked me as well and I denied.

Last night my Chinese teacher asked me “What if you meet Wei Wei again, what would you do? What would you say, when she stands in front of her?” …. I could not answered immediately, instead my eyes filled with tears and I started to cry.  That moment when I cried, I AWARE that I was the one killed any possibilities to find her and family again because I am afraid of the language barrier, rejection, fear and disappointment. Finally I answered “I would cry. I would hug her. And then thank you her and tell her how our faith changed and influenced my life!”

In fact, I have nothing too loose, except some tears. The language barrier is not a problem any more, because my Chinese has improved!

I am now gathering information, I am determined to write a letter in Chinese to “my” old high-school in Shenyang. They might have some further information. I will keep you update!

 

Result of HSK 5, Chinese Exam

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13th February 2017

When I came back from my trip, a letter was waiting for me. A letter from the Yale-China Chinese Language Center/The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where I took the exam of HSK5 last December. It must be the score report!!!

I opened the letter calmly until I saw my score:

Wohooooo! I did it!! ✧*。٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*。 I passed HSK5 (equal to C1) Chinese language proficiency!

I received a lot of encouragements and support from my friends and family! With their support I felt strong: I let go my expectations and fear. Be in present!! Learn, take a break, learn, play, learn! Thank you!!

还有进步的空间,我继续努力! There is still place for improvement, I will keep learning! \\\٩(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و////   Please keep on supporting me!! Next goal: HSK6 by latest 2018!

 

 

Winter clothes distribution for refugees in HKG

Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

2015-12-23

Lei Hou RefugeesThe topic “refugees” can be seen nearly every day on TV in Europe. BUT did you actually know that there refugees in HKG? There ARE around 10.000 refugees living in HKG!!!! Where? How is their living condition here? From where? How does the government support them? All these I have not known before, and surprisingly I was not the only!  Therefore, in November I organised together with “HairAid.Hk” –  a newly founded organisation in HKG cutting hairs for people in needs – an awareness and fund raising event for refugees in HKG. The event includes a lot of activities and I was particularly responsible for the flea market. Most of the unsold goods (clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen tools etc.)  have been donated directly to our beneficiary “Christian Action” (= CA) afterwards.

After this event, I was wondering how and when those clothes would be distributed and asked CA for some photos. Due to privacy reasons and protect refugees’ identity, it was not possible to receive photos. Instead I have been invited to join the winter clothes distribution early December!  I took annual leave to join this meaningful event. I felt very excited!

The room was filled with clothes with wide range from for toddlers until adult’s fashion. Beside our donation CA had received a lot of other donations. Every refugee (=client) with a ticket could came in and take a clothes, he/she like. For free, and as many as they wanted within a limited time frame of 15 minutes.

Frankly speaking I was very surprised how reserved they are. They took what they really need and like. I asked one of them why s/he would not take more as it is for free, and the answer was very simple “Not enough space.”

This “scene” was very unusually for me. Imagine,at those crazy sales from luxury brands, are the people that generous? In that moment, people (including me) just focused on a great deal, to find something nice for the next cocktail party. I may use them only occasionally, or I do not have space, but I would still buy. I felt ashamed.

Winter Clothes DistributionTogether with this feeling in my heart, I was even eager to find what the client at the winter clothes distribution requested. Jacket in M size and in blue colour? -> OK, I will search with you. Long trousers for doing sports in bigger size? ->Sure, I will help you to find! You need this shirt in blue instead of pink?-> Let me check for you! It is not that easy, as each client only has 15 minutes time and the donated clothes are roughly tidied up only. The client’s “thank you” and “smile” afterwards are priceless. It made me nearly cry!

I found out that most of the clothes are in smaller size (asian size), there is a lack of “bigger” size for women. Next time, I will definitely donate my clothes to CA directly, instead of put them into the clothes collection boxes from other organisations.

It was such an meaningful and touching day! And it make me think a lot about my life, what do I really need or what I just want to own. If I had only one second time to flee from home, what would I take? What would you take?

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