My Chinese Is No Good

At the major intersections in the highest foot traffic areas, there are always people asking for donations, selling things, or trying to get people to do surveys. Most of the time, if you just look at them and shake your head with a smile, they’ll leave you alone. But sometimes, some of them can be relentless. They’ll pester you and try to convince you that you might as well since you’re waiting for the light to change anyway. And if it’s a big intersection, there really is a lot of time to wait.

So why don’t I just fill out their freakin’ survey already?

Because it’s IN CHINESE.

In high school, after 13 years of Saturday Chinese School, I reached about a sixth grade level. And then most of it went out the window after college. So yes, I can read Chinese. A good 60% of it probably, but I still have trouble with reading the newspapers and magazines, etc. I mean, I know enough to understand the overall content of articles and maybe catch a few key details, but the finer ones as well as certain phrasings of words and idioms escape me. Anyways, the point is if I take their survey, chances are that I’ll understand most of it, but maybe I won’t even be able to understand half of it. And if there are any questions where I have to write anything, let’s not even talk about how embarrassing my lack of writing skills/handwriting is. So that’s why I scare away those survey people by saying a firm, and in English, “Sorry, but no!”

I know, I know. Rule #76: No excuses, Play like a champion. So I’ve decided that after this 4-day weekend due to the Dragon Boat Festival, I will go buy some Chinese books and start to do some catching up.

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